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  history : 1956 international surf carnivals

the international surf carnivals, 1956.
torquay, victoria, maroubra and collaroy, nsw.

"International and Australian Surf Championship Carnival,
Souvenir Programme Price 3/-
Toquay Beach, Victoria. 25th November 2nd December 1956. "
Photograph of displayed item.
Between the Flags Exhibition, ANMM, Sydney. 22 April 2007.

In November 1956, Australian surfers had widespread exposure of to the modern fibre glassed surfboard, ridden by visiting Californian and Hawaiian lifesavers.
Two teams, representing the U.S.A. and the Territory of Hawaii, were invited to compete at international surf lifesaving carnivals held in conjunction with the 1956 Olympic Games.

Most commentators, often quoting Greg Noll : Da Bull – Life Over The Edge (1989), focus on the International Carnival at Torquay and emphasize the occasion as an almost incidental development with dramatic consequences.

During one event, we had noticed a little point break off to the side, off a rocky point.
I don't remember the name of the place.
After the paddling events were over, we grabbed our boards and paddled out to the break.
There had been thousands of people watching the paddling events from shore, and they had started leaving.
Ampol Oil was covering all the paddling events, and decided to stay and take fIlms of us surfing.
Word got around in the parking lot as people were leaving, "The Yanks are surfing, you ought to see the Yanks." - Noll (1989), Page 71.
Although context implies this happened at Torquay, Noll's recollections probably relate events at Avalon (Sydney) on the 18th November, which were possibly not filmed.
Rather than an incidental pollination, this paper notes that the arrival of the Malibu board was clearly announced by the Australian press to anyone with an interest in board riding.

The account of the events and repercussions, has six identifiable perspectives.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)
Association with the Olympic Games was seen as elevating Australian surf life saving competition sport to international prominence.
Unfortunately, although exposure exceeded any previous event, the sport failed in its bid to be an official Olympic demonstration sport and  the location (not in the sport's heartland of Sydney, and then some 60 miles outside of central Melbourne) was less than ideal.

Competitively, results were mixed, with some visiting teams performing well.
Since the teams from the British Commonwealth were largely formed under the auspices of the Australian movement, this was possibly less than flattering.

Despite the superior performance of the the U.S.A. and Hawaiian teams' equipment, Australian lifesavers apparently retained their preference for the hollow timber board into the 1960s and it was not until the 1990s that the belt and reel was replaced by the Torpedo Buoy.
For some clubs, the introduction of the Malibu board caused significant disruption.

This was the third organized association with international surfing by the Australian lifesaving movement.
Unlike the 1956 carnival, the impact of the earlier occasions (Duke Kahanamoku's surfing demonstrations in 1914-1915 and the large representative team sent to the 1939 -1940 Pan Pacific Games in Honolulu) were significantly truncated by the subsequent outbreak of world wars.
The U.S.A. - Hawaiian Teams
For the Californian and Hawaiian surfers, the tour was an opportunity to test their skills and equipment in unfamiliar conditions.
Competitively, they performed to a high standard and placed in many events.

The success of their equipment was significant, and proved the fibre glassed board would be superior in all future surfing locations.
Furthermore, it began an association with Australian manufacturers that was to accelerate in the 1960s with the replacement of balsa wood with the foam blank.
In the case of Greg Noll, it opened another market for his early surf films.

Impressed with the organization of the carnivals, members of the Californian team adopted many facets of the Australian surf lifesaving movement in the development of their own lifeguard services and there is evidence that the surf ski was of interest to some Hawaiian surfers.

Image right : "Plate 33. Dick Patterson with one-man Australian surf-ski, Waikiki Beach.
By O.B. Patterson, Honolulu, Hawaii".
Image and caption Patterson (1960) Plate 33. 
Note the ski bears the Ampol script on the nose. 
Ampol Petroleum was the major sponsor of the 1956 international carnivals.

On the same page, Patterson also includes another photograph (not reproduced) ..
"Plate 32. Neil Ifverson with two-man Australian surf-ski, Waikiki Beach.
By O.B. Patterson, Honolulu, Hawaii".

Note that in the 1940s, an earlier model Australian surf ski, acquired as a gift at the 1939-1940 Pan Pacific Games, was ridden with remarkable skill (illustrated by film of the period) at Waikiki by Duke Kahanamoku,

Hall and Ambrose (1995) Page 83.

 The historian for the County of Los Angles Lifeguard Division offers this assessment ...
"This singular event is recognized as the most influential surf lifesaving carnival ever held. The international surf lifesaving community was introduced to the rescue can, lightweight paddleboards, fiberglass surf boards, relays and iron man competition, as well as to the overall capabilities of the modern, well trained, professional lifeguard."

On a personal level, the tour probably had a variety of attractions beside the desire to compete at an international level.
The experience of travel, expanded social relations and potential romance are other possibilities.

In the case of Greg Noll, any expectation of potential romance appears to have been realised ...

"One night ... no less than five different ladies decided to bestow their warm,
Australian hospitality on this poor Ol' Yank. To this day, I have never
received such a warm welcome, not even in my own native land of California."
Noll (1989), Page 72.
Australian Boardriders
The impact of exposure to state of the art boards ridden by elite boardriders on Australian boardriders was immediate.
The new techniques were intensively studied, particularly with access to film of the performance, and replicated.
Experienced hollow board riders quickly adopted the new design and there was an explosion in the number of juvenile riders.
By 1961, Australian surfers, notably big wave rider Bob Pike, made an impression in winter surf in Hawaii - considered the benchmark of high performance.
In 1962-1963, Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly of Freshwater won the prestigious Makaha Contest in Hawaii.
Farrelly would be at the international forefront of high performance surfing for the next ten years.

Boardriders from Other Nations
The impact of boardriders from other competing countries was also significant, principally in New Zealand and South Africa.
With a traditional relationship with the Australian movement, a more primitive manufacturing base and limited access to materials, both countries initially adopted the Okinuee - a hollow timber adaptation of the malibu design by Australian manufacturers.

Australian Manufacturers
While unfamiliarity with the new materials and new production techniques would be a major difficulty for Australian board builders, these developments were initially stalled by the lack of suitable balsa wood.
Experienced hollow wood builders were able to closely replicate the design, often called an Okinuee, by including a thick timber rail that could be shaped to a rounded edge.
The increasing demand for boards moved the current Sydney builders from their backyards (often in the Eastern suburbs) to industrial factories, ideally located at Brookvale, adjacent to the multitude of surfing locations between Manly and Palm Beach.
The tour also initiated a correspondence on construction and design between American and Australian manufacturers that accelerated with the introduction of polyester foam blanks.

The Australian Press
This study is confined to the domestic Australian press and does not attempt to locate and assess reports in international newspapers.
Although the international carnival was a popular item, it had to compete against the major journalistic focus on official Olympic events, largely in metropolitan Melbourne.
The interest in surf lifesaving was greatest in beach side Sydney, the home of the movement, which probably accounts for the expansive coverage by that city's press.

Press reports provide a reliable chronology and generally appear to be accurate in crowd sizes, weather conditions,  competition results and participants (with some misspellings).

Board descriptions vary in their detail, occasionally  identifiable as paddle boards but mostly the boards are Malibus.
The Malibu's large fin and it's significance are rarely reported.
The balsawood blank and the coating with fibreglass is regularly noted.
Other possible features of interest, such as variation in length, template shape or decor, are mostly absent.
There is one report of construction using redwood stringers.
It is possible that the reporters interviewed only a small number of team members, or viewed their boards, at the time and then applied these details to all the boards.

The Malibu Board - A Design or a Technology?
The development of the Malibu board (somewhere between 1946 and 1950), despite it's importance,  is historically unclear and (fortunately) outside the scope of this paper.
Several surfers are identified as contributing, in varying degrees, to the design.
These include Joe Quigg, Matt Kivlin, Dave Rochen, and Dale Velzy in California.
Most commentators regard the role of Bob Simmons as pivotal, however a distinct lack of printed resources and his early death by drowning (26th September 1954), complicate a fully accurate assessment of Simmons' contribution.
In Hawaii, developments appear to have lagged only marginally behind California, probably pioneered by George Downing.

The only book that can be said to adequately examine this period is Paul Holmes' 2006 publication, Dale Velzy is Hawk, Chapters 4 to 8.

Regardless of various individual design features or dimensions of the early models, the two elemental developments were the application of a fibreglassed skin on to a hand shaped blank and a large fin.
Fibreglass technology produced a board of significant strength, a huge reduction in weight and the ability to sculpt an infinite variety of shapes.
The use of fibreglass was not limited to the wave riding Malibu board.
US and Hawaiian surfers had a long tradition in surfboard racing and rescue, and the new technology was also applied to these craft. See Blake (1961) Pages 27 to 30 (unspecified in the text).

"PADDLE BOARD RACING          Photo: Drummond
As the experts strive for honors, these streamlined hollow paddleboards,* leap ahead at a speed of about 7 miles per hour. Obviously a good lifeguard water rescue device, as well as a healthy sport. Paddleboard racing is popular in Hawaii, California, Australia, South America. These boards measure from 18 to 22 feet in length, and are from 151/2 inches to 18 inches wide, maximum. They are 4 to 6 inches deep and are constructed out of a hollowed-out Balsa wood hull, covered with fiberglas. They weigh from 20 to 30 pounds and are all custom built.
Competitors (from bottom) :1-Bright, 2-Zahn, (and cropped) 3-Alter, 4-Hogan.
*Invented by Blake 1926."                                                                                      Blake (1961) Page 28
It must be noted that examples of these advanced race and rescue boards were brought to Australia by the US and Hawaiian teams as well as a model of the Torpedo Buoy, previously developed by Walter V. H Biddell at the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club, 1902-1906.
Longhurst (2000) Page 9.
Greg Noll, in a brief comment, notes ...
"We had come to race paddleboards. As it turned out, our surfboards became the real attraction."
 Noll (1989) Page 70.
Noll's life guarding and paddleboard activities before 1956 are recalled in the ninth chapter of his autobiography, "Of Paddlers and Life Guards", pages 62 to 65.

Apparently these craft were overlooked at the time by the Australian surf life saving movement, and by most subsequent commentators.

Furthermore, somewhere in this period the application of paraffin wax to the deck of the board became  standard practice, greatly increasing the traction of the rider.

Left :
Tom Zahn, Greg Noll and Mike Bright
with Fibreglass and Balsawood Paddleboards, 
Australia, 1956.
Galton, page 112.
The photograph (Torquay, by implication) is credited
"Among the first of the malibus - around 1956".

Also printed in Wells (1982) Page 152.
Credited as
"Soon to become a relic of the past 
- longboards in 1956. 
Manly Library".

Galton and Wells are in agreement on the date.

A similar, but not identical, photograph is printed in Bloomfield (1959) facing page 161, with the credit
"USA and Hawaiian competitors with their 
boards at the Olympic International Surf Carnival, Torquay Beach, Victoria, 1956. 
Fred Lang Studios." 

Note that Zahn's board features the text "U.S.A. 1956 Melbourne" on the nose, Noll's board has deep kneel paddling wells and Bright has the same board as shown in Blake (1961) Page 28, above.
Bloomfield’s credit to “Fred Lang Studios” and Wells' credit to "Manly Library" possibly indicate the photograph was taken on the northern beaches.

Australian Surfboards, circa 1950.
By the 1950s, the surf life saving movement effectively dominated surfboard riding activity.
To a significant extent this was, in a period of limited automobile ownership, simply a function of the need to store these large and heavy craft adjacent to the beach.
Some club members viewed patrol and other club duties as "rent" for their week-end beach side accommodation and access the the club's range of surfcraft.

With an emphasis on race and/or rescue performance, the lighter hollow board and the similarly constructed surf ski were the preferred craft.
Although some solid wood boards were still available at some clubs, these were usually  for recreational or training activities only.
Such was the status of Duke Kahanamoku's famous Freshwater board of 1914 ...

"During the early 1950's the board was stored amongst the current boards, given no special
prominence and on occasion was used by Club members, including myself."
- Joe Larkin, noted in a phone conversation, February 2004.

 In the mid-1940s the popularity of recreational board riding led to an attempt to promote the activity independent of the formal SLSC structure.
This challenge was quickly recognized and countered ...
"The senior longboard became a national event in 1946 (102), but the SLSAA had been pricked in 1945 by the formation of the Surf Board Association of Australia which it stated was:

''attempting to encroach upon the preserves of constituted authority guarding
surf bathers by running a pseudo 'Surf Board Championship of Australia' (104)''
It seems that the SLSAA did not want this new 'hedonistic' Association, which also had women members, involved in its competition or competing for the social space which was occupied by disciplined surf life saving clubs on Australian beaches. The Board Association was refused affiliation by the SLSAA on the grounds it was not a life saving club, and members of life saving clubs were prohibited from participating  in surf events organized by an unaffiliated association. The advent of the board Association seemed to precipitate the SLSAA's formation of a Surf Board and Ski Section, and formulation of appropriate rules for use of boards and skis in its affiliated clubs, as a means of rescues and in carnivals (105)."
Young, F. (2000) Page 66.
Australian Exposure to the Malibu Board - 1950-1956.
In 1950-1951, the first recorded fibreglass and balsa wood surfboard in Australia accompanied Hollywood actor and Malibu Point surfer,  Peter Lawford.
He was in Australia in 1950 to film Kangaroo.
Released in June 1952, it was the first Technicolor movie filmed on-location in Australia
Filming was based at Pagewood Studios, Sydney, and locations included South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.                                                   

The board was identified by Albie Thoms (2000) as a finless board by Dave Rochlen Surfboards, stored at Bondi for most of Lawford's stay and ridden by locals Jack 'Bluey' Mayes, Ray Young and Aub Laidlaw.

"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."                                                                                                
(2000) page 63.

Contrast this with Greg McDonagh's conflicting, and incorrectly dated, report:

 "In 1954, actor Peter Lawford, filming in Australia, aroused widespread
interest among surfers with a board called a Malibu... "     Pollard (1964) page 56.
Duke Kahanamoku with (actors) Richard Boone and Peter Lawford  and a board called 'Malibu', 
Waikiki, 1950.

Printed in 
Severson (1967) page 35) and captioned:
Richard Boone, Duke and Peter Lawford
pose on the beach at Waikiki, in 1947.
Lawford had one of those new "Malibu" boards 
made of balsa and fiber glass.
Duke tried it but preferred his own 16 footer.

Severson's date of 1947 is incorrect.

Subsequently reprinted in 
Brown (2006) page 143.

In Sydney, Boone and Lawford were photographed (right0
wearing the same Hawaiian shirts.
The Australian Women's Weekly
Saturday 25 November 1950, page 17.

The board was possibly the work of Bob Simmons, Joe Quigg, or Dave Rochlen.
Dave Rochlen was the favoured builder among Hollywood surfers, noted for the outstanding quality of the colour and decor design.
See Matt Kilvin on Joe Quigg and Dave Rochlen in Longboard, Volume No. pages ?

From Levy, Shawn: Rat Pack Confidential, Fourth Estate Limited, London, 1998.

Peter Lawford was born in England in September 1923, his conception resulting from the then Mrs. Mary Aylen's  adulterous liaison with her husband's commanding officer, Sydney Lawford.
- pages 58-61.
The scandal surrounding Peter's birth drove the Lawfords from the country; they were to live in France, India, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Florida, and California for the rest of their days, maintaining, frequently enough, a sufficiently high standard of living to seem gay globe-trotters, but, in reality, terrified to return home to the hisses of English scandal-mongers.
- page 61

There was, however, another social group with which Peter mingled and to whom he showed an. especially generous and loyal side of his nature.
Having been introduced to surfing as a young boy in Hawaii, Peter had a genuine love for beach life, and he spent all the time he could at the shore, catching waves, playing volleyball, and steeping himself in the lingo and rituals of beach bums- a cultish society whose vocabulary and attitudes would later be borrowed, in a fashion, by the Rat Pack.
May hated the ne'er-do-well manner of this crowd -which, of course, attracted her son to it even more.
Moreover, Peter relished mixing his surfing and acting cronies, watching the cultures clash with sophomoric delight.

- page 64

Peter Lawford died on the 14 December 1984 and following four years of family disputes, his ashes were scattered in the Pacific ocean.
- page 301.

Peter Lawford aged 11 at Waikiki, 1934.

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.

Cohen, Stan: 
The Pink Palace - The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
 Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Montana,1986, page 89.

Prince of tides: Peter prone on a longboard in Hawaii
with the great surf champ, Duke Kahanamoku.
(Archive Photos)
- Levy: Rat Pack Confidential
London (1998), between pages 184 and 185.

The photograph was probably taken at the same time as the photograph of Lawford with Duke and Richard Boone, above.
Note that Lawford's board is significantly shorter than Duke's massive board.

At Waikiki, Lawford and Duke Kahanamoku swapped boards, the occasion recalled in the early 1960s by Duke in an interview with Surfer (Volume 6, Number 1), and  reprinted in:
Severson, John (editor): Great Surfing
Doubleday and Company, New York, 1967, pages 29 to 33, with a selection of Duke photographs on pages 33 to 37.

r (probably John Severson): Duke, these foam boards that are ridden today are quite a bit different from the big, heavy solid wood boards of your day.

What do you think of that?

Duke: This board of mine, which I have today, is sixteen feet long, twenty-two inches wide, and three and a half inches thick.
It's solid redwood.
You speak about these light boards.
The first (light) board I tackled was Peter Lawford's board.
When Peter first came to Honolulu, he brought this board, and we swapped boards right out there at Canoe's surf.
I took one wave.
It was kinda tricky, as you know.
I thought, "Well, I'd better stick to my own solid board, which is steadier and easier to manage."
I said to Peter, "You better give me my board and you take your board back."
And that's the swap and that's the last I ever rode on one of these tricky boards they have.
But these kids are really expert on handling these boards.
They spin around and then come right up and hit you in the head.
And then they put the brakes on and that board comes up and then goes backwards, and (laughing) I don't know where else it goes.
- Severson: Great Surfing (1967), page 32.

The photograph of Duke with Boone and Lawford printed in Great Surfing (page 35) is captioned (incorrectly):
Richard Boone, Duke and Peter Lawford pose on the beach at Waikiki, in 1947.

In 2007, Sean Brawley wrote at length about Lawford's visit to Bondi
- Brawley, Sean: The Bondi Lifesaver- A History of an Australian Icon.
 ABC Books, Sydney, 2007.

The visit to Bondi of American surfer and film star Peter Lawford with his Dave Rochlen "10 and a half foot, banana nosed, solid balsawood" and fibreglass board in 1950 is detailed on page 216.
Brawley reports the board was ridden by Aud Laidlaw, Basil McDonald and Pam Pass.

Significantly, Pam Pass's recollections question Albie Thoms' (2000, page 63) claim that the board was finless, see Notes Chapter 8 #19 page 323.
He notes the board was generally known as a Zip board, but by it's Bondi riders as Peter and states Lawford never called the board a Malibu.
This is difficult to reconcile with the accompanying (previously unpublished) photograph of Lawford and the board at Bondi.
The image is appears to be newspaper quality and is dated by hand as “13/12/1950”.

This is almost certainly the same board photographed at Waikiki (above) on the way to Australia in late 1950.
Not so clear, but certainly identifiable in both images, is the word MALIBU in offset script across the nose.
If not Lawford, then someone (the second candidate would probably be the builder, Dave Rochen) added this decoration.

In accounting for the failure of Lawford's board to inspire board riders at Bondi, Brawley argues:
 Firstly, Lawford was not a particularly outstanding practitioner of the art of surfing.

However, Californian historian, Ben Marcus, notes:
As a surfer he was the real deal, surfing meant a lot to him.
I think he first learned on a trip around the world with his parents, in Hawaii.
Some of the Malibu guys who were around at the time also say he was the real thing.
Not a poser, he loved to surf.
- personal email, February 2007.

Brawley further argues (somewhat less than convincingly- note the insertion of “reputedly”):
Third, reputedly; 'Peter' did not possess what the 1956 Malibus had -a 'skeg' (fin):
It would be the  power of the fin that would mesmerise surfers in 1956.
This, despite, Brawley reporting the recollections of Pam Pass,  indicating that the board did have a fin.
The board closely resembles a Simmon's Spoon, a revolutionary design closely associated with Californian shaper Bob Simmons, circa 1949.
These boards were noted for their shallow long based fins, as illustrated by a photograph of Lawford in The Pit at Malibu, circa 1953, see below.

There is a possibility that one of these was the board Lawford brought to Australia.

Peter Lawford, friend and surfboard at Bondi, 
dated 13/12/1950.
Brawley (2007). Page 216 
(Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club).

 North Bondi Lifesaving Club member,
Grant Turnbull, with Peter Lawford’s balsa Malibu

Bondi, 1951.

Image courtesy of John “Red Ted” Sullivan,
November 2016.

Actor Peter Lawford and other Malibu Surfers,
The Pit , Malibu, circa 1953.
Lueras (1984) page 115.
Ricky Grigg Collection.

Following Peter Lawford's visit to Bondi, some Australian board riders experienced the superior performance of the Malibu board on their cross Pacific travels.

A merchant seaman, Ray The Admiral McKeon rode hollow boards in the late 1940s and early 1950s, on Sydney's south-side beaches.
He first visited Hawaii serving on a troop ship in WW II at 15, falsifying his age on enlistment, and while serving as a merchant seaman had his first rides on finned balsa ten-footers on Oahu’s South Shore around 1953.
He recalled I absolutely loved them, but I couldn’t bring one home back then as I didn’t have the dough.

Moving to Sydney’s northern beaches around 1958, Ray worked as a sander in Gordon Woods’ new factory in Brookvale between berths on ships and was among th
e first to regularly surf the breaks along the peninsula.

John Brasen:

According to the Wollongong
SLSC, boardrider and member Ted Burns rode a Malibu board when he competed in one of the early Makaha contests.
After the first scheduled contest in 1953 failed to provide waves, it was conducted successfully the next year, won by
George Downing, with Rabbit Kekai the champion in1955. 
"Ted Burns competing at Makaha in 1950  - said to be the first Australian to compete in Hawaii."
Unknown : Looking Forward - Looking Back : 
History of Wollongong City SLSC 1915-2000, page 27.

The board Burns is riding is certainly a short Malibu type board and the competition shirt conforms with other examples in use at Makaha in this period.
The caption obviously does not take account of the representative Australian team to the Pan-Pacific Games in Honolulu in 1939-1940.

Although this era precedes the development of an extended surfing press, surfboard designers published their plans in popular technical or handyman magazines as early as 1934.

Bill Reid's 1953 article "Fun on a Plastic Surfboard" details a 9ft 6''  board with a long based fin constructed from a styrofoam blank with a plywood stringer, covered in muslin cloth and plastic sealer before fibreglassing.

Popular Mechanics Magazine
July 1953 Volume 100 Number 1  page 159 
Californian, Matt Kilvin provided the technical information (and was photographed) building a fibreglassed balsa wood surfboard for Edna Wood's 1954 imaginatively titled article, "Surfboards".
Mechanix Illustrated Magazine
September  Volume 50 Number 9   pages 173 - 173.

Kilvin was a protégé of Bob Simmons and a companion of Joe Quigg and Tom Zahn.
His printed plans do not feature a fin, which maybe an oversight.
Printed in the U.S.A., it is unknown if any current copies arrived in Australia.
Certainly, without a demonstration of the board's performance, the impact on an Australian reader would have been minimal.
However, it is possible that these articles (or copies of) were in circulation among Australian surfboard builders after 1956.
It is unlikely that members of the U.S.A. and/or Hawaiian teams were unaware of Kilvin's contribution.

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.

 Scott Dillon Interview by  Neil Armstrong. Longboarding Magazine, Number 5, Autumn 1999, page 23.
Scott Dillon Interview 29th June 2005. Coffs Harbour NSW.

 In biographical notes, published in 1964, John ‘Nipper’ Williams, of Queenscliff S.L.S.A claims he obtained a balsa Malibu in 1955-1956, bought used in Hawaii ...

Surfing has been Williams' life from the time he joined Queenscliff Surf Club at the age of 12.
He started riding 16-foot plywood boards and believes he had the first Malibu brought to Australia.
He rode one he secured from a friend who had bought it in Hawaii, in 1955, the year after actor
Peter Lawford showed the first malibu here.
Pollard (1964) page 71.
The claim is confirmed by Manly surfer, Bob Evans ...
"...'Nipper' Williams, who had been using a beat-up old Malibu for six months, also was showing form.
'Nipper's' board was about 8' 6" and had been brought back by a travelling Australian businessman
for his 11 year old son six months earlier.
Everyone else thought it was a joke - except "Nipper" and several thousand Californians."
  Bob Evans in Surfing World Volume 16 # 4 Pages 30 to 35. 1972.
For the full article, a retrospective covering the period from the introduction of the malibu board 1956 to 1966, see ....Bob Evans : Remember the time when?

In early 1956 Scott Dillon returned to Bondi from the USA and purchased a Milacron, a job that was conducive to his surfing activities.
In mid 1956 he encountered 'Flippy' Hoffman, a visiting American surfer, seriously ill with yellow jaundice.
Flippy Hoffman was a member of a famous surfing family that included Walter and Joyce Hoffman.
While Hoffman was hospitalized, his balsa/fibreglass semi-gun was surfed by Scott Dillon at Bondi Beach.
The board featured an unusual concave deck.

Scott Dillon Interview by  Neil Armstrong. Longboarding Magazine, Number 5, Autumn 1999, page  23.
 Scott Dillon,  phone conversation, 2000.
 Scott Dillon Interview 29th June 2005. Coffs Harbour NSW.

This is probably the board referred to by Bob Evans, his commentary probably dating Hoffman's arrival in the later half of 1956 ...
"By chance the liner carrying home of the Americans to Australia also carried two Australian
surfboarders returning from a world trip.
They were Scott Dillon and Barry "McGoo" McGuigan and their non-surfing mate Bruce Laird. Obsessed by the possibilities of what they had seen of the short board in action overseas, the boys persuaded one of the Yanks to leave his board in their care at Bondi while he journeyed to Victoria for the big surf carnival.
This board, the first of its kind to be used regularly south-side, was stored at Ross Kelly's house and was ridden to a standstill, till its owner returned to claim it."

Bob Evans : Remember the time when? Surfing World Volume 16 # 4 1972 Pages  30 to 35.

Dave Simmons recalls that "Bluey" Mayes confided that the board was highly valued by the south side riders and effectively hidden from Hoffman on his return to Bondi from Victoria.

Dave Simmons in conversation, Shoalhaven Heads SLSC, 17 September 2006.
'Olympic' Preparations.
In the lead up to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the surf life saving movement intensively lobbied to have their sport featured as one of two demonstration sports nominated by the host country.
Despite the Olympic officials allocating demonstration status to Baseball and Australian Rules Football, the arrangements for the proposed International Surf Life Saving Carnival proceeded.

On the 5th October 1956, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) announced the forthcoming International surf life saving program as Torquay 2nd December, Maroubra 8th December and Collaroy 9th December, 1956.

The program was subsequently adjusted with the International Carnival to be held on the 25th November, with the (delayed from 1955-1956) Australian championships held on the following weekend, 2nd December, 1956.
"Early in the 1956-1957 season, an International Surf Carnival, regarded as the first truly international carnival (133), and the delayed 1956 Australian Surf Championships were
held at Torquay, Victoria on 25 November and 2 December 1956 respectively, to coincide with the Olympic Games being held in Melbourne."
Young, F. (2000) Page 71.
The countries invited to compete at all events included teams from Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon,  Hawaii and United States.

U.S.A. - Hawaiian Preparations
Torquay surfer, Peter Troy recalled
"... Arthur Parkin. I think he's 94 years old, living in Queensland on the Sunshine Coast, he was asked by the lifesaving authorities in Australia to travel to California and Hawaii to instruct paid lifeguards to be put together into a team to come out to Australia. And that was done I think as early as 1952 and was sponsored by Ampol Petroleum, where they paid for that man to go several times to America to teach these guys lifesaving methods."

In 1953 a reprenentative team of Australian lifesavers visited the U.S.A. and Hawaii'.
 Don  Lucas           (Manager)    Cronulla NSW
Harry  Clark           (Captain)      Cooks Hill NSW
John  Bloomfield                         Coffs Harbour NSW
Don  Morrison                             Cottesloe WA
Alex  Norton                                 Burnie TAS
Arthur  Parkyn                             Mooloolaba QLD
Brian  Whiting                             Torquay VIC
Tom  Jennings                            Henley SA

 The California Surf Life Saving Association historian reports
"The Honorable Judge Adrian Curlewis of Australia appointed Arthur Parkens (Parkyn?), an Australian lifesaving instructor, to solicit participation from the United States.
California lifeguards and a contingent from the Territory of Hawaii decided to participate.
Both teams were required trained and awarded, "The Australian Surflifesavers Medallion," so as to meet the international competition standards required for the event."

There is some uncertainty to the membership and the independence of the two teams.
Reports have alternative spellings for many team member's names, sometimes it is unclear to which team the member represents, and sometimes the teams are combined under the general description "Americans".
Some reports of the results from the various competitions are unclear.
Furthermore, Tom Zahn's status as a representative of Hawaii was possibly questionable.
The (apparently small) number of native Hawaiians in the team should also be noted.

What is certain is the quality of their equipment and their ability as Watermen.
Several team members were at the forefront of the development of the fibreglass surfboard, protégés of Bob Simmons.
The paddle and Malibu boards bought to Australia were built by some of the premier American designers - Joe Quigg, George Downing and Dale Velsey-Hap Jacobs.

Although the term only came to prominence in the surfing press circa 1978, see Warshaw (2004) Pages 681 and 682, the Waterman concept was essentially formulated by Tom Blake in the 1930s.
Blake (1935 and 1961) promoted the idea of the fully qualified surfer, personified in Duke Kahanamoku, whose skills not only included wave riding but proficiency in swimming, body surfing, the paddle board, canoe paddling, sailing, fishing, diving, rescue techniques and equipment construction and maintenance.
Blake's ideas were particularly taken up by Tom Zahn who was an elite athlete, see Lynch and Gault-Williams (2001) Pages 183 to 185.
In the early 1960s, the concept lost its status to a heavy focus on waveriding skill that, at an extreme, was valued over all other human traits.
That extreme was called Micki Dora - See Steyck and Kampion (2004).

US Team Members
Members were selected from various Californian professional life guard services - Los Angeles County (LACO), Los Angeles City (LACity) and Santa Monica City (SMC).
Rusty WilliamsTeam Captain (LACO)

"Rusty Williams emerged as the County's leader during this era of increased professionalism,
which saw the introduction of formalized training and public education programs."
History of the County of Los Angles Lifeguard Division
Kirby Temple Team Coach (LACO)

Herb Barthels, Sr. Team Manager (LACity)

Tad Devine(SMC)
The son of Hollywood actor, Andy Devine, Tad was an elite swimmer who

"... missed selection on times in the United States Olympic team
as a 400-metre swimmer by only 0.1 s."
SMH Monday 10th December, 1956. Page 11.
"In 1964, ... Howard Lee of LA County designed the national logo ... His design was influenced
by a similar design that Tad Devine of the 1956 Australia team had created for the team uniform."
California Surf Life Saving Association - History
Bob Burnside(LACO) - Velzy-Jacobs surfboard
"After the (Australian tour) ... Chief Stevenson appointed Bob Burnside as President of the nascent organization (SLSAmerica)"

"Bob Burnside  ... President ... of USLA 1963 - 1967"

California Surf Life Saving Association - History
"Bob Burnside became the Chief lifeguard in 1972. A founding member of the Surf Lifesaving Association, Chief Burnside pushed for professionalism and respect for lifeguarding with the introduction and recognition of important credentials such as rescue boat skipper licensing and EMT certification."
History of the County of Los Angles Lifeguard Division
Mike Bright (LACO)
"Mike 'Bones' Bright an Outstanding Waterman of Surfing, Paddleboardering (sic), and Diving. A State Champion in Beach Doubles Volleyball and a 3 time Olympic participant, once in paddling, twice in volleyball. And who glassed boards for Bing Copeland, Rick Stoner, Greg Noll, Dewey Weber, Sonny Vardeman, Hap Jacobs, Dick Mobley and others.
 When Mike was 15 years old he was repairing boards under the Manhatten (sic) Beach Pier, afterwards he would be glassing in friend's garages from Manhatten Beach to Redondo. Trying new ideas on glassing techniques. He used a Churchill swimfin to squeege a board, Mike liked the way the edge of the swim fin worked the resin, but the fin was to bulky. Back then anything was possible since no one did it before. Mike mentions Bill Bahr was the first to get glassing down, most of the early guys kept the information and technique of what they did to themselves. So you learned on your own."
Story by Mike Bright, written by Tom Takao.
"Mike "Bones" Bright was a member of the "17th Street Seals" which was a local surfing club back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As a club member he was involved in surfing, paddle-boarding, and volleyball.
Bright was also a multi-winner of the Catalina-to-Manhattan Beach Paddle Board Race. In 1955, Bright, after 32 miles on an 18 foot paddle board winning the Catalina-Palos Verdes-Manhattan Beach paddle board race played volleyball all day to help win the Manhattan Beach Six-Man Tournament. He did this on several occasions, including in 1964, when the event was two-man.
Mike Bright, five time winner of the Manhattan Beach Men’s Open, ... was an All-American from 1960-1964. He played on the 1964 Olympic Team and on the 1960 Pan Am Team."
Beach Volleyball Database
Greg Noll(LACO) (Gregg Knoll ?)
Greg Noll had a well documented surfing careeer.

Dave Ballinger (LACO)
Chick McIlroy(LACO)
Paul McIlroy (LACO)
Sheridan Byerly(LACO)
Roger Jensen(LACO)
A photograph of the U.S.A. team, location unknown,  includes Arthur Pakins from Australia and one Bud Stevenson, who is not listed elsewhere.
His attire indicates he is possibly an official.
Greg Noll notes several team members as "Tommy Zahn, Mike Bright, Bobby Moore and I"
Noll (198) Page 70.
Albie Thoms' account of the 1956 tour lists "Tad Devine ... Greg Noll, Mike Bright, Tom Zahn and others"
Thoms (2000) Page 64.
Hawaiian Team Members
Dr. Don Gustuson
Harry Shaeffer (Shaffer?) , Team Manager
Tom Shaeffer (Shroeder?) - 9ft 6'' semi-gun surfboard
Team Coach
Tom Moore
Tom Zahn - probably Joe Quigg surfboard
Dan Durego (De Rego?)

Tim Guard- George Downing surfboard
"Tim Guard's lifelong residency in Hawaii has revolved around ocean related activities. As president of McCabe Hamilton & Renny Co., he presides over the state's largest and oldest stevedoring business. He earned his BA from the University of Southern California in International Relations and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, where his combat citations were the Bronze Star and Navy Commendation Medal. Guard's civic service leadership roles include the Hawaii Maritime Center, Outrigger Canoe Club and Honolulu Council of the Navy League, for which he currently serves as president. Prior to joining McCabe, he owned and operated his own executive recruiting company, Robert T. Guard & Associates."

Pacific Marine Life Foundation : Board of Directors
L. Honka (Hangca?)
Peter Balding (Baulding?)
Shaky Felez

The above team lists are based on those at

Bob Green noted in November 2012:

Peter Balding
Dan de Rego
Reginald Nainoa 'Sharkey' Fellezs
Tim Guard
Don Gustuson
Luis Hangca
Tom Moore
Tom Schroeder
Harry Shaffer
Tom Zahn

Tom Zahn's Hawaiian team cloth badge
International Surfing Carnival, 1956.
The Surfer's Journal
Volume 9 No 2, 2000. Page 86. 
Photograph : unaccredited.

"The Hawaii team consisted of ten members including Peter Balding, Tom Zahn, Tom Moore, Tommy Shroeder, Harry Shaffer and Danny De Rego."
Patterson page 96

Accompanying the Hawaiian Team in Melbourne was Duke Kahanamoku, returning to Australia as a guest of the Australian Olympic Committee

US Team Arrival Anticipated
The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 11 November 1956 Page 84, noted ...
U.S. Team for surf
Twelve American and 10 Hawaiian lifesavers will arrive here on Tuesday to compete in surf carnivals
in Melbourne and Sydney.
They will be the first lifesavers from America and Hawaii to compete in carnivals in Australia.
The Americans and the Hawaiians will appear at Torquay (Victoria) on November 25 and December 2
and at Maroubra and Collaroy on December 8 and 9.
The Americans and Hawaiians will make their first appearance in Australia at carnivals next weekend at Cronulla and Avalon.

Under a header  "U.S. Surf team Will Tour'', a SMH article (11th October, 1956. Page 8) notes that the team will arrive in in Sydney in November and the success of the Carnival is due to a donation of two thousand pounds from Mr. G Walkley of Ampol.

Arrival in Sydney - Tuesday 13th November 1956.
Members of the US and Hawaiian teams arrived in Sydney on Tuesday 13th November 1956.

SMH 14 November 1956 Page ?
Daily Telegraph 14 November 1956 Page 31.
The Sun Wednesday 14th November 1956 Page 60.

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.
There is a slight possibility, with lengths exceeding 14 feet, they came by sea freight.

Noll records the initial Australian response to the new design was a mix of scepticism and laconic humour ..

"... a head honcho (unidentified) from one of the surf clubs in Australia came over to look at them.
'What are these for, mate?" he asked us.
... This guy kept looking at the boards, touching them, turning them over.
He finally said, 'Give ya two bob (two shillings, later 20 cents) for the works, mate.'
His way of saying they were worthless."  Noll (1989) Page 70.

Note that Greg Noll's assessment of Australian boardriding at this time is less than accurate...

"Up to that time, the Aussies had used a surf ski type of board,
and the idea was to go out and take off on some white water and
come straight in in the soup, while all the girls on the beach squealed."  Noll(1989) Page 70.
This may possibly be a casual assessment of current surf life saving and competition practice, but from the early 1940s Manly boardriders regularly rode at Fairy Bower, a powerful right hand point/reef break where to "take off on some white water and come straight in in the soup" is not a practical option.
  Cover : Walkabout - Australia and the South Seas Magazine October 1, 1942.

 Although Noll's account appears to suggest the inclusion of the Malibu boards was almost incidental ...

"We intended to take the boards with us to the paddle meets and,
during our time off, tryout the Australian surf."
Noll (1989) Page 71.
from their first contact with the Australian press, the US-Hawaiian surfers were expansive in their enthusiasm for their new fibreglassed surfboard designs.

The day after the U.S.A.-Hawaiian teams' arrival, the SMH  headlined an article  "Ultra-Light Board for Surf"...
"Hawaiian lifesaver Henry Shaffer (sic, Shaeffer) believes his 26lb board could revolutionise surfboard racing (1) in Australia.
Shaffer is captain of the Hawaiian surf team, which arrived in Sydney yesterday with 10 American
lifesavers to compete in international surf carnivals in Melbourne and Sydney during the next month.
The most streamlined racing boards in Sydney, made from  1/2 in (half inch) plywood, weigh about
33-35 lb.
Shaffer's surfboard is made of balsa wood reinforced with canvas, and is coated with a thick layer of
Several leading Sydney board riders agreed last night that the lightweight balsa fibre-glass boards
would give the Hawaiians a tremendous advantage under normal conditions.(3)
But they claimed the heavier Australian boards would be more at home in a big surf, where the
Hawaiian boards would be at a disadvantage.
Shaffer said: "I must admit that the powerful Australian surf will be the final test for the fibre-glass
board (4), which has just come into vogue in the United States."(5)
The Americans, all powerful rough-water swimmers are university graduates or students, who spend
the summer as professional lifeguards on beaches around Los Angeles.
The Hawaiian and American teams will be billeted at the Balmoral Naval Depot (6) until they leave for
Melbourne next Wednesday.
They wiII compete in carnivals at Torquay on November 25 and December 2, returning to Sydney on
December 6 for carnivals at Maroubra, Dec. 8, and Collaroy, Dec. 9. "

SMH 14th November, 1956. Page?
1. "revolutionise surfboard racing"
The boards referred to are likely paddleboards, and not the wave riding Malibus.
2. "made of balsa wood reinforced with canvas, and is coated with a thick layer of fibre-glass."
For a reference to "reinforced with canvas", see Bill Reid's 1953 article "Fun on a Plastic Surfboard"
Popular Mechanics Magazine July 1953 Volume 100 Number 1  page 159 .
3. "... Sydney board riders agreed ... the lightweight ... boards ... give ... advantage".
Australian builders have noted the advantages and, even at this early juncture, have possibly examined the boards.
4. "the powerful Australian surf will be the final test for the fibre-glass board".
Indicates the board design has been paddled, and ridden, in an extensive variety of surf conditions, so far successfully.
5. "which has just come into vogue in the United States."
 The design is only recently become popular in California and Hawaii.
6. "billeted at the Balmoral Naval Depot "
Gordon Woods recalled that they were accommodated at the Army barracks on North Head, significantly closer to Manly beach.                Gordon Woods, my notes from a phone conversation, 18th July 2005.

In correspondence with Eric Middldorp, Freshwater SLSC member Don Henderson recalls the members of the American and Hawaiian Teams visit to Freshwater Beach November 1956 were:
"Hawaiian Team.
Dan De Rego, Tom Zahn, Peter Balding, Lew Hanka, Ralph Kanoho, Tom Moore, Henry Kanoho, Reginald Fellaze, Tom Schoeder, Don Gustuson, Harry Schaffer (Delegate)."
He also forwarded a photograph "of Tom Zahn who was the Hawaiian Board Champion.
The photo was taken at Mona Vale Northern Beach surf carnival.
The board was 16ft. with a timber frame with a rubber skin over it.
He went down a wave and snapped it in half.
I won the board race that day."

- Thanks to Eric and Don.

As the teams were accommodated adjacent to Manly, a major research resource should be The Manly Daily.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the paper failed to archive copies circa 1955-1958 and none are held by the Manly-Warringah Library.

There is no mention of the provision of equipment storage or for training facilities of the visiting teams, the latter certainly requiring access to surfing conditions.
Since Manly Beach was the closest surfing beach to the teams accommodation at Balmoral, it is the most likely available training centre, with equipment storage facilities at any of the beach's three surf lifesaving clubs.

Manly surfers had reason to closely monitor the overseas competition.
The Manly SLSC sent a team of 27 to the Torquay carnivals, contesting a variety of events.
Unfortunately, star Manly swimmer Max Riddington was working in America and was not available for selection.
His place fell to another Manly club member, Barry Taylor.

Harris (1961) Page Twenty-nine.
Furthermore, Manly was one of the major centres of boardriding in Sydney, with a pedigree dating back to Claude West, the recipient of Duke Kahanamoku's Freshwater board in 1915.
West's impressive contest record was continued by his Manly protégé, 'Snowy' McAllister who
"... competed in the surfboard race at the Australian surf championships at Torquay,
Victoria in 1956 - 32 years after winning his first title."
Harris (1961) Page Fifty-six.
The Manly club's interest in surfcraft was not confined to surfboards and members played a major role in the development of the Australian surfboat and the surf ski.

The Sun journalist covering the arrival, J. S. McAuley, briefly mentioned  the new surfboard design, but gave most prominence to Tom Zahn's paddling abilities ...
"Hawaiian Tom Zahn will not lack staying power when he contests board contests at the Olympic surf carnival at Torquay on Sunday week.
Zahn recently won a 26 mile race in Hawaii.
The longest board races in NSW are about three miles.
With the revolutionary type boards the Hawaiians have brought with them they could trouble our top riders."

He also gave details of the team's competitive attire ...
"US and Hawaiian surfers will wear colorful costumes (donated by Speedo) for their first Australian appearance at Cronulla on Saturday and at Avalon on Sunday."

Some details in the article were, or proved to be, incorrect ...
"The Americans are coastguards from Miami Beach, Florida.
They will not be allowed to contest individual events, as they are paid professionals."

J. S. McAuley : In The Surf
The Sun Wednesday 14th November 1956 Page 60.

Cronulla Beach - Saturday 17th November 1956.
In a brief report focused on the skill of the U.S.A. team, the Sunday Telegraph (Sunday 18 November Page 76) reported ...
"U.S. surfers impressive
The visiting American surf team yesterday showed it could prove a major threat to Australia's domination of international surfing.
The Americans trained impressively before a crowd of 4000 at Cronulla beach."

Avalon Beach - Sunday 18th November 1956.
The first public, and most significant, demonstration of the performance capabilities of the Malibu boards was on Sunday 18th November at Avalon beach, on the Northern beaches peninsular.

The SMH reported (19th November, 1956. Page 3) in an article titled "Thousands Throng Beaches : Many Saved.  US Surfers Show New Technique"  ...

"Nearly 20,000 went to Avalon for the surf life saving carnival in which lifesavers
from United States, Hawaii and New Zealand  competed against Sydney clubs.
The American surfers, standing sideways on small 10ft. boards and moving
at high speed, received a warm reception from the crowd.
One of the American surfers, Ted Levine (sic, Tad Devine) had the opportunity to
demonstrate his country's rescue technique in a genuine emergency.
Instead of the Australian belt and reel, he used a "torpedo buoy' ".

For a detailed account of the use of the Torpedo buoy and it's assessment by Australian lifesaving officials, see the entry for the Collaroy International Carnival, Sunday 9th December 1956, below.

Wollongong - November 1956, undated, but before Wednesday 24th.

"During the year (1956), Olympic swimmers, Lorraine Crapp, Gary Chapman,
plus coach Frank Gutherie were entertained at the Illawarra Leagues Club.
Also at the same venue, the club entertained the U.S.A. and Hawaiian teams in November,
prior to the International Carnival at Torquay, during the Olympic Games."
The Corfu Lifebuoy - History of North Woolongong Surf Life Saving Club 1908-1996.
Pages 85 - 86.
Departure for Melbourne - Wednesday 21st November 1956.
In the period before the departure for Melbourne, Gordon Woods arranged to purchase a 9 ft 6” Velzy-Jacobs surfboard from Bob Burnside.
As Burnside required the board for competition, exclusive possession would only be available to Woods when the teams returned to the U.S.A.
To make certain of the deal, concerned that Burnside may receive a more attractive offer, Gordon Woods travelled to Torquay.
As future owner, he was able to surf the board, his first exposure to Victorian waves.
Gordon Woods, my notes from a phone conversation, 18th July 2005.

Image right : Gordon Woods and his Velzy-Jacobs Malibu board, circa 1958. 
Cropped from Pollard (1964) Page 28.

Two other boards were known to be purchased by Manly surfers, Bob Pike and Bob Evans, and given the Burnside-Woods arrangement it is possible that these were similar transactions.

                Woods and Velsey-Jacobs Balsa board. From Bob Burnside
                in 1956
Bob Pike purchased a 9 ft 6” Malibu from either Ted (sic) Schroeder or Tom Zahn
Bob Evans (1972)  and Nat's History (1983) Page 89.
Ray Moran (phone conversation, 23 August 2006) reports a tale from a Manly SLSC member that when the visitors left their boards at the club to venture down the Corso, Pike was invited by an unauthorized Manly member to try out one of the newly arrived boards.
Upon the return of visitors, Bob quickly rode the board into the beach under a hail of verbal abuse and desperately attempted to make amends by insisting that he wanted to buy the board.
Bob Pike was a big wave rider, noted for his Hawaiian performance.
He was the first Australian surfer to win an international contest, Peru 1962.

Bob Evans obtained a board (probably) built in Hawaii by North shore pioneer, George Downing ...

"Gordon Woods bought a 9' 6" Malibu type, Bob Pike acquired a 9' 6" semi-gun from Ted (sic, Tom) Schroeder and I paid Tim Guard 46 (pounds) for a beautiful, hot curl board built by George Downing."
Bob Evans : remember the time when...'  Surfing World Volume 16 # 4 1972 pages  30 to 35.

Note that this probably was not an original finless Hot Curl, circa 1937 but a later finned model based on the Hot Curl template.
Bob Evans was a surfing photographer and future editor of Surfing World magazine and prolific surf film producer.

Nat Young (1983) also reports that ..."Peter Clare  (bought) a  Quigg board" -  page 89.
This claim is repeated (but probably the source is Young) by  Walding (2003) page 25.

None of the reports appear to account for Greg Noll's (possibly self-made) board which he confirms was onsold

"When we left Australia, we also left our boards for the Aussies."
Noll (1989), Page 71.
Note that Peter Troy specifically notes Noll's board had a removable fin, see the entry for Torquay, Sunday 2nd November 1956, below.

A report in the SMH clearly indicates that seven Malibu boards of the Hawaiian team will be onsold to Australian surfers at the end of the tour...
"Surfers To Sell Boards
The visiting Hawaiian surfers will sell their seven lightweight surfboards (1), which created a sensation at Avalon last Sunday (2), after their farewell appearance at Collaroy on December 9.
The boards, which are made from balsa reinforced with two long strips of redwood (3) 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 (4), can be made in less than a week.
Shorter, Wider
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.(5)
Three hundred people saw the Hawaiians give an exhibition of board riding after a special carnival at
Avalon in a big surf last Sunday.(2)
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

SMH Wednesday 21 November, 1956. Page 15.
1. "seven lightweight surfboards"
The boards as described are definitely Malibus, approximately 8 feet long.
This possibly only refers to boards from the Hawaiian team.
The number of boards from the U.S.A. team is unknown.
See below.
2. "which created a sensation ...Three hundred people saw the Hawaiians give an exhibition of board riding after a special carnival at Avalon in a big surf last Sunday."
The report closely aligns with Greg Noll's recollections, that commentators often locate at Torquay.
See Noll (1989), Page 71, quoted above.
3. "reinforced with two long strips of redwood"
.The presence of redwood stringers is not noted in any other report.
In film of Duke Kahanamoku's visit to Freshwater Beach following the Olympic Games, reproduced in Nat Young's A History of Australian Surfing (1985), one board of the accompanying U.S.A.-Hawaiian riders appears to conform with this description.
See Freshwater - December 1956, below. 4. "used at Waikiki Beach for seven or eight years"
Estimates the introduction of the fibreglassed boards to Waikiki circa 1949.
5. "about five inches wider than the local board's 20-21 inches."
It is unlikely that any of the balsa and fibreglass boards width exceeded 24 inches, but it is possible.
6. "in a big surf last Sunday."
The contrast between this report's "big surf"  with Greg Noll's "a little point break" (see above) maybe be explained by Noll's, often quoted, extreme method of estimating wave height in "increments of fear".
Noll was one of the first surfers to regularly ride the large waves of Oahu's north shore in the 1950s, his performance at Waimea Bay and Outside Pipeline is well documented.

Wednesday's SMHreport indicates that at least seven boards from Hawaii are to be on-sold to Australian boardriders.
It is unclear if this is the total number of boards, or if other boards were available from the U.S.A. team.
Of the boards identified above, two came from Hawaiian team members (Schroeder or Zahn and Guard) and one from the U.S.A. team (Burnside).
Nat Young's report that "Peter Clare  (bought) a  Quigg board".  does not identify the previous owner, boards by Joe Quigg were in use in both Hawaii and California.                           Nat Young (1983) Page 89
There are, at least, three boards unaccounted for.
It is known that Greg Noll and Mike Bright  brought Malibu boards to Australia, however their fate is currently unknown.
A remote possibility is that one transaction may have included an exchange of craft, at least one Australian surf ski probably returning with a member of the Hawaiian team.

Patterson (1960) Plates 32 and 33.

 In a report despatched from Melbourne and published on the day of departure, The Sun's J. S. McAuley detailed accommodation and catering arrangements for the competitors ...
"Australian and overseas surfers billeted at Melbourne Showground will not go short of meals during their 12-day stay. Frank Dennis, who is doing the catering at Melbourne Stadium during the Games, is also looking after the surfers. He has ordered nearly two tons of beef, to be eaten at breakfast. He is providing a la carte dinners for the 350 surfers at night."

J. S. McAuley : Surfers to Eat by ' Ton'
The Sun Wednesday 21st November 1956 Page 59.
Subsequent reports indicate a less than positive assessment of Frank Dennis' culinary skills ...
"Many of the competitors were less than happy because they were housed at the Melbourne
Showgrounds and there were mountains of complaints about the bulk food catering.
Lou Vaughan, of Burleigh Heads, and his mate 'Whoopsie' Phipps, of Surfers Paradise,
told me, 'It was worse than horsemeat. ' "
Galton (1984) Page 108.
  Torquay Beach - Sunday 25th November 1956 : International Carnival
An Australian (Melbourne?) newspaper article, "Torquay Prepares for International Surfing Carnival "(25th November 1956?) detailed team training activities and noted, once more, the use of fibreglassed boards ...
The Americans were particularly interested in the performance of boats and boards yesterday.
Manager Kirby Temple pointed out that the only surf boat used
at Los Angles was a Gloster (?) dory, manned by two rowers.
Americans also use a different type of board.
It measures about nine feet, and is made of balsa wood covered in fibreglass.
The newspaper article is reproduced in Walding, page 17.

  In another article previewing Sunday's carnival, Melbourne's The Age notes the attendance of international teams, possible highlights of the day's events and the expectation of a large number of spectators ...

"With Olympic athletes observing a rest from competition,
a crowd of thousands is expected to make the journey."
There is no mention of the U.S.A. or Hawaiian teams' surfboards.
The Age Saturday 24th November 1956 Page 12.
Duke Kahanamoku attended at least one of the carnivals at Torquay, probably the first.
He returned to Australia for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, where he and Mrs. (Nadine) Kahanamoku official guests of the Australian Olympic Organizing Committee.
Image right :
Duke and Nadine Kahanamoku 
 International Surf Carnival, Torquay Victoria, 1956.
 Myers (1983) Page 18 and Galton, (1984) Page 108.

Following the competition, the Daily Telegraph reported ...
"Surfing draws 50,000
Melbourne, Sun.
- Fifty thousand people today saw 35 teams compete in an international carnival at Torquay.
The Americans caused a surprise when they appeared with their surfboards.
Glass Boards
The boards were made of light fibre glass.
They were very narrow, with rounded keels and resembled kayak canoes.
Australia's reel and line method of surf rescue astounded the Americans.
The American system is to carry a coil of nylon line into the surf and pay it out as they swim to the patient."

Daily Telegraph Monday 26 November Page 35.
Note that the board description implies the fibreglass boards are probably the paddleboards, identified above, and the account of the the "American system" is  misleading.
For a detailed account of the use of the Torpedo buoy and it's assessment by Australian lifesaving officials, see the entry for the Collaroy International Carnival, Sunday 9th December 1956, below.

The Age's coverage of the contest reported a more modest number of spectators and disappointing swell conditions ...
"Forty thousand people,  yesterday swarmed over the cliffs at the Toquay beach to watch the International Surf Carnival.
Overseas Olympic visitors and athletes were well represented in the crowd.
Despite high winds the surf was weak and spasmodic and competitors got little help from it.
Passing showers sent the crowds scurrying for cover during the morning, but the sun shone brightly for most of the afternoon.
Overseas visitors did not see the typically Australian sport of surfing at its best because of the poor surf."
The article makes no reference to the use of fibreglass and balsa wood surfboards and an extensive list of results, printed in a separate section,  does not include board, surf ski or surfboat events.

The Age Monday 26th November 1956 Pages 3 and 13.

World surf stars thrill crowd

Tall, bronzed life-savers in their brightly col ored uniforms, slowly ¡land majestically marched across the sands of Torquay yesterday - and 1 70,000 people cheered one of the most spectacular scenes of our Olympic Games Carnival.

Thirty-five teams representing the U.S.A., Hawaii, Ceylon, South Africa, New Zealand, Great Britain, and local and interstate surf life saving clubs-competed in the international surf carnival.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the events continued non-stop.
As the crowds increased, they packed the beach, then the headland - soon cars took over the golf course.

And then the tide turned, and coming in shore, started nibbling the golden beach away.

The colorful march past was put forward an hour to 1 p.m. - and even then there was hardly enough beach left for the 35 bronzed and youthful teams to march on.

Wearing colorful costumes of blue tops with white stars, a white centre band, and scarlet trunks, the U.S. team brought cheers from the huge crowd.

But the more experienced New Zealanders won the international march past, with Ceylon second, and South Africa third.

White-haired Duke Kahanamouku, sheriff of Hawaii and former dual Olympic swimming champion, sat among the carnival crowd with Australian "Boy" Charlton, another former Olym pian.

"It's great," the Duke said, "the sight of surf always thrills me."

But for once the Torquay surf was rather tame, no boats were up ended and the small waves were hard to catch.

The Americans caused a surprise when they appeared with their version of surf boards.

Very narrow, and made of light fibre glass, they proved a lot faster than the normal Australian board.

And our reel-and-Iine method of surf rescue astounded them!

The American idea is to carry a coil of nylon line into the surf and play it out as they swim to the patient.
They wear no belt attached to a reel, as we do here. ¡j

Judge Adrian Curlewis, Australia Surf Life Saving Association president, said the international Olympic carnival had brought about an exchange of ideas - the Americans were going to try our reel-and-line method, and we would experiment with their torpedo line.

Judge Curlewis added that an international advisory surf committee would now be formed.

Hawaii won the International beach relay from South Africa and the U.S.

Tom Zahn, of Hawaii, won the board race from Mike Bright, of U.S., and G. Williams, of Western Australia.

New South Wales won the interstate rescue and resucitation from Queensland and Western Australia.
Jim Fountain, of Victoria, won the senior interstate belt race from R. Hounslow, of Western Australia, and R. Reid, of South Australia.
The Americans claim the Australian reel and line is cumbersome, and that the "torpedo" would halve rescue time.
The nylon line is in a rubber buoy fastened under the patient's arms.

1956 'World surf stars thrill crowd.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 26 November, p. 9, viewed 2 October, 2013,

Barry Galton report of the contest results includes ...

"Overall, the New South Wales team ... won the contest from New Zealand's team ...
Hawaii came third. ... Hawaii won the Beach Relay from South Africa and the
United States and the Hawaiian T. Zahn won the Surf Board from American M. Bright.
This was the first time the American malibus had been given a trying test out in the Australian surf."
Galton (1984) Page 108.
His last statement is both possibly misleading and incorrect.

 Compare Galton's reported results with the claim by the Cronulla Club, noted by Faye Young ...
"At the International Carnival (Torquay, 25th November), the (Cronulla) Club won the ...Surf Board Race..."

                                                          Young, F. (2000) Page 71.

 Although the Malibu board had already made an indelible mark on Sydney boardriders, the Torquay Carnivals widened exposure to surfers from other countries and other Australian states.
Queensland boardrider and manufacturer, Hayden Kenny stated...
"I first came in contact with a malibu board at Torquay beach in Victoria in November of 1956 at the Olympic Games Surf Carnival.
The coach of the Californian team, a Mr Arthur Parkyn (Parkens?), who is a foundation member of Mooloolaba Surf Club, introduced me to some of the Californian Team members who had malibu boards with them. I was able to take one of the boards out for a few waves that day and was immediately impressed with the wave riding capabilities of the craft.
And from that day on I was hooked!".

Hayden Kenny, reported at

Australian Surf Championships, XVI Olympiad 1956, Torquay Vic., Alloy memento
This rare and interesting item was contributed by Gary O’Donnell, November 2012.
Gary noted :

"This memento was given to my Father, Michael O’Donnell, (who) was a member of Torquay SLSC, was in the group that first surfed Bells in 1948-9, and he chopped the first walkway to Bells Beach with his Axe .
I thought you might like a copy of this one as originals are very  rare, I have seen a painted one at Torquay surf museum but no other." (edited).

Indicative of the versatility of American Easi-Bild patterns is this smart, serviceable surf board.
Thousands of surf devotees
have hankered after a surfboard, but the high cost of the commercially made article has ruled out ownership for them.
Now you
can build your way to riding the waves on this 10-ft. surfboard with an American Easi-Bild Pattern. No. 247, that makes construction absurdly simple.
Pattern price, only .. 7/6.


1956 'Advertising.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 4 December, p. 19, viewed 2 October, 2013,

Arthur Parkyn of Mooloolaba riding a wooden surfboard made by the Hawaiian forefather of surfing Duke Kahanamoku in Hawaii , ca 1940

Arthur and Del Parkyn of Mooloolaba on their wedding day in Honolulu, Hawaii,

Del Parkyn of Mooloolaba opening wedding gifts after her marriage to Arthur Parkyn on 22 September, 1956 in Honolulu

Arthur Parkyn Australian Surf Life Saver seated in the middle of Hawaiian Life Guards, ca 1956

Members of the Hawaiian Surf Team life guards and their partners enjoy a party in Honolulu, ca 1956

Collaroy Beach, near Sydney, during an international surf carnival held during December 1956

United States took part in an international surf carnival on Collaroy Beach,

Flags of two Surf Life Saving Association International Teams USA and Hawaii which were presented to their Australian coach Arthur Parkyn pictured, November, 1956

Australian Arthur Parkyn returning the World Titles banner from the World Titles Surf Life Saving competition held at Torquay, Victoria in 1956, ca. 1998

Torquay Beach - Sunday 2nd December 1956.
The SMH (Monday 3rd December, 1956. Page 12) reported
"Melbourne, Sunday.
Only about 15,000 watched the championships.
There was hardly any surf and by early afternoon the tide was well out to sea, leaving swimmers a
long run and wade to deep water.
The march past was marred by a storm and ... a second storm cleared the beach and the sandhills later."

 "At the Australian Championships (Torquay, 2nd December)... Brian Keane  (Cronulla)
was placed second in the Surf Board Championship"

Young, F. (2000) Page 71.
Torquay surfer, Peter Troy recalled his role at the 2nd December carnival for ABC Radio ....
"I was not in the official team, I was only seventeen at the time, I was asked to give demonstration surfboard riding. I rode one of those early surf club boards(1), to show the standard of surfing within this country."  But it was the American team that helped inspire the surfing culture in Australia, "in the American lifeguard team, the major people were the lifeguards, basically swimmers.(2) In that team they brought out with them four Malibu boards.(3) It was Greg Noll on the second of December (4) who rode a surfboard on Torquay back beach (5) on a Sunday afternoon, and changed the life of surfing in Australia for so many people. It was totally revolutionary, the board itself was something like nine foot long.

"We were riding sixteen and seventeen foot long boards. We knelt on them in general, we didn't have fins on the bottom of the board. Here's a guy walking down the beach with this strange little thing, and jumps on it and lies down, and everyone who was watching was thinking 'this guy isn't very good he can't even kneel!' (6) Fifty meters out from the beach he spun it around, caught a wave, walked up and down, hung toes over the nose, and did things we'd never seen before! That, basically was the reason we walked away from surf lifesaving, we wanted to learn to shape one of these things. The boards were taken with them after that weekend, we had nothing to copy. (7) We all started from scratch."

Peter Troy: pioneer surfer
ABC Radio (Gold & Tweed Coasts) Friday, 4 August  2006.
1. "I rode one of those early surf club boards"
Peter Troy's role is expanded in a later radio program, noted below.
2 "the major people were the lifeguards, basically swimmers."
A  under-estimation of the surf skills of the U.S.A. and Hawaiian team members, see comments on the Waterman concept, above.
3. "four Malibu boards"
There is no mention of the fibreglassed paddeboards.
4. "the second of December"
Peter Troy's recollections clearly refer only to the second Torquay carnival.
5. "Torquay back beach"
Possibly as a result of the lack of swell at Torquay as noted by the SMH (Monday 3rd December), above.
6. " 'this guy isn't very good he can't even kneel!' "
Repeated in a later radio program, noted below.
7. "The boards were taken with them after that weekend, we had nothing to copy."
The boards were, no doubt, by now allocated to various Sydney surfers.

 Later in 2006, Peter Troy was interviewed again, his further recollections add some relevant details.

"... Arthur Parkin. I think he's 94 years old, living in Queensland on the Sunshine Coast, he was asked by the lifesaving authorities in Australia to travel to California and Hawaii to instruct paid lifeguards to be put together into a team to come out to Australia. And that was done I think as early as 1952 and was sponsored by Ampol Petroleum, where they paid for that man to go several times to America to teach these guys lifesaving methods.(1)

At the same time, two of us, and I'm talking about another fellow called Vic Tantau (2), and myself, we were asked to give a demonstration of the early surfboard riding because of what we'd developed. So I was very fortunate to have been selected to give a demonstration of surfboard riding.

We basically went out on the 16-foot toothpicks, and Torquay beach is a very special beach for this because there's a large exposed rock off the beach called Haystack Rock, and the way it's come in on an angle on there, and they go off breaking towards the right, down into the middle of Torquay back beach, and it allows maybe a 300-metre ride on one of these surfboards.(3)

I distinctly remember being under the Torquay surf club, which was an elevated building up on lamp-posts, and they had all of the surf craft underneath, and I went under there to get something, and there was one of these American guys, and he was kneeling in the sand, and he was wrapping around a fin that he'd taken out of a little handbag that had his towel and bathers and everything in it, and he was wrapping newspaper around the edge, and putting it into a slot in the surfboard. And he picked up a piece of rock that was in the sand and he was hammering this fin into the surfboard. And of course I had no awareness of what this was about, so I was interested.(4)

I hadn't had the opportunity of ever talking to the guy, so I was just looking at him, and followed him down the beach and there was probably 8 or 10 other people on the beach that followed this guy down, carrying the surfboard under his arm, and he got into the water, (maybe it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I'm not quite sure) and lay on it, and of course we looked at that and thought, Well he's not very proficient because he can't even kneel on the surfboard, he's lying on it. And then we thought he wasn't very good either, because he only went 40 or 50 metres off the beach, and that was the last time we thought like that, because immediately he turned around, caught a wave in about three paddles, stood up, and crossed the wave, and then hot-dogged backwards and forwards, walking up and down the board, and we were all just - (Mick O'Regan: Gobsmacked?) Exactly.(5)

Well a couple of us went up to him, and we asked him, 'Can I have a go?' and I distinctly remember having a go on this board, but I couldn't really paddle the thing, and when I did try to stand up on it, it was so responsive, that it flipped out from underneath me (6), and so that was our only contact (1), because by that night, those guys had gone back to Geelong into their hotels (7), they'd packed their belongings and they were gone to Sydney. So the people who were on the beach that night had virtually two hours to think about it, and then they were going home to Melbourne, or to Ballarat, or Geelong, or somewhere, and within one or two weeks, those guys that were fairly competent with their hands had gone into their yards and tried to make one themselves. But they didn't have the material, so they had to make them out of marine ply with hardwood rails and they had bulkheads in the board rather like a small craft, and holes through those so that -

The four surfboards (8) that we knew those guys had, had gone that particular night, they'd gone to Sydney, and we now know that those four surfboards were bought by individuals in Sydney, and so Gordon Woods and Bob Evans and Bob Pike (9), other people in Sydney that acquired those boards, had the opportunity then of being able to copy them. But we in Victoria didn't, so we had to start off with just pure memory." (10)

Peter Troy : The Sports Factor.  Presenter : Mick O'Regan
ABC Radio National Friday, 22 September 2006.
1. "Arthur Parkin ... I think as early as 1952 and was sponsored by Ampol Petroleum, where they paid for that man to go several times to America to teach these guys lifesaving methods."
The date of 1952, even for Parkin's first American visit, appears remarkably early and indicates early sponsorship by Ampol.
..2. "... Vic Tantau, and myself, we were asked to give a demonstration ..."
Troy's earlier recollections did not include his companion, Viv Tantau.
Tantau was to become one of the first Victorian board builders to use fibreglass and balsa.
3. "... Torquay beach is a very special beach ... it allows maybe a 300-metre ride on one of these surfboards."
These details of Torquay surfing conditions are useful information for those unfamiliar with the location.
4. "I distinctly remember ..., so I was interested."
His comments of Greg Noll, fitting a fin to his board are of great interest and the use of a removable fin does not appear in any other report.
5. "I hadn't had the opportunity ... Exactly."
Indicates an approximate number of observers, an approximate time, and a more detailed account of Noll's surfing performance.
Although not indicated, it is possible Greg Noll rode the break adjacent to "a large exposed rock off the beach called Haystack Rock".
This does not correspond with Noll's recollections ... "a little point break off to the side ...we ... paddled out".
Noll (1989), Page 71. My emphasis.
6. "I distinctly remember having a go on this board, ... it flipped out from underneath me."
Peter Troy's difficulty with the new design is a common surfing experience, and was regularly noted in the massive reduction in surfboard volume in the years between 1967 and 1970.
7. "back to Geelong into their hotels"
The accommodation at Geelong is at variance with another report that suggests "Australian and overseas surfers (are to be) billeted at Melbourne Showground "
J. S. McAuley : Surfers to Eat by ' Ton'
The Sun Wednesday 21st November 1956 Page 59.
8. "The four surfboards"
Although Troy only records Greg Noll's board and surfing, it is unclear how he has determined the number of boards as four.
There is no report of the longer fibreglassed paddleboards.
9. "those four surfboards were bought by individuals in Sydney, ... Gordon Woods and Bob Evans and Bob Pike"
In the case of Gordon Woods, and highly probable for Evans and Pike, his board was already 'purchased' before it arrived at Torquay.
Gordon Woods, my notes from a phone conversation, 18th July 2005.
10. "Sydney ... (was) able to copy them ... Victoria ... had to start off with just pure memory."
It is possible there were some discussions or feedback from the visiting Sydney boardriders who had already started to formulate solutions to building the Malibu design.
Despite the location of the only reliable source of balsa wood in Melbourne, between 1957 and 1964 the Victorian surfboard market was dominated by Sydney manufacturers
Circa 1957-1958, SLSA printed plans for an Okinuee design - this document is known to exist, but it's actual status is yet to be determined.

Luke Williamson notes that

"In 1957, in Hamilton (New Zealand), Peter Miller made a longboard
based on a design published in 'Australian Outdoors Magazine' ."
Williamson (2000) Page 11.
I have not identifed or located a copy of the 1957 Australian Outdoors Magazine article cited by Williamson, but certainly this was readily available to Australian board builders.

By the end of 1959, plans for a fibreglassed Malibu were available by post at at cost of 30 shillings. ($3.00)

Australian Outdoors Magazine, November 1959 Page 74.
Reference provided, with thanks, by Mick Mock.
A West Australian Connection

"Colin (First) was responsible for bringing back the concepts to build the first Malibu's in Western Australia from the 1956 Surf carnival held in Torquay which coincided with the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne Australia.
I have shown pictures here of the 1956 Torquay board race demonstrating the boards they were using which were later merged into the first true surf skis.
The initial paddle skis were kragga skis which were canvas covered and it took three people to get them in the water.
The frame of one of these Kragga skis is shown in the pictures.
The Kragga Ski and the longboards merged and this became the first true surf skis with footstraps and paddles tied to the front on which paddlers still stood up on.
The skis later progressed to fibreglass versions which were much lighter although a far cry far from the current 9kg skis of today.

The Americans came to Australia for the 1956 surf life saving carnival and the legendary Greg Noll (The Bull) was a part of the team. I asked Dad about the race and meeting the Americans.
All he can remember is being pushed under the cans by one of the Americans and having a huge party at the Torquay Hotel and waking up under his car with a hangover from hell.
Some things don't change!
The picture of the old Holden with the boards was the trip across the Nullarbor (3429km) to the carnival with Kirk Jarrots uncle leaning out the window.
Kirk placed 10th in the Molakai this year. Dad built the first Malibu's in WA after this trip and was one of 6 surfers on the Perth Coast at the time."

- Fisher, Craig: The Pre-history of Ski Paddling - an Aussie Perspective, 28 May 2008 (viewed August 2010).
  Maroubra - Saturday 8th December 1956
In a preview to that weekend's carnivals at Maroubra and Collaroy, the SMH (Saturday 8th December, 1956. Page 12) reported ..
"Board Race
The main interest will be in the surfboard race in which the Hawaiians and the Americans will use eight-foot long balsa boards.
Hawaiian Tommy Zahn, who won the recent international match at Torquay in Victoria, paddles one lying down.
The local competitors kneel on their boards."

On the following day, the Sun Herald reported the conditions and results of theMaroubra Carnival, accompanied by a photograph of B. Keane, Cronulla.
"Many boats were swamped and skis and boards were tossed high in the air in the big seas.
Surfboard Race : B. Keane (Aust.) 1; T. Devine (U.S.A.) 2;  G. Noll (U.S.A.) 3.
Belt Race :   T. Devine (U.S.A.) 1.
Surf Race :  ? 1;  T. Devine (U.S.A.) 2.
Beach Relay : Hawaii 1; U.S.A. 2.
International Beach Sprint : ? 1;  L. Hangca (Hanagca? Honka?) (Hawaii) 2; P. Baulding (?) 3."

Sun Herald Sunday 9th December, 1956. Page 42.
"at two International Test Matches held at Maroubra and Collaroy early in December 1956 ... Brian Keane  (Cronulla) won the Surf Board race (134)."
                                                           Young, F. (2000) Page 71.
Collaroy Beach - Sunday 9th December 1956.
Collary SLSC historian Sean Brawley reports at length on the preparations for the Collaroy Carnival ...
"The organisational experience gained by staging the (1956) Metropolitans proved very useful later in the year when the Club was given the honour of hosting an international surf carnival as part of the celebrations surrounding the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The First International Test Carnival was held at Maroubra on Saturday 8 December 1956, with the Second Test held at Collaroy the following day.(1) The carnival consisted of competition by national teams as well as open events for local clubs. Teams from New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, Great Britain and Hawaii (before it gained statehood in 1959) were represented. (2) Hector McDonald had the privilege of being Carnival Referee, the first Collaroy member to attain such an honour.

Upon the arrival of the national teams in Australia each was appointed a liaison officer to assist the team with their stay.(3)  In the case of South Africa Dick Twight (of Collaroy SLSC) was appointed and joined the South Africans in Melbourne for the first leg of their visit. ... The team found the cool water temperature of Victorian beaches most unpleasant. More pleasant was the visit to a day of the Olympic Games and a meeting with surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku.(4)  Soon the team was given a 'Kombibus' by the Association and had a relaxing drive from Melbourne to Sydney with a number of official engagements along the way.(5)

Once in Sydney the (South African) team was accommodated at the North Head army barracks (6) and continued their preparations for the international tests."

Brawley (1995) Page 214.
1. "The First International Test Carnival was held at Maroubra on Saturday 8 December 1956, with the Second Test held at Collaroy the following day."
Brawley makes no reference to the two carnivals in Torquay.
I assume that the Collaroy SLSC had no representatives at these events.
2. "Teams from New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, Great Britain and Hawaii (before it gained statehood in 1959) were represented."
'Hawaii' was designated as The Teritory of Hawaii and the team from the U.S.A. is omitted, see below.
3. "Upon the arrival of the national teams in Australia each was appointed a liaison officer to assist the team with their stay."
I have no record of the appointed liaison officer(s), and from which club(s), for the U.S.A. and/or Hawaiian teams.
4. "More pleasant was the visit to a day of the Olympic Games and a meeting with surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku."
It is unclear when and where the meeting with Kahanamoku took place, Duke was in attendance at at least one of the Torquay carnivals.
5. "... a relaxing drive from Melbourne to Sydney ..."
Compare this with Greg Noll's account - separated from the team, he returned to Sydney with a group of Australians who "hit every pub along the way. ... We ended up getting totally wiped out."
Noll (1989), Page 72.
6. "Once in Sydney the (South African) team was accommodated at the North Head army barracks..."
Note that Gordon Woods, noted above, recalls that the U.S.A. and Hawaiian teams were accommodated at North Head Army Barracks.
Newspaper reports (SMH 14 November 1956 Page ?, Daily Telegraph 14 November 1956 Page 31)  indicate the U.S.A. and Hawaiian teams were intially accommodated at Balmoral Naval Depot, but it is possible that on the return to Sydney they were relocated, with the South Africans, to North Head.

The SMH reported the conditions and results of the Collaroy Carnival.
"Australian's Win Most Events In Surf Carnival
A crowd of 6,000 saw Australians dominate most of yesterday's events at the international surf carnival at Collaroy.
Australia held a narrow lead of half a point over New Zealand after the first day of the gala at Maroubra on Saturday.
But yesterday Australia won the R. and R., surf race, beach sprint, board race, and marathon surf race. ...
Conditions were ideal.
The surf was not as boisterous as at Maroubra, where the ski and board events were spoiled by the big waves.
Double To Lumsdaine
Barry Lumsdaine, of Australia, won the surf race and a marathon surf relay race within 20 minutes of each other.
In the marathon event competitors had to complete the course three times -swimming, on surfboards, and on surf skis.
Lumsdaine went further ahead with each stage, finally beating South African Leon Coetzee by 40 yards, with 6ft 5in Hawaiian Tom Moore third.
Lumsdaine. who is recognised as one of the best board riders in Sydney, gave the crowd a thrill by standing up on his board as he rode a wave into the beach.
During the afternoon:
- Brian Keane, of Cronulla, had an easy win in the board race from Hawaiian Tommy Zahn, who used a lightweight balsa board. and Mike Bright, of the United States.
- Tad Devine, of the United States, son of famous film comedian Andy Devine, won the belt race narrowly: after tripping in the run down the beach to the water.
Devine missed selection on times in the United States Olympic team as a 400-metre swimmer by only 0.1 s.
- Pat Manning, of Australia, just held off the Hawaiian champion Lew Hangca in a close beach sprint.
- Tom Schroeder, of Hawaii, who has won several long distance canoe races in the islands, had an impressive win in the ski race.
Schroeder and the Hawaiian team captain, Harry Shaffer recently won a 46-mile two-man canoe race across the dangerous Molokai Channel at Honolulu in an Aloha Week festival.

Yesterday's results:-
Board: B. Keane (Aust.). 1: T. Zahn (Hawaii). 2; M. Brlght (U.S.A.).3.
Belt: T. Devine (U.S.A.). 1: J. JarvIs (N.Z.). 2; T. Edwards (S. Africa). 3.
March past: South Africa. 15. 1; Australia. 17. 2: New Zealand. 22. 3.
R. and R.: Australia. 8.2. 1; New Zealand. 9.9. 2; South Africa. 9.92. 3
Beach relay: Hawaii. 1; Australia. 2; U.S.A.. 3.
Beach sprint: P. Mannina (Aust.). 1; L. Hanagca. (Hawaii). 2: C. Mcllroy (U.S.A.) 3.
Single ski: T. Schroeder (Hawaii); 2: K. Ryan (N.Z.). 2: L. Cullenbourne (S. AfrIca). 3.
Surf: B. Lumsdaine (Aust.) 1; B. Hutchings (Aust.) 1; L. Hawker (N.Z.). 3.
Surf teams: New Zealand. 26, 1; Australia. 30, 2; South Africa. 39, 3
Marathon surf: B. Lumsdaine (Aust.), 1; L. Coetzee (S. Afrlca), 2: T. Moore (Hawaii), 3.
PoInts score: Australia. 44 1/2; New Zealand. 35; South Africa. 26 1/2; Hawaii, U.S.A., 24."

SMH Monday 10th December, 1956. Page 11

Brawley notes the inclusion of the "Marathon surf" event, a multi-discipline race, as a fore-runner of the modern Ironman event.

 "The carnivals also saw the running of an 'Individual Medley Race' involving
a swim, board and ski leg - the ironman event was It starting to emerge."
Brawley (1995) Page 215.

 He reports the U.S.A. team as absent of the  from the Collaroy carnival, but notes the Malibu board demonstrations (restricted to U.S.A. surfers) and the Americans' use of the Torpedo buoy, but not the fibreglassed paddleboards.
"While not represented as a national team at the International Carnival, a team of American professional lifeguards were also in Australia during 1956 and conducted a number of demonstrations. As well as bringing the new Malibu style surf board the Americans brought with them the cornerstone of their surf life saving equipment, an apparatus which had long since been discarded by Australian surf clubs, the torpedo buoy.

Brawley (1995) Page 215.

"Competition ready for the start of the international board race, Collaroy Beach, 1956."
Australian news and Information Bureau.
Bloomfield (1959) facing page 144.
Assuming the image is correctly credited, none of the competitors appear to use a Malibu board - with the posible exception of the obscured board at centre.
Competitors included Brian Keane, Tom Zahn and Mike Bright.

The reported absence of the U.S.A. team is difficult to reconcile with the SMH's report of the Collaroy results, allocating them a total of 24 points.

The SMH Monday 10th December, 1956. Page 11.

Sean Brawley provides an extended and detailed account of the use of the Torpedo buoy and attempts by a member of the Collaroy SLSC to have Australian officials examine it's potential.
"A lifesaver did not have to worry about trying to drag a line through a heavy surf and the buoy provided the patient with an immediate source of flotation. The American lifesaving technique also relied on the rescuer taking their patient to sea to be picked up by craft rather than attempting the often dangerous task of renegotiating the shore break.

At the conclusion of the Second International Test, Carnival Referee Hector McDonald was presented with a torpedo buoy by the Americans. From the few brief demonstrations he had seen, McDonald was convinced of their usefulness. He was certain that if there had been a torpedo buoy on Collaroy Beach on the day of the McKillop drowning, the young lifesaver would have been saved because he would have floated back to the surface courtesy of the torpedo buoy and his rescuers would have had less trouble getting out to sea as they did with a belt. (detailed on pages 208 to 213)
He gave the torpedo buoy to the Gear Improvement Committee of Sydney Branch to conduct appraisal tests. Shortly after he was informed that the committee saw no practical use in the torpedo buoy. Surprised, he approached those members of the Committee who had supposedly tested the device, and found that none of them had even seen it, let alone tested it.(81)

Outraged, McDonald got the torpedo buoy back, determined to prove the usefulness of the device. On Tuesday 2 July 1957, McDonald had Bill Abbott and Dick Twight trial the device in a big surf at Bilgola Beach. In conditions which were described as 'strenuous' with waves over 12 feet, the two Collaroy members conducted a number of tests. They found they had 'no trouble getting under the waves and out 200 yards' and in a race against a belt swimmer, the swimmer using the torpedo buoy got through the break and the 200 yards to the patient, two and a half minutes sooner than the beltman. They also found that if they were caught by a wave they came to the surface much more quickly. So strenuous were the two in their testing, a number of spectators gathered and an ambulance was called in the belief that a real rescue was in progress. In concluding their report Twight and Abbott noted: 'It is our opinion that this buoy has many uses for surf rescue work and feel that had this apparatus been available at the recent Collaroy drowning then possibly a tragedy may have been averted (82).

The report was submitted to Sydney Branch but was sat on for over a year, before McDonald finally succeeded in having the report distributed to members of the Branch Gear Improvement Committee.(83) Soon after Twight and Abbott's report finally reached the Gear Improvement Committee, Hector McDonald was elevated to Branch Superintendent, once again a first for a Collaroy member. With the power to now back his convictions, McDonald pushed for the adoption of the torpedo buoy. In this effort he was supported by the Avalon Lions Club which decided it would raise the necessary money to make the buoys and so raffled a car. With the money now available rubber manufacturer Dunlop was asked to make the first Australian made rubber torpedo buoy.(84) In the interim the petroleum company 'Ampol' secured a number of American torpedo buoys.

The reason why McDonald encountered so much opposition to the torpedo buoy is difficult to understand, given its overwhelming advantages. One view which was expressed to McDonald was the fear that Australian surf life saving would lose its position of international preeminence if it started to adopt American methods."

Brawley (1995) Page 216.

Brawley further argues that the rejection of the Torpedo buoy was prompted by a fear of the introduction of professionalism to lifesaving and concludes

"It seems quite plausible, therefore, that the attempts to subvert the torpedo buoy
were an attempt to protect the distinct (voluntary) nature of Australian surf life savIng."
Brawley (1995) Page 217.
Although the employment of professionals was contrary to the volunteer based Australian movement, other factors probably played a significant role.
Australian officials were confident in the superiority of their skill, equipment and methods which were to be showcased at the international carnivals.
The American equipment, and performance, at the carnivals was a direct threat to Australian dominance and "the fear that Australian surf life saving would lose its position of international preeminence", real.

Furthermore, the Americans' equipment, the Torpedo buoy and the paddleboard, focused on the role of the individual while Australian methods put a premium on the value of team-work, particularly in the use of the belt and reel and the surf-boat.
In competition, team-work was exemplified in the March Past - an event of obscure, possibly biblical, origin.
However, the team-work ethos was often a deterrent to efficient rescue technique, especially  during normal weekdays when there was often less than a full compliment of experienced crew available.
Conversely, the enthusiasm to assist in a rescue by the inexperienced could also be detrimental.

"Countless beltmen have been hauled in to the beach unconscious, several have even been drowned, through inexperienced but well meaning members of the public rushing the line to assist in rescues."
Harris (1961) Page Eighty-two.
This unhelpful assistance prompted some extraordinary responses - in 1913 Tom Gunning of the Manly club introduced a mobile tower with reel that ensured that the line ...
"would be above the reach of members of the public on the beach".
Photograph and text Harris (1961) Page Eighty-two.

 While Australian surf lifesaving officials initially ignored the potential of the Torpedo buoy, flippers (U.S : swim-fins), the fibreglassed paddleboard and the Malibu board, eventually these would adopted as practical rescue equipment.
The belt and reel was finally replaced by the Torpedo buoy, and flippers, in the early 1990s

The impact of the U.S.A. and Hawaiian surfers and their boards was further enhanced in the new year when film of the team surfing Collaroy was shown as cinema newsreel footage - Movietone News 28/3 (1957).

Thoms (2000) Pages 63 -64
Freshwater Beach - ? December 1956.
(Probably) following the conclusion of the Melbourne Olympics in December, Duke Kahanamoku returned to Freshwater SLSC to visit old friends Isabel Letham, Claude West and his 1914 Freshwater board.
Image right :
Claude West, Isabel Latham, Duke Kahanamoku and Lionel
McDonald (Freshwater S.L.S.C. President), Freshwater Beach, 1956.
Forbes in Myers(1983) page 18.
Forbes  (1958) includes a photograph of Duke in boardshorts with the board, below, and reports ...
 "He called in at our beach on the way back to Hawaii, and again
took out his original board, 41 years after it had first been used."
 Forbes in Myers(1983) page 18.

Duke Kahanamoku, Claude West and their board.
Freshwater Beach 1956.
Forbes in Myers (1983) Page 18.

Duke Kahanamoku and his 1914 board .
 Freshwater Beach 1956.
Carroll (1991) Page 29.
 Peter Luck Productions
Kahanamoku was accompanied members of the visiting American teams with their Malibu boards.
Colour film of the occassion, commissioned by sponsors Qantas and Ampol Australia, shows Duke and the visitors in conversation on the beach, all accompanied by their surfboards.
Tom Schroder attempts to lift Duke's board but, struggling with it's weight, hands it back to Kahanamoku and the five Malibu riders enter the surf.
The film then cuts to a squence of Tom Zahn and Greg Noll, apparently shot at Bondi beach, see below.
Apart from Tom Schroder, who is identified by the narrator, I am unable to identify the other four riders.
Of the five Malibu boards, three appear to be fibreglassed balsawood.
Tom Schroder's board is fully coloured in orange, either resin or paint.
The other board has two widely spaced timber stringers in a very light toned blank, possibly bleached balsawood.
This board conforms with the description "reinforced with two long strips of redwood" , reported in the SMH Wednesday 21 November, 1956. Page 15. See above.
The footage is probably  from the 1957 documentary, Service in the Sun.
Thoms (2000) Pages 63 -64.
The footage is reproduced in Nat Young's A History of Australian Surfing (1985) and also includes two short sequences that feature a circa1984 interview with Tom Zahn.

Duke returns from the water with members of the USA Surf Life Saving Team, Freshwater, 1956.
-photograph courtesy of
Eric Middledorp, Freswater LifeSaving Club, September, 2013.

In correspondence with Eric Middldorp, Freshwater SLSC member Don Henderson recalls the members of the American and Hawaiian Teams visit to Freshwater Beach November 1956 were:Dan De Rego,  Lew Hanka, Ralph Kanoho, Tom Moore, Henry Kanoho, Reginald Fellaze,, Don Gustuson, Harry Schaffer (Delegate)."

Peter Balding,
Unknown, Tom Schoeder, Nadine Kahanamoku, Duke Kahanamoku, Tom Zahn, Mike Bright

Balmoral Beach Club - ? December 1956.
Possibly in the same week as the visit to Freshwater, Duke Kahanamoku visited the Balmoral Beach Club, probably to renew friendships with Clem and Lou Morath, forged at the 1939-1940 Pan-Pacific Games in Honolulu.

Image right :
"Duke Kahanamoku, Olympian and pioneer surf board rider,
at the (Balmoral Beach) Club in 1956, 
with Anthony Bradhurst (left) and Ian Macnaughtan." 
Franki: Balmoral Beach Club (1989) Page 41.

Bondi Beach - ? December 1956.
The American-Hawaiian surfers made an appearance at Bondi Beach.
Three and half minutes of the team surfing, was recorded on film and included in the 1957 documentary, Service in the Sun.

Thoms (2000) Pages 63 -64.

To Come : Zahn and Noll Others?
Detailed account of riders performance - wave count lefts/rights turns and trims.short colours

Unfortunately, the History of the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club 1906-1956, has no information subsequent to February 1956 and therefore no details of the December visit of U.S.A. and Hawaiian surfers.

Manly Beach - ? December 1956.

Departure - ? December 1956.

Competitive Results - An Overview.
Considering the unfamiliar surfing conditions and the alien contest structure, the competitive results of the visitng American and Hawaiian surfers appear to indicate a strong, if not dominant, performance.
Apart from the outstanding results of Cronulla's Brian Keane in the two Sydney internationals, the visitors dominated the board paddling events.
Their ability was recognised from their fist appearance at Cronulla.

"The visiting American surf team yesterday showed it could prove a major
threat to Australia's domination of international surfing."
Sunday Telegraph Sunday 18 November Page 76.
The results at Avalon the next day appear to be largely overshadowed by the performance of the Malibu riders and the successful rescue with a Torpedo buoy by Tad Devine.
SMH 19th November, 1956. Page 3.
At the first international contest at Torquay, Tom Zahn won the board paddle, second was Mike Bright.
The Hawaiian team won the Beach Relay and came third overall.
The results of the Australian championships at Torquay the following weekend are unclear.
Galton  (1984) Page 108.
At the second international carnival, held in large surf at Maroubra, Brian Keane from Cronulla won the Board race, Tad Devine second and Greg Noll third.
Devine also placed first in the Belt race and the Surf sace, an excellent performance given he was probably unfamiliar with the equipment and the contest format..
The Beach Relay was won by  Hawaii, second U.S.A.and L. Hangca (Honka?) (Hawaii) won the International Beach Sprint.
Sun Herald Sunday 9th December, 1956. Page 42.
The following day at Collaroy, Keane again won the board race, from Tom Zahn and Mike Brlght.
Tad Devine won the belt race "after tripping in the run down the beach to the water".
Tom Schroeder's win in the ski race, on unfamiliar craft, was impressive and L Hanagca  performed well in the beach sprint, placing second in front of C. Mcllroy (U.S.A.), third.
In the Marathon surf, a fore-runner of the modern multi-discipline Ironman event, Tom Moore placed third.
SMH Monday 10th December, 1956. Page 11.

 The results indicate that the U.S.A. and Hawaiian competitors performed well over a range of formats, venues, craft and conditions.
Whether these results caused Australian officials any concern of a possible threat to their dominace of the fledging world movement is unclear.
It appears the performance of the American teams, like their advanced equipment and methods, were politely ignored, exemplifed by Brawley's account of SLSAA adminstrators' refusal to empirically assess the merits of the Torpedo buoy, after the Collary carnival, see above.

Post Carnival Exposure
The impact of the U.S.A. and Hawaiian surfers and their boards was further enhanced when film of the team surfing Collaroy was shown as cinema newsreel footage - Movietone News 28/3 (1957).
This was followed by a colour film Service in the Sun (1957), commissioned by sponsors Qantas and Ampol Australia, including three and half minutes of the team surfing Malibu boards at Bondi.

Thoms (2000) Pages 63 -64.
After cinema release, the  footage was shown independently in virtually every Surf Life Saving  Club on the Australian coast. Some of this, including the colour footage from Bondi, appears in Nat Young’s The History of Australian Surfing film/video.

"The films and our boards became the basis for the modern surfboard movement in Australia."

Noll (1989), Page 71.

Greg Noll also filmed Australian surf, sequences were later included in films shown in America...

"I had bought a Bell and Howell movie camera from (snow ski film producer) Warren Miller.
... I thought it would be fun to show everybody back home what Australian surf looked like."
Noll (1989), Page 71.
These images may have encouraged other American surfers to consider the attractions of Australian surf.
Bruce Brown, accompanied by Phil Edwards, travelled the east coast in 1961, shooting sequences at Fairy Bower and Byron Bay, included in his 1962 release, Surfing Hollow Days.
In 1966, Brown would produce the benchmark in surfing films, The Endless Summer, reprised thirty years later with The Endless Summer II.
Phil Edwards was voted the best surfer in the world in a 1964 poll conducted by Surfing magazine.
Australian Surfboards - Post 1956.
In 1956 the lack of balsa would be side stepped by immediately adapting Tom Blakes' now well proven Hollow board to Malibu dimensions with a large fin - known as the Okinuee.
This design was manufactured by the noted 16 footer builders - Gordon Woods, Bill Wallace, Norm Casey and Barry Bennett.

The enthusiasm for the new design was such that Gordon Woods had built and tested his first Okinuee before the US team departed.

Gordon Woods, Phone conversation, 18 th July 2005.

By the end of 1956 Scott Dillon had ordered an Okinuee, a finned hollow timber board, from Gordon Woods.

- Scott Dillon Interview 29th June 2005. Coffs Harbour NSW.
Image right : 
Gordon Woods' Velzy-Jacobs fibreglassed balsawood
Malibu surfboard, purchased from Bob 
Burnside (right) and his first plywood copy.
 Nat History (1983) page 90. 
Photograph : Gordon Woods.
The first Australian manufactured balsa/fibreglass boards (three only) were by Roger 'Duck' Keiran soon after the Olympic Carnivals, but a lack of balsa wood supply meant that the design was not available for general use.
Bob McTavish :Pods for Primates Part 1  in Tracks Magazine, 1972.

By 1958, Australian boardriders were using a variety of craft.
Consider the image, left.
"Hot Doggers' of the Surf"
Malibus and Pigs, Bondi 1958.
Source : Unknown, probably newspaper cutting.

From the right, the first board with the shield decor and script "B.R." is probably a hollow Okinuee Malibu template. 

The next three are wide tail Pigs, the design credited to Dale Velsey of California.

The second Pig , at centre, is probably a fibreglassed balsa board and the script decor, the rider's name.

The third Pig is held by famous Bondi surfer, Jack "Bluey" Mayes and is marked with an "M".
It is probably an early polystyrene board built for Mayes by Scott Dillon and Noel Ward in Wellington Lane, Bondi, circa 1958.

The final Malibu board, decorated with the initials "S D" , is of particular interest.
The rider is noted big-wave sufer and an early surfboard maufacturerer, Scott Dillon
It is fibreglassed with two widely spaced timber stringers in a very light toned blank, possibly bleached balsawood.
This board closely resembles one of the six boards filmed at Freshwater Beach in November 1956, noted above.

Historians of surfing culture may note the riders are wearing long legged shorts, certainly a radical change from all previous Australian beach wear.

A colour version of the above newspaper/magazine photograph was later reproduced in Barnett: Australian Sport (2005), page 309, accredited to Private collection.

Surfboards in New Zealand and South Africa - Post 1956.
With a traditional relationship with the Australian movement, a more primitive manufacturing base and limited access to materials, New Zealand and South Africa initially adopted the Okinuee - the hollow timber adaptation of the malibu design by Australian manufacturers.

In New Zealand the design specifications were quickly absorbed, but the development of a locally produced fibreglass board was still some years away.
The Levine was a brand name for New Zealand hollow timber board marketed as a do-it-yourself pre-cut kit, circa1958.
Based on the Malibu board it featured a wide square tail, narrow rounded nose and a standard D fin set right at the pod.
Most interesting is the full vee bottom from nose to tail.
Common factory length appears to be 9 ft 1 inch.

Phone conversation with Tony Reid, New Zealand, circa 1999.
.In New Zealand the design specifications were quickly absorbed, but the development of a locally produced fibreglass board was still some years away.
The Levine was a brand name for New Zealand hollow timber board marketed as a do-it-yourself pre-cut kit, circa1958.
Based on the Malibu board it featured a wide square tail, narrow rounded nose and a standard D fin set right at the pod.
Most interesting is the full vee bottom from nose to tail.
Common factory length appears to be 9 ft 1 inch.Phone conversation with Tony Reid, New Zealand, circa 1999.

Image right :
"Peter Miller with his 1957 Malibu inspired longboard, named 'Enid'.
Photograph Peter Miller."

Williamson (2000) Page 12.
Luke Williamson notes ..."In 1957, in Hamilton (New Zealand), Peter Miller made a longboard based on a design published in 'Australian Outdoors Magazine' and it was probably the most up-to-date surfboard in the country at the time.
Peter Miller: 'I built a a 10' longboard, 24" wide by 4" deep out of a 
'I built a 10' longboard, 24" wide by 4" deep, out of a hollow white pine frame screwed to redwood nose and tail blocks. This was covered with thin marine ply. The rails were rounded, shaped redwood, and the fin was wood; 12" deep, shaped and fibre glassed to the board. I remember turning up at the Mount Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club with it when I had finished. No one had seen such a short board, and had never seen rounded rails or a fin. "That fin won't last the day, " shouted the club members. The board was hard to stand up on so I glued beading along the rails to stop myself from slipping off when standing -no one had told us about using wax.''
Williamson (2000) Page 11.

Australian Outdoors
November, 1957, 
Renwick, Ross: Build yourself an okinuee board.
pages 16 to 21 .

See Source Documents
Ross Renwick : Build yourself an Okinuee Board.

The Okinuee also appeared in South Africa.
Reginald C. Blunt, purchased an Okinuee board from Australia, probably manufactured by one of the early Sydney builders, circa 1958-1959.

Image right:
"Plate 30. Reginald C. Blunt with new Australian board
at Durban, South Africa.
By Scotty, South Beach, Durban, South Africa."

Patterson (1960) Plate 30.

A further alternative of using polystyrene foam, commercially available for insulation, was adapted by Greg McDonagh at Freswater and Scott Dillon with Noel Ward at Bondi, probably around1958.
It is possible that by this time some builders may have seen or heard of Bill Reid's "Fun on a Plastic Surfboard" article from 1953 that uses a styrofoam blank.

The tour initiated correspondence on construction and design between American and Australian manufacturers,
that accelerated with the introduction of polyester foam blanks.

"For about two years after that trip I got letters every week from guys in Australia, pleading
for pictures, templates, design information. It was a new frontier for them.
By then I was making boards, but it was too expensive to ship them down there.
I stayed in contact with one guy (unidentified) for a while, sent him templates.
Took pictures of boards from the top, bottom, sideways, rear."
Noll (1989), Page 71.

The equipment, methods and skills of U.S.A. and Hawaiian competitors demonstrated at a series of  lifesaving carnivals Australia in November-December 1956, radically changed Australian surf riding culture.

Upon arrival, the Americans enthusiastically promoted their new designs in the press; however the impact of the boards in action was dramatic and the exposure had long term repercussions.
The impact was probably first in evidence at Avalon Beach on the afternoon of Sunday 18th November, 1956.

Demand for the new board design was tempered by a limited supply of balsawood and unfamiliararity with fibreglass technology, but Australian board builders replicated the design in the well established hollow plywood construction.
With improved access to materials, surfboard manufacture swiftly moved from a backyard or surf club activity to an industial factory location, initially centred in Brookvale, Sydney.

While boardriders were enthusiastic, Australian surf life saving officials largely ignored American equipment and methods.
In the short term, some surf life saving clubs actively discouraged the use of the Malibu board and viewed it's popularity as a threat to their dominant beach presence.
In the long term, fibreglass technology would dominate surfcraft construction and however, the Torpedo buoy would eventually replace the belt and reel.

The International Surf Carnivals, Australia, 1956.
Australian Newspaper Extracts from Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, The Sun and The Age.

In May 2008, Ian Nicol forwarded the following:
"a couple of the old guys still surviving at Dee Why SLSC went to the surf carnival associated with the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
and apparently that trip was when a lot of Aus surfers first saw US malibu boards and quickly started to copy them."

Natalie Wood, Waikiki, 1956.
home catalogue history references appendix

Malcom Gault-Williams: LEGENDARY SURFERS Homepage


SYDNEY, Tuesday: Police believe a jealous woman may have murdered Colin Bruce Sparks, 26-year-old Australian surf champion, whose bullet-riddled body was found in a car in Marine drive/ Tamarama Beach,

near Bondi this morning.

Police have been told the 6ft. fall, husky Sparks was a "fickle and reckless lover-out with a different girl every night."

? A woman's handbag was found in the murder 'car, but police do not necessarily connect it with the . killer.

Sparks had one con viction, for indecent


Police were told a man was seen running from Sparks' car after local residents heard shots about 7l30 a.m.

But they believe the man who was seen running had left another car parked on Marine drive.

| Sparks' body was noticed I by Gordon Marshall, of

Thompson st., Tamarama, about half an hour after the residents heard the shots.

It was lying on the front

seat of his parked car with

two 9mm. bullets in the left : arm, a third into the shoul- , der, and a fourth in the chest.

Detectives found four shells from the bullets on the floor of the car.

Police are not sure whether the shots were fired from the front or back seats.


Sparks, a coal trimmer employed by the Sydney Steam Colliery Stevedore's Association, was a member of North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club and with three

other lifesavers, won last 1 year's Australian surf teams' ^ championship. ^

He had been selected with ' three .others to represent , N.S.W. at the international ' surf' carnival at Torquay,

Victoria, during the Olympic . Games. ,

A bachelor, he lived with his mother in a flat in Bondi rd., Bondi.

He told his mother early ; last night that he intended going to a picture show.

  1956 'Jealous lover hunt in surf star's murder.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 17 October, p. 5, viewed 2 October, 2013,