pods for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
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Notes on Australian National Maritime Museum
Surfboard Collection

1. The original notes are from the ANMM Historic Collection Master Database 29/01/1999.
Courtesy of Paul Hundley.
2. Dimensions from the museum database are metric in millimetres and kilograms; surfboards are traditionally imperial, with the length in feet and inches.
3. Database specifications are not conventional by tradition,that is height = thickness, which often includes the fin;width = length;and depth = width.
   These have been adjusted according to convention.
4. Dimensions are measured by straight rule and therefore length is not measured along the bottom curve (traditional method) and thickness includes fin, as well as the board thickness and the extemities of rocker.
5. Museum policy dictates that exhibits are held in the condition in which they were acquired, therefore some boards still have their last wax coat and in one case inappropriate stickers.
6. Most of the collection is not available for public viewing
7.Listed in chronological order.
Date. Master base Registration Number (#). Date entered.
Adjusted metric specifications
* Editor's Notes.
Imperial specifications

C 1920. #0000716. 24/11/1987
Unvarnished wooden surfboard, c 1920s
L 2640 W 500 Tk 80 Wt 29.70
* Unseen
L 8 ft 8" W 19 ¾" Tk 3"
Almost certainly a solid wood ‘Alaia’, possibly made in Hawaii but probably imported mainland timber. The absence of a fin is standard for this period. ‘Unvarnished’ may refer to the current condition of the board or be a clue to its vintage, before WW1 boards were treated with natural oils to improve waterproofing but these were substantially replaced by Western varnishes by the late 1920s. The weight of the board, compared with the similar sized #00006367 below, may also indicate its age. Similar to the first shaped and surfed surfboard in Australia by Duke Kahanamoku at Freshwater Beach 15 February 1915. This board in the collection of Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club.

C 1930s. # 00006367. 29/05/1989
Surfboard; solid wood surfboard believed to be made of Oregon redwood. Square tail, round nose, 18 mm hole in centre of tail for leg rope. Deck has a series of punch or drill holes for feet and two crescent (sic) like grooves on either side of rope hole. A green insignia, which could not be identified, is painted on the deck, with the letters, ‘E.N.’ (the owner’s initials) painted over it. A metal strip has been screwed on to the board near the nose to prevent splitting. Bottom has an unusual ‘V’ plateau, that runs the length of the board. Circa 1930s or 1945-1949. Condition : Scraped and stained. Termite holes. Loss of finish.
L 2750 W 590 Tk 67 Wt 18.90
* Unseen
L 9 ft W 23 ¼" Tk 2 5/8"
Lack of stringers would tend to indicate a 1930s rather than a latter solid wood board. The Vee bottom is particularly interesting and not withstanding the thinness could indicate a very rare Hot curl design by Wally Froiseth, John Kelly and Fran Heath in 1937. The absence of a fin is standard, as is the metal nose plate, which was possibly added at the time of construction. Individual board décor was also standard practise. The ‘crescent like grooves’ are handgrips to push the board through the surf and are present on the Morath board 1939. Of most interest is the feet and leg rope holes, a claim for the first leg rope in the 1930s would require further evidence.
C1930 or C1940 #000005796. 22/01/1990

Surfboard, small timber board curved at the nose. A wooden strip has been nailed to the board near the nose to prevent splitting. Condition : Slight crack approximately 80 mm length of wood grain. General staining and discolouration. Note wood strip is almost detached from the board.
L 1115 W 308 Tk 67 Wt 2.50
* Unseen
L 3 ft 9" W 26" Tk 2 ¾"
An early Paipo design (particularly if the curve at the nose is rocker scoop) or alternatively a later belly board, the attached nose strip could be a handle to steady the rider. No fins and ridden prone.

C1935 #00015143 06/11/1992
Manufacturer unknown – built by a navy engineer. Paddleboard. Hawaii, circa 1935. Redwood and solid Koa wood nose and tail, 16 ft. Object has been modified to accommodate an outboard motor
# 00015144 for use on San Diego bay.
L 4880 W 640 Tk 110

Widely reprinted photograph of Tom Blake and Quiver, Outrigger Canoe Club Honolulu, circa 1935. First Published in National Geographic 1935.
* Unseen
L 16 ft W 25 ¼" Tk 4 ¼"
‘Hollow paddle board’ using Tom Blake’s patented construction method from the mid 1930s but the use of native Koa wood in the nose and tail must be rare due to extensive deforestation of Hawaii by the beginning of the century. Probably finless, the later addition of the outboard motor must be an early attempt at mechanical propulsion.
1946 # 00015850 25/05/1992

Made by McLennan, John K. Hollow marine plywood 14 foot surfboard Australia 1946. Solid sides of Queensland maple sheathed with 3 ml marine ply, runners of silky oak, ribs and stringer of Queensland maple. Nose piece is a block of solid Queensland maple into which a water plug has been cut. Metal Tail piece. No fin. Gold plaque with engraved inscription ‘Built by/ John McLennan/ 1946’ situated on the tail.
L 4350 W x Tk 110 Wt 22.40
* Unseen
L 14 ft 3 ¼" W x Tk 4 ¼"
‘Racing 16’ - Australian example of hollow board construction, first made in Australia by Frank Adler at Maroubra 1934, was the common board design from 1940 to 1956. No fin, metal handle at tail and bung are standard features. The gold plaque possibly not originally fitted.
C1949 #00015142 06/11/92

Manufacturer unknown. Surfboard, Hawaii c1949. Small pieces of balsa wood glued together to form longer pieces, much of the balsa wood used has come from WW II lifeboats. Small fin near the tails regions, rails are rounded off, 10 foot.
L 2992 W 610 Tk 200 (includes fin) Wt 16.30

* Seen, Laperouse Museum June 1997
L 9 ft 9 ¾" W 24" Pod 13" Fin 5 ½" (10" base)
A wonderful example of a Bob Simmons’ (1919-1954) ‘Spoon’ (USA), first constructed in ply covered styrofoam in 1949 but quickly developed into the more common hand shaped balsa blank covered in fibreglass and resin. The rounded keel fin was standard for this model, although twin fin versions were also used. As noted the blank is made up of laminated short balsa lengths, recycled from WW II lifeboats where it was used as buoyancy. The quality of the finish of the board suggests that it has a least been re-glossed and polished, it is unlikely that this finish was technically feasible in the 1940s let alone maintain it. Also many boards of this period were coloured to hide the timber joins and other faults, and as an expression of individuality. Lack of markings and/or decal is standard. Attribution ‘made in Hawaii’ is open to question, the majority of these boards where probably manufactured and used on the US mainland.

This design was not used in Australia but was the precursor to the Malibu board introduced by the visiting US / Hawaii teams to the 1956 International Surf Carnival Torquay Vic., held in conjunction with the Melbourne Olympic Games. Team members subsequently visited Sydney. Historically this is a remarkably significant item. The construction pioneered by Bob Simmons of a hand shaped blank covered in fibreglass and resin and an attached fin is still the current preferred manufacturing method of surfboards today (1999). As Duke Kahanamoku is considered ‘the father of modern surfing’, Bob Simmons is considered by many as ‘the father of the modern surfboard’.

#101 Bob Simmons Balsa Spoon 1949

C1955 #00001231 07/12/87
Long racing surfboard from the early 1950s. Hollow, made of coachwood ply with square rails.
L 5130 W 470 Tk 210 Wt 12.5
* Unseen
L 16 ft 10" W 18 ½" Tk 4" (est.) Fin 4" (est.)
See ‘Racing 16’ 1946 above. Imperial dimensions include fin based on the assumption that the board is not 8" (210 mm) thick. No mention of the common metal handle and/or bung.

C1957 #00001230 26/05/1988
Surfboard, wooden, hollow Malibu board with solid wood rails and plywood deck and bottom. Dated 1956/57.
L 3150 W 590 Tk 220 Wt 17.30
* Unseen
L 10 ft 4" W 23 ½" Tk 3"(est.) Fin 6"(est.)
‘Okinuee’- Australian adaptation of Malibu design (introduced by the visiting US / Hawaii teams to the 1956 International Surf Carnival Torquay Vic., held in conjunction with the Melbourne Olympic Games. Team members subsequently visited Sydney) but using hollow board technology because of the lack of suitable balsa wood supplies. First models built in Sydney by Gordon Woods, Bill Wallace and Barry Bennett. Recorded thickness (8 ½") indicates fin. No mention of bung.

C1958 # 00009214 07/03/1991
Manufactured by Wallace Surfboards, Waverley Sydney NSW Australia, 1950s. Balsa and resin single fin board, with logo on the nose featuring a female figure with a black and white surfboard with ‘Gidget’ written beneath, above this logo a sticker has been removed, on the tail of the board is a makers sticker which reads ‘Wallace Surfboards, Waverley Sydney’, there are a few words which are unreadable, there are traces of wax on the board, and several dings which have been repaired over the active life of the board, Artwork done by Rollo Smith & Son Signwriter.
L 2860 W 545 Wt 10.10
* unseen
L 9 ft 4 ½" W 21 ½"
Made after the first suitable balsa shipment in 1958, 1500 of these boards were manufactured in 1959. Maker’s stickers were common before introduction of rice paper decals circa 1960. The artwork dates probably from the first Hollywood surf movie ‘Gidget’, released in 1959. This construction format came in a variety of designs (Malibu, Pig, Gun, Square tail, Teardrop and Sausage) and a variety of fins. Bill Wallace began building the hollow ‘Racing 16s’, then hollow–Malibu hybrids in 1956, and balsa / fibreglass surfboards in 1958. By 1960 foam blanks had become available and by 1962 Bill Wallace had moved his factory north to Brookvale, where he was to continue manufacturing till the early 1970s.

C1959 #??? Date?
Manufactured by Vic Tantau, Melbourne Victoria.
Fibreglassed alsa wood surfboard with square timber fin, three blue off-set bands at the tail on the bottom.
Dimensions ?
*Seen, ANMM 22nd April 2007 (photograph below)
Currently displayed behind glass in Area 13: Watermarks in a display focusing on Victorian surfriding.
The deck cannot be observed.
The board appears to have been substantially restored, probably re-glossed and polished.
Item on loan from Leonie Tantau, who reported:
"My father Vic Tantau made one of the first balsas in Victoria in the late 50`s  in a room  out the back of an old kiosk on the Esplanade in Torquay and in a garage in Moorabbin and in a factory in Moorabbin.
Just as a matter of interest the balsa board I own has been on display in the Sydney Maritime Museum for quite a few years now." (email, April 2007)

C1960 # 00006710 13/03/1990
Malibu surfboard, balsa core, covered in red fibreglass, plywood fin, registration sticker at each end of the deck, dated mid 1960s. Condition : Reasonable, split at the top and back, few cracks on the deck & bottom, fibreglass worn form (sic) the fin.
L 2820 W 560 Tk 260 Wt 11.00
* Seen, ANMM 1996, 1998, often on display.
L 9 ft 3" W 22" Tk 3"(est.) Fin 8 ½"(est.)
Standard Malibu ‘Sausage’ board in balsa and fibreglass with full red pigment coat, this board would be an accepted design for the next five years. Many boards of this period were coloured to hide the timber joins and other faults, and as an expression of individuality. Lack of markings and/or decal is standard. The mid 1960s surf permits confirm its active life as does the worn fin. Plywood was not commonly used for fins and it may not be original. Tail and nose dings confirm balsa wood blank, likely stringerless.

C1963 #00015141 06/11/1992
Manufacturer unknown, surfboard, Haleiwa, Hawaii, c1963. Paint on balsa wood. Object is a Hawaiian foam surfboard made from foam board with balsa stringer, lime green in colour, comprises of a longitudinal strand running from the nose to the tail, and ranges in a dark olive green to a lightish tan/yellow colour, black painted fin near the tail region, rails are rounded off, Bottom : lime green in colour with a tan/yellowish colour near the nose, inscriptions appearing at the centre enclosed in a black double border read ‘Surfboards Hawaii HALEIWA HAWAII’, 11.5 foot, object possibly made for tandem riding due to its size.
L 3488 W 585 Tk 260 Wt 17.70

* Seen, Laperouse Museum June 1997
L 11 ft 6" W 22" Tk 3 ½" (est.) Pod 5 ½" Fin 9" (est.)
Probably manufactured at the Surfboards Hawaii Factory, 66-479 Kamehameha Highway Haleiwa Hawaii, and possibly shaped by the owner Richard ‘Dick’ Brewer. Dick Brewer was considered to be the world’s top surfboard shaper from 1963 to 1983. Fibreglassed foam blank with 3" balsa wood stringer and redwood tail block. Square tail, rounded pin nose. Appears to have pale lime green pigment coat colour on 80% of the board, with some staining towards the nose and tail probably caused by dings (slight possibility this is a 1980s acrylic spray restoration). Decal is standard for its time and is now considered a classic. ‘Surfboards Hawaii’ label still manufactured in the USA and under licence in Australia. Black laminated fibreglass fin. It is possible the board was made for tandem riding but could also be larger surfer’s big wave board, 11 ft being a common big wave board length during this period.

#102 Surfboards Hawaii, 1962

C 1969 #00004450 17/11/1988
Surfboard, round bottom, single fin, made of fibreglass on foam blank with orange fin and single orange line running down the centre of the board, yellow and orange design on the top incorporates the following; ‘Wayne lynch Involvement Surfboards, 142 Gawler place, Adelaide, South. Aust.’ The board was made in the late 1960s. Provision for leg rope was added in 1987.
L 2360 W 590 Tk 340
* Seen, Laperouse Museum June 1997
L 7 ft 9" W 23 ¼" Tk 2 ¾" (est.) Fin 10" (est.)
Foam blank with red glue line stringer. Volan fibreglass cloth with 2" rail laps and an oval knee patch. Round tail, round nose ‘Double Ender’ with rolled bottom. Orange laminated fibreglass Greenough stage 3 fin. Marking in pencil on deck: ‘Wayne Lynch 7’9" 1007’. Decal on deck: ‘Wayne Lynch Involvement J.A. Surfboards 142 Gawler Place Adelaide Sth Aust’. The board is still waxed and unfortunately a leg rope plug has been added. The board was manufactured by John Arnold Surfboards at the above address.

An excellent example of this design in near original condition (except for the leg rope plug) by one of Australia’s most famous surfers. Said to have single handily revolutionized backhand surfing, Wayne Lynch won the European Title in 1968, the Australian Junior Men’s Title 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970, and the Bells Beach Junior Title 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. He starred in Paul Witzig’s films ‘Evolution’ 1968 and ‘Sea of Joy’ 1971.

John Arnold Surfboards started in South Australia in the late 1950s and, principally through licensing O’Neill Wetsuits (USA), was a major company in the 1960s surf industry.

#103 Wayne Lynch Involvment, 1969
C1969 #00016644 15/04/1993

Designed by George Greenough for Wilderness Surfboards, single fin surfboard, Sydney (?) Australia, 1966-1970, fibreglass over foam blank, pointed nose square tail board, cream fibreglass, in the centre of the deck are the words ‘George Greenough / Design / Wilderness / Surfboards / Robert Conneeley’s Surf Shop / Bondi Beach’ under the fibreglass, two additional stickers at the nose ‘Fire Station’ and ‘Tradewinds Sailboards, Sydney Australia’, leg rope plug fitted at tail. Condition : fair, bears the signs of constant use, discoloured from water seepage, dings in the fibreglass, fin is loose.
L 2140 W 555 Wt 5.70
* Unseen
L 7 ft W 21 ½" Pod x"
Designed by George Greenough A kneeboarder from Santa Barbara California, first visited Australia in 1965, whose board and fin designs had a dramatic influence of Australia surfing. He designed the flex bottom ‘Spoon’, a range of fins that bear his name, popularized the fabric surf mat in the 1970s and his flex theories were an influence on the development of the ‘Boogie Board’ by Tom Morey. Credited with the first photographs, both still and moving, from inside the tube. Produced film ‘Innermost Limits of Pure Fun’ 1969, a short film ‘Echoes’ that was added to Alby Falzon’s biographical ‘Crystal Voyager’ 1973 and water photography for John Millius’ ‘Big Wednesday’ 1988.

Considering the length, probably shaped by Chris Brock or Garry Keyes at the first Wilderness Surfboards (Australia) factory at Byron Bay NSW circa 1969, custom ordered or a stock board for Robert Conneely’s Surf Shop, 164 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach. Colour ‘cream’ probably denotes glassed clear and the blank has yellowed. The fin, if original, would undoubtedly be a Greenough design (probably Stage 3 or later). The leg rope plug and the two stickers (from 1980s sailboard retailer and maker respectively) are unfortunate additions.

Features that might be applicable to this model : stringerless or glue line stringer, Volan rail overlaps, knee or tail patches, chine rails or other unusual rail and /or bottom designs.

C1973 #00001490 27/02/1988
Surfboard; single fin Hot Buttered Surfboard with spray design and wing pin tail, 1973. Board shaped by Terry Fitzgerald, 6 oz fibreglass with polyester resin on a foam blank, board has a jungle scene design on the bottom and a green fade spray on the deck, sprayed by Martin Worthington.
L 2090 W 485 Tk 102 Wt 5.30
* Unseen
L 6 ft 10 ¼" W 19" Tk 4"
Designed and shaped by Terry Fitzgerald at Hot Buttered Surfboards, 9 Mitchell Road Brookvale NSW circa 1973. After several years shaping at Shane Surfboards, Brookvale and a six-month shaping workshop with Dick Brewer (see #0015141 above) in Hawaii, Terry Fitzgerald began production of his Hot Buttered Surfboards circa 1973 (clear boards were $99, tints $102 and sprays $110). The boards were heavily influenced by Brewer’s Hawaiian design theories and the spray work by Martin Worthington was quickly acclaimed and imitated. Terry Fitzgerald competed on the fledgling professional circuit in the early 1970s and starred in Alby Falzon’s ‘Morning of the Earth’ 1972. Hot Buttered Surfboards and surf products are now sold internationally.

A classic example would have the following features : fibreglassed foam blank with ¼" redwood stringer. Pin nose and wing pin tail with straight-line deck and low box rails. Decal : Rainbow on deck ‘Hot Buttered Surfboards / Designed and Handshaped by / Terry Fitzgerald’. Full spray with mural by Martin Worthington. Dick Brewer wide base stiff laminated single fin. A post production leg rope plug could be expected.

C1974 # 00001327 16/12/1987
One 2.2 metre single fin fibreglass surfboard with spray design, brand name ‘Hot Buttered’, 1974. Board shaped by Terry Fitzgerald, wing swallow tail, Dion Foam blank, 6-oz fibreglass with polyester resin, board has a tropical wave scene, sprayed by Martin Worthington.
L 2100 W 518 Tk 90 Wt 6.10
* Seen, Laperouse Museum June 19978
L 6 ft 10 ½" W 20 3/8" Tk 3 ½" Pod 4" (est.)
Designed and shaped by Terry Fitzgerald at Hot Buttered Surfboards, 9 Mitchell Road Brookvale NSW circa 1974. Fibreglassed foam blank with ¼" redwood stringer. Pin nose and wing swallow tail with straight-line deck and low box rails. Leg rope plug? Decal : Rainbow on deck ‘Hot Buttered Surfboards / Designed and Handshaped by / Terry Fitzgerald’ ?. Green full bottom spray with tropical wave mural by Martin Worthington. Dick Brewer wide base stiff laminated single fin.
Excellent example of a high quality board in good condition, further comments see # 00001490 above.

Seen, ANMM 22nd April 2007 (photograph below)
Currently displayed behind glass in Area 13: Watermarks.
The deck cannot be observed.

#104 Hot Buttered Sb, Terry Fitzgerald?Martin Worthington 1974

C1980s #? Date?
Kneeboard designed by Peter Crawford and manufactured by Domilson, NSW.
Polyethylene. Molded coloured nose decor. Fin box with fibreglass fin. Legrope plug with rubber, rope and velcro Windansea legrope attached.
Dimensions ?
*Seen, ANMM 22nd April 2007 (photograph below)
Currently displayed behind glass in Area 13: Watermarks.
The deck cannot be observed.
Actually circa 1976.

Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray Street Darling Harbor, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia.
Phone: 61 02 9552 7777        Fax: 61 02 9281 2885
Curator :
Contact: Paul Hundley  Phone: 02 9552 7709

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