California, Sunshinestories Family, Surfing, Sweden, Torekov

Sunshinestory; Bing Copeland of Bing Surfboards (retired legend)


“Never trust a fart!” thats what Bing gave us for a life advise! Here’s our interview of him.

Herbert Bingham Copeland III was born 1936 and grew up two blocks from the ocean in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles. When he was 12 he became friends with Dale Velzy who worked as a life guard at the beach. It was Velzy who asked Bing and his friend Greg Noll if they wanted to try surfing his board. Imagine a 8 feet redwood balsa board..  “I remember standing up and riding straight off all the way to the beach; it was an incredible feeling, like your first wave always is. I know at that very moment, this was the sport for me”.

If I’ve calculated it right that was year 1948 and just 11 years later, after sailing the world as a US Coastguard, Bing and his friend Rick Stoner opened up their first shop; Bing & Rick Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. That was the start of Bing Surfboards and now over 50 years later Bing is still the thing.

Together with shaper Matt Calvani and Margaret Yao Calvani, Bing have traveled all over the world the latest years, just like their boards. As a Swede the culture and history of surfing is very, very new. It has mostly been shortboards and Global Surf Industries, because we’re a new surfing nation! Petter and I didn’t really understand how loved and famous the Bing boards were until we started travel with one each under our arm. All the way from California to Panama people stopped us and asked if they could feel that board, ride that board, said their first board was a Bing, their dream board was a Bing and so on. There is so much love around the Bing Surfboards and when we visited the factory in Encinitas we understand why; the boards are still made with precise handcraft from the foam to the glassing and a never ending love to the art of building surfboards, surfing and the waves.

We was fortuned to have Bing come to Sweden and visit us and when meeting him in person it all just became clearer, this love that are sourounding the Bing boards, it’s the legacy of Bing Copeland! He still permeates the boards and the brand. Bing, Matt and Marg who now run the company is like a family, together with the glassers, the teamriders, shop manager, dealers and custumers all over the world. Thank you Bing for letting us become a part of your family!

The images are from Bing’s, Matt’s & Margarets visit in our hometown Torekov, in Sweden. Here’s a start with a few snaps from his book. It is a very well written peice of surfing history with photos not showcased anywhere else. If you are interested in the history of surfing, get it here ->

Bing with his book, “Bing Surfboards – fifty years of craftsmanship and innovation”

We took the whole morning going through the very well written and exciting book. Bing explained who’s who, who did what and all the little secrets in between the lines. This was very exciting.




As usually with our interviews we let him fill one of our sunshinestory forms out. “Never trust a fart!” thats what he gave us for a life advise!

The whole crew gathered for a walk in our home village of Torekov.

@ Morgonbryggan with no robes unfortunately. Maybe the Californians thought it was fortunately, hehe.

Bing giving us a typical swedish house entrance pose!

Girls & Boyz.

CALIFORNIA!

Facebook time. To give you a little history, we reached out to Mat & Marg and asked them if we could ride their boards during our trip last winter. We did’t know anything about the brand, about california surfing or that Bing was still alive until he added us on facebook! He doesn’t live in California anymore, so we picked up the boards and did our trip and kept contact with Bing on facebook pretty much every day. He commented on our foods pics, and responded with images of his food. It was a  very fun and relationship we had.

So here he is, in our couch, on his iPad and I bet you he’s online checking his facebook.

Private show of the boardroom time!

More facebook time! Or well I bet Margaret was working, of course!

Dinner with my parents talking about every ones California memories.

So we headed on a roadtrip along the coast, showing them a few of the local surfbreaks before going to Varberg for the evenings book signing event at Surfers!

Bing thought my old VW needed some Bing stickers for the trip.

@ Surfers

Started off unloading our new Bing boards.

Waxing the 9,6 noserider before going out for a surf. Bing used to make the same type of board back in the days.

Petter & Bing.

Inspecting the set of boards Markus got for Surfers.

Lots of people and lots of boardtalk! Matt describing his version of the mini simmons on this pic.

Giving a crash course in California noseriding..

Bing filling in with his story.

 Signing books for the girls!!

Getting interviewed by the Swedish press.

Some old vintage Bings.

Matt doing what?

Roadtrippin in Petters old almost dying VW golf. Had to stop every few kilometers to fix the clutch, Matt & Petter found a nice technique to get it going after a while. When we finally made it back to Torekov, believe it or not but  we got pulled over by the civilian police who thought we where a bunch of thieves when they saw the overloaded little car with Bing stickers and surfwax all over it.

Haha I don’t know but I think it’s these things that we will remember, unfortunately.. Next time I hope we’ll afford a better car!

S0 awesome to have you over here, we haven’t even known each other for one year. And an honor to finally meet Bing. I remember when Margaret told us they would come for our weeding, and we said, “let’s get married!” Now we can save the marriage as a free ticket for another visit, score.

Glad to have you. Come back soon.

4 Comments

  • I was raised in Manhattan Beach, went to Mira Costa, grad of 1954. MB was such a great place to be raised in. What a town in those days. Anyone who went to the beach, knew Dewey Weber and Bing. I happened on this site, and I’m glad I did. Brought back some nice memories. Bing looked like he aged well, in these photos. I wish him a great retirement. I’m 80, and still go to the gym, have since 1957. Exercise of all kinds makes for a great, long life. Catch some rays man, surfs up. My best, T.

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