for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
history : greenough
1966 - 1969
Surfing World Volume 7 Number 3 January
Cover: Robert Conneely and Gordon Woods,
Russell Hughes and Hayden Kenny surfboard, and Kevin Brennan at
Australia's Newest Secret Surf Spot .
The Bluff, George Greenough, Bob
Cooper, Hayden Kenny's surf shop.
Surf Bumps by two doctors,
art work by Bisso.
Raglan, New Zealand (2 pages)
The Annual Club Championships (Cronulla)
with Frank Latta , Brian Jackson , Ray Wheeler and Gary Birdsall .
Byron Bay (5 pages)
Centrefold: Bill Stafford at Snapper Rocks
Midget Farrelly Skateboards (inside front
Gordon Woods Surfboards (hand gun image-
for Big Surf)
Ampol Surfboard Wax
Bill Wallace Surfboards
McDonagh Surfboards- Skid Boards
(skim boards), Sand Surfa and McDonagh Surf Caps.
Vic Tantau Surf Shop - retailing George
Rice , Gordon Woods and Fred Pyke Surfboards.
Belly Board Kits
Surfing World Volume
7 Number 6 of May / June 1966
Cover: Accent On Africa "
Contests: Bell's Beach Classic
by Lester Brien- 1st Wayne Lynch, 2nd Bill Monie, Bob McTavish freesurfs
Articles: Exploring the South Coast
(6 pages), Werri Beach
South Africa and Aussies Abroard
The Top Twenty-
Nat Young, Bob McTavish, Robert Conneely and Bobby Brown (equal), Peter
Drouyen (sic) , Midget Farrelly, Russell Hughes, John "Nipper" Williams,
Rodney Sumpter, Kevin Brennan, Glenn Ritchie, Wayne Lynch and Butch Cooney
(equal), Lester Brien, Richard Harvey, Kevin parkinson, Mick "The Pom"
Carabine, Bruce "Lovedog" McManus, John Monie, Keith Paull, Kevin Platt,
Contests: 1966 State Championships at
Avoca with Nipper Williams
Gordon Woods- Nat Young Model
Hayden Kenny Surfboards- Ken Adler signature
model (Available from John Arnorlds surf shop)
Keyo Surfboards- plastic Nylon moulded
Catalina Surf and Swim Wear (fold-out)-
Mike Doyle, Ken Adler, Makaha Big Gun Surfers T-shirt, Pipeline board shorts.
Surfing World Volume 8 Number 1 July 1966.
Cover features Nat and Greenough photographs
with text A New Era for Surfing in Australia?
John Witzig: An End To An Era.
Nat and Mc Tavish discussion of the New
Australian Titles, Coolangatta: Nat wins
seniors, Drouyn juniors and and Gail Cooper womens.
Readers' photographs includes a few shots
of a very young Wayne Lynch.
1966 The Stretch
- US noserider model manufactured in Australia by Gordon and Smith
Square tail,square nose with concave.+9ft(?)
Easter 1967 Midget Farrelly’s
lightweight Stringerless concave kicked nose (chamfered pod?) 9ft with
Greenough Stage III fin
Paul Witzig : Hot
As no phenonemal success had been achieved
in competition with the previous boat it was felt that a new craft may
bring the required results and add another new piece of life saving equipment
to the club's gear.
About this time (1966) aluminium surf
boats had made their appearance in surf life saving circles and a small
committee was set up to look into the desirability of this type of craft.
When the club meeting was held to formalise
the ordering of a boat, Dick Cavanagh said "We don't want a tin can - let
us buy a regulation plywood craft from Clymer's Boat Builders".
This oratory carried the day and the
plywood tuck stern boat was procured and launched in the 1967-68 season.
The official launching ceremony was
performed by Mrs. Pat Asmussen.
Again, like its namesake this craft
gave invaluable service until it was finally given to Coalcliff Surf Life
Easter 1967 Nat Young’s Greenough
designed 9ft 7" with 6" or 6 feet ? of V bottom with Greenough Stage
III fin. - Bob McTavish in
Paul Witzig : Hot
Dick Brewer has claimed, retrospectively, that his first
shortboard was built in the Spring (May?) of 1967:
" I'd made a 9-foot 10-inch
gun for David Nuuhiwa in the spring of '67, and David broke the nose off,
so I redrew it at 7 feet 8 inches with a 17- inch nose on it - a tanker
nose - and Randy Rarick was a patcher and he reglassed it.
I took that board out and rode it
at Chun's, at the left called Piddlies - phenomenal roller coasters with
that heavy nose and the gun tail.
That board became the proto-type
for the Bing Lotus.
So, the mini-gun was happening in
the spring of '67.' "
Brewer's recollections were confirmed
in the article by Randy Rarick.
- Marcus: Surfboard
(2007) page 159, quoting Drew Kampion in The Surfer's Journal,
From context, the implication is that in
mid-1967 Brewer was committed to this significant reduction in length:
some reason, all of this innovation led to Brewer being relieved of his
command at Bing.
Gary Chapman had purchased a reject
blank and carried it over to Bing's factory where Brewer shaped it into
an 8-foot 6-inch mini-gun.
"Bing fired me the next day," Brewer
- Marcus: Surfboard
(2007) page 160.
It would appear that Brewer's dismissal
was in fact at least twelve months later.
Initially employed in May 1967, Bing Surfboards
were still promoting Dick Brewer's Pipeliner model in July 1968.
- Bing Surfboards Advertisement,
Magazine July 1968.
Reproduced in Holmes: Bing
Surfboards (2008) page 97.
Tom at the Classic Bing Surfboards web
site post several images of a Bing Pipeliner and notes:
Chuck Linnen's original California
Dick Brewer shaped three Pipeliner
Guns when he visited the Hermosa shop in the summer of 1967, for team riders
David Nuuhiwa and Chuck Linnen and Grant Reynolds (Bing's glasser).
Unlike the other Pipeliner Guns,
which were made in Hawaii by Brewer in 1966-67, these three were made for
riding big surf in California.
This one is 10'7"!
The images include a "a
photo right out of Bings order book" that
indicates that Linnen's board ("#7986") was ordered and/or shaped
on "8-3-67", that is 3rd August 1967.
- Classic Bing Surfboards
Even accounting for the board being "made
for riding big surf in California", the extreme length hardly illustrates
Brewer's recollection, above, that "the mini-gun was happening in the
spring of '67".
Gerry Lopez supports that story with his
own recollection: "I think it was in late
'67," he told Drew Kampion.
"Brewer had just moved over to Maui from
the North Shore and was shaping in Lahaina.
Reno Abellira and I each took a blank
over there to get our boards made by him.
Reno got his shaped first, but before
he could shape mine, Nat and Greenough and McTavish and Ted Spencer and
a couple of other Aussies showed up with those wide-tailed, vee-bottom
They wanted to go ride em at Honolua Bay,
but there wasn't any surf there.
John P Thurston had a surf shop at the
Cannery in Lahaina where all the boards were glassed, and they came there,
and we met em, and Brewer and McTavish kind of bullshitted for a long time.
So the next day we go back to do my board
- I think wanted like a 9 foot 8-inch, which was considered a shorter board
then - and Bewer just takes the saw and cuts a foot of the blank, and it's
8 feet 6 inches, and he tells me, 'That's how big a board you're getting.
Surfboards (2008) page 164, quoting Drew Kampion in The
Surfer's Journal, unspecified.
Mid 1967 Ted Spencer's
Ted Spencer's 'Little
Shaped by Ted Spencer
and Bob McTavish at Keyo Surfboards, mid 1967
8ft 4" x 23" stringered
rounded pintail, red Greenough fin.
.Clear deck, red
gel coat on bottom.*
Details supplied, with thanks by Ted
Spencer, November 2003.
Eric Blum 'The Fantastic Plastic Machine'
1969 Footage of Windansea Contest October 1967, Palm Beach.
Paul Witzig : Hot
Generation 1968 Footage at Lahina Harbour, Maui.
Brian St. Piere : The Fantastic Voyage,
1969, page 146
"McTavish was working for Keyo Surfboards just down
the road from my office in Brookvale and I'd call in every now and then
to sa,y hello and check on his latest shaping job.
One day after
not having been to Keyo's for a few weeks, I walked through the showroom
and there were ten new boards, all in the 8-foot range and all with deep
vee bottoms and concave noses.
The 4 inch-deep
vee held right off the tail, giving them a different look, like nothing
I'd seen before.
that he'd been making them shorter and shorter over the past few weeks
and insisting the little "Plastic Machines" were really exciting to ride.
a charismatic character when you get him going.
As I drank
in what he was saying, I felt the life coming back, I wanted to shape one
of these little machines and go surfing. Bob explained how the vee bottom
in the tail sat the back of the board in the water, allowing it to roll
up onto one side and carve an arc. My first thought was that these boards
would have all the action in the rear end; they were really only turners
and I wasn't sure that was such a good thing because it struck me that
nose-riding had been thrown completely out the window. I thought the concave
noses were a feeble attempt to get the boards to nose-ride but they just
wouldn't do it like the old boards did. For the first time in my surfing
career lightness had become a factor; everyone was building their boards
out of stringerless blanks to keep the weight down.
I asked Denny
Keyo if I could use Bob's shaping bay and, for the first time in six months,
I shaped a new board. It was 8 feet long by 23 inches wide and like McTavish's
had a 12-inch pod across the tail with a 4-inch vee.
blank was really hard to hold while shaping and I had to use a brick to
keep it in one place.
of those Plastic Machines also made them appear strange, as they held the
thickness of the centre right through to the tail.
And I soon
found that glassing them was a nightmare.
The idea was
to get the board as light as possible, so a thin skin had to be put on
the bottom to hold the curve, then a couple, of layers on the deck to give
it some strength and rigidity.
I took the
new board out in a 3-footer inside Narrabeen "Alley" to test it and thought
I'd never get used to the feel, it was so weird.
After an hour
of practise, and a few long swims to the beach, I began to get the feel
of the vee and found how interesting the pocket-riding type of surfing
Nat (1998) page 162.
Bottom- Stubby - Fantastic Plastic Machine -Short Board by Bob
McTavish & Kevin Platt (Keyo), Midget Farrelly (self),Ted Spencer (Shane
Stringerless), Keith Paull (Peter Clarke) ,Bobby Brown (Gordon & Smith)
Lengths started at 9 ft, then 8 ft 6",8
ft ,7 ft 10" and finally 7 ft 6". Wide point was 2/3 rds back about 23"
Standard board :stringerless,50/50 rail,
flat -rolled -vee bottom, +10 pod with+12Greenough Stage 3 fin set +8"
from the pod
Extras: concave nose,chamfered pod,deck/kneel
patches,Greenough Stage 4 fin, F fin (Richard Harvey) and early finboxes
Film : Children of the Sun
Extended Plastic Machines (9 ft with pointed
noses) tested in Hawaii by Nat and McTavish
The design is overall a failure but Dick
Brewer (US) endorses principle of length reduction.
Paul Witzig : Hot
Eric Blum : The Fantastic Plastic
Machine 1969 Footage of Windansea Contest October 1967, Palm Beach.
Nat's Nat, pages162 to166
Drouyn, Haleiwa, Hawaii, December 1967.
Photograph : Steve
Volume 20 Number
3 page 82
1967 November Surfing World Vol
9 No 6
" a short board yesterday was 9 ft
- tody it is 7 ' 6'' " - uncredited
Kenno (Bob Kennerson) : Retrospective,
"War at Malibu - Fain vs. Dora"
Note continued US interest by Australian
Keith Paull : ReEntry (Hot
Peter Clarke Surfboards Advertisement
- adds Northside factory at 20 Carter Road, Brookvale.
Vee all the elements of a Plastic Machine but with a full pin tail
Importation (from US) of finboxes : Waveset (Bennett) and Safeset (Keyo)
Film : The Innermost Limits of Pure
: Aloha, 22nd January 1968.
1968 Mini Gun Dick Brewer design 7
ft 6" to 8 ft 6", 22-23" wide,wide point forward of centre, often stringerless,
finbox and soft vee.(Farrelly)
||1968 Butterfly fin by Scott
" Happiest surfboarder anywhere is
Dr. Bob Spence.
The 'Doc' has a board which he swears
is the complete answer. 'Nat' has ridden it ...'Kenno' has ridden it, many
others have too, and everyone agrees there is something really different
and interesting about this board.
Scott Dillon designed and built it
and this is a pretty radical unit.
Top plan shape is modified 'stubby,'
though not quite so wide in the tail, bottom rear is convex, vee rails
are straight though swept up at front end, but, the real punch line is
the fins ... yes, I said fins (plural).
Both skegs are joined at the base and
then project out-ward and upward, gull wing style.
The whole unit is very gracefully constructed
and, according to 'Doc,' gives unbelievable stability and ease of manoeuvrability.
..the unit is just over 8 feet long."
Volume 10 Number 4,
March-April 1968, page 43.
Surfing World Vol 10 No 2
Notes death of Duke Kahanamoku, see above.
Kevin Platt : Is there any other way?
(Article on Shortboards)
Design study on a surfboard, page
37 ( Nat Young's Cuttlefish, see Gordon
Windansea Contest (October, 1967)
Photographs by Dave Hartnell
Reported, uncredited :
Nat took 3 boards to the Islands, all
under 9' - 8'8'' Rolled bottom, 8'7'' Speed board with Racing (Snow)
Ski rail contour, and a 8'8'' radical Vee bottom.
US surfers kept Keyo (Surfboards) busy
and returned with boards as short as 7'6''.
Duke Contest won by Jock Sutherland,
Bob McTavish forced to ride his short board after leaving his gun in Honolulu.
Some of these reports are possibly incorrect/enhanced.
Following the 1968 World Contest in Puerto
Rico riding his Weber Ski design, Nat Young, like many shapers,
began to experiment with the low rail:
"Naturally Ted, Wayne and I had
been looking very carefully at all the other competitors' boards.
David Nuuhiwa, Joey Cabell and Reno
Abellira had really different rails on their boards, one I'd never seen
before: hard, low in profile, and running the entire length of the board
from nose to tail.
After all these years and after
questioning many surfers, I've still no real understanding of who first
discovered that important ingredient -the origins of the low rail are still
Nat (1998) page 187.
Subsequently he had two gun boards built
or the Hawaiian winter of 1968-1969:
"My two Weber guns were there waiting
for me with Randy Rarick and as I lifted them from the nose and looked
down the curves, I could see that (Weber's top shaper, Harold)
had done a great job.
They had the traditional Hawaiian
big-wave board outlines and the hard low rail popular at the time - lying
there all ready to go, the boards looked like a pair of racehorses.
Both were finished identically with
a big Weber sun sticker on the deck, but the best thing about them was
that they had fins that had been fibreglassed on; fins I'd sanded myself
in California last summer."
Nat (1998) page 202.
Young placed 5th in the final of that
season's Duke Kahanamoku Contest and certainly made an impression on the
magazine photographers, a Ron Stoner photograph of a slashing cutback at
Sunset Beach used for Surfer magazine's (possibly) first fold out cover
(Volume 10 Number 3 July 1969).
Surfing World Volume 11 Number 2 1969
Six leading Australian surfers select their favorite performers:
David Treloar on John Otton, Butch Cooney, Peter Cornish, Midget Farrelly,
Alan Spargo, Bruce Channon.
Bruce Channon on Wayne Lynch, Keith Paull, Richard Harvey, Midget Farrelly,
Peter Cornish, Ian Goodacre.
Bernard Farrelly on George Downing, Bobby Brown, Keith Paull, John Connors,
Joey Cabell, Wayne Lynch.
Mark Smith on Colin Hammond, Robert Melling, Gordon Merchant, Keith
Paull, Robert Conneely, Judy Trimm.
Bob Evans on Midget Farrelly, Phil Edwards, Nat Young, Goerge Downing,
The Sheer Delight Of Being Covered By The Curl – Kevin Platt
The two sides of… Leonardo da Kav. Lester Brien Richard Kavanaugh.
Suntex Catalina add Spirit of the Sun the ’69 look surfing trunk add
A comparison with George Greenough/Ron Realph! No Thanks. It starts
Too Manny Arguments. John Russel. Talks about his abilities and influence,
the stage 3 fin and spoons 3pages.
Mechanism Article and photo’s John Hogan.
Somethings happening…. Article Tim Murdoch. Talks about the changes
in board shapes and what is happening in New Zealand particularly Wayne
Keith Paul, Mark
Martinson and travel to Europe with film-makers, McGillray-Freeman. While
the American surfers ride Vee Bottom designs, Paull rides a current Australian
design - the Round tail.
The footage would
be included in Waves Of Change, released in 1969.
Other 1968 vistors
to France included Nat Young, Wayne Lynch and Ted Spencer, whose surfing
would appear in Paul Witzig's Evolution,
released in 1970.
Billy Hamilton and Mark Martinson, France, 1968.
Photograph : MacGillivay-Freeman
Volume 20 Number
3 page 99.
Note that the two
American surfers have variations of the Australian wide tail Vee bottom,
whereas Keith Paull had moved onto a round tail design.
Bob McTavish design based on Hawaiian gun foil template but shortened with
a 4 - 6" square tail. 7 ft 6" - 7ft X. 22", wide point 2/3 rds from
tail Often stringerless and finbox. (San Juan)
Film : The Innermost Limits of Pure
Ender Wayne Lynch - semi-pin tail and nose with vee in the
centre 7 ft 6" - 6ft 10" X 22" (John Arnold - SA)
171 Round Tail :further use of the foil concept but with a 8" soft
round tail.7 ft 6" X 22" by Nat Young (Keyo Surfboards and The Ski
by Weber Surfboards )
1969 March/April? Surfing World
Vol 11 No 4
Randy Rarrick : Australian Boards -
"By Easter (1968) V-bottoms were on the way out.
By the Australian Titles (May,
1968) all but a few had converted (to narrow tailed designs).",
Surfboards - Tracker and Pintail and removable fins (Waveset?)
Farrelly Surfboards, Palm Beach
Post Office NSW 2108 - Pintail, also Tracker models. Page 38
The Way We Like It - new
film release by Bob Evans.
Beaches of Australia by Jeff
Carter - new book release.Design study on a surfboard, page
37 ( Nat
Surfer Magazine Volume 9
#4 Sept 1968
Revolution Article and cover: Nat 1967-1968 Honolua bay and Vee botom
A Drew Kampion
essay explores "the super short, uptight, v-bottom, tube carving plastic
machines and other assorted short subjects"
Also Puerto Rico
4 #2 Jan 1969
(No Volume 4
#3 thru 6 were issued.)
5 #1 Feb/Mar1969
Puerto Rico World
Surfer MagazineVolume 9 #6 Jan 1969
Revolution II Article
Chis Brock, George Greenough,
Dog, Garry Keyes and
Angourie - Byron Bay ?, 1969.
Surfing World Magazine,
Volume 12, Number 5, 1969.
REFERENCES FOR THIS
George Greenough/North coast freefall
Photograph by Tanya Binning
First published Surfing World Vol No 196
This cropped version from
and Finney , page 310
The most outstanding photograph of committed
high performance surfing up to this date, this level of performance was
probably not achieved by stand up surfers for another ten years
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. :
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
1985 A History of Australian
Surfing Nat Young.
1971 Modern World
July Shane Steadman/Terry Fiztgerald (possibly) : 'Surfboard
Design' pages 30 to 36.
1972 Surfing World.
Volume 16 #4. Bob Evans : 'remember the time when...' pages
30 to 35.