the malibu : 1948-1953
Photograph : ?
Surfer July 1976 Volume17
Number 2 Page 61.
example of a balsa wood board of this period is held by
National Maritime Museum,
Darling Habour, Sydney.
Surfboard, 1948 -
Hollywood inventor Joe Gilpin riding his motorized surfboard.
Photo by Peter Stackpole.
Time and Life Pictures/Getty Images/LIFE.com
Actor Peter Lawford and other Malibu Surfers,
The Pit , Malibu, circa 1953.
Lueras, Page 115.
Ricky Grigg Collection.
Lawford brought a similar fibreglassed board to Australia in 1950,
while on location to shoot Kangaroo.
It was possibly a recreated Hot Curl design, dating from 1937,
similar to boards made by Joe Quigg in this period.
For the Hot Curl Story, see Fran Heath in LEGENDARY SURFERS.
Also Matt Kilvin on Joe Quigg and Dave Rochlen, in Longboard magazine, Vol No. pages ? )
Dave Rochlen was the favoured builder amoungst Hollywood surfers, noted for the outstanding quality of the colour and decor design.
|In 2006 the Bishop Musem
published the much anticipated Surfing
- Historical Images from the Bishop Museum, edited
by DeSoto Brown.
On page 143 a photograph titled
Importantly the board clearly bears the offset script "MALIBU" on the nose.
It is clearly the board Lawford took to Australia, confirmed by a photograph printed in Brawley (2007) page 216, see below.
The photograph was included
in an interview with Duke published in 1965 with the
|Peter Lawford, Malibu, and an
Brawley (2007), page 216.
Thorn: Stanwell Park SLSC
(1983) page 67.
John Ewell with a Bob
Simmons' early model timber/styro-foam laminate
board, circa 1951.
Kit Horn, Bob Simmons and Buzzy Trent
riding solid laminates, Malibu, circa 1941 - 1944.
March 1981 Volume 22, Number 3, page 36
The photograph is uncredited.
1961 Harris, Reg. S.The
History of Manly Life Saving Club 1911-1961
Published by Manly Life Saving Club, NSW Printed by Publicity Press Ltd.
1966 Finney, Ben and
Houston, James D. : Surfing – A History of the Ancient
Pomegranate Books P.O. Box 6099 Rohnert Park, CA 94927 Reprint 1996
1968 Kahanamoku, Duke With
Brennan, Joe: Duke Kahanamoku’s World of Surfing
Angus and Robertson Publishers Sydney , Australia 1972 2nd Edition A&R Paperbacks, Sydney , Australia
1970 Margan, Frank and
Finney, Ben R. : A Pictorial History of Surfing
Paul Hamlyn Pty Ltd, 176 South Creek Road, Dee Why West, NSW 2099.
1964 Pollard, Jack
(ed.): The Australian Surfrider
K.G.Murray Publishing Co.P/L,142 Clarence Street , Sydney Australia
1972 The Best of
Tracks (Vol. I) Editors : Falzon, Albert;
Stewart, John; Grissim, John. :
Tracks Publishing Co Pty Ltd. P.O. Box 178 Avalon, NSW.
'Bob McTavish’s Personal History of Surfboard Design – Pods for Primates Parts 1' (pages 120 – 122).
1992 Stell, Marion K.
: Pam Burridge
Collins Angus & Robertson Publishers (Australia) Pty. Limited
A division of Harper Collins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Limited
25 Ryde Road, Pymble NSW 2073, Australia
1997 Warshaw, Matt : Surfriders
In Search of the Perfect Wave
Tehabi Books, Inc. Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
1978 Warwick, Wayne A
Guide to Surfriding in New Zealand Second Edition
Viking Sevenseas Ltd Wellington, New Zealand
1979 Young, Nat ;
Photographs by McCausland, Bill: Nat Young’s Book of Surfing
A.H. & A.W. Reed Pty. Ltd. 53 Myroora Rd, Terry Hills, Sydney.
1983 Young, Nat with
McGregor, Craig : The History 0f Surfing
Palm Beach Press,40 Palm Beach Road, Palm Beach NSW 2108
1972 Surfing World. Volume 16 #4. Bob Evans : 'remember the time when...' pages 30 to 35.
Unfortunately at present my computer is failling to satisfactory
display the content at
which of course I am keen to read.
Date: For Item Placement
Date: Readable Format
Aussies Get a Look at the Malibu Board
Fibreglass (Malibu) Revolutionizes Australian Surfboard Riding.
The common wisdom that Tommy Zahn and Greg Noll introduced the
modern Malibu Chip to Australia in
1956, might be predated a few years by
While Australian boardriders had some limited exposure, noteably by a surfing Hollywood star, to the the fibreglassed surfboards developed in California and Hawaii in the early 1950s, the visit of Hawaiian and Californian boardriders in late1956 saw an explosion in surfboard numbers on Australian beaches.
This is why Australians Call Longboards "Malibus"
Have to think about this.
The accepted surf history wisdom is that Greg Noll and Tommy Zahn
(and others) took modern, Malibu chip
surfboards to Australia in 1956, when they traveled down under with all their kit to compete in surf
lifesaving festivals (carnivals) that ran in conjunction with the Summer Olympics in Melbourne.
But according to Australian surf historian Geoff Cater at the
www.surfresearch.com.au website, the
1956 trip (was) pre-dated by Hollywood actor and Malibu Point surfer, Peter Lawford taking his surfboard down to Australia in 1950, where he did some surfing in between shooting a movie.
The movie starred Lawford, Richard Boone and Maureen O'Hara in the first American studio production shot in Technicolor on-location in Australia. Filming was based at Pagewood Studios, Sydney, and locations included South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
Surfmovie historian, Albie Thoms (2000) wrote " A Rochlen
skegless board had been brought to Sydney by the American actor,
Peter Lawford, when he arrived in Sydney in November 1950 to
work on the Twentieth Century Fox production, Kangaroo (1952),
which was shot in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. While
filming, he left the board at the Bondi surf club, where it was
ridden by the local beach inspectors, Jack 'Bluey' Mayes, Ray
Young and Aub Laidlaw, though it didn't seem to impress them,
with Laidlaw later achieving notoriety for banning both
bikini-wearers and boardriders from Bondi Beach."
Dave Rochlen was the favoured builder amoungst Hollywood surfers, noted for the outstanding quality of the colour and decor design of his boards.
Bondi SLSC historian, Sean Brawley (2007) describes the board as "a 10 and a half foot, banana nosed, solid balsawood board designed by Californian builder Dave Rochlen" and notes the most frrequent riders as "(Aub) Laidlaw and Basil McDonald ... The third most frequent user of the board was 'Bondi Mermaid' Pam Pass." Citing the recollections of Pam Pass, Brawley raises the question whether the board was in fact, "skegless". He also reported "Lawford never called the board a Malibu, and the Bondi locals called the style a Zip board because of its greatly reduced length and' zippy' behaviour on a wave. To those lucky enough to ride it, the board simply became known as Peter."
Several available photographs of the board, one with Duke Kahanamoku and co-star Richard Boone at Waikiki, confirm a length of approximately 10ft 6''. As the board closely resembles a classic Simmons' fibreglassed balsa board of the period it is questionable whether it was, as is commonly asserted, finless. Furthermore, the word "Malibu" was clearly emblazoned across the deck.
(Digression: I have all these photographs (of course without
copyright) and in a recently acquired history of the Royal
Hawaiian Hotel, one of Lawford aged 11 at Waikiki, where
he first experinced surfboard riding. Accredited as "Peter
Lawford, later to become a widely known actor, sits on the
oceanside terrace with his parents, Gen. and Mrs. Sydney Lawford
, in November 1934. Lawford would go on to a long acting career
and a marriage into the Kennedy clan. Hawaiian Archives."
In the hope that some one in California might be able to comment on Lawford and/or the board design/manufacturer etc. I will try to post these on the surfblub)
While the impact of Lawford's Malibu was negligible, in the early 1950s several Australian boardriders rode them on trips across the Pacific. Ted Burns of Wollongong competed at Makaha in 1950 on a similar board and circa 1955 Scott Dillion and Barry "Magoo" McGuigan, members of Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, rode balsa boards in California at Hermosa Beach, courtesy of local Surf Life Guard Stations. On the northern beaches, John ‘Nipper’ Williams of Queenscliff secured a balsa Malibu from a friend who had bought it second-hand in Hawaii in 1955 and on returning to Bondi in 1956, Scott Dillon rode the board of visiting Californian surfer, "Flippy" Hoffman, while he recovered from an accute illness.
According to the www.usla.org website: " Decades after professional lifeguard agencies had been established at beaches throughout America, Australia was chosen to host the 1956 Summer Olympics. The volunteer lifesavers of Australia decided to hold an international, invitational competition. California lifeguards and a contingent from the Territory of Hawaii agreed to participate. The California lifeguards organized themselves under the banner of the Surf Life Saving Association of America (SLSA), although they were solely from the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City lifeguard agencies."
The appearance of the Californian and Hawaiian teams was eagerly anticipated, particularly in Sydney, then the centre of Australian surfrding. The Australian surf life savers saw the carnival to promote their organisation, methods and equipment, principally the reel and surfboat, on the international stage. While the visiting Americans were similarly enthusiastic about their lightweight fibreglassed paddleboards and the torpedo tube, it was the wave riding Malibu board that made a dramatic impact on Australian surfing.
Although the first international carnival was scheduled for Torquay in Victoria in December, the most emphatic demonstration of the Malibu's potential was demonstrated two weeks earlier in extreme surf at the Avalon carnival. Following the organized events, where the American teams had little success, severval riders took to the surf on their wave riding boards. Ross Renwick recalled in 1957 "Australians on the beach were stunned again and again as the Hawaiians shattered the popular theory that short boards were not good on big waves, and when they finished an hour later not a person had left the beach."
In a subsequent article, Renwick noted "When the Hawaiian Surf Team left Australia early in 1957, they left behind them a type of surfboard which was to revolutionise the sport within 12 months. Less than a year after they left, as many as 100 of their Okinuee-type boards could be seen at any one beach at the one time, if a good surf was running. Before this, when the 16 ft. surfboard was in vogue, most board riders stayed at the one beach, leaving it usually only to go to surf carnivals."
Understandably, the new design was in great demand and the
Sydney Morning Herald (November 21, 1956) reported under the title
"Surfers To Sell Boards":
"The visiting Hawaiian surfers will sell their seven lightweight surfboards, which created a sensation at Avalon last Sunday, after their farewell appearance at Collaroy on December 9. The boards, which are made from balsa reinforced with two long strips of redwood and coated with a thick layer of fibre-glass, weigh 26lb. The lightest racing boards in Sydney, made from 1/2 inch plywood weigh from 33 to 23 lb. The Hawaiian boards, which have been used at Waikiki Beach for seven or eight years, can be made in less than a week.
They are eight feet long, compared with the average Australian length of 16 feet, but are about five inches wider than the local board's 20-21 inches.Three hundred people saw the Hawaiians give an exhibition of board riding after a special carnival at Avalon in a big surf last Sunday. Unlike Australian boardriders, the Hawaiians stood on the middle of their balsa boards, even when heavy white water from the broken waves swept around their feet. Harry Shaffer, captain of the Hawaiian squad, said last night of the boards: 'There is no question of selling out to the highest bidder. We plan to give our boards to the fellows we consider to be the real enthusiasts at only a token cost.' "
According to Nick Carroll: "Bob Pike was there when Californian lifeguard surfers Noll and Tom Zahn came to demonstrate the first lightweight Malibu-style boards at surf club carnivals in 1956. During their stay, Zahn left a board at the Manly Surf Club, and Pike borrowed it. One afternoon he was coming in from a surf when Zahn angrily confronted him, 'What are you doing with my private property?' Pike immediately fibbed and said he was thinking of buying the board. Zahn changed his tune and offered it for sale. Stunned, Pike had to get money from his father to make good on the deal."
Bob Pike was a noted big wave rider and the first Australian to make his mark on the north shore of Oahu in the ealy 1960s. Other Sydney surfers to accquire Malibu boards were Bob Evans and Gordon Woods. Evans recalled in 1972 "I paid Tim Guard 46 (pounds) for a beautiful, hot curl board built by George Downing."
Manly surfer, Bob Evans,.was the original publisher of Surfing World magazine, a surf photographer, prolific film producer and an enthusic promoter of the art, establishing the ASA and the driving force behind the "first World Championship" held at Manly in 1964.
Gordon Woods, originally from Bondi, was a recognized builder
of paddleboards and, due the unavailabity of suitable
balsawood, quickly reproduced the Malibu board in timber and
plywood. Usually about 10 foot, the boards had significant
rocker and a substantial fin. Critically, the rails were
constructed of wide timber panels that were hand shaped to
a rounded edge, unlike the square "box" rails of the
paddleboards. These models, known as "Okinuees" , were
relatively short-lived and by 1959 Woods was building boards of
fibreglass and balsawood before quickly moving on to foam in the
early 1960s and remaining one of the industry's
major manufacturers until the early 1970s..
DID TOM ZAHN AND TOM MOORE TRAVEL WITH THE HAWAIIANS?
Some ten members of the US and Hawaiian teams arrived in Sydney by plane on Tuesday 13th November 1956. The other ten team members may have come by sea or on a different flight (details unknown).
Noll's narrative, and contemporary film, indicates that
the teams and the Malibu boards arrived by air:
"Tom Zahn, Mike Bright, Bobby Moore and I paid the extra freight to take our surfboards with us to Australia ... When the boards were first taken off the airplane and put on a flatbed truck ...". Noll (1989) page 70.
It is probable that the larger paddleboards were also in the same shipment, although it is possible, with lengths exceeding 14 feet, they came by sea freight.
MAYBE NICK OR GEOFF CATER CAN COMMENT HERE ON WHAT EFFECT THE
IS THAT WHY THEY CALL LONGBOARD "MALIBUS" TO THIS DAY?
Australia 1956 = http://www.surfresearch.com.au/1956.html
Australian Newspaper Extracts =
Found this on the www.shaperstree.com website, under a profile on
Mike Bright. Not sure where Tommy