I have a bunch of different Grays of Cambridge boards that I will list bit by bit. They are some of my favorites. Grays were a hockey stick, tennis racket and cricket bat maker. They became Grays – Nicolls in the 1940s and are now known as Grays International.
In the 1950s they made bellyboards (or surf boards as they were called then) This particular board is a 47 by 12 inch board, nice and sturdy, but not to heavy. It has a rocker and a lovely burnt in logo on the bottom of the board as you will see in the second image.
I spoke to Richard Grays (they are still family run) who told me his father had told him –
“Grays manufactured surfboards in the 1950s. They were made from 9mm marine ply – and one 8 feet by 4 feet sheet cut to 8 boards. One end of the board was curved upwards, after softening in steam or very hot water, and this end was cut to a rounded shape. All the edges were smoothed by sanding. Some boards were painted, and stenciled with a dolphin emblem in a contrasting colour, but the majority were produced in plain wood in order to keep the cost down. The main market was in the west country, particularly Cornwall, and our main customer was an ironmonger in Newquay called Huxtable. He would often purchase up to 2,000 boards in a season.”
See burnt in logo below. More Grays boards coming soon…