primates : a catatogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
Australian Champs, Bells Beach, 1967.
: aust titles,
Sutherland, Barry: Australian
Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967, pages
9 Number 1, April-May 1967, pages 10 to 27.
For film of the event, see:
Paul Witzig's The
Hot Generation, 1967-1968.
in Victoria we expect the pre-Easter build up of swell to
three weeks before Easter and this year was no exception.
of the greatest months ever that I have known for surf and
around the ten foot mark and we experienced above average
in the high nineties, perfect for a surf before and after
a week before the contest, brought the first interstate
and Ted Spencer were the first sighted and they sneaked a
in perfect Bell's surf before the mob arrived at the close
of the week.
29, the first day of the contest, presented us with a sloppy
swell fighting a four to eight feet ground swell.
lunch time the wind swell had disappeared and we had smooth
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.
Couper, promptly announced his decision to postpone the
to a later date.
Wayne Lynch and Kevin Parkinson had won their semi-finals
and Gail Couper
and Lyn Stubbins had easily won their heats.
Tuesday, turned out to be the best day for surf for the
lifted to 6-10 feet, the wind was offshore and the sun shone
for the duration of the first round of senior men's and
in the heats were registered by "Nat" Young, Robert
Conneeley, Keith Paul,
"Midget" Farrelly, Peter Drouyn, Russell Hughes, Bobby Brown
and Ted Spencer.
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.
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 ...
glassy waves rolled
in before the contest grand finals began Sunday
Bobby Brown and Robert
chase another surfer across a beautiful wall.
Volume 4 Number 1, June
Keith Paul and
"Midget" Farrelly turned on their best efforts and both easily
other two semi-finals.
brilliant with his repertoire of fast fluid turns, using the
of Bell's to perfection.
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
final began at 5 p.m., the tide had filled in considerably
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.
minutes of close, tight and hard surfing from all finalists
was given first place, just ahead of "Midget" Farrelly, with
breathing hard down their necks in third place.
of his greater ability to perform in the white water, thus
setting a pattern
he adhered to for the rest of the contest.
showed amazing versatility and it was evident that he had
only to click
in all departments to be able to beat "Nat".
he is certainly no "has-been".
the weather changed.
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.
to the contest and some quick organisation enabled the
and repercharge, held over from Monday, to be completed
before the sky
opened up and all hell broke loose.
of the completion of the repercharge it did!
rain, and with a sudden gust of wind flashed around to the
we were in the middle of a storm.
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.
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
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.
well and what sort of wave it can produce I soon convinced
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
remarks from some "experts" saying that Torquay was not a
how misinformed they were, it was good quality contest surf!
to be Lome.
the swell was not big enough to get into Lome and the
quite clear that the Point would not work ror very long with
it was decided to shift back to Torquay, and by the time
there, nearly three hours had lapsed since first leaving in
The surf had
deteriorated to a sloppy mess - great conditions for the
heat and semi-finals!
fourth day broke with south-westerly winds, patchy blue
skies and intermittent
big, possibly 15 feet at Bell's.
the venue this time and with the bigger and stronger swell
the Point was
on - a beautiful 4-6 feet surf.
after line of swell wrapped around the outside point near
and poured across the bay to the Point creating one of the
seen here for quite a while.
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 protest was the advantage that locals Wayne Lynch and
Gail Couper had
at the Point.
but no matter where a contest is held someone will always
have a slight
advantage because of the knowledge of local conditions.
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.
proved this by closely defeating Wayne in the junior final
after both had
turned on some tremendous surfing.
in the right place at the right time regardless of wave size
and could not put a foot wrong.
tremendous repertoire of turns and functioning manoeuvres
waves into submission, but he lacked final consistency which
he later revealed
in the contest.
rode into third place and was impressive with his attacking
proved a one-horse race with Gail Couper outclassing all her
But again the
weather let us down and Friday turned out with light onshore
big swell. Bell's was far too bumpy and big to hold the junior
finals, and a check revealed Torquay was not much better, so a
was chosen where the surf would be considerably smaller -
surfed well and was the only girl who looked capable of
pushing Gail in
were quite good, 4-6 feet waves consistently holding excellent
the wind was not really affecting the wave face.
This time in
the junior final Wayne Lynch clicked and turned the tables,
Cooney with Kevin Parkinson again finishing third.
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.
final would be a cut-throat between Wayne and "Butch", the
acquiring the Australian title, whereas Gail had only to
finish with a
place to retain her title.
Friday night was a black one for "Butch" Cooney, as some
fellow took a
fancy to his board and decided to steal it.
and so did the first spectators along with their cameras,
and transistors etc.
waves rolled through for most of the morning, and it was not
in the afternoon when the sea breeze came up that conditions
There were no
startling upsets in the heats and semi-finals, and the men's
the same as on Tuesday with the exception of Keith Paul who
by Robert Conneeley.
was no deterrant to the finalists and once again "Nat" Young
superiority by finishing first, ahead of Peter Drouyn and
In the senior
men's final, Rod Wilson and Malcolm Saunders continued with
form and dominated their opponents.
of these two events for Sunday's grand finals now showed us
Young after winning both rounds had a perfect score and
virtually had to
come fourth on Sunday to lose his title. "Midget" Farrelly and
were equal and were the only surfers in the position to
score and ...
take first place.
Rod Wilson was
sitting pretty as well, for after two wins in the senior men's
had to finish second in the grand final to beat Malcolm
Saunders and secure
of the two rounds of competition the following points system
to the results ...
points; 2nd, 93; 3rd, 86; 4th, 79; 5th, 72.
3rd, 65 points; 4th, 58; 5th, 51; 6th, 44.
4th, 37 points; 5th, 30; 6th, 23.
Heats: 3rd, 16
points; 4th, 9; 5th, 2.
finals would then consist of the six highest points scorers in
and the ultimate winners, the Australian champions would be
who amassed the highest number of points, including the points
from placings in the grand finals.
In other words
the surfers who won Sunday's grand finals, might not
necessarily be the
used this year was aimed at preventing a repetition of what
Queensland last year.
was for every heat, semi-final etc., a panel of judges,
consisting of a
reasonable balance of representatives from each competing
card was tallied and all the totals tabulated, the highest and
totals were wiped, thus eliminating judging errors and
judges were forced to toe the line and be fair in all styles
on their respective merits and to dismiss personal feelings
anyone surfer, good or otherwise.
well and there is no doubt that the best surfers won and the
in the correct order of ability and performance.
that has arisen over selection of judges and the final
placings is in my
opinion completely unjustified.
day of scheduled competition saw the swell jump to about 10-15
all morning during the free surfing time big glassy sets
poured into Bell's.
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
as they ripped apart wave after wave.
By 12.30 p.m.,
start of the contest, the crowd had built up to an estimated
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
in a swinging mood.
In the senior
men's grand final, Rod Wilson after winning the first two
badly and finished third behind Doc Spence and Malcolm
On the final
points tally, Malcolm Saunders became Australian champion, Rod
runner-up, and Doc Spence third.
to town in the junior men's grand final and easily beat
With this win,
Wayne gained the Australian title ahead of "Butch" second, and
third, with Richard Kavanaugh getting the medallion for fourth
of riding set by these juniors throughout the contest was very
when they step into senior ranks, look out.
was keyed up for the glamour event the men's grand final
the six best surfers in Australia -"Nat" Young, "Midget"
Drouyn, Bobby Brown, Keith Paul and Ted Spencer.
The swell was
running about 10 feet, and slightly choppy fron the onshore
not bad enough to cause any problems.
Of course, it
was a pity the glassy morning conditions did not last for this
then the spectator would have been treated to some of the
at its greatest.
the poor conditions were no deterrant to their ability to
perform and I
feel everyone was pleased to see Peter Drouyn become the giant
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
well to finish third behind "Nat", and so placed his mark upon
as a surfer who is good to watch.
did not ride as well as he did earlier in the contest and was
ahead of Bobby Brown and Ted Spencer.
showed us that "Nat" Young although beaten in the grand final,
far enough ahead on points to retain his title ahead of Peter
and Bernard "Midget" Farrelly third.
Drouyn, after having won the junior title two years running,
made an outstanding
debut into the senior ranks.
despite his not-so-good performance in the grand final, is
still a surfer
who is capable of defeating anyone.
his brilliant forehand and back-hand turns.
very consistent throughout the contest, being in all the
finals and just
missing a place each time.
better than everyone in the bigger surf.
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
not seem to surf at his best.
good enough to place him in the top six.
the contest he and Robert Conneeley tore Bell's, (which was
10 feet) apart, and both looked to be the surfers to beat.
was another surfer who rode extremely well in patches and
there was no
doubt he sat consistently tighter in the wave than anyone
final, postponed until Monday, resulted in victory to Gail
critical time he lacked that little extra polish the other
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.
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
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
I thought holding the Australian titles might prove too much
organisation, I now retract that.
The amount of
work done behind the scenes must have been enormous and the
No doubt they
will be pushing for the world titles next.
the trophies to all the winners and placegetters was made by
of Barrarbool President, Councillor Pettit, who spoke very
highly of the
He was ably
by senior representatives of Ampol Petroleum Ltd., who once
again are thanked
for their enthusiastic participation in our sport.
Australian Champs '67
Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967.
Geoff Cater (2010) : Barry
: Australian Champs, 1967.