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 bob mctavish  : national park, noosa, 1967 

McTavish, Bob : The Wild and Wonderful Days of Noosa, part Two: Noosa.
Photographs by John Witzig.
 Surfing World
March 1967, pages 18 - 25

Written early 1967, it was a companion piece to Part One, a story about Cyclone Dinah at Noosa by Dr. Robert Spence.
Published in the same issue, pages ? to 17, it featured photographs of Peter Drouyn in large National Park surf.
The issue was also noted for its "flower-power family" non-surfing cover, see below.

McTavish establishes National Park's status as a surf-riding break, then attempts to explain/describe the complexities of the wave riding experience by focusing on an individual wave, a "wave story, or narrative."

The style owes much to to the Beat writers (for example Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg) of the late 1950's, but was probably also influenced by the work of popular musicians, for example Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965).

The images are an excellent, illustrating the wave complexity/variation as described in the text.
Page 18

The Wild and Wonderful Days of Noosa
part two : " National "

Bob McTavish.

The Line Up, National Park.

Hawaii smells of Marlboro and rains.
Sydney is concrete and chop and scenes.
The North is Ultimate Summer in Technicolor.
It rains up here too.
The whole three have tubes though.
Noisy, slapping, dropping, non-stopping curls with cavities.

And there are mushers.
New Zealand's got them.
Cold, fun, friendly.
Mushers in Victoria.

Mushers in the North.
But what warm mushers, playthings.
Glass with ten o'clock nor-easters.

Of all the places Hawaii and North are the only patterned ones.
Hawaii's pattern is brief, hard, perfect, exhausting.
Shiver and temples pound.
Queensland's stoke makes you smile and go Aaagh!

The North has elevated at last from the "it's just like Rincon" stage.
Its personality has been established and recognised.
Smartest waves in the world.
They know it.
Love it.
And share it.

The waves of National Park are the best thing I know in surfing.
Riding them is second best.
What is a National wave?
A series of incidents that add, tie up to a tale, a being.
One minute a pressure, then a cruise of ease, euphoria, next a calculas
(sic, calculus), finally, always finally, a satisfaction.
One pure slice of existence.
Is-ness is appreciation of the whole deal, appreciation, grooving.
Is-ness is National Park.

As a set comes, indicated on the half mile reef, your temples pound.

Will I blow it?
Will I do justice to this beautiful thing?
It's one of the bigger sets.
Take off on the square perhaps.
The ledge is the safe bet, but the square is the extra thing.
Move out onto the square.
The set humps onto the quarter mile.
Temples pound.

Comes closer.
Which wave?
Never the first wave.
Second on a south swell, fourth or fifth on an East to North-East swell.
Pass up that one.
Stand up on the board and have a look.
The Third Wave.
It's lower on the take off, but will be hot in the middle.
Turn the thing, your pal, one stroke take off, stand up, have a look over your shoulder.
You've taken the right one.
Nothing bigger behind.
Get involved.

The sidewash off the ledge is moving across.
Time it.
Play it.
Keep it beneath you.
Ride it.
You'll need it as you get into the middle section.
Hit the suck.
Take it high.
Gain some speed out of it.
Cruise on into the beginning of the middle section.
Now the pressure.
You're involved.
The wall is ridiculous.
"Can I make it?"
There's the sidewash.
That little hump.
Jump over it.
Now it's
getting too hot - Madness!
The curl is coming down too soon.
You're high.
Lose some of that.

Drop as the curl brushes your shoulder, down.
God the speed!
Made that bit, now up over the flat piece, cruise into the next power pocket, that goddam curl again.
Over and over.
Keep coming, coming.
Down, up.
Pressure Pressure Pressure.
Made the bloody thing.
Just cruise.
Cruise through the last mess, into the long easy, wise wall.
What a ball.
Even fit in a big cut back, off the bottom back into that curl.
Cruise, then the victory.
Jump out of it.
Just stand there.
Let the adrenalin drain out.
The temples have stopped pounding.

That paddle back out.
A snack, a sweat.
Could leave the water now, that little lifetime is over.

The whole thing is green, in motion, contradictive, fast, easy, pressure, release, just grooving.
The whole bundle.

Result: Satisfaction, Contribution, Elevation.
Page 17

Peter Drouyn, National Park.

Page 20

National Park

Page 23

Bob McTavish: Sequence, National Park, 1967. 




Page 25

Bob McTavish : National Park 

National Park is probably the most complex wave of the world's known and commonly surfed spots.
Greenough and Yater acknowledge this.
It doesn't change.
The bottom is sand tied together with rock.
Sometimes a little more sand builds up on the long easy end section, and extends the ride further into the next bay, Johnson's. But there is too much powerful action on the outer and centre sections to allow any sand build up.

The shore is all pebbly rock of the riverstone variety.
Very hungry rocks.
At high tide they claim some glass and resin from every board lost.
Low tide is considerably easier, as the white water rolls much further, dissipating most of its power.

National is not a hollow wave.
I have only witnessed or experienced a handful of cover-ups, and only two or three genuine tubes ever.

National is not nearly as powerful (under normal conditions) as most places of comparative size.
It doesn't leap out of deep water.
It moves over many reefs before breaking.
The curl drops rather than rips off.

National's jollies don't stem from hollowness or power.
Just from the rate of peel, the sections, the speed.
Under extreme conditions National becomes a Rincon or more, hollow, perfect, powerful, with a pulling action in the eye.
A very distant south - east swell, wide apart and powerful produces this.
A twice a year special.

In a north-east swell the curl opens up, peels from considerably further ahead, allows the occasional tube, but means the wave is unmakable if it has any length of wall.

The further apart the swell, the easier it is to employ all the goodies.
The sidewash has progressed further across the face, and exerts more emphasis on the middle section.
Also, there is less water lying around, dulling the curl, if it's a long swell.

On a huge swell, the take-off moves out beyond the square over to the Boiling Pot, which borders on madness, but means the works, everything possible.
After a Boiling Pot take-off, there is a fatter spot until the square, where the world caves in.
If you clean the square, the wave is set up through to Johnson's for sure.
Hot, but more easily made than a smaller wave, as it clears the middle section.

National's regulars include a Gannet that surfs and fishes the place any southerly day.
This bird doesn't do flying take-offs like all other surfing sea-gulls, but actually sets up the curl, sits on the water waiting for the swell to lift under him.
He takes off really tight.
Two kick, two flap take-offs, and the southerly lifting over swell creates sufficient up-draft to support the slydog.
He cuts-back to stick with the steepness, does flying pullouts on Johnson's Point.
On his fly-outs, he cruises just inches over the water, zots and zowies through the mob, has a bit of a dive, and sits in amongst the in- crowd out on the square.
No one gives him trouble and he troubles no one.
Part of the scene.

That scene!
The scene is an unfortunate unwelcome result of the smugness of we who should have known better.
Anyway, it's there, so adapt.
Must be the most crowded place in Australia, worse than the Sydney horde - hangouts.
Bearded non-smokers on safari from the West, South and New Zealand, cool Sydneyites minus element, masses of faceless ones.
The Kiosk that offers a rising swell with every plate of sandwiches.
The caretaker who must develop
(sic) a facial twitch every Saturday till Sunday night, as half of Brisbane moves into his region, bringing boards, birds, beer, banalities.
But when there's a strong, long, south swell, National's head-high and moving fast, strange how there's just that little knot of guys attempting the square thru the middle section.
Weird how at low tide there'll be only five or six out, while Ti Tree is buckling under the weight of thirty or forty hungry thin-curl limit rippers.

How often now does it happen.
"God! Ti Tree was out of control.
Best for ages!"
Then the stall of expectancy as they wait for a comeback.
Like, "Yeh? National was best all year!"
But no.
It's much more kicks to snicker.

Surfing World

Volume 8 Number 6
March 1967.


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Geoff Cater (2003-2019) : Bob McTavish : National Park, Noosa, 1967.