for primates : a catatogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
Newspaper Extracts :
source documents : olmypic
surf carnival 1956
Olympic Surf Life Saving Carnivals, Torquay and Sydney.
Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald.
5 October, 1956. Page?
of International surf life saving program ...
Torquay 2nd December,
Maroubra 8th December and Collaroy 9th December, 1956.
SMH Sunday 11 October, 1956. Page 8.
Under a header
"U.S. Surf team Will Tour',' the article 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.
SMH Wednesday 14 November, 1956. Page?
Team Arrival : Fibreglass Board Featured.
Board for Surf
Henry Shaffer (sic, Shaeffer) believes his 26lb board could
revolutionise surfboard racing in Australia.
captain of the Hawaiian surf team, which arrived in Sydney yesterday with
10 American lifesavers to compete in iternational 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.
surfboard is made of balsa wood reinforced with canvas, and is coated with
a thick layer of fibre-glass.
Sydney board riders agreed last night that the lightweight balsa fibre-glass
boards would live the Hawaiians a tremendous advantage under normal conditions.
But they claimed
the heavier Australian boards would be more at home in a big surf, where
tbe Hawaiiall boards would be at a disadvantage.
"I must admit that the powerful Australian surf will be the final test
for the fibre-glass board, which has just come into vogue in the United
all powerful rough-water swimmers are university graduates or students,
who spend the summer as professional lifeguards on beaches around Los Angeles.
and American teams will be billeted at the Balmoral Naval Depot until they
leave for Melbourne next Wednesday.
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,
SMH Monday 19 November, 1956. Page3.
: Thousands Throng Beaches : Many Saved.
Surfers Show New Technique. (Avalon)
went to Avalon for the surf life saving carnival in which lifesavers from
United States, Hawaii and New Zealand competed against Sydney clubs.
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.
the Australian belt and reel, he used a "torpedo buoy'.
SMH Wednesday 21 November, 1956. Page
To Sell Boards
hawaiian surfers will sell their seven lightweight surfboards, which created
a sensation at Avalon last Sunday, after their farewll appearance at Collaroy
on December 9.
which are made from balsa reinforced with two two long strips of redwood
and coated with a thick layer of fibre-glass, weigh 26lb.
racing boards in Sydney, made from 1/2 inch plywood weigh from 33 to 23
boards, which have been used at Waikiki Beach for seven or eight years,
can be made in less than a week.
They are eight
feet long, compared with the average Australian length of 16 feet, but
are about five inches wider than the local board's 20-21 inches.
people saw the Hawaiians give an exhibition of board riding after a special
carnival at Avalon in a big surf last Sunday.
boardriders, the Hawaiians stood on the middle of their balsa boards, even
when heavy white water from the broken waves swept around their feet.
captain of the Hawaiian squad, said last night of the boards : "There is
no question of selling out to the highest bidder.
"We plan to
give our boards to the fellows we consider to be the real enthusiasts at
only a token cost."
SMH 3rd December, 1956. Page 12.
on Torquay Carnival.
15,000 watched the championships.
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 bech and the
SMH 8th December, 1956. Page 12.
and Collaroy Preview
The main interest
will be in the surfboard race in which the Hawaiians and the Americans
will use eight-foot long balsa boards.
Zahn, who won the recent international match at Torquay in Victoria, paddles
one lying down.
competitors kneel on their boards.
Sun Herald 9th December, 1956. Page
Carnival - Photograph of B. Keane, Cronulla.
were swamped and skis and boards were tossed high in the air in the big
Race : B. Keane (Aust.) 1; T. Devine (U.S.A.) 2; G. Noll (U.S.A.)
: T. Devine (U.S.A.) 1.
: ? 1; T. Devine (U.S.A.) 2.
: Hawaii 1; U.S.A. 2.
Beach Sprint : ? 1; L. Hangca (sic, Honka) (Hawaii)
2; P. Baulding (?) 3.
SMH 10th December, 1956. Page 11.
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.
held a narrow lead of half a point over New Zealand after tbe first day
of the gala at Maroubra on Saturday.
Australia won the R. and R., surf race, beach sprint, board race, and marathon
surf race. Australia (441 points) finished 91 points ahead of New Zealand
(35), with South Africa in third place with 26!!points.
the United States shared fourth place on 24 points.
The surf was
not as boisterous as at Maroubra, where the ski and board events were spoiled
by the big waves.
who failed dismally in the R. and R. event on Saturday, yesterday turned
the tables on New Zealand and South Africa.
team had 8.2 penalty points. against the New Zealanders' 9.9 and the South
of Australia, won the surf race and a marathon surf relay race within 2O
minutes of each other.
a clerk, had a great struggle in the swim to the beach in the surf race
with Austraiian champion Brian Hutchings.
led to the buoys: but won by only a few yards in the run up the beach.
In the marathon
event competitors had to complete the course three times-swimming, on surfboards,
and on surf skis.
went further ahead with each stage, finally beating South African Leon
Coetzee by 40 yards, with 6ft 5in Hawiian Tom Moore third.
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.
- 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.
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
- Tom Schroeder,
of Hawaii, who has won several long distance canoe races in the islands,
had an impressive win in the ski race.
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
B. Keane (Aust.). 1: T Zahn (Hawaii). 2; M. Brlght (U.S.A.).3.
T. Devine (U.S.A.). 1: J JarvIs (N.Z.). 2; 1. Edwards (S. Africa). 3.
South Africa. 15. 1; Australia. 17. 2: New Zealand. 22. 3.
R.: Australia. 8.2. 1; New Zealand. 9.9. 2; South Africa. 9.92. 3
Hawaii. 1; Australia. 2; U.S.A.. 3.
P. Mannina (Aust.). 1; L. Hanagca. (Hawaii). 2: C. Mcllroy (U.S.A.) 3.
ski: T. Schroeder (Hawaii); 2: K. Ryan (N.Z.). 2: L. Cullenbourne (S.
B. Lumsdaine (Aust.) 1; B. Hutchings (Aust.) 1; L. Hawker (N.Z.). 3.
New Zealand. 26, 1; Australia. 30, 2; South Africa. 39, 3
surf: B. Lumsdaine (Aust.), 1; L. Coetzee (S. Afrlca), 2: T. More (Hawaii),
score: Australia. 44 1/2; New Zealand. 35; South Africa. 26 1/2; Hawaii,
and Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)
Telegraph Sunday 11 November 1956 Page 84
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 wekend at Cronulla
Daily Telegraph Wednesday 14 November
U.S. LIFESAVERS INTRODUCED
TO GAME OF DARTS
Photograph and caption ...
PETTY OFFICER CURRAN shows members
ot he visiting American surf lifesaving team how to play darts soon after
they arrived at thier billet at Balmoral Naval depot yesterday. The surfer
on the extreme right is Tad Devine, 22, son of film star Andy Devine. The
Americans will compete at the International Surf Carnival at Torquay (Victoria)
during the Olympic Games.
Sunday Telegraph Sunday 18 November
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.
Daily Telegraph Monday
26 November Page 35.
Surfing draws 50,000
- Fifty thousand people today saw
35 (?) teams compete in an international carnival at Torquay.
The teams represented the United
States, Hawaii, Celyon, South Africa, New Zealand, Great Britain and Australian
New Zealand won the intrenational
march-past from Ceylon and South Africa.
New South Wales won the interstate
rescue and resuscitation event, with Queensland second and Western Australia
The Americans caused a suprise when
they appeared with their surfboards.
The boards were made of light fibre
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.
The Sun Wednesday 14th November
1956 Page 60.
IN THE SURF by J.
Suprise from Hawaii
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
The longest board races in NSW are
about thee miles.
With the revolutionary type boards
the Hawaiians have brought with them they could trouble our top riders.
Australian surfers will have to pass
a stiff swimminig test at Footscray baths, Melbourne on Monday next week
to make the team to oppose overseas stars at carnivals at Maroubra and
Collaroy next month.
A team of eight will be chosen and
the swimmers may have to do 2.30 or better for the 220 yards to make the
They will also have to be efficient
beltmen and R and R men.
Overseas (sic) and
Australians to compete at the Victorian and Sydney carnivals will swim
in costumes donated by Speedo.
They will be full length with their
Australian colors on the badges.
The American team, which arrived
yesterday, has colorful outfits. Don Lucas and an assistant will drill
them in R and R.
Ceylon surfer Rod Ingleton hitchhiked
part of the way to Sydney to compete at the Olympic surf carnival at Torquay
on Sunday week.
He fluked a plane ride to Singapore
and then managed to get here on another plane.
Jack Anderson, a director of a tea
plantation will be Ceylon's other representative.
US and Hawaiian surfers will wear
colorful costumes for their first Australian appearance at Cronulla on
Saturday and at Avalon on Sunday.
The Americans are coastguards from
Miami Beach, Florida.
They will not be allowed to contest
individual events, as they are paid professionals.
Their costumes have been specifically
designed to include the USA colors.
Former Australian surf champion
Max Riddington hope to introduce SLSC work in (the) US.
Max, ranked next to Bob Newbiggen,
as one of the best surfers in the past 20 years, is in America working
for an insurance firm.
Max has amazed Americans with his
body shooting in a small surf.
If the big waves start rolling in
he should give a typical Australian display.
The Sun Wednesday 21st
November 1956 Page 59.
SURFERS TO EAT BY
From J. S. McAuley. MELBOURNE, Wednesday.
Australian and overseas surfers
billeted at Melbourne Showground will not go short of meals during their
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.
Surfers from South Africa, Hawaii,
New Zealand, Ceylon, England and US will be billeted with Australians at
They compete at the Olympic carnival
Pad (sic) Devine,
who will compete for US, is a son of film star Andy Devine.
Pad narrowly missed selection for
the Olympic Games. He swum 4min 50 sec for 440 yards.
Dan de Rego, with the Hawaiian team,
is one of the best allround surfers in Honolulu.
He is married to Judy Cornell, a
former breaststroke champion who represented the US at Helsinki.
Maroubra team of 32 arrived yesterday
by truck and cars with all expense paid by advertising.
Their truck was be-decked with advertisments
for petrol, swimming trunks shoes and cigarettes.
Wal Brown, Dennis Green and Barry
Stuart, who are contesting the kayak events at the Olympics on Friday,
will compete in ski events for Maroubra on Sunday.
Jon Hendicks and Gary Winram took
US members of the Olympic swimming team for a surf at Torquay on Sunday.
The Americans said they would liek
to have a crack at a surf race before returning home.
The Age (Melbourne)
The Age Saturday 24th November
1956 Page 12.
Overseas Stars in
Torquay, where the first international
series of lifesaving events is being held in conjunction with the Australian
surf championships, should prove a popular sports venue tomorrow.
Main attraction of the carnival
will be the four international teams from Hawaii, South Africa, New Zealand
With Olympic athletes observing
a rest from competition, a crowd of thousands is expected to make the journey.
The day's programme, which begins
at 10 a.m., includes ski and surf boat racing, beach sprints and relay
races, and the march past championship.
Star members of overseas teams will
compete against Australian team representatives in the international belt
race championship at 1.30 p.m., the. main event of day's programme.
The other event for which the overseas
teams have entered include the senior and junior surf race championships
and the senior surf teams' race championship.
The Australian championships, which
will be spread over tomorrow and the following Sunday, will be contested
by a total of 120 teams.
With 51 teams entered for the march
past championship, starting at 1.45 p.m., it should prove a colorful and
Plenty of thrills should be provided
by the double ski race championship and the senior and junior teams' boat
The Age Monday 26th November
1956 Page 3.
40,000 at Torquay for Surf
Forty thousand people, yesterday
swarmed over the cliffs at the Toquay beach to watch the International
Overseas Olympic visitors and athletes
were well represented in the crowd.
Highlight event of the day was the
march past by 35 teams each in distinctively colored costumes and caps.
A Geelong- pipe band, which led
the marchers along the shore, splashed through the surf waves as they broke
on the shore.
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 AustraIian sport of surfing at its best because of the poor surf.
The teams competing came from Hawaii,
South Africa, New Zealand, Ceylon, Great Britain, the United States as
well as from each Australian State.
New South Wales won the International
Carnival from New Zealand (second) and Hawaii (third).
Australia did not compete with an
individual team; but was represented by all its State teams.
The Australian Surf championship
event will be held at Torquay next Sunday.
Full results, page 13.
The Age Monday 26th November
1956 Page 13.
N.S.W. Surf Team Wins
A crowd of 40,000 at Torquay yesterday
saw the New South Wales Surf Life Saving team win the Olympic Year International
Australia did not enter an individual
team in the six-nation carnival, but the New South Wales team dominated
The carnival was marred by wind,
showers and weak surf.
New Zealand won the march past with
Weak surf made racing a test of
strength more than skill in riding waves.
Competitors were lucky to get help
from the sea, and those who caught waves were assured winners.
Surf race winner Peter Garratt,
is 1956 champion belt and individual surf racing champion of New Zealand.
Australian teams competed as separate
States yesterday against international teams.
Individual Australian championships
will be decided at the Australian surf carnival at Torquay next Sunday.
Belt Race: New Zealand (1). South
Africa (2). U.S.A. (3).
Rescue and ResuscItatIon: New Zealand
(1) New South Wales (2). South AfrIca. (3).
Surf Race: P. Garratt (New Zealand),
1; J. Jarvis (New Zealand), 2; T. Bowman (South AfrIca) 3.
Match Past: New Zealand (1), Ceylon
(2), South AfrIca (3).
Beach Relay Race: Hawaii (1). South
Africa (2). U.S.A. (3).
Beach Sprint: P. MannIng (N.S.W.),1;
L. Hanka (Hawaii), 2; C. Cole (Tasmania), 3.
FInal Points Tally:
New South Wales won the Inter-State
championships with 46 points.
1. N.S.W. 46
2. West Australia l7
3. Queensland, 16.
4. Victoria, l1.
5. South Australia and Tasmania,
California Surf Life Saving Association - History
Surf Life Saving Association of America
was chosen to host the 1956 summer Olympics, lifesavers there decided to
hold an invitational lifesaving competition to be known as the Australian
Olympic International Surf Championships at Torquay Beach, outside Melbourne,
Judge Adrian Curlewis of Australia appointed Arthur Parkens (Parkyn?),
an Australian lifesaving instructor, to solicit participation from the
lifeguards and a contingent from the Territory of Hawaii decided to participate.
were required trained and awarded, "The Australian Surflifesavers Medallion,"
so as to meet the international competition standards required for the
lifeguards organized themselves under the banner of the Surf Life Saving
Association of America (SLSA), although they were solely from the Los Angeles
County and Los Angeles City lifeguard agencies.
This was the
first American lifeguard association of its kind, even if its name was
a bit grand considering its narrow scope.
from the SLSA included Team Captain Rusty Williams of Los Angeles County
(LACO), Team Coach Kirby Temple (LACO), Team Manager Herb Barthels, Sr.
of Los Angeles City (LACity) , Tad Devine (Santa Monica City), Bob Burnside
(LACO), Mike Bright (LACO), Gregg Knoll (LACO), Dave Ballinger (LACO),
Chick Mcilroy (LACO), Paul Mcilroy (LACO), Sheridan Byerly (LACO), and
Roger Jensen (LACO).
lifeguard team included Dr. Don Gustuson, Team Manager Harry Shaeffer,
Team Coach Tom Shaeffer, Tom Moore, Tom Zahn, Dan Durego, Tim Guard, L.
Honka, Peter Balding, and Shaky Felez.
The event was
held on November 26, 1956 and drew an immense crowd of 115,000 spectators.
"Duke" Paoa Kahanamoku of Hawaii served as the honorary event Chairman.
to the American and Australian teams, lifeguard teams from South Africa,
Great Britain, Ceylon, and New Zealand participated.
As for the
Americans, the Hawaiian Territory placed first in the Beach Relay.
of California placed second in the swim.
of California placed third in the belt race.
importantly than the competition itself, lifelong relationships were built
around this historic event and both countries were to benefit tremendously.
rescue tube and rescue buoy were first introduced to Australia on this
tour, later to become staples of Australian lifesaving gear as they were
in the US.
Tom Moore, and Bob Burnside brought Malibu Bolsa Surfboards with them,
the first total Australian exposure to the Malibu Surfboard.
departed Australia, the boards were left behind, which revolutionized surfing
After the event,
LA County Lifeguard Chief Bud Stevenson decided to use SLSA in his efforts
to upgrade professional lifeguarding. Chief Stevenson appointed Bob Burnside
as President of the nascent organization and Lt. Don Hill as Secretary.
Despite the broadly embracing name of Surf Life Saving Association of America,
the early focus was to remain on Los Angeles County issues.
called for representatives from as many Southern California lifeguard agencies
as possible to attend a concept meeting at Santa Monica Lifeguard Headquarters
in the winter of 1963. In attendance were Vince Moorhouse (Huntington Beach),
Bowman (Huntington Beach), Don Rohrer (LA City), Dick Heineman (LA City),
Tim Dorsey (Seal Beach), host Jim Richards (Santa Monica), and a representative
from Long Beach.
agreed that they should establish a truly national organization, based
on the structure of the Australian association, to be called the Surf Life
Saving Association of America.
organization established Southern and Northern Chairmen of the State of
California, and a temporary Executive Board was formed to establish a constitution,
bylaws, and method of equal representation for the association. This put
in place all the necessary criteria for affiliation with the organization
by local chapters, allowing each chapter to participate equally in the
first election of officers, which took place in 1965. In the meantime,
temporary chairmen took charge.
In 1964, Huntington
Beach's newly dedicated lifeguard headquarters was adopted as the center
for SLSA activities. In that same year, Howard Lee of LA County designed
the national logo, which is still in use today. His design was influenced
by a similar design that Tad Devine of the 1956 Australia team had created
for the team uniform. Both are strikingly similar to the logo of the United
arm of the United States government, which had rescued shipwrecked sailors
during the 1800s and 1900s, before being merged with the Revenue Cutter
Service to form the US Coast Guard.
and terms of office of USLA and its predecessors have included:
-- 1963 - 1967
B. History of the County of Los Angles Lifeguard
emerged as the County's leader during this era of increased professionalism,
which saw the introduction of formalized training and public education
In 1956, following
an invitation from the Australian Surf Lifesaving Association, Los Angeles
County lifeguards organized and sent a team representing the United States
to the first International Surf Life Saving Competition, held in conjunction
with the Melbourne Olympics. 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.
This international forum continues today, providing a constant exchange
of information, equipment, and skills.
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.
C. Beach Volleyball Database
five time winner of the Manhattan Beach Menís Open, was a 6í4", 195 pound
player. He was an All-American from 1960-1964. He played on the 1964 Olympic
Team and on the 1960 Pan Am Team.
participated in 44 Open tournaments, on the beach volleyball circuit, from
1958-1970. He advanced to the championship match 34 times, winning 16 times,
along with 6 third place finishes, 1 fourth place finish and 3 fifth place
finishes. Bright teamed-up with 10 different partners during his beach
career, including 25 time with Mike OíHara.
Bright was a member of the "17th Street Seals" which was a local surfing
club back in the 1950ís and 1960ís. As a club member he was involved in
surfing, paddle-boarding, and volleyball.
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.
Pacific Marine Life Foundation : Board of Directors
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.
Troy: pioneer surfer ABC Radio (Gold & Tweed Coasts) Friday, 4
started in 1948, I was living in Torquay", Peter explains, "my family owned
the General Store there. I think there were twelve children in the school
in those days. The only surfers were people who came down from Melbourne
on the weekend. They stayed in the camping ground, and it was bitterly
cold of course, so not many people went surfing."
a part with Australia's Olympic Surf Life Saving team in the 1956 Melbourne
Games, "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, to show the standard of surfing within this country."
But it was the American team that helped inspire the surfing cultire in
Australia, "in the American lifeguard team, the major people were the lifeguards,
basically swimmers. In that team they brought out with them four Malibu
boards. It was Greg Noll on the second of December who rode a surfboard
on Torquay back beach 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!' 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. We all
started from scratch."
F. Peter Troy : The Sports
Factor Presenter : Mick O'Regan
Radio National Friday, 22 September 2006.
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.
At the same
time, two of us, and I'm talking about another fellow called Vic Tantau,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and so that was our only contact, because by that
night, those guys had gone back to Geelong into their hotels, 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
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, 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."
Peter Troy further
commented on the repercussions of the event by noting ...
of boardriding activity as a challenge to SLSC dominance,
A conflict in the
choice between a best beach or home beach,
The formation of
the Bells Beach Boardriders Club and the opening of the access road in
Troy and Tantau's
organisation of the first Bells Beach Contest in 1961.