The Vintage Bodyboard Collectors/Collective (VBC) is a treasure chest founded in 2015 by a hardcore bodyboarding enthusiast.
In a couple of years, Damien Alexander gathered thousands of young and old bodyboarders around a dream - to share the memories, to relive the good old days, and to exchange boogie board experiences.
Alexander was born in 1973 and spent his childhood watching bodyboarding evolve from a summer pastime to a professional sport.
The Facebook community built by this bodyboarder from Adelaide, South Australia, is very active and has already moved into real-world fields.
Damien Alexander agreed to answer our questions a few days before debuting an innovative initiative. Vintage Bodyboard Collectors/Collective is ready to kick off International Bodyboarding Day on November 4, 2017.
Why did you decide to create the Vintage Bodyboard Collectors/Collective?
Initially to share my enthusiasm for collecting old bodyboards. The frequency of getting into the water reduced dramatically over the years due to other commitments such as family, work, etc.
However, my love for the sport is in my blood. Keeping and collecting old boards felt like it brought me closer to that feeling, even when not in the water.
Plus, I love the old templates, colors, and brands. As the page continued to grow, it became bigger than just collecting old boards as it became a point where old and new to the sport could share the stoke.
Are you surprised by the number of members who joined it?
Very much so. It really boomed last year. However, in retrospect, there weren't many other social media platforms where people could easily and collectively share stories, collections of boards, and general interests.
Why do you think the group is so popular?
The sport's "golden period" was in the 1980s and 1990s, and many old boogers like myself have never lost their love for the sport.
As the page has grown, many of the professionals from the history of the sport have jumped in and have made themselves accessible to everyone. Many of us used to have posters on our walls and school books of Pat Caldwell, Jay Reale, Tom Boyle, Mike Stewart, etc.
They are actively contributing and chatting directly to us. It still blows me away. Another reason why it is popular really comes down to the people who post. It is very rare we have any issues; everyone is super friendly and welcoming.
It's grown into a great community, and many of us have made great friends as a result. Our team did a lot of work early on, making numbered membership packs to raise money so we could put some dollars back into the sport.
As a result, we have run VBC bodyboarding competitions, sponsored events, given away boards, and so on. We are now doing board reviews, providing direct input to board makers on what we like, and having a positive impact on the industry.
It continues to grow, and it's great fun and very rewarding.
What is your favorite vintage bodyboard?
That's an easy one. The BZ Diamond Max.
How do you think the group can help bring old-timers back to the sport?
Many people have been doing just that. After not surfing for 10-20+ years, they are being reminded on VBC of what their old love is and that you are never too old.
The health benefits are often not talked about. However, it's been amazing to see how people are changing their lives for the better by getting back out into the ocean.
I have received many messages from people saying how getting back onto a bodyboard has helped save relationships and even lives. I should also add that it's not just the old-timers.
Younger people are picking up on the stoke, plus mums and dads who love the sport are getting their kids into it.
What was the funniest or oddest post left by members of the group?
So many. One that springs to mind is people admitting to taking their bodyboard to bed with them as they loved their boards so much. The photos were hilarious and not what you think!
Tell us more about you. What do you do for a living? Where do you live? When and where did you start bodyboarding?
I am a Food Safety Manager for a large food retailer in Australia. I live in Armidale, NSW, which is 2.5 hours away from the coast. I started bodyboarding frequently in 84. However, I remember my first ride as a child. I would have been about 7.
If you could ask Tom Morey a question, what would it be?
It's not a question; it's just a thank you.
Do you think bodyboarding has a bright future ahead?
I really do. It's been interesting to see it rise and fall in popularity over the years. It's safe, fun, and healthy for kids, and you can take it as far as you want to. It's been the "underdog" to stand up surfing for years, and I always go for the underdog.
What can you tell us about International Bodyboarding Day?
It's a day when we want everyone to show their love of bodyboarding. We encourage everyone to get in the water for a "boog" on the day and bring their family and friends.
There are many events taking place across the globe for this, which will be shared on the Vintage Bodyboard Collectors / Collective page.
Join the Vintage Bodyboard Collectors/Collective (VBC).