When I was shaping at Barry Bennett’s in 1971, there was a snapped board in the repair zone. The rail shape shone at me, and I asked Wizz (then the glasser, later our fin maker) who shaped it? That’s the first time I heard the name “Bill Cilia”. Clean down but round rails, in an era of uncertainty. Later that year I happened to write a design story for Tracks and I expressed how impressed I was with Billy’s rails and shapes, which he read and was quietly chuffed with, he told me much later. So we were becoming unmet friends!
A few years later the Nirvana label was everywhere, and I followed Bill's creativity from a distance. When the functional floater manoeuvre hit the scene it seemed Nirvana was at the heart of it under Sangas feet. He introduced accentuated tail-rocker to allow the vertical elements of surfing to come far more naturally, a great and timeless gift to surfboard design, forever.
Finally, about five years ago this little character came rocking into our factory, and immediately I recognized the man. Just like me, he was short, industrially deaf and above all, super enthusiastic - Bill Cilia!
We hit it off easily, united by a life of shaping, and absolute LOVE of surfboards.
Then six months back, Bill rocks into the factory with a mystery bundle. I call my son Ben down from the shaping room. We unpack this classy beautifully restored Bluebird, done by none other than Bill himself! He said it was a trade-in from about 30 years ago and had kept it aside all these years, anticipating its restoration and destination: my personal collection! Wow, Bill... gifts like that are very rare indeed. Thank you.