Bobby Brown was
too nice a guy to win contests.
He was what you would call consistent, a finalist in every State and Australian meet since 1963, only on one occasion did he place first, the 1964 State titles.
He was the type of guy you could talk to in the pub, about contests, about the day's surfing and, yet, never get the impression that he had his sights on the Australian title.
Perhaps he didn't.
Perhaps he entered contests just for the fun and, it was his talent that invariably took him to the finals.
He walked into a Taren Point Hotel on a rainy day in August last year, had a few drinks, became involved in an argument, a glass broke, a jugular vein cut, Bobby Brown died in Sutherland District Hospital just 40 hours later.
The First Annual
Bobby Brown Invitational was a natural to create interest.
Advertising was good, entry forms concise.
Saturday, January 10th, was lousy-lousy surf, lousy weather, lousy guy: who stole my board the night before.
The contest was at Wanda and, for the first few hours, I scanned the crowd with identikit in one hand and reward poster, complete with details of wanted 'fat boy' in the other.
No luck and I resumed watching the contest.
Organisation was on a par with A.S.A. Australian events.
Tents, best P.A. system, good judges, enthusiastic heat caller-uppers and singlet giver-outers.
There were a large number of competitors and at a dollar a throw, they provided the basic running expenses of the contest.
I was in the 99th heat due to start at 11.45 a.m.
While I waited, I dodged rain drops.
They were as big
as footballs and hurt when they hit, ka-ploosh, instant drencho.
The surfing in the heats was comparatively poor.
A few guys pulled
nose rides, a few pulled turns but, the wind and the rain and the chop
1st and 2nd placers made the quarter-finals to be held same place, same time, next day.
Next day, was brighter, sunny and with light, offshore winds that smoothed a choppy surf flat.
A hasty discussion and the contest was moved south to Sandshoes.
Sandshoes is Oak Park, grass, bikini clad girls, John Thompson and U.W. cackle machines, small surf and sea eggs.
The sea eggs are best, black and spiky some would say, they add adventure to the surf, more challenge to the wave.
I just hate them.
had good surf, 4ft. and glassy.
Farrelly cut them up on his pin tail, terrific half circle tip of the wave forehand turns, beautiful noserides, lousy cutbacks.
His pin tail is a model of flowing design and good craftsmanship, seems to perform everything well except cutbacks, during which he either steps off the inside rail or, digs it.
Before the 4th quarter-final was completed, the surf deteriorated into small chop.
I was in the 54th quarter-final and lined up with my borrowed, 8ft. long, wide-backed, 51 lb., vee-bottomed, chop shooter.
All to no avail.
The first forehand turn and the board hit me in the face, the second and I got, in first with a straight right, whack, it threw me onto the eggs.
Meanwhile, Frank Latta cut up a few lengths of chop and I was given the opportunity of watching the rest of the contest from the pavilion, sympathisers plucking my feet.
The finalists were selected and I paddled out.
Spencer was trying, putting too much into too little.
Paul, riding his new Peter Clarke pin tail, performed with a flowing, hotdogging style that was better than the waves would allow.
Farrelly played it cool, did not do many cutbacks, trimmed and noserode to victory.
like Farrelly, Paul, Spencer, Latta, Connelly, Parkinson.
A post contest presentation and feast was held at the Cronulla R.S.L.
Trophies were good, round wire cages with Bobby Browns inside, also, perpetual sculpture of B.B. to be Victors till next contest.
The grand display of the presentation was a fitting end to a contest that was well organised, well run, borne of honourable motives yet, cursed by a lousy surf.
One might imagine that next year, given better conditions, the Bobby Brown Invitational will take a permanent berth alongside the Newcastle Annual and the other independently sponsored events that help fill those vacant months of the N .S. W. State competition scene.
Cronulla, 10-11th January 1968.
The winner of the
Volume 10 Number 4,
March-April 1968, pages 32 to 35.
Cover: Ted Spencer ?