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sutherland : aust titles, 1967 
Barry Sutherland : Australian Champs, Bells Beach, 1967.

Sutherland, Barry: Australian Champs '67.
Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967, pages 18 to 23.

Compare and contrast with :
1967 Ross Kelly : Australian Titles, Bells.
Surfing World Volume 9 Number 1, April-May 1967, pages 10 to 27.
For film of the event, see:
Paul Witzig's  The Hot Generation, 1967-1968.

Page 19

As usual, now in Victoria we expect the pre-Easter build up of swell to commence about three weeks before Easter and this year was no exception.
March was one of the greatest months ever that I have known for surf and weather.
The swell hovered around the ten foot mark and we experienced above average temperatures in the high nineties, perfect for a surf before and after work.
The long weekend, a week before the contest, brought the first interstate visitors.
Robert Conneely and Ted Spencer were the first sighted and they sneaked a few sessions in perfect Bell's surf before the mob arrived at the close of the week.
Monday, March 29, the first day of the contest, presented us with a sloppy easterly wind swell fighting a four to eight feet ground swell.
Nevertheless, by lunch time the wind swell had disappeared and we had smooth lines of ground swell.
The programme scheduled for the day was the first round of women's and junior men's competition and everything ran smoothly until a southerly sea breeze chopped up the surf around 2 p.m.
Head judge, Stan Couper, promptly announced his decision to postpone the remaining finals to a later date.
At this stage Wayne Lynch and Kevin Parkinson had won their semi-finals and Gail Couper and Lyn Stubbins had easily won their heats.

The next day, Tuesday, turned out to be the best day for surf for the entire contest.
The swell had lifted to 6-10 feet, the wind was offshore and the sun shone brilliantly, for the duration of the first round of senior men's and men's competition.
Outstanding displays in the heats were registered by "Nat" Young, Robert Conneeley, Keith Paul, "Midget" Farrelly, Peter Drouyn, Russell Hughes, Bobby Brown and Ted Spencer.

Malcolm Saunders, Rod Wilson and Doc Spence were the better surfers in the senior men's event and they were followed by ever-green Ross Kelly, Queensland's Ben Bendle and Victorian Jim Howard.

The men's semi-finals produced some tremendous surfing, naturally, the pressure was on already. "Nat" Young and Peter Drouyn after being in the same heat were in the same semi-final, and both surfed brilliantly with tremendous control and feeling with the white water, "Nat" finally ...

Page 20

Perfect, big, glassy waves rolled in before the contest grand finals began Sunday morning. 
Bobby Brown and Robert Conneeley chase another surfer across a beautiful wall.

Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967, 
page 20.

... emerging the victor.
Keith Paul and "Midget" Farrelly turned on their best efforts and both easily won the other two semi-finals.
"Midget" was brilliant with his repertoire of fast fluid turns, using the steep walls of Bell's to perfection.
Bobby Brown emerged ahead of Peter Drouyn in the repercharge and both then went into the final with "Nat" Young, "Midget" Farrelly and Keith Paul.

By the time the final began at 5 p.m., the tide had filled in considerably and "Little Rincon" was consistently breaking around the 6 foot mark - ideal surf for a contest final, especially with a light offshore breeze and the low rays of the sun adding sparkle to the water.

After forty-five minutes of close, tight and hard surfing from all finalists "Nat" Young was given first place, just ahead of "Midget" Farrelly, with Peter Drouyn breathing hard down their necks in third place.
"Nat" won because of his greater ability to perform in the white water, thus setting a pattern he adhered to for the rest of the contest.
Peter Drouyn showed amazing versatility and it was evident that he had only to click in all departments to be able to beat "Nat".
"Midget" proved he is certainly no "has-been".
On Wednesday the weather changed.
The early morning wind was due west and dark lines of swell were running ahead of inky black clouds that loomed across the sky toward the south-west.
An early start to the contest and some quick organisation enabled the junior semi-finals and repercharge, held over from Monday, to be completed before the sky opened up and all hell broke loose.
Within minutes of the completion of the repercharge it did!
Down came the rain, and with a sudden gust of wind flashed around to the south-west and we were in the middle of a storm.
For perhaps half an hour surfers and officials huddled in groups wherever shelter was available, or jammed themselves into the safety of cars until the outburst had cleared.
Contest officials deliberated on what to do - Bell's was badly chopped up, finally the decision was made to move back to Torquay and see what was offering there.
Back at Torquay the wind had dropped and the waves were around 4-6 feet, glass smooth inside and on the verge of coming good with the falling tide.
Knowing Torquay well and what sort of wave it can produce I soon convinced myself that the A.S.A. would hold the rest of the contest here before the wind came up permanently and ruined all. Nevertheless the decision was made to shift the contest down to Lome and of an hour later we were watching 3 feet maximum waves break off  Lome Point in between long intervals of no swell.
I heard a few remarks from some "experts" saying that Torquay was not a class wave.
For casual observers how misinformed they were, it was good quality contest surf!
Anyway, it was to be Lome.
It was obvious the swell was not big enough to get into Lome and the indications were quite clear that the Point would not work ror very long with the incoming tide.
After much discussion it was decided to shift back to Torquay, and by the time everyone reached there, nearly three hours had lapsed since first leaving in the morning.
The surf had deteriorated to a sloppy mess - great conditions for the remaining women's heat and semi-finals!
Thursday, the fourth day broke with south-westerly winds, patchy blue skies and intermittent showers.
The swell was big, possibly 15 feet at Bell's.
Lome was definitely the venue this time and with the bigger and stronger swell the Point was on - a beautiful 4-6 feet surf.
Consistently, line after line of swell wrapped around the outside point near the pier and poured across the bay to the Point creating one of the best line-ups seen here for quite a while.

 Page 21

After a protest from the N.S.W. delegates the junior and women's finals were held at a break, not the Point, ,further down the beach.
The reason for the protest was the advantage that locals Wayne Lynch and Gail Couper had at the Point.
Fair enough, but no matter where a contest is held someone will always have a slight advantage because of the knowledge of local conditions.
Besides, Wayne and Gail ride the Lorne beach break more than they do the Point, so the advantage was still with them.
Of course if a surfer is good enough he will beat anyone, on their home beach or not.
"Butch" Cooney proved this by closely defeating Wayne in the junior final after both had turned on some tremendous surfing.
"Butch" was always in the right place at the right time regardless of wave size and quality and could not put a foot wrong.
Wayne, with his tremendous repertoire of turns and functioning manoeuvres powered many waves into submission, but he lacked final consistency which he later revealed in the contest.
Kevin Parkinson rode into third place and was impressive with his attacking style.

The women's final proved a one-horse race with Gail Couper outclassing all her opponents.
Lyn Stubbins surfed well and was the only girl who looked capable of pushing Gail in later competition.

But again the weather let us down and Friday turned out with light onshore winds and big swell. Bell's was far too bumpy and big to hold the junior and women's finals, and a check revealed Torquay was not much better, so a new spot was chosen where the surf would be considerably smaller - Point Impossible.
Conditions here were quite good, 4-6 feet waves consistently holding excellent shape and the wind was not really affecting the wave face.
This time in the junior final Wayne Lynch clicked and turned the tables, beating "Butch" Cooney with Kevin Parkinson again finishing third.
Gail surfed well and was too good for the other girls.
Now after two rounds of competition Wayne and "Butch" were equal on points and Gail had a clear cut lead in the women's events.
Sunday's grand final would be a cut-throat between Wayne and "Butch", the winner obviously acquiring the Australian title, whereas Gail had only to finish with a place to retain her title.

Unfortunately Friday night was a black one for "Butch" Cooney, as some fellow took a fancy to his board and decided to steal it.

Saturday arrived and so did the first spectators along with their cameras, picnic lunches and transistors etc.

Smooth, glassy waves rolled through for most of the morning, and it was not until late in the afternoon when the sea breeze came up that conditions deteriorated.
There were no startling upsets in the heats and semi-finals, and the men's final was the same as on Tuesday with the exception of Keith Paul who was displaced by Robert Conneeley.
The choppy surf was no deterrant to the finalists and once again "Nat" Young proved his superiority by finishing first, ahead of Peter Drouyn and "Midget" Farrelly.

In the senior men's final, Rod Wilson and Malcolm Saunders continued with their fine form and dominated their opponents.
The situation of these two events for Sunday's grand finals now showed us that "Nat" Young after winning both rounds had a perfect score and virtually had to come fourth on Sunday to lose his title. "Midget" Farrelly and Peter Drouyn were equal and were the only surfers in the position to overhaul "Nat's" score and ...
Page 22

... possibly take first place.
Rod Wilson was sitting pretty as well, for after two wins in the senior men's he only had to finish second in the grand final to beat Malcolm Saunders and secure the title.

After completion of the two rounds of competition the following points system was applied to the results ...
Final: 1st, 100 points; 2nd, 93; 3rd, 86; 4th, 79; 5th, 72.
Repercharge: 3rd, 65 points; 4th, 58; 5th, 51; 6th, 44.
Semi-Finals: 4th, 37 points; 5th, 30; 6th, 23.
Heats: 3rd, 16 points; 4th, 9; 5th, 2.

Sunday's grand finals would then consist of the six highest points scorers in each event, and the ultimate winners, the Australian champions would be the surfers who amassed the highest number of points, including the points allocated from placings in the grand finals.

In other words the surfers who won Sunday's grand finals, might not necessarily be the Australian champions.
The judging system used this year was aimed at preventing a repetition of what happened in Queensland last year.
Basically there was for every heat, semi-final etc., a panel of judges, consisting of a reasonable balance of representatives from each competing State.
After each judge's card was tallied and all the totals tabulated, the highest and lowest judge's totals were wiped, thus eliminating judging errors and incompetent judging.
In other words, judges were forced to toe the line and be fair in all styles of surfing on their respective merits and to dismiss personal feelings connected with anyone surfer, good or otherwise.
The system worked well and there is no doubt that the best surfers won and the placings filled in the correct order of ability and performance.
Any controversy that has arisen over selection of judges and the final placings is in my opinion completely unjustified.

Sunday, the last day of scheduled competition saw the swell jump to about 10-15 feet and all morning during the free surfing time big glassy sets poured into Bell's.
Two events were dropped from the programme, the tandem, through lack of entries, and the women's final because of the big swell.
As a curtain raiser to the contest the crowd was thrilled by the power surfing of Bob McTavish, Bobby Brown, Russell Hughes, "Nat" Young and Robert Conneeley as they ripped apart wave after wave.
By 12.30 p.m., start of the contest, the crowd had built up to an estimated 20,000, and together with surfers, surfboards, cars, officials, hot-dog and salad roll stalls, Bell's was a hive of activity.
Ross Kelly was obviously enjoying his job on the micro- phone and really put everyone in a swinging mood.

In the senior men's grand final, Rod Wilson after winning the first two rounds, slipped badly and finished third behind Doc Spence and Malcolm Saunders.
On the final points tally, Malcolm Saunders became Australian champion, Rod Wilson was runner-up, and Doc Spence third.

Wayne Lynch went to town in the junior men's grand final and easily beat "Butch" Cooney.
With this win, Wayne gained the Australian title ahead of "Butch" second, and Kevin Parkinson third, with Richard Kavanaugh getting the medallion for fourth place.
The standard of riding set by these juniors throughout the contest was very high, and when they step into senior ranks, look out.

By now, everyone was keyed up for the glamour event the men's grand final consisting of the six best surfers in Australia -"Nat" Young, "Midget" Farrelly, Peter Drouyn, Bobby Brown, Keith Paul and Ted Spencer.
The swell was running about 10 feet, and slightly choppy fron the onshore breeze, although not bad enough to cause any problems.
Of course, it was a pity the glassy morning conditions did not last for this final, as then the spectator would have been treated to some of the world's best surfers

Page 23

... riding Bell's at its greatest.
Nevertheless, the poor conditions were no deterrant to their ability to perform and I feel everyone was pleased to see Peter Drouyn become the giant killer and defeat "Nat" Young.
Riding a very short and light board, Peter gained tremendous acceleration from his turns to power from the soup under some "impossible" heavy Bell's curls.
Keith Paul rode well to finish third behind "Nat", and so placed his mark upon the scene as a surfer who is good to watch.
"Midget" Farrelly did not ride as well as he did earlier in the contest and was placed fourth ahead of Bobby Brown and Ted Spencer.
The final results showed us that "Nat" Young although beaten in the grand final, was still far enough ahead on points to retain his title ahead of Peter Drouyn second, and Bernard "Midget" Farrelly third.

Runner-up, Peter Drouyn, after having won the junior title two years running, made an outstanding debut into the senior ranks.

"Midget" Farrelly, despite his not-so-good performance in the grand final, is still a surfer who is capable of defeating anyone.
No-one can match his brilliant forehand and back-hand turns.

Bobby Brown was very consistent throughout the contest, being in all the finals and just missing a place each time.
He performed better than everyone in the bigger surf.
Sunday morning during the free surfing period he rode brilliantly.

Keith Paul is another surfer who can be brilliant, Tuesday was his best day of the contest.
He easily won his heat and semi-final with a display of smooth power surfing.
Ted Spencer did not seem to surf at his best.
Although it was good enough to place him in the top six.
The week before the contest he and Robert Conneeley tore Bell's, (which was running about 10 feet) apart, and both looked to be the surfers to beat.

Russell Hughes was another surfer who rode extremely well in patches and there was no doubt he sat consistently tighter in the wave than anyone else.
However, at the critical time he lacked that little extra polish the other surfers had.

The women's grand final, postponed until Monday, resulted in victory to Gail Couper.
Over the week she showed us how far advanced her surfing is compared with the other contestants and left no doubt as to her superiority.
Lyn Stubbins finished second ahead of third place-getter Nola Sheppard, from South Australia.

Looking at the contest organisation, I must congratulate the Victorian A.S.A. upon a wonderful job.
A month earlier they had staged the Victorian championships at Bell's as a trial run and all the slips and faults discovered, were rectified in an effort to run the Australian titles as smoothly as possible. Personally at that stage I thought holding the Australian titles might prove too much for their organisation, I now retract that.
The amount of work done behind the scenes must have been enormous and the experience gained
No doubt they will be pushing for the world titles next.

Presentation of the trophies to all the winners and placegetters was made by the Shire of Barrarbool President, Councillor Pettit, who spoke very highly of the contest.
He was ably supported by senior representatives of Ampol Petroleum Ltd., who once again are thanked for their enthusiastic participation in our sport.

Sutherland, Barry: 
Australian Champs '67
Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967.

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Geoff Cater (2010) : Barry Sutherland : Australian Champs, 1967.