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Image 1 for Vale: Legendary Brit surfer and shaper CJ Jones

A shaper since the early 60s, CJ also won English, British and European titles in the same year back in the day.

Image 2 for Vale: Legendary Brit surfer and shaper CJ Jones

With the Vitamin Sea surf team.

Vale: Legendary Brit surfer and shaper CJ Jones

6 September 21

Tribute from Sam Bleakley: RIP Chris ‘CJ’ Jones, shaping and surfing hero, master craftsman, wonderful family friend, 1971 English, British and European Champion, core part of the original 1960s Newquay surf crew, at the front-line of both the shortboard revolution and the longboard renaissance, lover of soul music, beautiful surfboards, rugby, wonderful father, teacher and so much more. 

CJ was a close friend of my Dad, Alan ‘Fuz’ Bleakley, having grown up together amongst the first generation of young Newquay surfers. We had long been getting our gorgeous custom shortboard shapes from the factory in Wesley Yard before I developed into a longboarder in the early 1990s and had the great pleasure and inspiration of being a CJ teamrider.

His factory was a mesmerising world of waveriding creativity. His boards were sleek and beautiful craft aching to be touched and given a run out in sweet surf.

CJ spent a million hours here shaping thousands of boards of the highest quality in a work environment that barely scraped through health and safety regulations, but was impregnated with surfing history. 

CJ was an avid craftsman, and for so long the most experienced and best shaper in Europe, building boards with tools that seemed to fit his hands as readymades. He had lived and breathed surfboards since he was a kid. Surfboards over time had shaped his psyche too, talking back to him – partly in the design and partly in their owners’ tales of flow, torque, noserides, tuberides, late take-offs and over-the-falls wipeouts. 

Will an eighth of an inch really make any difference? CJ thought so, and we thought so too. We trusted his expertise. He was king of the lair and we were all learning from a previous European Champion and one of the legends of European surfing. 

I cannot express how much I learned from CJ, not just about design and performance, but most importantly about the timeless spirit and stoke of surfing that can live on in all of us to celebrate CJs legacy. He also applied himself tirelessly to teaching people to shape, always delighted to let aspiring board-builders shadow his every move, borrow templates and use his tools and workshop. 

Years back, CJ told me, “We used to do some mad things learning to surf in the ‘60s, like ride into the cave at Great Western at high tide just for the hell of it. We called the biggest set ‘The Widowmaker’ and if there were quite a few out, we’d get everybody to catch the same wave and shout ‘Glittery glide down’. Occasionally we would all paddle out and shout Glittery glide down on the Widowmaker’.” 

Thank you CJ for your brilliance. I’ll always think of you when I see ‘The Widowmaker’ set coming through.

 - tribute from Sam Bleakley

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