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newspapers : 1939 

Newspapers : 1939.


Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, 24 January 1939.
Page 16

Team Of Surfers May Visit Hawaii

A team of three or four of our Australian surf life savers may visit Honululu in July.
The proposal is being considered by the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.
Members of the team would compete in the Inter-Pacific surf board championships.
They would also give displays of rescue work by surf boards.
A conditlon of the tour is that the Hawaiian Association reciprocate with a visit to Australia in 1940.
Annual Event
The proposal was submitted by the Daily Telegraph.
If the proposal Is adopted the Surf Life Saving Association will make the surf board championship an annual fixture.
The first championship would be held at the Australlan championship carnival on March 18, at Manly.
Delegates at yesterday's executive meeting of the Surf Associatlon were enthusiastic about the scheme.
Forerunner Of Others
"The offer is the greatest in our history," said the chairman (Mr. Adrlan Curlewis).
"It gives us the opportunity of publicising our work overseas.
"Successfully managed it should be the forerunner of many overseas tours.
"I feel that while taking part in the surf board championships our represenatives should give demonstrations of surf rescue work.
Commitee Elected
"The question is so important that I feel the best interests would be served by appointing a special committee to conslder the offer and report to the executive on Wednesday," added Mr. Curlewis.
A committee comprising Messrs. Curlewis, R. J. Doyle, K, Hunter and C. Mack was appointed.
Mr. Hunter  sald tests had shown Australian surfers the equal to those in other parts of the world.
"The world record for a still water swim with a surf board is 31 1/2 sec.," said Mr. Hunter.
"I know of several who got within a few seconds of this time without special training."
Proposed Events
Suggestions for the Honolulu tournament are for a special trophy award on apoint score basis over four events.
Events proposed are surf board out-and-home paddle race, surf board tandem race (, sic) surf board display, and surfboard rescue race.
For the resue event the services of a good distance swimmer to act as patient would be needed.

Daily Telegraph
Monday, 30 January 1939.
Page 1

Blind Surfer Saved, In Peril From Rocks
A blind surfer was rescued by lifesavers at Freshwater yesterday as he was about to be washed against rocks.
The man, who had been surfing on a rubber float, is Eddie Collins, 28, of Railway Parade, Belmore.
He was about 150 yards from the shore, when his plight was noticed.
N, Holliday and W. Wilson, members of the Freshwater Surf Livesaving Club, rescued him, '
Collins cut his heel on a rock, but was otherwise unhurt.
Known On Beaches
Blind since childhood, Collins is akeen surfer, and visits most of the metropolitan beaches.
He is known to the life savers, who keep special watch over him.
He takes his rubber float  out to the first line of breakers, and finds his way about in the surf by the voices of others.
"We can't keep him away from the surf, but we worry every time he goes in," his mother, Mrs. F Collins, said last night.
Collins walks unerringly in the streets, sometimes rides a bicycle, and plays a piano accordion.
He works at the Blind Institute.

Page 5 

Poised for the shoot.
This surf-board rider, at Manly yesterday, has caught the crest of a huge "breaker" at the right moment for a perfect shoot.

Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, 7 February 1939.
Page 1
Pacific Surf-Board Title
Challenge to Australia from Hawaii
Negotiations have been launched for surf-board champions of Australia and America to meet in an international contest at Hawaii in July.
The Daily Telegraph has received a challenge from Honolulu for Australians to match the skill of American surf board champions.
Can Australians beat Honolulu surf-board men in their own surf?
To decide this, the Daily Telegraph is negotiating with the Surf Life Saving Association to find suitable surf-board men to send to Honolulu.
Immediately the challenge was received the Daily Telegraph diecussed the inter-natIonal surf-board match at Honolulu with the Surf LIfe Saving Association executive,
The propoeal was greeted enthusiastically.
A sub-committee to suggest the means of finding  the right men to represent Australia at Honolulu was appointed at yesterday's executive meeting of the Association.
Committee members are: C, Whitehead, vlce-president and member of the examination board; Mr. J Cameron, honorary chief superintendent of examinations and instruction; Mr. K, Hunter, executive member and honorary solicitorI for the association; and a representative of the Dally Telegraph.
Americans Keen
This committee will meet immediately.
Further detalls or the proposal wilI be announced shortly.
A cable message from Honolulu yesterday said sportsmen there were following the proposal with typical American eaierness.
The famous Hawaii Beachcomer Club of American and Hawaiian University athletes is leading the movement for the international test.
Among the prominent swimmers supporting it are Duke and Sam Kahanamoku and Marlechen Wehselau, former American Olympics, who have visited Australia.
Pacific Olympiad
The proposaI may become more than a challenge match between Australian and Honolulu surf-board men.
Overtures have been made from Honolulu to San Francisco and Los Angels athletic leaders.
It bas been suggested that the contest might delelope into annual PacifIc Olympic Games.
"Whether this happens or not, the proposal for an Intenational surf-board in Hawaii includes a return contest in Australia next year.
Plan Welcomed
The president of the Life Saving Association Mr. Adrian Curlewis said yesterday:-
"The proposal is the most welcome one we have heard for a long time.
"We are wholeheartely behind it.
"It will provide  a magnificient oppurtunity for us to demonstrate the value of the surf-board in life saving.
"Also the high skill of our Australian life savers whose presence on the beaches makes surfing safe."

Daily Telegraph
Wednesday,  8 February 1939.
Page 1

International Test Planned At Hawaii

Can Australian surf-board champions match Americans in the Hawaiian surf?
Two of Australia's most expert surf-board riders differed on this point yesterday.
They were discussing the proposal for an international surf-board contest between Australia nad America at Honolulu this year.
"Nobody in the world could beat the Hawaiian beach boys in the surf," said the fomer president of Palm Beach Surf Life-Saving Club.
Mr, Ralston is one of the pioneer surf-board riders, who took up the sport in 1914, after Duke Kahanamoku, of Honolulu, introduced It to Australia In 1911 (sic).
"The paddle out to the waves, of any- thine up to a mile, would try our men," he said.
"The beach boys have been doing nothing else all their lives."
"But with fast, hollow boards, and training, our men could compete with anyone over there."

Arm-Chair Rides
"WaIkikI waves are what we call 'arm-chair rides'," sald Mr. C. J. ("Snow") McAlister, of Manly, triple surf-board champlon of Australia, yesterday.
"The broken surf of Australia demand tremendous skill of the surf-board rider.
"I think our best men have enough skill to match anybody in the surf.
"If they started with the same boards, I think our men would finish in front.
"Some of the Hawaiians I saw in our surf were not very impressive.
"Even Duke Kahanamoku found our surf difficult ro begin with."

Club's Support
ln Hawaii, the Beechcomber (sic) Club of American and Hawaiian University athletes is leading the move for an inter-national test.
A challenge has been received from Honolulu for Australians to match the skill of Amerlcan surf-board champions.
The Daily Telegraph has dlscussed an international surf-board match at Honolulu In July with the Surf Life Saving Executive.
A sub-committee has been appointed to suggest means of finding suitable men to represent Australia.

Daily Telegraph
Thursday, 9 February 1939.
Page 7
Claims Australians Match For Anybody In Surf
View Of Former Champion
Harder To Ride Local Waves

The claim that Australian could match anybody in the surf was made yesterday.
Mr CIaude West, ex-surfboard champion, who has beaten Honolulu surfboard men in the Australian surf, expressed this view.
The type of surf we have is the toughest in the world to master, and Australians could hold their own in the easier Honolulu surf," said Mr West.
A challenge has been received from Honolulu for Australian surf-board champions to match the skill of Americans.
The Daily Telegraph has dicussed an international test at Honolulu with the Surf Life Saving Associatlon executIve.

First Australian
A sub-committee is working to suggest means of finding suitable men to represent Australia.
Mr, West, an ex-surf-board champion, yesterday discussed the view of Mr J. M. Ralston, former president of Palm Beach Surf Life Savlng Club, that Hawaiians were unbeatable in thelr own surf.
"I was the first Australian to  take up surf-board rlding." he said yesterday.
I Iearnt on Duke Kahanamoku's board, which he left here after introducing surf-board riding to Australia before the war.

Beat Kahanamoku
"I beat Sam Kahanamoku, his brother of Honolulu, when he came here.
"I beat Ludy Langer, another Honolulu man.
"I saw Mariechen Wehselau, when she came here, and she was not as good as some of our Australian women.
Other Hawaiians I have seen in our surf have been behind our men.

Harder Surf
I am certain our surf-board men  can hold their own in any surf where surf-boards are ridden.

"Men have to be more skilled and tougher to ride our waves.
"They have to battle out against terrific seas.
"They have to ride a wave that dumps and breaks, manoeuvring their boards bagainst strong undertows.

"Would Be Picnic"
"Thye smooth, unbroken roller of Honolulu would be a picnic for our men.
"The paddle out to distances up to a mile there would be nothing in their smooth swell.
"Why we would often 65lb. boards from Manly to Freshwater and back thinking nothing of it!
Duke and Sam Kahanamoku and Mariechen Wehselau are amoung the prominent Honolulu surfers who are supporting the move for a surf-board match between America and Australia this year.

The Referee
Thursday, 9 February 1939.
Page 15
Australians Are "Tops" in Surfboard Riding.
Our Big Seas Rattle Clever Hawaiians.
Thrills and Spills On Every Wave.
Famous Coach Tells How To Ride A Surf Board
by Harry M. Hay
(Ex-Olympic Representative and Australia's Foremost Swimming Coach)

What great strides this sport has made in Australia!
A few years ago it was hardly known in this country.
The Hawaiians introduced us to this exhilarating, thrilling pastime, and to these romantic tropical islanders is due our warmest thanks.

But typical of our race, the youth of Australia has developed the art until to-day they are the equal In skill of their dusky natatorial neighbours.
In fact, in my opinion, we have seen exhibitions by our own lads in Australia that have exceeded the skill of the most talented Hawaiians.

The surf conditions of the Hawaiian Islands differ considerably from those in Australia.

The waves of the famous Waikiki Beach at Honolulu do not break.
Assisted by a reef some distance off shore, they come in the form of a grand swell or roller.
It is comparatively easy to catch a roller with the long narrow surfboards and ride it right to the shallows, even high and dry on the sands.

The steady, even passage in allows the rider to perform apparently difficult tricks with ease.

Our conditions are different.
Our waves are irregular, bank up to great heights, and break some distance from the shore.
In order to choose the correct type of wave and ride it expertly and safely, one must summon far greater daring and skill than the Waikiki rider has to do.

Several types of boards have been used in Australia.
We started with the small hand-board until to-day the accepted surfboard is a huge specially shaped piece of picked timber having distinctive marine advantages.
The hand-board measures about 12 inches square and is light in weight.

The manipulation of this board is an easy matter.

As the suitable wave breaks it isplaced in tront of the "shooter," a full man's Iength of the lett hand,
at the same time stroking at the side of the body with the right.
When the wave is property mounted, both hands grip the board. holding it almost flat on the water.

The "surfer" is carried shorewards by the wave, head free and shoulders clear and feet free to assist when the wave is losing its strength.

This method is applicable to almost any size wave, and is comparatively simple.

The handling of the real surfboard is a much more difficult matter.
It calls for care in selection, water knowledge, choce of wave, and expert manipulation.

The accepted measuremnets for the regulation surf board are:
Length 9ft 6in; width at back end 20in; centre 22in, tapering down to an oval shaped nose of 10 to 12 inches.
Thicknesses vary from 1 3/4in at back, graduating to 3in at the centre, and narrowing to 1in or less at the point.

Redwood is the most suitable timber for surfboards, but if unprocurable, cedar ls recommended.
Surfboard riding has become an attractive feature at surf carnivals, and the displays and stunts which youthful Australians perform on these huge boards astound onlookers - even the Hawiians themselves.

This assertion was verified during the 1915 visit to Australia of famous Hawaiian swimmer and surfboard expert, Duke Kahanamoku.
He enjoyed our surf, but despite his great knowledge of surfboard riding, he admitted that the young Australians excelled his own efforts under the unusual local conditions, of which, of course, he had little experience.

Ofrecent years attempts have beenn made to conquer tbe waves by the introduction or the surf canoe, surf ski, and latterly the surfoplane.

The manipulation or these new devices call for skil and a certain amount of daring, but fail to meet the heights of individual accomplishment which a surfboard rider must attain in Australia.

To begin surfboard riding the novice is advised to make astudy of the Australian surf, paying particular attention to the waves themselves.

Two particular types which roll in on our beaches will interest the "surf-shooter" and the surfboard rider.
They are commonly known as the "roller," or "slide," and the "dumper."

The rolling or "roller" wave is encountered mostly at high-tide.
The "dumper" is more frequent al low tide, but do not take this as a hard and fast rule.

The "roller,", or slide, is the wave to be ridden; the "dumper" is the wave to be avoided.

It is dangerous and the cause of many accidents, but can be picked up quite safely by one who has become expert in the art of "broaching".

Broaching means turning the surfboard sideways and parrallel to the wave.
At the same time you

ion in line with the hipS
iwhen tbe ,rros are thoroughly re axed and
~'Cked out of the water, hending e arms at the elbows and carry-
ng the bands underneatb (en- sUres proper relaxation>, and for- ..."ard ti> the straight out position
.0 front and at the sides of .the- ~ard. .'
IS is the propelling move- ment, and when cOluinued ought-to drive the board and-
rider alol1g at. a fairly fast. rate. ""h.e[1 the ri~er becomes expert
he may now paddle his board t to the wbfoekea wav&;, but- is vised to pick a i day when the not too big.
-He next picks out the wave ~n hieh he intends to try hie akill, d then ~8Jt~ tbe board so
~ ll.cin 1.8 h 0 reward s~.H ~


Daily Telegraph
Friday, 10 February 1939.
Page 7
Honolulu Surfing Skill Matched Here
Expert's Test
Stop Watch Times Taken
Tests against a stop-watch at Pittwater proved Australians could match Americans in the Honolulu surf.
Mr. Blue Russell, surf-board expert of Palm Beach Life Saving Club, who made the tests, said this yesterday.
He was discussing the proposed international surf-board match between Australia and America at Honolulu.
Surf-board experts have differed on whether Australians could paddle their boards over a long distance.

More Difficult Here
Paddling record times in the still water of a Honolulu canal, over a distance from 100 yards to a mile, are held by Tom Blake, an American." said Mr. Russell yesterday.
"My tests, over the same distances and in the harder water of Pittwater, showed just about the same time." he said.
Mr. Russell was timed at Pittwater by Dr. T. H. Guthrie, of Whale Beach,.
"We contend that Australians, their stamina toughened by our terrific seas,  could match Honolulu men at paddling a board." he said.
"And their waves would be easy for us as laying on a bed."

3-Ply Board Used
In the Pittwater tests, a light hollow board of special three ply, about 15 feet 4ins. long was used.
The board was built by Mr. Russell , who considers it as fast as boards used at Honolulu.
It weighs about 30lb., whereas a solid board would weigh about 60lb (?, unclear transcription)." he said.
A challenge has been received from Honolulu for Australians to match the skill of American surfboard champions.
The Daily Telegraph has discussed an international test at Honolulu with the Surf Life Saving Association executive.

Daily Telegraph
Saturday, 11 February 1939.
Page 20
Need Years To Learn Surf Riding
By C. J. ("Snowy") McAlister, Surf Board Champion of Australia.

Surf board riding is an art that can never be perfected.
We in Australia learnt the rudiments after seeing the Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku, before the war.
Now, I think we could teach our teachers.
No other Hawaiian has ever managed to duplicate the Duke's amazing skil.
Such noted swimmers as Sam Kahanamoku, Ludy Langer, Pua Kealoah, and Bill Harris came here with big reputations.
They were adepts in their own surf but were "all at sea" when tying to shoot the huge dumping breakers on Sydney beaches.

Keen Judgment
Handling a board on Sydney beaches
requires split-second timing and judgment; whereas Hawaiians had been used to waves in Honolulu which side slowly.
Australians, with constant practicein rough and dangerous surf, have become proficient to a remarkable degree.
Even the largest "dumpers" can be held if the rider "broaches" his board down the face of the steep wave.
"Broaching" a board means to turn the board underneath the rider and parallel to the breaker, pressing heavily on the edge nearest the wave.
When the main force of the wave is spent, the board is swung back under the body into normal position.
Standing on the head while shooting to the beach is easily the most spectacular feat.
It requires great skill and concentration.

Thrilling Action
But perhaps the most thrilling to the rider, although not so interesting to the specator, is "funneling", or riding the "corner" of a sliding wave.
This means manoeuvring the board to keep on the breaking corner of the wave, and shooting right across the face of the wave.
Twice the speed is obtained because if the run into the beach is 300 yards, there is the possibility of gaining another 300 yards across the beach with the wave.
It takes a beginner a full season to learn to handle his board in our surf.
The following season he can start to learn tricks.
But he never finishes learning.

Difficult Feats
Some of the hardest feats on a board, necessating years of practice, are:-
ChangIng board by stepping from one to another, when two riders are on the same wave.
Standing up backwards on the board while shooting shorewards.
Standing upright with a light passenger astride your shoulders.
Riding a wave tandem, both standing.
The direction of the board coming down a wave can be varied by using the foot as a tiller or by cupping the water with the hands.
Normally, a well constructed and well-handled board will keep its correct course.
Since the proposal to send an Australian team of surf-board riders to Honolulu was first mooted, several of Australia's greatest swimmers have asked me to teach them to use the board.
Tommy Adrian, former Australian swimming coach of "Boy" Charlton, always believed in the use of surf boards in conjunction with baths training for swimming.
So, apparently, did Duke Kahanamoku who was at one time world's champion sprint swimmer.

Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, 22 February 1939.
Page 1
International Surf Contests At Honolulu
Aust. Life savers Challenge U.S.A.
A surfing match between Australia and America will be held at Honolulu in July.
One of the most spectacular advertisements for Australia ever sent away, a team of surf life-savers will go to Honolulu to meet American and Hawaiian surf-men.
They will compete against each other in the water, o surf-boards, in Australian surf-boats, in Hawaiian canoes, and the Australians will demonstrate the surf rescue system evolved here.
Arrangements completed last night a a meeting of the delegate council of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia  make this possible.
Hawaii is also arranging to send a return American team to Sydney for a second Pacific Surf Games early next year.

Daily Telegraph Idea
The whole scheme has developed from a Daily Telegraph plan for a team of surf-board men to accept a Honolulu challenge to match Hawaiians in their surf.
A sub-committee to organise a team of at least 10 men, and to raise funds towards sending it away was appointed at the meeting of the delegate council of the Surf Life saving Association last night.
Further backing is being found by the Australian National Travel Association and The Daily Telegraph.
Surf Club Leaders Hail Proposal - Page 2, Cols. 4& 5.

The Referee
Thursday, 23 February 1939.
Page 16
Tommy Walker Says-
"I Brought First Surfboard To Australia"
In a letter to Harry M. Hay, Australia's foremost swimmimg and surf coach.- Tommy Walker, one-time surfboard champion at Manly (N.S.W.), writes:

"I saw an article by you in 'The Referee' re surfboards,  so enclose a photo of myself and surfboard taken in 1909 at Manly. 
This board I bought at Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, for two dollars, when I called there aboard the 'Poltolock.'
I won my first surfboard shooting competition at Freshwater carnival back in 1911, and that wasn't yesterday. 

Walker was a well known figure at Manly at the time he writes about.
He figured in a couple of unusual, if not remarkable, incidents.

* * *

Time came when Tommy decided to catch a shark for the purpose of exhibiting it to the public at three-pence a head.

He brought three other lads into the enterprise and between them they raised the necessary capital to buy a hook and line and to hire a tent in which to install the monster of the depth.

But first they had lo catch their fish.
They selected Fairy Bower beach as their base and set a watch on the hill overlooking it.

But first they had lo catch their fish.
They selected Fairy Bower beach as their base and set a watch on the hill overlooking it.

On the second day of their vigil, the required shark was sighted.
Like a policeman on his beat, he came leisurely from the direction of South Steyne.
And he was a whopper, a tiger, 14ft 2in in length, as was proved later.
He was duly landed struggling on to the beach and a curious public had paid 12/10/- to view him when the Council's inspector of nuisances intervened to the manifest relief of the residents in the vicinity.
But one may ask, "Where does the hero stuff come in?"
Well, it was this way.
When the shark was sited, the watchers on the hill signalled to Tommy (who was waiting on the beach) and he immediately set out in a small dinghy to drop the bait at the spot it was anticipated the shark would cross.

The craft capsized.
So Tommy swam with the bait, a 7lb salmon, and lilerally spilt it into Ihe shark's mouth.
The shark grabbed it - and the rest was easy.
Someone said, "I wouldn't have done that for 10,000."
Tommy replied simply, "There was no danger - when salmon are about, a shark has no time for anything else,"

* * *
In the other incident Ivay (sic, Ivy) Schilling was Ihe heroine.
She will be recalled as  J. C. Williamson's principal dancer.
The company was having a successful season at the Thealre Royal.
A strong swimmer, she was surfing at South Steyne one morning, when only two others were in the water.
Walker was one of them.

Miss Schilling had crossed a deep channel and was resting on a sandbank, and was watching Walker shooting.

He could swim like a fish.
This was at it time when large surfboards were unknown in Australian waters.
However, Walker did not need any adventitious (sic) aids when shooting, at which he was one of the recognised adepts.

II was impracticable, however, to shoot right into the sand because of the channel, which banked the surf up.

Afler his third shoot, Walker appeared to be in sore trouble in the channel.
His scream for help galvanised the dancing star into action.

With powerful strokes, swimming trudgeon style, she quickly covered the necessary 30 yards to  reach the youth who was sinking for the third time.
He appeared to be in a fit and struggled violently as the gallant lady swam with him to the shore.

* * *

Just at this moment the professional lifesaver, the late 'Appy Eyre, arrived, and he worked on the unconscious form of Walker, who, when he came to his senses, ejaculated, "Well this is the last time I'll go surfing immediately after a heavy breakfast."

The evening papers rang with the story, and the performance at the Royal was held up that night when Miss Schilling appeared on the stage.
Members of the audience from all parts of the theatre rose and cheered, and cheered, and cheered again.

And Tommy - what of him?
Just about that time, a week beforehand, in fact, Claude Eric Ferguson McKay had been appointed to the position as Williamson's publicity man.

Walker, if unwittingly, had brought one of Williamson's stars into the limelight - had given her the opportunity of appearing as a heroine in a drama off the stage.

McKay was delighted.
He presented Walker with a brand new 5 note.

The article by Hay appeared two weeks earlier in The Referee, 9 February 1939, page 15, above.
The claim to be the first surfboard in Australia can only be attributed to the paper's sub-editor, and not Tommy Walker.
This may, or may not, be the Hawaiian surfboard often claimed to be imported by Manly identity, C. D. Paterson, sometime between 1908 to 1912.
The boardriding performance of a Mr. Walker at the second Freshwater Life Saving Carnival was reported by The Daily Telegraph, 27 January 1912, page 21.
Poltalloch off the Colombia River, circa 1913.

Poltalloch aground at Willapa Bay, circa 1900.

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Geoff Cater (2008-2016) : Newspapers, 1939.