home catalogue history references appendix 
   history : transition boards, 1967-1968 

a period of transition : 1967-1968
"the shortboard revolution"

In the second half of 1967, intense competition between a group of elite surfers, shapers and manufacturers in Sydney, Australia, saw the beginnings of a progressive reduction in surfboard volume, commonly designated as the Shortboard Revolution.
This experimentation initiated further volume reduction up to 1970, thereafter profoundly changing surfing performance and board design world wide.
As surfboard dimensions were progressively reduced, these smaller boards increased the speed at which manoeuvres were completed and surfers rode deeper and longer in the critical part of the wave.

At the 1970 World Titles, former ASA President Bob Spence summarised the extent of change in surfing equipment and technique since 1967:

"The revolution in the shape of surfboards has brought with it so many new riding manoeuvres and styles that judges will be hard put to keep up with the times.
At no other period in our surfing history has there been so much to learn.
Great interest will be focused on the degree of success each piece of new equipment achieves in bigger waves."

1970 World Titles, Bells Beach, souvenir program, quoted in Baker: Australia's Century Of Surf (2011) page 160.
McTavish vs. Brewer : Stoked! (2009) and Going Vertical (2010).
This paper was prepared largely in response to the 2010 film Going Vertical, and its associated publicity campaign, that purported to examine the conflicting claims by Bob McTavish of Australia and Dick Brewer of Hawaii in determining who was responsible for the Shortboard Revolution.
By establishing two opposing claimants, no doubt enhancing dramatic impact, the film greatly over-simplifies this important historical period.
Although using substantial (but highly edited) archival sources, the design developments in Australia are accredited uniquely to Bob McTavish.
While undoubtedly McTavish played an integral role in the early development of smaller boards, he was not an independent designer but rather a leading figure in the Sydney board design "hot-house" of 1967.
Among the other participants, the role of Midget Farrelly was substantial.

On the other hand, by merely relying on Brewer's recollections, the film effectively creates a "straw man" whose claims without any archival documentation are, at best, dubious.
It also fails to analyse the contribution of any other American and/or Hawaiian shapers.
Incredibly, according to  Bob McTavish's introductory comments at the Sydney premier of the film, interview footage with noted Hawaiian surfer and shaper, George Downing, never made the final cut.

Furthermore, while McTavish is a noted big wave rider, the initial short board designs were specifically manufactured for the small beach break waves of Sydney, yet during the late 1960s Brewer's reputation was firmly entrenched as the builder of big wave guns, primarily for the massive north swells of the Hawaiian winter.
The distinction between small and big wave surfboard design is not canvassed in Going Vertical.

See :
(if link fails, please insert Going Vertical into a generic search engine)

Also see:
Damien Murphy: Wave of nostalgia swells feud
Sydney Sun Herald, May 9, 2010, page 18.

While Going Vertical is heavily indebted to Bob McTavish's autobiography, the most detailed work examining this period, it must be conceded that the book is unquestionably self-serving and a significant number of his claims conflict with his earlier writings and several must be considered, at best, tenuous.
Although it is impossible to completely reject his (admittedly entertaining) contribution, it presents potential difficulties for future historians' attempts at serious analysis.
Therefore, while an exhaustive critique of Stoked! by chapter and verse would be tedious, as McTavish is to a significant extent rewriting history some of his claims require, what may be considered by some, trivial appraisal.

The primary sources are contemporary articles from various surfing publications and a number of surfing films.
However, note that for magazines at this time there was a substantial publishing lag, up to three months, between composition and distribution.
Compounding this difficulty, during 1967-1968, the the two major Sydney surfing magazines, Surfing World and Surf International, fail to date many of their editions, and in some cases the publication date is an estimation.
For films, the lag was significantly longer and in some instances, by the time the film was released the board designs were largely obsolete.

Secondary sources are retrospective magazine articles, books or films; that is works that were published significantly after the period under discussion.
Generally, the value of secondary sources diminishes as the gap between publication and the actual events increases.

The most informative contemporary article that details the critical last six months of 1967 is an interview with Midget Farrelly, possibly conducted by magazine editor John Witzig, published in Surf International in early 1968, but clearly recorded before he left for the winter season in Hawaii.
Extensively quoted in this paper, it is strongly suggested that the article should be read in its entirety, see:
Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, pages 35 to 37.

Film Selections Available Online
Bob Evans: High on a Cool Wave (1968)

Witzig, Paul: Hot Generation (1968)

Eric: The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1969), Trailer.‎

Blum, Eric: The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1969) Bob McTavish, Honolula Bay, 1967.

Duke Kahanamoku´s World of Surfing 1968 TV Special Part 2
5:09-8:59 George Downing

Duke Kahanamoku´s World of Surfing 1968 TV Special Part 1
5:57-6:26 Jock Sutherland, Pipeline and Sunset Beach

1. As an Australian surfer, I have attempted to not be overly influenced by nationalist tendencies.
2. Unfortunately, I (still) do not have full access to the range of American surfing publications of the period, which possibly severely limits the analysis.
Any relevant correspondence would be appreciated.
3. Although surfing at Manly Beach in 1966-1967 and personally witnessing some of the design developments discussed here, I have attempted not to rely on my (questionable) memory.
Revolutions in Surfboard Design – An Overview.
Revolution: 2. A complete or marked change in something. - Macquarie Dictionary (1991).
Surfboard: in this context these comments refer to boards ridden in a standing position.

Undoubtedly many designs have been “invented” outside of the mainstream manufacturing process, however they are only adopted by the surfboard riding community at large and become a design standard when they are either (and often a combination of):
1. available as a commercial item.
2. given media exposure.
3. demonstrated in contest performance.

For aeons surfboards were constructed from solid timber billets.
Since the turn of the 20th Century, surfboard design has generally advanced in an evolutionary process with small incremental changes.
However, at several critical points design has undergone a marked change, at the time effectively rending previous designs virtually obsolete.
These changes occurred in a relatively short time, usually about three years, and formed the standard design parameters for the subsequent ten years, in some cases longer.
The accreditation to the following designers is simply a guide, and not exclusive.

The Hollow Board Revolution 1926-1929.
Tom Blake (US) - Harry McLaren (Australia)
This improved floatation and a reduction in board weight by 50%, while, generally, lengths increased.
Ininitially designed as a paddleboard, it vastly improved the surfboard’s potential as a rescue device, and was particually suited to slow waves with gentle faces.
However, its potential as a wave riding board
was limited, and it's importance is sometimes over-rated, as for a long period it co-existed in popularity with solid timber boards.

The Fibreglass-Balsa Revolution 1947-1949.
Bob Simmons, Joe Quigg, Matt Kivlin.
Vast improvement in structural integrity and a return to the subtlety in design of the solid timber board, particularly in rail shape.
The addition of a large area fin greatly improved directional stability and turning performance.

The Foam Revolution 1956-1958.
Dave Sweet, Gubby Clarke, Hobie Alter.
Further reduction in weight (20%?) from the balsa/fibreglass board and a vast expansion of design possibilities.
In particular note, circa 1966, surfboard designers' adoption of George Greenough’s high aspect fin design.

The “Short Board” Revolution, 1967-1970.
Midget Farrelly, Bob McTavish, Kevin Platt, Dick Brewer, many others.
While the reduction in length is the focus of most commentators, from 1967 the standard board radically reduced in volume (L x W x D).
In 1967 most boards were 9 ft 4’’ x 23’’ x 3’’, by 1970 this had shrunk to 6ft 4’’ x 18’’ x 3’’, with an effective reduction in volume of approximately 40%.
Although substantially reducing paddling ability, the use of a smaller board significantly advanced wave riding performance.

The “Thruster” Revolution, 1980-1983.
Simon Anderson.
From 1970 surfboard design experienced a wide variety of experimentation.
Most critical was the universal adoption of the down rail, often attributed to Mike Hynson.
Other variations were in template shape, rocker, and fin design and configuration.
The impact of the introduction of the leg-rope (US: surf leash) circa 1974, should not be overlooked.
It not only improved safety, wave count and encouraged surfers to ride more extreme locations, it also reduced  structural demands resulting in even lighter boards.
In 1981 Simon Anderson introduced his three-fin Thruster design, effectively supplanting previous fin configurations.

Some Design Precedents *
Before 1967 several designers had experimented with significantly smaller than the current standard sized boards, in many cases scaling down the standard dimensions for juveniles or riders of smaller stature.
Note that these experiments were not adopted at the time by the majority of surfers, and the acceptance of smaller boards as the industry standard was only established post 1967.
Included in an extensive range of Tom Blake surfboard models and other aquatic craft and accessories (aquaplanes, water skis, paddles and swim fins) detailed in a Los Angles Ladder Company brochure published in 1940 was the Breaker Board:

"A small surf board which enables the user to ride breakers.
Ideal for children and for use in swimming pools as a flutter board.
Size 5 ft. long, 18 in. wide."

- Lynch, Gary and Gault-Willians, Malcom: Tom Blake - The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman (2001)  page 111.

Although designated as an aquaplane (note that these were often built by surfboard manufacturers), an early application of a vee bottom is evident in a 1934 brochure by the Thompson Bros. Boat Manufacturing Company, which offered two models- the Hawaiian Surf Board and the:

" 'Hawaiian Floater' ...  a hollow, built-up board.
It had a slight V shaped bottom, 6 feet long and 28 inches wide.
List price in the '34 brochure, $8.00 for the Surf Board and $12.00 for the Floater!"

- : early aquaplane info needed
thompsonboatboy  Posted: Monday February 11, 2008 3:21 pm

Vee in the tail section was also used in 1936 by Wally Froiseth, Fran Heath and John Kelly at Waikiki in their narrow-tail gun, the Hot Curl, to improve control of their finless boards in large waves.

- Obelian George: Give It  the Axe- Early Development of the Modern Gun
Surfer, Vol 30 No. 10  1989, page 105.

Perhaps the most famous of the early experiments was the Darrilyn board, slightly smaller than normal board built by Joe Quigg  for Tom Zahn's then current girlfriend, Darrilyn Zanuck, in 1947.
The board was subsequently ridden by many elite surfers and was considered integral in the development of the Malibu Chip.

- Marcus: Surfboard (2007) pages 86-87.

In 1954, Dale Velzy produced his first Pig board, moving the wide point bellow the mid-point which substantially increased the tail area and improved turning performance.

- Holmes: Dale Velzy (2006) pages 101 and 102.
- Marcus: The Surfboard (2007) pages 103 and 104.
- Motil: Surfboards (2007) pages 114 and 115.

The Pig template was adopted in 1958-1959 by Australian manufacturers when they built their first fibre glassed boards (see Catalogue: #60 and #99) and was much in evidence in the shorter designs developed in Sydney in 1967.

In the early 1960s Velzy manufactured a short board, designated the Seven Eleven (7 ft 11''), which was later replicated (circa 1965) by Dewey Weber, see Joey Hamaski's comments below.

- Joe Tabler's Surf Blurb, 2 Aug 2010.
Posts by Herb Torrens, Michael Richard and Don Fleming.

McDonagh Surfboards, one of Sydney's earliest fibreglass board builders, experimented with Coolite foam blanks in 1958 and produced a range of boards in varying lengths:
"pig board 9 ft., hot dog board 8 ft. 6 in., teardrops 8 ft., 7 ft. and 6 ft."

- Renwick, Ross: How to build a foam plastic surfboard.
Australian Outdoors, November, 1958, page 58.

In 1961 Bob McTavish purchased "the Goose", a 6 ft Gordon Woods surfboard from Ken Wiles surfshop in Brisbane.
The board was probably intended for a juvenile or, less likely, a surfer of small stature.

- McTavish: Stoked! (2009) pages 70 to 72.

Moving to Sydney in 1962, McTavish built several boards similar to the Goose for Chocko Ferrier, Dave Chidgley (both riders of small stature similar to McTavish) and female surfer Christine Binning.
These " 6 ' 6" wide tail board(s)", were designated as Foley boards, a reference to a similar design featured in the second edition California's Surfer magazine (further details unknown).

- McTavish: Pods for Primates
The Best of Tracks Magazine  April? 1973, page ?
- McTavish: Stoked! (2009) page 125.
Dave Chidgley is shown riding at short Foley board at Currumbin Beach, Queensland, in Dennis Elton's Follow the Surf (1963).

Dick Brewer noted in 1989:

"When (Pat) Curren visited me at Surfboards Hawaii in Haleiwa during 1963, he had a 9'4" full gun, an 8'4" semi-gun 3" thick, and a 4'6" twin-fin kneeboard.
All these boards were ahead of their time."

- Brewer, Dick: Lust in the Dust - An Era of Big-Wave Equipment Evolution.
Surfer, Volume 30 Number 10  1989, page 105.

Surfboards in  December 1966.
At the end of 1966, the established Australian design was between 9ft and 9ft 8'' long and about 23'' wide.

It featured a round nose and a 6'' square tail, and constant rocker.
The bottoms were rounded with a thin high rail, the design typified by Sam (#522 ), Nat Young's 1966 World Contest winning board.
(In the beach celebrations following the contest Sam disappeared - apparently "souvenired" by a spectator).
Generally the blanks had a single timber stringer, although some had a stringerless blank, first introduced by Midget Farrelly in 1965, in an attempt to make the board lighter, see #110.
Some boards had a concave nose to enhance noseriding (see below).
A deep Greenough style fin, usually in excess of 10'', was set less than 6'' from the tail.
Greenough initially fitted this fin design to his kneeboard circa 1960, however they were not added to conventional boards until 1965.

Gordon Woods Surfboards : Sam by Nat Young, 1966. (digital reconstruction)

Despite Young's emphatic win at the World Contest in San Diego in 1966, and with half the finalists from Australia (ex-Avalon surfer Rodney Sumpter 5th and Midget Farrelly 6th), most Californian surfers and manufacturers continued to promote their noserider models.

Most boards were between 9ft 6'' and 10 ft and around 23'' wide.
They featured a round nose, often with a deep concave section, parallel rails with a wide square tail.
A wide variety of fin designs were available, some fitted either a specific manufacturers' fin box or to the universally available Waveset (previously Morey's Skeg Works 1965) range .
See Tom Morey's Noseriding Contest 1965.

Weber Surfboards : Performer by Dewey Weber, 1967.

Big wave board designs dominated the focus of Hawaiian builders, with lengths between 10 and 12 feet and widths generally less than 22''.

With a pointed nose, a foil template with the wide point well forward of centre and a narrow square tail, the boards had distinct nose lift with a relatively straight planning section in the tail where the rails were low and hard.
Given the stresses encountered in large surf, the most boards had a wide timber stringer, multiple timber stringers or a combination of both.
Fins were usually, often longbased, variations of the standard D-fin, occasionally Dorsal.
Noted designers included George Downing, Pat Curran, and Dick Brewer.

Hobie Surfboards : Hawaiian Gun by Dick Brewer, c1964.

However, while California either ignored or severely denegrated the Australian approach, as exemplified by Nat Young's victory in 1966 and the writings of Bob McTavish, it appears that some of the Hawaiian competitors, such as Jock Sutherland, Jeff Hakman, and Jackie Eberle, were impressed.
 At the beginning of 1967, if a choice "in style"  was to be made between California's Noseriders or the Australian "involvement school," by the winter of 1967-1968, the Hawaiian approach was definitely closer to the later.

Following the Duke contest at Sunset Beach, Midget Farrelly reported:

"Almost every surfer out there was riding the big waves the same way we (Australians, and not the Californians) tried to ride our little waves."

- Farrelly, Midget: Untitled (Hawaii, Winter 1967).

Surf International Volume 1 Number 4, March 1968, page 9.

George Greenough and the Velos, 1965-1966.
Overshadowing the move to smaller surfboards in the late 1960s, the contribution of Californian kneeboarder George Greenough is undisputed.
While Velo, his unique flex bottom kneeboard design, never produced a practical equivalent application for stand up surfboards (although it probably it had some influence on Tom Morey's invention of the Boogie Board circa 1971), in Australia his high aspect fin became the industry standard by 1967 and world wide by 1968.
Greenough's wave riding, featuring a combination of radical turns and commitment to riding deep in the curl, set the standard for the future direction for surfing performance.
In addition, his outstanding surfing photographs and films were themselves a major influence.

Image top right:
George Greenough and Velo Spoon and high-aspect fin
, 1966?
Photograph by John Witzig?
in ?

George Greenough, Honolua Bay, Maui, 1967.
Photograph by John Witzig
, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 2 - Maui.
Surf International
Volume 1. Number 5  May 1968  page 23.

Peter Drouyn's Lightweight Board, 1966.
 In Switchfoot (2003), Andrew Crockett detailed Peter Drouyn's victory in the Junior ranks at the 1966 Australian Titles held at Coolangatta, and noted his early enthusiasm in riding shorter and lighter boards.

"Bob McTavish shaped Drouyn's board for the titles that year and he shaped it lightweight.
Drouyn kept saying he wanted it shorter and lighter.
This was a new concept at the time and led by Drouyn in 1966."

Interviewed for the book, Bob McTavish commented:

 "I must admit, I could have overlooked a few things with Drouyn in my recall of history, but I do know for sure that in 1966, that is pre-revolution, Drouyn was pushing for change.
I shaped him the board he won the Aussie juniors on in 1966 and he wanted it light light light, which we did, we only did a single glass job.
He wanted to be able to bottom turn like you wouldn't believe and I made the mistake of making the tail too wide, still thinking Malibu style then you know."

Compare and contrast that McTavish's comment that "I made the mistake of making the tail too wide" with his Easter 1967 experiments, noted below.
Drouyn stated:

"We were in the shaping bay for half a day working on that board and in the end it came out perfectly.
I knew what I wanted and thanks to Bob he let it happen."

McTavish added:

 "... I'd say Drouyn was the first high profile surfer to push hard for Lightweight.
I'd go further than that, and say he was frustrated with the whole concept of surfboards at the time ... he was truly ready for the shortboard revolution of the next year before anyone..."

- Crockett, Andrew: Switchfoot (2005) pages 192-193.

Nat Young's First Vee-Bottom, December 1966.
After returning from his victory in San Diego in 1966 without Sam, Nat Young shaped several new boards at Gordon Woods Surfboards. One of these had a vee-bottom section in the tail, and was ridden in the Makaha Contest(s) in the winter of 1966-196and at the Australian Championships at Bells Beach  at Easter 1967.

In September 1967, in an article prepared several months earlier, The Paddle-out Entry, Nat Young commented on his newest board:

"Its statistics in length, thickness, and width were similar to "Sam," my World Contest board, but the bottom shape was completely new.
Directly in front of the fin, the board had a definite V-bottom.
This made the board so sensitive that it felt like one's first drive in a fast car, or climbing on an untamed stallion.
It was so sensitive and fast out of the turn that you could not maintain your balance no matter how hard you tried."

- Surfer, Volume 8  Number 4, September 1967, page 78.

At the end of 1967, Young noted:

"We started off in the power school of surfing with rounds, which was developed by McTavish, and then I found out later on that V bottoms could be more sensitive so we worked on them, and the board I took back for the sixty-six, sixty-seven Makaha Surfing Championship had a V in it, and that was over a year and a half ago."
(McTavish) was directly responsible for the continuation of my idea, the V-bottom surfboard."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 91 and page 101.

Note that there were two "Makaha Contests" that winter, Nat competing in both.
Randy Rarrick noted (edited):

"The 'Makaha Surfing event' was a made for TV special that ABC did, because Nat Young had been eliminated in the main Makaha event.
They picked Nat because he was the reigning World Champion and  they hand picked all the other surfers so they would have contestants from France, Peru, California and Hawaii, besides Nat from Australia.
The Makaha organizers were unhappy with ABC, because it caused confusion over the official' event."

- Randy Rarrick: The Surf Blurb 26 March 2012.

For footage, see:
Makaha ABC Invitational
1966 .
An excerpt from ABC's Wide World of Sports (US television program), screened in 1967, with footage from the beach, helicopter and water shots from a power boat.
Results: Nat Young (Australia) 1st, Reno Abellira (Hawaii) 2nd, Mike Purpus (California) 3rd.

The official 1966 Makaha contest was
won by Fred Hemmings, the other finalists included Joey Cabell, George Downing, Felipe Pomar and Nat Young.

In September 1967, in an article prepared several months earlier, Nat commented on his newest board

"Its statistics in length, thickness, and width were similar to "Sam," my World Contest board, but the bottom shape was completely new.
Directly in front of the fin, the board had a definite V-bottom.
This made the board so sensitive that it felt like one's first drive in a fast car, or climbing on an untamed stallion.
It was so sensitive and fast out of the turn that you could not maintain your balance no matter how hard you tried."

Bob McTavish recalled, in 1973, that Young's vee bottom board was constructed in early 1967:

"Nat in Easter of '67 made a 9' 7" board with 6' of V in the bottom which was based on a Greenough design.
This thing turned like crazy and carved incredible arcs."

 - McTavish, Bob: Pods for Primates Part 2.
April 1972, reprinted in The Best of Tracks 1973.

The vee in the bottom of Nat's board is not noted in the available contemporary contest reports (by Ross Kelly and Barry Sullivan, below), is not discernible in photographs or film of the contest, and its significance not canvassed in Going Vertical (2010).
Regrettably, neither of these boards is not mentioned in Nat Young's autobiography, and he gives an apparently conflicting account:

"When Sam disappeared, the honest truth is I felt unsure on other surfboards.
I really believed he was magic and I just couldn't surf anything else.
I tried lots of different boards but it just wasn't the same - I built boards with exactly the same outline and vital statistics but they just didn't work like Sam had.
I sort of gave up and severed my relationship with Gordon Woods ..."

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) page 160.

Right: Nat Young and Gordon Woods Surfboard, Australian Titles Final, Bells Beach, Easter 1967.

In 2009
, in his intensive and enthusiastic account of his early surfing and shaping career, published McTavish wrote that Nat's incorporation of the vee-bottom in his "Easter board" was influenced by George Greenough:

"George had suggested it as a way of allowing the wide tails to bank into a turn more easily.
In fact, on George's behest, Nat had just added some vee to the basic 'Involvement' style board he was surfing at Bells that Easter.
It looked good, though on his standard width tail it was a little lost, a little unnecessary."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 359.

This statement appears to have a internal contradiction - George Greenough suggests that vee may allow "the wide tails to bank into a turn more easily", yet Young shapes his initial design on a standard tail template.
More likely, Greenough initially recommended reformatting the standard round bottom with two flat planning panels (the vee bottom), a feature that was later adapted onto wider tailed boards.

Sydney, January 1967.
In January 1967, Midget Farrelly, "former wold champion and Sun-Herald columnist" continued to present the Sun’s Surf Safari, a series of demonstrations, instruction, and general promotion of surfing for the Sydney newspaper along the coast.
The other team members were Bobby Brown, of Cronulla, and Bondi's Robert Conneeley, accompanied by the "BMC Mini Zebra."
They apeared at Coogee (3rd), Maroubra (4th), North Wollongong (10th), Bronte (11th), Newcastle (12th), Newport (13th)
Whale Beach.( Monday 

- The Sun, Sydney, Tuesday, January 3 1967, page 11, and susequent editions (various pages).

Following their commitments presenting The Sun Surf Safari at Wollongong, including an appearance at the Big W department store in Warrawong, Farrelly, Brown and Coneeley surfed a rising "
4-6ft" swell at Sandon Point.
With "more than 50 kids sitting on the Point watching (none ventured into the water) ... Brownie was in his element ... Farrelly and Conneeley were also turning it on.

- Trembath, Murray: On the Boardwalk
The Sun
, Sydney, January 13 1967, page 60?

Nose riding competitions had dominated the Californian competition scene during 1966, as a result of the success of Tom Morey's Nose Riding Contest at Ventura, 3 - 4th July 1965, one of the first to offer cash prizes in the beginnings of professional contest surfing.
As the rider was clocked
when standing on the "nose of the board," for each wave and an accumulated time,  it was necessary to
define this area.
While many noserider boards had this section in the decor, the recently available aerosol sray grip (Slipcheck, Grip Feet, Con-trol) allowed a coloured nose-patch to be added post production, and was evident on several boards at the Austrailan championships that Easter, see below.

The Windandsea club had intended to stage the first noseriding contest in Australia, however, North Queensland's Caloundra Surf Riding Club held the first on 7-8th January.
"The contest was won by a 16 year old school boy, Andy Geddes, with a total time on the nose of 12.5 in his best three rides.
Longest individual ride was 5.2 s."
"high prize-money" contest, with was scheduled for April.

- Trembath, Murray: On the Boardwalk
The Sun
, Sydney, January 13 1967, page 60?

At the end of January, the Sydney Sun advertised a surfboard clearance sale at 61 Ethel Street, Seaforth.
They were offered at a substantial discount, perhaps a stock of now obsolete D-fins originally ordered by a chain store.

-The Sun
, Sydney, Friday January 20 1967, page 58.

As a result of mis-management, the 1967 NSW championships originally scheduled for 28-29th January were postponed at an emergency meeting of the contest committee of the NSW Surfrider’s Assoiciation on the previous Wednesday.
Re-scheduled for
Avlon on February 18-19th, the pressing issue was the selection of the State team for the Australian championships to held at Bells Beach over Easter.
As such, only heats and rephages were held to select the top 15 seniors 15 juniors and 6 girls (sic), with the finals to be run at a later date.
Entry forms, available at board shops, were to be lodged by February 13th.

Similar mismanagement was also evident in inter-club competition:
 "Windansea has lost both the Dee Why Shield and the Air New Zealand Trophy for failing to have contests within specified periods of time."
In the waves, St. George (Cronulla) was defeated by Mid-Steyne (Manly) "in a good 6ft surf" at Manly Beach on Sunday 22nd January.
Although St. George won three of the five heats, Mid-Steyne accumulated more points.
Kevin Platt (M-S) top-scored , followed by Bob Brown and Frank Latta, both of St. George.

During January, the (Sydney University) Union Theatre screened Bob Evans' High on a Cool Wave (1967-1968), Murray Trembath noted that:

"The first half is shot up around Noosa and Double Island Point where Nat Young, Bob McTavish and belly boarder (sic) George Greenough really turn it on.
The second half has a few old shots, and more recently the world championships in California and surfing in Hawaii.
The shots of Peter Drouyn surfing Sunstet and Pipeline at 8-10- ft on his 9 ft board are probably the best in the film.
Drouyn’s last ride at Pipeline has to be seen to be believed.

- Trembath, Murray: On the Boardwalk
The Sun, Sydney, Friday January 27 1967, page 62.

In February, Graham Cassidy was appointed as the journalist for the Sun's On the Boardwalk, his first column noting a large consigment of wetsuits and vests to Victoria and the approach of Cyclone Dinah, with the prospect of large waves on the north coast.
An article about the surf generated by Dinah at Noosa by Dr. Robert Spence was later published in Surfing World, March 1967.

Cassidy's article also detailed an impromptu contest between Midget Farrelly and Nat Young
at North Avalon, on the previous holiday weekend:
"Midget, with his grand 30 yard nose rides across the wall and Nat with his powerhouse manoeuvres in 'the soup' were a delight.
The off-the-cuff encounter was a terrible indication of what we can expect in the championships."

- Cassidy, Graham: On the Boardwalk
The Sun
, Sydney, Friday February 3 1967, page 60.

Graham Cassidy was instrumental in initiating the
2SM-Coca-Cola Surfabout contest in 1974, and he was ASP's executive director in the late 80s/early 90s.
He also co-authored Greats of Australian Surf (1983 and 1989)

Australian Championships, Bells Beach, March 1967.
With the expected big wave conditions common around this time of the year at Bells Beach, the 1967 National Championships  were eagerly anticipated.
The coming together of the country's best riders resulted in an intense focus on the performance of the participants and their equipment.
Midget Farrelly recalled:

"... I felt quite inspired after watching some of the surfers at the Australian Championships at Bells a little more closely than I ever had done before.
I think I summed up Bells as being the kind of contest where people actually wanted to get out and get more out of a wave than have ever been gotten out before.
They wanted to ride Bells in a way that had never been done before."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 35.

Footage of free and competition surfing at Bells Beach in Paul Witzig's Hot Generation (1968) and photographs of the contest support Farrelly's observation  that the contestants "wanted to get more out of a wave than have ever been gotten out before."

Australian Titles, Bells Beach, 1967.
1. Nat Young
2. Midget Farrelly
3.Ted Spencer

Photographs by Alby Falzon
Surfing World
Volume 9 Number 1 April-May 1967, pages 21 and 23.
2. 3.
- Witzig, Paul : The Hot Generation Trailer (1967)
This introduction includes a number of waves shot at Bells Beach, Easter 1967.

In a contest report, Ross Kelly detailed some of the recent advances in board design:

"Many new ideas showed up at Bells.
Bernard Farrelly's super light big board with a huge nose lift, which allowed him to stand further off
the tail and so level and trim the board against the water line.

Nat fattened his fins and especially the leading edge to reduce drag, similar to the foil on a dolphin's fin.

The trend was for very light thin railed boards, many with nose and back sections sprayed for extra feet grip.
(Spectator McTavish killed them all by only spraying the middle).

Russell Hughes from Noosa used a radical 9' 10" gun with a pure planing section aft flowing into a 10" pod and 18" fin.
The board proved fast and interesting."

- Kelly, Ross: Bells - as tolled by Ross Kelly.
Surfing World
, Volume 9 Number 1 April-May 1967, page 20 (order adjusted).

Nat's fin, "similar to the foil on a dolphin", is not immediately evident in the photograph noted above.

As noted by Tim Baker (2013), Midget Farrelly's "super light big board" is certainly shorter than Nat Young's.
For an effective comparison, see the photograph below.
The image to the right shows the board's concave nose section and a high-aspect D fin, probably set in an early version of Farrelly's experimentation with finboxes.

The board continued the development of Midget's Stringerless design, introduced in early-mid 1965 and ridden to victory in that year's
Australian Championships at Manly, with Nat Young second, followed by Bob McTavish.
The design was given international exposure when Farrelly was a finalist at the 1966 World Contest in San Diego,  and was reproduced in California by Gordon and Smith Surfboards from 1967 to1969.

While there was some reduction in weight, for Midget " the main reason for dropping the stringer was that the rocker could be adjusted while the shape was being glassed."
These boards required some finesse in their construction.
the curing process tended to pull the rocker out of the board, this required the rocker to be maintained, and even enhanced, by securing the freshly glassed board in a frame, or jig.
This method is still used in the mass manufacture of modern stringerless EPS and urethane boards.

- Midget Farrelly: personal phone conversation, 12 March 2014, email 21 May 2014, with many thanks.

Local manufacturers quickly picked up on the concept, and by the summer of 1966-1967, many Australian manufacturers were producing stringerless models, including Bennett, Wallace, and Gordon Woods.
The stringerless concept was not generally adopted by manufacturers in California or Hawaii, except for the previously noted, Gordon and Smith's Farrelly Stringerless model and, later, Corky Carroll's Flexible model for Hobie Surfboards in 1968.

Left: Nat Young and Gordon Woods with stingerless models, Deewhy Point, 1965-1966.
Image courtesy of Gordon Woods Archives.
Originally printed in Surfing World (1965?), subsequently in Young: Nat's Nat, page 75.

Despite the widespread use of Farrelly's stringerless design in Australia, in 2009 Bob McTavish claimed it as his own, as developed at Keyo Surfboards, rather belatedly, in mid-late 1967.
Also, note that
"coloured foam" stringers were relatively uncommon.

"The glassing was radically different to the years previous.
I wanted lighter weight in these new shortboards, and had convinced Denny (Keogh) to drop the wooden stringer to save weight.
The blanks were glued with a of coloured foam up the centre, to give the shaper a centerline to carve in the correct rocker curve.
As such, the shaped blanks were quite flexible, so in order to establish and preserve the correct rocker, I made cradle, a jig.
When the glasser, John "Flecky" Fleck saturated the glass with resin, or "wet-out," he would then carefully lay that board onto the cradle while the resin "went off" or hardened.
As soon as that was hard, another took its place, and so on.

Keyo Plastic Machines were the shortest boards in the world, and by far the lightest.

- Bob McTavish:
Stoked! (2009) page 369.

Future Australian champion, Keith Paull was photographed riding non-competitor McTavish's board, "only spraying the middle" with aerosol-grip,  during the contest at Bells Beach.
It had a similar tail to the "10 inch pod" on Russell Hughes' board, an indication of future developments, and the "pure planing section aft" was probably a flat tail section as opposed the the common rolled bottom.

McTavish writes that he shaped Hughes' board (reported as 9ft 10'' by Ross Kelly), and a similar one for himself, apparently for the expected large waves of Bells Beach.

"One experimental board was a wide-tailed gun, based on George Greenough's kneeboard, but blown up from his 4'10 to 9'6!
What a beast!
I shaped one for Russell Hughes as well, and we'd surfed them at big Palm Beach peaks once or twice, and Narrabeen on a big day as well.
They were absolute rockets!
Fastest, meanest machine ever, like dragsters ... fast in a straight line.
But there was simply too much of them ... way too big.
But it proved a point: if you're going to go that route - wide-tailed and flat - you have to shrink the board considerably."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 359.

Paul Witzig's Hot Generation (1968) footage, it appears (in his wipe-outs) that Hughes' board also featured a chamfered vee tail, a feature common on many later vee-bottoms.

Keith Paull,  Bells Beach, 1967.
Photograph: Alby Falzon.

Surfing World
Volume 9 Number 1 
April-May 1967, page 28.

Surfer Magazine. Vol. 8 No.4 September 1967
John Witzig: Involvement at Bells Beach

Also significant was the board of fellow Queensland surfer, Peter Drouyn, Junior Champion in 1966 and who was making his initial entry into the senior ranks
An early proponent of lighter and shorter boards (see above) Drouyn was:

"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."

- Sutherland, Barry: Australian Champs '67.
Volume 4 Number 1, June 1967, page 23.

Unfortunately, photographs of Drouyn's board only suggest, and do not effectively illustrate, it's length.

Right: Peter Drouyn, Bells Beach, Easter 1967.

- Carey Surfboards, Surfing World, June-July 1967, page 36.

Australian Finalists, Bells Beach, Easter 1967.
Peter Drouyn (Carey), Keith Paull (Peter Clarke) Ted Spencer (Keyo) Nat Young (Gordon Woods) Midget Farrelly (Farrelly).
Not shown: Bobby Brown (Jackson)
Reprinted in Baker: Century of Surf (2013) page 148. (cannot locate original printing, probably SW 1967)

As well as Drouyn's "very short and light board", McTavish also claims that he built two, presumably, similar size boards before the 1967 Australian Championships.
He implies these were in response to the deficiencies already apparent in the boards he and Hughes rode during the Bells' contest.

"Hence, I made two freaky 8 footers, with long double concaves running right through the otherwise flat bottom, and a rakey single fin with George Greenough's flex design built in.
Robert Conneely, a fine Bondi surfer and surf shop owner, and former Australian Junior Champion in 1964, bought one, and Paul Witzig bought the other.
I didn't have any money to buy one myself.
These two boards were actually the first shortboards of the Revolution, as they came before the Plastic Machine of a month or two later.
They were thin and therefore hard to paddle, but we all surfed them fairly well at Winkipop, the neighbouring reef break to Bells.
The difficulty with them was the extreme power generated in the tail, which made it very difficult to bank into a turn.
But the sheer speed was phenomenal!"

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 359.

Before returning to Sydney, in conversation with Victorian surfers "Claw" Warbick and Brian Singer (the proprietors of the Bells Beach Surf Shop at Torquay, later Rip Curl Surfboards and Rip Curl Wetsuits), McTavish indicated that his next designs would incorporate vee in the bottom, presumably based on Nat Young's board noted above.

"I told them what I'd learned so far, and that I was going back to Sydney to add some vee to the bottom of the next bunch of experimental boards."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 359.

Considering the intense interest in board design and surfing performance generated at the Bells contest (note Midget Farrelly's comments above), it is highly unlikely that Bob McTavish was the only surfer-shaper who was aware of the possibilities of combining the various design elements in evidence during Easter 1967- thin rails (all), stringerless (Farrelly), reduced length (Farrelly, Drouyn), concave nose sections (Farrelly, Bobby Brown), a 10'' wide tail (McTavish), and vee in the tail (Young?).

The contest results were based on points accumulated over several rounds and was ultimately won by Nat Young, with Peter Drouyn second and  Midget Farrelly in third place.
Other senior finalists included Ted Spencer, Keith Paull  and Bobby Brown.
The Junior champion was Wayne Lynch and fellow Victorian, Gail Couper, won the Women's.
Second in the juniors was Butch Cooney, followed by Kevin Parkinson and Richard Kavanaugh.

Dick Brewer and the Pipeliner, 1967-1968.
Californian-Hawaiian shaper, Dick Brewer has claimed, in two different accounts, that "the mini-gun was happening in (a) the spring" or (b) the summer of '67".
Both accounts appeared substantially after the events, and although supported by other's recollections, there is a distinct lack of any contemporary documentation, neither photographs, film, magazine articles or advertisements, or related contest results.
This is in marked contrast to the considerable amount of material illustrating developments in Australia.

or the US media in 1967, surfing and surfboard design was in two clear divisions.
Small wave riding, with faces up to 6ft, largely focused on C
alifornia and was dominated by David Nuuihwa and the Noserider model.
Hawaii was the home of large wave riding, generally 7ft 6'' and above,
and regular finalists in the recent Duke and Makaha contests included George Downing, Ricky Grigg, Fred Hemmings, Paul Strauch, Joey Cabell, Mike Doyle, Jeff Hakman, and Jock Sutherland.
In the winter of 1966-1967, Hawaiian guns were around 10 to 12 feet long, a foiled square-tail, with distinct nose lift and a relatively straight planning section in the tail.
The fins were usually, often long-based, variations of the standard D-fin, occasionally Dorsal and set close to the tail.

: MacGillivray, Greg and Freeman, Jim: Free and Easy (1967)

However, by the winter of 1967-1968, there had obviously been considerable advances.
For the top riders, lengths were down to 9ft 6'', and the template, while still a foil, had been "softened" to a rounded pin-tail, exemplified by Brewer's Pipeliner series for Bing Surfboards.
straight planning section had been replaced with a more regular rocker, and, importantly, variations of Greenough's high-aspect fin , set further up the board, were now standard, as in Australia.
While these changes, undoubtedly, were strongly influenced by Dick Brewer, as in Australia, their widespread adoption was more likely to be the result of a number of competing designers and surfers; if not only, the vastly under-rated, George Downing, who was actively shaping and competing in Hawaii at the time.
Also note that these developments in Hawaii were essentially focused on large wave riding, and it was still nearly twelve months before the shorter board would fully supplant the Noserider for the small wave mainland markets.

To return to Dick Brewer's recollections.
In the first, printed in 1989, Brewer identified Gary Chapman* and
Barry Kanaiaupuni as the first Hawaiian surfers to make the change to smaller boards in mid-1967:

"In 1967 Gary Chapman rode Sunset Beach on a 9'7" Brewer, then an 8'6".
Barry Kanaiaupuni rode Chapman's boards, and said, 'This is what's happening-R.B. ... small guns.'
This was six months before Nat Young and Bob McTavish would show up with their 9' deep vee- tankers."

- Brewer, Dick: Lust in the Dust - An Era of Big-Wave Equipment Evolution.
Surfer, Volume 30 Number 10  1989, page 105.

Since Young and McTavish arrived in Maui in late December 1967, this would imply that Chapman and Kanaiapuni rode these boards at Sunset Beach in June, at the height of the Hawaiian summer.

The second version appeared four years later, with a different cast, dating Brewer's building (re-building?) of the first Hawaiian shortboard several months earlier, in the Northern Spring (April-May?) of 1967:

 " I'd made a 9-foot 10-inch gun for David Nuuhiwa in the spring of '67, and David broke the nose off, so I redrew it at 7 feet 8 inches with a 17- inch nose on it - a tanker nose - and Randy Rarick was a patcher and he reglassed it.
I took that board out and rode it at Chun's, at the left called Piddlies - phenomenal roller coasters with that heavy nose and the gun tail.
That board became the proto-type for the Bing Lotus.
So, the mini-gun was happening in the spring of '67."

Brewer's recollections were confirmed in the article by Randy Rarick.

- Marcus: Surfboard (2007) page 159, quoting  Drew Kampion in The Surfer's Journal, May 1992.

Paul Holmes (2008) paraphrases Brewer's quotation, initially back-dates it to "late summer 1967" (July-August?), but later in his book notes:

 "Models and Shapers Overview - November 1967: Dick Brewer designs the Lotus."

- Holmes: Bing Surfboards (2008), page 63 and page 148.

The claim this is occurred in "the spring of '67" is unlikely, as Nuuhiwa's 9-foot 10-inch Bing Pipeliner was probably not shaped until August 1967.
Tom at the Classic Bing Surfboards web site post several images of a Bing Pipeliner and notes:

"Chuck Linnen's original California Pipeliner Gun.
Dick Brewer shaped three Pipeliner Guns when he visited the Hermosa shop in the summer of 1967, for team riders David Nuuhiwa and Chuck Linnen and Grant Reynolds (Bing's glasser).
Unlike the other Pipeliner Guns, which were made in Hawaii by Brewer in 1966-67, these three were made for riding big surf in California.
This one is 10'7" !"

The images include a "a photo right out of Bings order book" that indicates that Linnen's board ("#7986") was ordered and/or shaped on  "8-3-67", that is 3rd August 1967.
- Classic Bing Surfboards

Even accounting for the board being "made for riding big surf in California", the extreme length hardly illustrates Brewer's recollections that "the mini-gun was happening in the spring (or the summer) of '67".
Furthermore, in this second version,
Nuuhiwa has the board made in/for California, but (sometime later) apparently breaks the nose off in Hawaii, where the re-shaped board is said to be ridden, and it's performance assessed, only by Brewer himself, and perhaps Randy Rarick.

At best, these recollections indicate that during 1967, Brewer was, on occasion, experimenting with sub-9ft boards, but this hardly compares with the enthusiastic adoption of the shorter board by Australia's elite surfers.

Further embellishing the second account, Brewer emphasized his
comittment to a significant reduction in surfboard length, apparently still in 1967:

"For some reason, all of this innovation led to Brewer being relieved of his command at Bing.
Gary Chapman had purchased a reject blank and carried it over to Bing's factory where Brewer shaped it into an 8-foot 6-inch mini-gun.
"Bing fired me the next day," Brewer told Kampion."

- Marcus: Surfboard (2007) page 160, quoting  Drew Kampion in The Surfer's Journal, May 1992.

Brewer's firing by Bing Copeland was either a short-lived, and he was quickly re-employed, or the dismsal was at least twelve months later.

Initially employed in late 1966, Bing Surfboards were still promoting Brewer's Pipeliner model in July 1968.
Being fired in July 1968 for shaping "an 8-foot 6-inch mini-gun" is somewhat less significant than being dismissed for the same offence in late-1967.

- Holmes: Bing Surfboards (2008)
Reproduced Bing Surfboards Advertisement, Surfer, July 1968, page 97.
Employees: Brewer 1967-1968, page 132.

Bing Surfboards : Pipeliner by Richard Brewer , 1967-1968.

Sydney, May-June 1967.
On their return to Sydney following the 1967 contest at Bells Beach, competition between a group of elite surfers, shapers and manufacturers saw the beginnings of intense experimentation in surfboard design.
Midget Farrelly noted:

"There is one thing, though, between Manly and Palm Beach you've got twenty miles, and I would say
at times there seem to be about two thousand surfers.
In amongst that two thousand and twenty miles you've got the best surfers in the whole country.
So something has got to happen.
Things have got to pop."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 37.

At the forefront of this group was Bob McTavish, Kevin Platt, Ted Spencer, David "Baddy" Treloar and Neil Purchase (see above) at Keyo Surfboards in Brookvale and Midget Farrelly, with Warren Cornish, building boards at Palm Beach.
Other Brookvale manufacturers/shapers included Gordon Woods Surfboards with Bob Kennerson (?),  John Otton at Wallace Surfboards, Geoff McCoy at Bennett Surfboards and Shane Surfboards with Russell Hughes, Richard Harvey and Dee Why's Peter Cornish.
South of the harbour Keith Paull was at Peter Clarke Surfboards, Bobby Brown was at Gordon & Smith Surfboards and Gordon Merchant was shaping at Jackson Surfboards.
At Bondi, Robert Conneelly had opened his surf shop, retailing his own designs under the Hayden Surfboards label.

Forty years later, McTavish clearly recalled the shaping his first vee bottom board at Keyo Surfboards, circa May 1967:

"A month later back in Sydney, I shaped the first Plastic Machine.
I went a full 9 feet, to try to integrate the nose riding we had developed so well, with the new vee tail idea.
The nose had a six-foot long concave, while the tail had two six-foot vee panels wrapping up alongside the nose concave in the middle three feet."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 360.

A widely published photograph by John Witzig of McTavish carrying what is possibly this board is reprinted in Stoked! on page 363, in black and white, while a colour version appears on the rear dust jacket.

Furthermore, he relates the, often told, story of the naming of his latest shape:

"I loaded the shaped blank into my unregistered Morris 1000 van (which I'd bought off Keyo's sander Brian Hughes for $10) and headed off home to Palm Beach, where I had a bedroom at Paul Witzig's house.
While unloading it to carry it inside and groove on the shape for the night (an unusual habit in itself), Paul called out from the verandah, "It looks like a Plastic Machine!"
The name stuck, and next morning I took the shaped blank back to Keyo's and wrote in the six-foot long concave "PLASTIC MACHINE" in psychedelic lettering.
A moment of dubious history."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 360.

The designation of McTavish's Keyo model as the (Fantastic) Plastic Machine had considerable precedents.
Bob Cooper designed the Blue Machine for Morey -Pope Surfboards,
California, during 1966 and San Francisco's Jefferson Airplane released their recording Plastic Fantastic Lover  in February 1967.
Also note Russell Hughes' Crystal Vessel (Crystal Ship by The Doors, January 1967), and Keith Paull's Happening (The Happening by The Supremes, March 1967).
Stoked! (2008), McTavish recalled designing the decal:

"About this time Denny Keogh approved my getting a flash psychedelic logo done, so I showed him how I'd sketched a knock-off part of the 'Mellow Yellow' jacket art, a yin-yang symbol with the words Plastic Machine replacing Donovan's.
I dropped my artwork off at Jim the Printers, and gave him the brief.
I wanted plenty of colour.
And it had to be hippy!
The new Plastic Machine logo proved to be a winner.
The first colour art, the first psychedelic surfboard sticker.
It started a rash of Haight-Ashbury inspired art that every surfboard manufacturer on planet got into over the next couple of years.
Chrystal Vessels. White Kite. Involvement
(sic) Model. Faith. Spirit. Et al. "

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) pages 368-369.

Clearly, before McTavish designed his decal in late-1967,
"coloured psychedelic surfboard stickers" were already in common use by many Australian manufacturers.

1. Farrelly Surfboards decal, Stringerless 9 ft 0", 1967.

2. McDonagh Surfboards, Psychedelic/Op art decal, circa 1967.

Wallace Surfboards, Floral Circle decal, circa 1967.

4. Keyo Surfboards Plastic Machine, round decal, late-1967.
[There was also a larger version, with two "wings"
extending from the circle.


Midget Farrelly's 8ft 8", July 1967.
The earliest report that specifically indicates a move to shorter boards, with a discernible improvement in performance, is Midget Farrelly's 8ft 8'' board, built at Palm Beach, and noted by Bob McTavish (circa July 1967):

"At Avalon on those beautiful turning waves - vertical at the top with a good soft curve in the bottom.
Midget's been pulling his 8' 8" around in the tightest arcs ever seen done by a full surfboard."

- McTavish, Bob: mctavish on a bit of what's going on
Surfing World, August - September 1967, pages 34 - 37?

Interviewed in December 1967, Farrelly recollected the developments of the past year:

"I remember midway through the winter I made my first 8 foot 8 board and I thought that was short, but then about September they started to go even farther."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 35.

In  late 1968, advertising copy for Farrelly's V Pintail model by Gordon and Smith Surfboards, San Deigo, indicated that Farrelly's experimentation may have begun slightly earlier, probably after the Australian Titles at Easter:

"In May 1967, Midget wrote to us from 90000 miles away about a completely new thing he was working with.
It was the V Bottom.
We delayed work on it because at first it sounded impractical and we questioned its acceptance.
This was our first introduction to this radical design.
Finally in the Fall of '67 we were convinced that Midget's new model for '68 would be a V Bottom."

- Gordon and Smith Surfboards: Take What We Have & You'll Have What it Takes. (Advertisement)
Surfer, Volume 9 Number 4, September 1968, page ?

Gordon and Smith's premier designer, Skip Frye, was a member of the Californian Windansea team that toured Australia in November 1967, see below.

Neil Purchase's The Virgin, mid- 1967.
In 2000 Manly surfing enthusiast, David Bell, purchased what was obviously a late 1960s vee bottom surfboard, although at the time it was completely covered in blue house paint.
He subsequently had the paint (and, regrettably, other colour decor) professionally removed which revealed at the tail a small Keyo (Surfboards) decal incorporated into a pencil script identifying the board as the "Virgin".
In his initial attempts to determine the provenance, Manly surf memorabilia expert Mick Mock directed David to a 1998 Tracks magazine profile of Manly surfer David "Baddy" Treloar by Derek Hynd.
Hynd reported:

"He left Balgowlah High at 16 and took on the role of shit-kicker at Keyo Surfboards.
These were the innovative days of the McTavish Plastic Machine, and Baddie saw it all unfold.
The way he tells it, an unsung Keyo worker played a heavy role in its development.
'Like me, Neil Purchase was a shit kicker, 8 till 4, no time off to surf.
He made the first vee-bottom short board, a stringerless 7'4".
It had a black bottom and a clear deck.
Neil made it from scratch.
He called it "The Virgin".
The big names used to work around the surf, and Ted (Spencer) took it for a surf at Long Reef, then (Bob) McTavish and (Kevin) Platt rode it.' "

- Hynd, Derek: Surfers in History - David Treloar
Tracks, December 1988, page 28.

Treloar's recollections were not completely accurate - the board held by David Bell is in fact 8 ft 4'' long, a much more reasonable size for the period.

Extended accreditation: Illustrating the complex and ad hoc nature of research, in June 2010 I was contacted by Andrew Kidman in regard to a board design by Rod Ball and during our phone conversation I mentioned my current project was revising the history of  transition boards during 1967.
Andrew noted that he had some material that I may find interesting and posted a booklet compiled by David Bell that contained his photographs and dimensions of the Virgin and copies of several relevant magazine and book articles, including the Tracks' article quoted above.

Therefore, thanks to David Bell, Mick Mock, Andrew Kidman, Derek Hynd and David Treloar.

Keyo Surfboards : The Virgin by Neil Purchase, 1967.

Photographs by David Bell, s
ee #346

Neil Purchase riding The Virgin, 1967.

Sydney, July-September 1967.
In recalling the era in 1972, McTavish wrote of the progressive reduction in length and, firmly establishing Farrelly's contribution, and noted that this was primarily the result of an acute awareness of other manufactures' developments.
"Later on in the year Kevin Platt and myself at Keyo's started making V bottoms.
First they were 9', then 8' 6" then 8', then down to 7' 1 0".
At the same time Midget's shop at Palm Beach was running stiff competition with us at Keyo's.
As we'd cut 2" off, Midget would cut 4" off, then vice versa."

 - McTavish, Bob: Pods for Primates Part 2.
Tracks April 1972, reprinted in The Best of Tracks 1973.

Note McTavish's "Later on in the year" (July-August 1967?) is somewhat at variance with his detailed account in Stoked!
In 2005 McTavish was more expansive on the contribution of other surfers and shapers:

"I certainly wish Drouyn was in Sydney when it all came down in '67... and I secretly think Peter wishes he was there too... along with Ted (Spencer) Baddy (David Treloar), Kevin Platt, Midget, Keith (Paull)..."

- Bob McTavish, quoted in  Crockett, Andrew: Switchfoot (2005) page 193.

Note however that Drouyn was in Sydney, at least briefly, to compete in the Windansea Contest in late November 1967, see below.
In the week between the first rounds and final, the Windansea team with Eric Blum's film unit and several Australians travelled up the North Coast of NSW, terminating at Coolangatta, Queensland:

"First stop was Peter Drouyn's house.
The first thing his mother asked Peter was how he did in the contest ... he told her he'd been eliminated early on ..."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 122.

In a Bob McTavish interview conducted by Avalon's David "Mexican" Sumpter and published in 2006, his recollections fall somewhere between his 1972 Tracks article noted above and the those presented in Stoked!:

"Sumpter: Where did Midget and other manufacturers fit in?
As soon as you were starting to bring the boards down in size, Midget must have been pretty close to the action?

McTavish: Midget was building boards at Palm Beach in Frankie Gonsalves' boat shed, just him and Warren Cornish.
I was at Keyo's, and we had a dynamic crew working there.
Kevin Platt and I were the shapers, Baddy Treloar and Ted Spencer were hanging around all the time, and Neil Purchase was doing a great job sanding and learning to shape."
So the next weekend I made one 8'2'', and while I was doing this I was surfing at Palm Beach or Avalon every afternoon because I was living there, and Midget. ..he'd see what I was riding and a couple of days later he would have something very similar, maybe even an inch shorter!
So we didn't talk too much - we'd just each show up each afternoon with these shorter boards.
He was really into it!
I recently read an interview he did for Surf magazine about those times and you can tell he was totally stoked in what we call the Plastic Machine era through the winter of '67.

- Pacific Longboarder, Volume 9 Number 5, 2006, page 50.

The Farrelly interview "for Surf magazine" noted by McTavish is probably the previously quoted:
- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, pages 34 to 37.

Note that in this interview, Farrelly implies that the deep vee bottom board was his own design:

"The progression towards round bottoms has proven that a round bottom definitely puts you back in the wave, but it often leaves you there too.
There had to be an answer.
I felt a split planing surface under the tail, set at different angles, would provide the displacement of a round bottom plus the planing advantages of a flat bottom."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 35.

Bobby Brown Tribute, October 1967.
Following the untimely death of Cronulla's highly talented bobby Brown, Jack Eden's Surfabout featured Bobby in both a cover and centre fold-out in the October 1967 edition.
The photographs were mostly from a recent session at Sandon Point, Brown riding his new 
Gordon and Smith stringerless model with a deep nose concave.
Midget Farrelly's stringerless models were now produced by most of Sydney's manufacturers, as indicated by advertisements for

Wallace Surfboards, "Real performance with the latest flexible Stringerless Models", Scott Dillon Surfboards, and Gordon Woods Surfboards, featuring Bob Kennerson, offering a choice of either "stringerless, high density colour foam stringer or redwood stringer."
The latest design had the latest fin, the "stage 3 George Greenough," with some taking the flex-fin idea to extremes.
A interesting, but short lived, development was the Mini-board, documented by Jack Eden, a  kneeboard "long" enough to be walked and trimmed.
- Surfabout
Volume 4 Number 3
, October 1967.

The enthusiasm for the shorter boards with the deep vee bottoms was evident in an interview conducted with Bob McTavish, Kevin Platt and Ted Spencer at Keyo Surfboards for Surfing World, probably recorded in late October 1967.
It was accompanied by a selection of photographs
by Alby Falzon, shot mainly at Long Reef, around the same time.
Kevin Platt commented:

"Every little bit of the board works.
If you came back from the nose about 1' 6" and cut a foot out of it, then just glue it back together again, that's more or less what we've got now.
Putting the "V" in a long board was like putting a super charger on an ordinary car."

- McTavish, Platt, Spencer.
Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 1, December 1967- January 1968, pages 31 and 32.

Kevin Platt , Queenscliff, late 1967.
 [page 36]

Following Midget Farrelly's example of completing "the tightest arcs ever seen done by a full surfboard" (McTavish, quoted above), the shapers emphasized the turning capability of their new designs, and Platt noted:

"With a shorter board you can manoeuvre much better.
The thing is, this new board brings in a complete new approach to surfing ... the vertical performance."

- McTavish, Platt, Spencer.
Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 1, December 1967- January 1968, page 31.

This was endorsed by McTavish:

"Being shorter, you can put it in smaller places, in small curls.
You can ride it in bad conditions and get more pleasure."

- McTavish, Platt, Spencer.
Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 1, December 1967- January 1968, page 32.

Bob McTavish, Long Reef, late 1967.

[page 38, #1 of a sequence of 4]

Of the three, Ted Spencer took the reduction in length to an extreme.
In the photographs accompanying the article one photograph of Spencer has a caption indicating the board length as 5 ft 6'' (page 36).

Spencer, however, noted the possible fluidity for future developments:

" We get our kicks from this right now; who knows, what's going to happen tomorrow.
We might go in a completely different direction."

- McTavish, Platt, Spencer.
Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 1, December 1967- January 1968, pages 33.

Ted Spencer, Long Reef, late 1967.
 [page 35]

In an article published concurrently in John Witzig's recently introduced Surf International, McTavish further extolled the virtues of a reduction in length accompanied by a wide tail, but also indicated considerable variation within these parameters:"Elimination of two feet of board.
You see, the turn area doubles as a planing area.
It's wide and flat.
That wide, wide tail will not mush in.
That short length (7 feet and up) can be spun into a cut-back without ever digging and sinking.
Farrelly, Spencer, Young, Platt and this kid, were all riding considerably different styles of units at time of writing, six weeks before news-stands."

- McTavish, Bob: Ladies and Gentlemen and Children-of-the-Sun ...
Surf International, December 1967 - January 1968 Volume 1 Number 2,  page 9.

Bob McTavish Cutback, Keyo Plastic Machine, 1967.
Photograph: (Witzig-Falzon?) in Carter: Surf Beaches (1968) page 66.

Keyo Surfboards
McTavish Plastic Machine,
Kevin Platt Model, 1967.

  Surf International
Volume 1 Number 1,
December 1967, page 4.
Later, McTavish described the production line at Keyo's:

"I needed help to shape all those orders, so Denny found Phil Monkman, a fine carpenter and keen-to-learn shaper.
I'd carve out all bulk: the template, the rocker curve, the thicknesses, and the basic then he'd clean it up and sandpaper the blank till it was pretty.
That way the shape was all McTavish, but we could now get thirty or forty a week through.
That's not counting Kevin Platt's boards, as he was shaping steadily in the next bay as well, doing similar boards to mine."

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 369.

At this stage, the major surfing identities missing from the Sydney scene were Peter Drouyn (noted above), Wayne Lynch, and  the 1967 Australian Champion, Nat Young:

"Nat was missing in celebrity-land for the first few months of the revolution."

- Bob McTavish, quoted in Crockett, Andrew: Switchfoot (2005) pages 192-193.

In an extended interview in late 1967 with Brian St. Pierre, Nat confessed that following the Australian Championships at Bells Beach:

"I haven't been on a board for five months."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 93.

Sydney, November 1967.
At the beginning of November, it was announced that there was to be no world championship for 1967,
held annually since 1964, and expected to be in Hawaii.
With the
failure of Hawaiian officials to accept the offer to stage the world titles, the next event was set for 1968, with Victoria putting in an early tender for a contest at Bells Beach, that was held in 1970.
Largely influenced by sponsorship from US television, the contest was
scheduled for Puerto Rico in November 1968.
This served to further enhance the importance of the upcoming Hawaiian winter and the scheduled
Duke Kahanamoku and Makaha contests, and in Sydney, the Windansea contest  was referred to, on one occasion, as a "mini-world contest."

- Evans, Bob: World Contest for Vic.
The Sunday Telegraph
, November 5 1967, page 122.
- Evans, Bob: Would you believe tiny Puerto Rico?
The Sunday Telegraph
, November 11 1967, page 120?

Nat Young gave an expanded account of his five month sabbatical and his first encounter with the new vee-bottom design in his 1998 autobiography.

Apparently no longer contracted to Gordon Woods Surfboards and impressed by McTavish's enthusiasm, according to Young, he built his first vee-bottom at Keyo Surfboards.

"McTavish was working for Keyo Surfboards just down the road from my office in Brookvale and I'd call in every now and then to say hello and check on his latest shaping job.
One day after not having been to Keyo's for a few weeks, I walked through the showroom and there were ten new boards, all in the 8-foot range and all with deep vee bottoms and concave noses.
The 4 inch-deep vee held right off the tail, giving them a different look, like nothing I'd seen before.
Bob explained that he'd been making them shorter and shorter over the past few weeks and insisting the little "Plastic Machines" were really exciting to ride.
I asked Denny Keyo if I could use Bob's shaping bay and, for the first time in six months, I shaped a new board.
It was 8 feet long by 23 inches wide and like McTavish's had a 12-inch pod across the tail with a 4-inch vee.
The stringerless blank was really hard to hold while shaping and I had to use a brick to keep it in one place.
The thickness of those Plastic Machines also made them appear strange, as they held the thickness of the centre right through to the tail.
And I soon found that glassing them was a nightmare.
The idea was to get the board as light as possible, so a thin skin had to be put on the bottom to hold the curve, then a couple, of layers on the deck to give it some strength and rigidity.
I took the new board out in a 3-footer inside Narrabeen "Alley" to test it and thought I'd never get used to the feel, it was so weird.
After an hour of practise, and a few long swims to the beach, I began to get the feel of the vee and found how interesting the pocket-riding type of surfing could be."

-Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) page 162.

In mid-November 1967, Bob Evans reported in his regular column for a Sunday newspaper that Nat Young had recently returned to surfing (October?), following intensive instruction in snow sking over the winter.
Initially he rode
"his old board," but now had acquired a new board:

"Just last week, "Nat" took delivery of an 8ft. 8in. vee-bottom, vee-back ver­sion of the new super-board trend, from Gordon Woods."

Note that the length (8ft 8'' and 8ft) and the factory (Gordon Woods and Keyo) differ to that recalled by Nat in 1998, and that photographs of the time show that his first vee-bottom was not "stringerless", see below.
Evans was enthusiastic about the perfomance of both
Nat and "the new unit," demonstrated by an accompanying photograph (see below):

"I was surfing there (Long Reef) myself ...
This board encourages the rider to follow the action pocket on a wave, like never before.

Full rail turns and un­believable bursts of speed, were commonplace on every wave ridden.
He (Nat) would drive down the face of the wave, in a prone position until about 10 feet out in front then, rising and shifting weight simultan­eously, would snap the most savage full rail turn im­aginable, and go rocketing diagonally upward at the crest of the wave, where he would hang a similar amazing full rail cut-back and then, in a series of stalling turns and acceler­ation bursts, milk the wave of all its power.

- Evans, Bob: What happend to Nat Young?
The Sunday Telegraph, Sydney, November 19 1967, page 96 (?).

Long Reef was the location of many of the photographs for Surfing World's McTavish, Spencer, Platt article noted above, and the same edition had a similar photograph to that published in the Sunday Telegraph, with the caption:

"The wind blows strong from the nor'east but, the water is smooth with only a faint ripple to disturb the surface.
Nat Young arrives alone afternoon; the surf is 5'7''.
It is good long reef and Nat' rips.
His bottom turns are unbelievable and he snaps his fin on the third wave."

- Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 1, December 1967- January 1968, page 122.

Vee Bottom bottom turn.
Surfing World
Volume 11 Number 1.
June 1968.

Nat Young, Gordon Woods or Keyo vee-bottom,
Long Reef, mid-November 1967.
Photographs: Evans?- Falzon ?

The Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 1967.
Surfing World,  December 1967- January 1968, page 39. .

Although based at Lorne in Victoria, Wayne Lynch apparently kept a keen interest on the developments in Sydney, and during late 1967 ordered a number of Keyo surfboards from Bob McTavish.

" 'Claw' Warbrick managed to secure Plastic Machine #4 for his protégé Wayne Lynch, commonly regarded as the most exciting young surfer in Australia, and a board numbered in the twenties for himself".

- Jarratt, Phil: Sands and Suits (2010) page 93.
Also see McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) page 368.

By the end of October most Sydney manufactures were producing their interpretation of the vee-bottom design.
Lengths were around 8ft 6'', or shorter, and the width between 23 -24 inches, located between 4 and 10 inches behind the mid point, reminiscent of Velzy's Pig board of 1954.
Noses were full and round with a square or diamond pod approximately 10 inches wide, often deeply chamfered or dished.
While they mostly featured a rolled bottom in the centre flaring into a deep vee in the tail, nose sections could be flat, concave, or occasionally double concave.
Note that some surfers and shapers, while not adopting the deep vee-bottom, eagerly followed the trend for a reduction in length.
The rails had a thin 50/50 profile, often shaped from a stringerless blank, glassed in Volan cloth and regularly an extra layer deck or kneel patch, as the boards were still knee-paddled.
The high aspect fin had a long base, about 12 inches deep with a large rake, either a Greenough Stage 3 or similar.
Set at least 8 inches from the pod, the leading edge was thus around 20 inches from the tail, further reducing the effective board length.

In a review of the Sydney surboard industry at the end of October 1967, journalist Graham Cassidy notes it's healthy state, while "boards continue to get shorter, wider, lighter ... most leading (manufacturers are) channeling out 30 to 40 a week."
The popularity of the recent changes in design
evidenced by the "cock-a hoop customers," who demanded "an 8ft 9in plank, with razor-edge rails, turned up nose, scooped deck or what have you!"
"While radical changes regarding brevity, width and weight have not stimulated objection," the recent increases in prices were less-popular.
Foreshadowing the impact the "short board" would have on the huge US market, the rapid changes in design devastated the second-hand board market and the manufacturers refused to trade in, what were now, "antiquated mon­strosities."

South of the harbour, Gordon and Smith surfboards were $92 and $97 Brian Jackson's, around the corner.
In Brookvale, Barry Bennett and Scott Dillion boards were $90, Peter Clarke (Northside, and Taren Point) customs were $95-$98, and the same for a Keyo "McTavish" signature model.
At Palm Beach, "Midget Farrelly rules the roost, extracting $120 for his masterpieces."

- Cassidy, Graham: On the Boardwalk.
The Sun
, Sydney, Thursday November 2 1967, page 78.

In his late 1967 design interview, Midget Farrelly indicated that the contemporary surfboard length was now substantially less than 8 feet for expert surfers:

"... there is a general trend towards a shorter board.
Last summer it seemed everyone was riding nine feet.
We had come down from around nine five, nine six, and they were considered short boards.
During the winter, boards went a little farther.
I remember midway through the winter I made my first 8 foot 8 board and I thought that was short, but then about September they started to go even farther.
Generally they have gone down six inches to a foot and in the last three months the top surfers have dropped their lengths down two feet."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 35.

He further detailed other design developments that accompanied the reduction in length:

"The problem has always been if you make a shorter board how do you get it to do everything a long board does.
I think most of the good surfers now realize it's not one dimension of a surfboard that guarantees that it works.
As we get a little bit more sophisticated with design we are looking towards displacement volume to give us a true measurement of a surfboard.
While we have gone down in length we have come up in a few other things.
The design is so radical that we do need a basic thickness of at least three inches.
The introduction of the V bottom means more defined planing areas, more positive areas on the bottom of the board.
Rail shape has changed from a pointed, critical, radical rail to a softer, rounder, more oval rail.
The general rocker of a surfboard has been altered.
The nose is kicked radically while the tail flows away in a soft line.
So you have got the V, the more defined planing areas, nose rocker, and the change in rail shape, but I think most significant and obvious change is in outline.
We have almost got a very basic old fashioned outline: big, wide, square tail, parallel rails and a blunt nose.
You wouldn't say that the boards of today are beautiful at all."

- Farrelly, Midget : An Interview on the progress and development of the modern surfboard.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3  February 1968, page 35.

Some vee-bottom boards were featured in, New Zealander, Andy McAlpine's Children of the Sun (1968), with segments shot in North Queensland and Sydney.
Note that the title reprises the opening lines of Bob McTavish's first article for Surf International, "Ladies and Gentlemen and Children-of-the-Sun", quoted above.
Starring the outstanding local surfer of the time, Wayne Parkes, McAlpine exposed local surfers to these developments on his return home before the end of the year.
Parkes would later take a short vee-bottom board to Hawaii for the 1967 winter season, where it was also ridden by Peter Drouyn at Honolua Bay on Maui, see below.

As foreshadowed in his Surfing World interview,Ted Spencer was the one of the first to surf and then move on from the vee-bottom, and, probably in early November 1967, he and Bob McTavish shaped Little Red.
In contrast with his previous wide tailed vee bottom board, this 8 ft 4 inch design featured a semi-pin nose, rounded pintail, and without incorporating the deep vee-bottom.
board of considerable significance, similar boards would be one of the most popular Australian designs in 1968-1969.

"For what it's worth, so called Little Red board was 8'4" in length single stringer 23" wide and was shaped by Bob McTavish and I at Keyo Surfboards in Brookvale Australia.
Regards, Ted."

- Ted Spencer, personal email, November 2003.
Many thanks to Ted Spencer for this invaluable contribution.

Corky Carroll:  The Curl Line, November 1967.
In an article published in late 1967, California's most competitive surfer, and a vocal critic of "the Australians," Corky Carroll:

"analyzes a new trend in surfing and compares it with the old style ... today's surfer has evolved a technique so he moves in the direction of the curl- on both sides of it- and becomes part of the wave itself."

Carroll's "new trend" appears remarkably similar to the Bob McTavish's "new trend (Witzig's New Era)" of Surfing World, January 1967, and quoted in John Witzig's "Nat vs. Nuuhiwa ... How Do We Compare?" of the same edition, the later reprinted by Surfer in May, under the far more controversial title "We're Tops Now":

"The direction is involvement.
The way to get involved, obviously, is place yourself in a hairy position, under,  in over, around the curl, quite often in contact with it."

Carroll makes no account of recent developments in surfboard design, and no mention of Australian surfing, except for a  brief, but obvious, condemnation of the views of Nat Young and John Witzig: "we are best; you are kooks" (in bold in the article).
In fact the article adopts many of the Australian critiques, in particular by relegating noseriding to only one of a pallette of potential manourves "to stay as close to the curl as possible."

The accompanying photographs strongly feature Hawaian based surfers, Jock Sullivan, Billy Hamilton, and Barry
Kanaiaupuni, and it is clear that Carroll's "new trend" had not yet made an impact on California's Windansea surfers visiting the South Pacific.
The effective "maneuver line" track, added to the photograph below, was later used on photographs of Wayne Lynch in Witzig's Surf International, circa 1969.

The curl line and how the high performer relates his surfing to it, is illustrated here in a ride by Jock Sutherland.
Sutherland moves up and down and surfs both sides of the curl line, in contrast to the "old timers" who
positioned themselves in the curl (on the curl line) and rode away from the break.

- Carroll, Corky: The Curl Line.
Photographs by Ron Stoner.
Surfer Volume 8 Number 5 November 1967, pages 56-5.

New Zealand, November 1967.
When members of the Californian chapter of the Windansea Club, accompanied by a Hollywood film unit including producer Eric Blum and writer Brian St. Pierre, arrived in New Zealand in mid November 1967, they were already aware of some of the developments taking place in Australia.
The New Zealanders were even more up-to-date, with some personally visiting Australia in the last six months
One, Andy McAlpine, returned with film that he had shot in Australia earlier that year, which included footage of McTavish and Platt surfing at Manly Beach on their short vee bottoms, which was eagely viewed by all.

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 69.

In an interview with St. Pierre, Skip Frye, a top shaper at Gordon and Smith Surfboards in San Diego, indicated the visiting American surfers' awareness of the Australian move to shorter boards, noting:

"Australia's the main place that everything's happening.
Everything that's happened here in New Zealand has been what the top guys in Australia have done, so over here it falls a little more on the crude side than what we'll be seeing in Australia, I think.
They've been going as short and light as possible, and working with varying bottom contours, trying to get better manoeuvrability; I don't know yet how successful they've been.

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) pages 64-65.

As well as Young and McTavish, Frye noted the influence of Midget Farrelly:

"He is very technically involved also, probably just as much as McTavish.
I know he's one of the foremost craftsmen that I have ever come across.
A lot of these ideas may have possibly originated from him.
As far as the new V tail-chines, as they call them, the first I heard about it with these small boards was from Midget.
He and McTavish were kind of playing around with the idea at the same time, six months ago or a year ago, I don't know when it started, but I think McTavish just worked a little harder on it than Midget did."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 68.

Skip Frye's employer, Gordon and Smith Surfboards, manufactured Farrelly's Stringerless model in California since 1966.

Joining the conversation, New Zealander Peter Wray, indicated the extent that the Australian shapers had reduced the length of their boards:

"When you get to Australia, you're going to see really radical boards.
McTavish and Midget now are riding seven foot six boards, twenty-four inches wide, two foot back from the nose, great big double concaves under the nose which McTavish thinks he'll ride Sunset on."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) page 71.

The Windansea Contest, Long Reef and Palm Beach, 24th November and 2nd December 1967.
When the Californian Windansea team, led by club president (?) Thor Svenson, arrived in Sydney on the 24th November, the highlight of their visit was to be a "mini-World contest" against the leading Australian surfers.
Fiirst place was
a return airline ticket to Hawaii, courtesy of John Witzig's recently issued magazine, Surf International.
Representing California were Skip Frye, Mickey Munoz, Steve Bigler, Mike Purpus, Peter Johnson, and Ken Morrow.
Munoz was a surfer with wide experience and ablity, he was one of the first to ride Waimea Bay in 1957 and surfed (in a wig) in tjhe role of Gidget in the 1959 film.
Bigler placed 4th and Frye 13th in the previous year's world contest in San Deigo.

Accompanying the team, but apparently not competing, were several women surfers - Margo Godfrey, Joey Hamaski (second in the world contest) and Barrie Algaw.
Several, named earlier by the press as team members, did not attend, including California's Corky Carroll and Jeff Hakman from Hawaii.
Likewise, Malibu's Mickey "da Cat" Dora, apparently for "p
ersonal reasons, like his inability to wear a smile when in the com­pany of certain other team members."

-Cassidy, Graham: On the Boardwalk.
The Sun
, Sydney, Thursday November 2 1967, page 78.(JC-GC)

The first rounds were held at Long Reef over three days and featured most of the top local riders, with the notable exception of Nat Young and Bob McTavish, who did however appear as a contest judges for the final.
Competitors included Midget Farrelly, Ted Spencer, John Monie, Russell Hughes, Robert Conneelly, Keith Paull, Butch Cooney, David Treloar, Peter Cornish, Peter Drouyn, Frank Latta, Kevin Parkinson, Ken Middleton, Richard Harvey, and Wayne Lynch, who travelled up from Victoria but had to return for school exams before the finals.

- Witizig, John & Brien, Lester: Windansea Invitational Surfing Contest.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3, February 1968, pages 20 to 25.

A week after the contest, Bob Evans described the boards of the visiting Americans as:

"Well made . . . honestly shaped, nicely finished, obsolete surfing equipment."

Alternately, following the "innovations (of) the last 12 months," the Australian boards varied

"in length from 7ft. 6in. to 9ft. and in in­finite variety of spectac­ular bottom shapes ...  Frank Latta, whose board achiev­ed a new all-time chunki-ness, 26in. wide, 11in. back, 7ft. 10in. long: in surf­board dimensions, that is, almost square."

-Evans, Bob: Oh, those boards!
The Sunday Telegraph, December 3 1967, page 121.

Film of the heats in the fast-breaking beach break waves of Long Reef, in Eric Blum's The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1969), show that the performance of the Australian surfers and boards as clearly superior to that of the visiting Americans.
ost, but not all, of the Australian surfers are riding variations of the short vee-bottom board, for example
Keith Paull's 8ft Happening model by Peter Clarke Surfboards.

Thor Sevenson, Peter Drouyn, Keith Paull and Vee-bottom, and others, Long Reef, November, 1967.
Photograph: Jeff Carter
Carter: Surf Beaches (1968) page 33.

Keith Paull Happening - Peter Clarke Surfboards
Infitity decal, 1967.

St. Pierre noted how the new designs were rapidly adopted in the Australian market:

"Perhaps one of the first things an outsider notices about surfing in Australia is the speed with which surfers there latch on to innovations in equipment and style.
Perhaps it's just their natural competitiveness, but young and unknown surfers are right behind the leaders, picking up on their ideas, sometimes adapting them a little more, and generally pushing on; it makes the scene exciting to be in, even if only for the atmosphere it has - everybody's up most of the time."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) pages 92 to 93.

Postponing the finals to the following weekend, the American team, some Australians and the film crew travelled to the far North Coast of NSW, not without several difficulties, during the interval.

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) pages 112 to 136.
- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) pages 375 to 376.

On the return to Sydney, the finals were run at Palm Beach with Midget Farrelly, Ted Spencer, John Monie and Russell Hughes, representing Australia, and Mike Purpus and Steve Bigler from California.
The judges were Nat Young, Bob McTavish, Skip Frye and Mickey Munoz.
Lester Brien detailed the range of surfboard designs:

"It is interesting to note the variations in surfing equipment.
Farrelly has two boards, both extremely small, light and wide backed; one has an accentuated scoop out of the back top deck.
Spencer has a very short pin tail, a large fin set about 12 inches from the back.
Money and Hughes are riding the more conventional 9-ft. performance boards.
The American equipment is different altogether, perhaps their surf demands length, I do not know.
Purpus has a rather large, thin-backed, wide-nosed board, the widest point being about one-third
from the tip, from there it takes a long but gradual taper to the back.
Bigler is on a somewhat shorter but basically same shaped board."

- Brien, Lester: Windansea Invitational Surfing Contest.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3, February 1968, page 20.

Farrelly's 8ft vee-bottom featured a deep chamfered vee pod, and was covered with a white-gelcoat.

Right: Midget Farrelly Stringerless Vee-bottom, Palm Beach, December 1967.
Photograph: Jeff Carter

Continuing his development of effective finboxes, the board had a slot shaped in the bottom of the board which was then, with considerable difficulty, re-inforced with multiple layers of fibreglass.
The box was fitted with a deep and thin high-aspect fin, with the surface area balanced between the base and tip,
a precursor to Midget's Fathead fin (1995).
The fin was held in the box by either sealing with a thin layer of finish resin, which could be easily broken for removal or replacement, or a wad of paper that wedged the fin in the box.

- Midget Farrelly: personal phone conversation, 12 March 2014.

Right: Midget Farrelly's Removable Fin, Palm Beach, December 1967.
Photograph: Jeff Carter

Carter: Surf Beaches (1968) page 33.

Midget Farrelly and Vee-bottom Stringerless,
 Palm Beach (?), December 1967.

Photograph: Dick Graham.

Subsequently published in Surfing, 1968.

While the waves at Palm Beach for the final were smaller and slower than Long Reef, and could be said to be more suitable for the American boards, the Australians dominated the final, with Farrelly and Spencer, on their shorter boards, clearly contesting for first place.
Lester Brien wrote:

"It is a hard pick; over the 40 minutes I would not hesitate in giving it to Farrelly, but the contest was to be decided over the best 7 waves.
It is so close.
A discussion is called, it is agreed that on 40 minutes Farrelly had won, but that the contest was over 7 waves and the contestants having been told this, it is not practical for a wider points margin to operate.
Spencer had top scored on two sheets; Spencer had won, Farrelly second, Hughes third."

- Brien, Lester: Windansea Invitational Surfing Contest.
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3, February 1968, page 22.
- Eric Blum: The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1969) - footage of the final.

Following the contest, several American surfers were interviewed for Jack Eden's Surfabout Magazine.
Mike Purpus commented on the Australian boards:

"... I ride a 9'5" surfboard and I thought that was really small before I came here.
Then I arrived and I talked to Midget Farrelly a great deal and I think his board is the best one I have seen over here and I have seen McTavish's and Young's.
I will take back some of his fundamental ideas and incorporate them in my own model that I have back in California."

- Smith, Ian and Sullivan, Jack: Windansea (and the contest that never was)
Surfabout, Volume 4 Number 4, March 1968, page 29.

In the same article, the diminutive female surfer and sponsored rider for Dewey Weber Surfboards, Joey Hamaski, indicated that some shapers in California were also experimenting with shorter boards, admittedly for riders of smaller stature (Hamaski was 5 ft 2 inches, her board 7 ft 11 inches):

"Dewey Weber has had these boards for two years now and nobody thought they would work; like all my friends thought I was crazy to ride a board so small but I like it."

- Smith, Ian and Sullivan, Jack: Windansea (and the contest that never was)
Surfabout, Volume 4 Number 4, March 1968, page 27.

Before their departure for Fiji, the next stop on the Windansea tour, several US surfers purchased new vee-bottom boards from Sydney manufacturers:

"There is no doubt, though, that the Americans had learned more; half a dozen of them had bought V-bottom boards to take back with them, and all were planning to experiment with the short-board concept and the flexible-fin idea and many of the other things we'd seen."

- St. Pierre, Brian: The Fantastic Plastic Voyage (1969) pages 92 to 93.

Note that when the film was released, footage of the visit to Fiji (and subsequently Tahiti) was inserted before the sequences filmed in Australia, to enhance the dramatic impact of the new Australian board designs.
If the new Australian boards were ridden in Fiji and Tahiti, which would seem likely, they certainly were not filmed, or the footage included, in the released film.

The North Shore Winter, December 1967.
As the Windansea team was returning to California, some with new Australian short vee-bottom boards, surfers around the world were preparing for their annual pilgrimage to the large winter surf of Hawaii, and the prestigous Duke Kahanamoku and Makaha contests.
The importance of the season was enhanced by the failure of Hawaiian officials to accept the offer to stage a world contest; previously held annually since 1964, and the next championships were not scheduled until November 1968 in
Puerto Rico.

Over a three week period the competition was intense, typified by a day at Haliewa where the elite, literally, battled for the waves.
In 1968, Nat Young and Bob McTavish's sessions at Honolua Bay, Maui, would receive international media exposure, courtesy of
Paul and John Witzig, and later Eric Blum, although the immediate impact was perhaps less dramatic than it was later portrayed.
In the two weeks before Christmas, the surf was not as large as previous winters, with Waimea Bay breaking only once, but was consistant at 5 to 15ft, and with predominately offshore winds.

As the actual dates of these events are currently unclear, their provisional order is the Duke Contest in mid-late December, the Haleiwa Session probably later in December 1967, the Makaha Contest on the 26th December-1st January 1968, and the Honolua Sessions, around the 28th-30th December.

[Provisional- awaiting access to Surfer and Surfing magazines, 1967-1968.
Unfortunately, with the American surf media firmly concentrated in California, and
in 1967 obsessed with noseriding, Hawaii appeared mostly in photograph portfolios, usually featuring giant waves or as a tropical paradise, in preference to written articles.
Also, regardless of origin, most surfboard design material was more likely to be in the advertisements, rather than in articles.
The lack of contemporary documentaion of the developments in Hawaii, unlike those in Australia, has meant that most subsequent accounts have relied upon the recollections of Dick Brewer, which are not without some difficulties, see above.]

While Brewer's claim that "the mini-gun was happening in the spring of '67" is likely an exaggeration, there is considerable evidence that by the winter of 1967, the elite Hawaiian surfers were beginning to decrease the size of their boards, if only for large waves.
This is
clearly demonstrated in a comparison of the available photographs and film of the winters of 1966 and 1967.
boards in excess of 10ft were common in 1966, they were now down to 9ft 3'' and considerably more refined.
Featuring a pointed nose, slightly rounded pintail, and a high-aspect Greenough influenced fin, and were ridden by all the top Hawaiian surfers, notably
Joey Cabell, according to John Witzig, possibly the most outstanding surfer in Hawaii this year.
Hobie, was variously described as 9ft 4", 9ft 5'', or 9ft 8", and said to be shaped by Dick Brewer, although Joey Cabell has confirmed that he shaped the board himself, which was about 9ft 5 inches.

- Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World
Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, page 36.

- Witzig, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 1 - Oahu.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 4 March 1968  page 28.
Mr. Joey Cabell, personal interview, Freshwater Beach, 10th January 2015.

Joey Cabell and 9ft 5"" Hobie pintail, Hawaii, December 1967.


Joey Cabell - Surfing at its best,
Makaha. Photo: Leroy Grannis.

Joey Cabell, Haleiwa. Photo: Leroy Grannis.

Cabell at Backdoor on his 9'5'' Brewer pintail. Photo: John Witzg.

Cabell and George Downing, Haleiwa. Photo: Leroy Grannis.

Cabell, Haleiwa. Photo: Tim McCullough

As in Australia, these developments were likely to be the result of a number of competing shapers and surfers, with Honolulu the main centre of manufacture with the North Shore as the testing ground.
One of the oldest was
Dick Metz's Hobie Shop, a mainland label with a large stable of elite surfers including Joey Cabell, Corky Carroll, Micky Munoz, and Joyce Hoffmann.
Hobie Surfboards also had a long term relationship with Hawaii's master surfer-shaper, George Downing, who was possibly shaping boards there, along with others.

-Holmes: Hobie Alter (2013) page

At the time, Downing was known to have shaped boards at Charlie Gallanto's Greg Noll Surf Center in Honolulu, under his own and, on occassion, the Greg Noll label.
Noll's top surfer-shaper in Hawaii was Ben Apia, and team riders included Ricky Grigg, Fred Hemmings, and Paul Strauch.

- Kampion: Greg Noll - the Art of the Surfboard (2007) page

Other important shops operating in Honolulu during the period were the
Inter-Island Surf Shop, with Mike Diffenderfer shaping, and Dick Brewer's first label, Surfboards Hawaii, now under new management.
Apart from those previously noted above, other progressive performers in the winter waves of Hawaii were Jock Sutherland, Jeff Hakman,  and Jackie Eberle, incidently all cometitors at the 1966 World Titles in California.
Photography note: Fred van Dyke wears white shorts with a red band at Haleiwa, 1967.

As blanks were imported from the mainland, there was a limited stock available for the winter, which was, no doubt, highly valued and tightly controlled by the local manufacturers, Midget Farrelly noted:

"you couldn't buy a pintail on the island- every blank and finished board was accounted for."

  - Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, pages 35-37.

Most of the Australia surfers travelling to Hawaii took their current boards
Showing his commitment to the short vee-bottom, Midget Farrelly had only his stringerless 7 ft 8" board, as ridden in the Windansea Contest.
Windansea winner, Ted Spencer had his Little Red pintail, and the other finalist, Russell Hughes:

"who had only arrived that afternoon with Midget, used his wide-tail Bells big wave board to get into a few curls."

- Witzig, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 1 Oahu.
Surf International Volume 1 Number 4, March 1968,  pages 29. 

Over several articles, Bob Evans noted the Australian surfers in Hawaii that winter, including Ro­bert "Nat" Young, Geoff Hannan, David Sames, Bill Hannan, Bob McTa­vish, John Witzig, Steven Ash, Frank Lever, Midget Farrelly, Russell Hughes, Ted Spencer, Peter Drouyn, and Dr. Bob Spence, representing as official Judge at the Mahaka International Contest.
Also note, the previously unheralded, Rodney Sneed, a young surfer from Surfers Paradise who managed to get to the
quarter-­finals of the 1967 Makaha Contest, before the officials discovered he was substituting for the official Australian competitor, who had failed to attend.

Evans detailed some of the Australians' equipment:

"Peter Drouyn, Queens­land's star performer, has two slightly more conserva­tive models; a concave nosed 9-footer for standard waves and a mini-gun 9ft. 4in. long."

Bob Spence has designed a 9ft. 6in. board with a very un­usual wide tail section giving great lift tor such a short board."

New Zealander, Wayne Parks had self-shaped
"9ft. 3in. stubby, built by Atlas-Woods in Auckland, New Zealand", which was also ridden by Drouyn at Honolula Bay, and Californian, George Greenough, rode his Hodgeman mat and an early red Velo (#3?) Spoon.

Evans wrote that McTavish and Young were to travel to Hawaii with a quiver of new boards:

"Nat Young has been working out design theories for months ... Gordon Woods has pro­vided the facilities of his custom shop to ascertain that the three "surfer stubbies" for Nat are re­fined in detail.
His board quiver contains a hippy 8ft. 8in. rolled bottom, an 8ft. 7ln. speed machine with the stylised rail contor of a rac­ing snow ski specifically for Hawaiian waves only, and a radical deep vee-bottom with a gun nose measuring 8ft, 8in.


"Bob McTavish already has departed; two radical vee-bottomed surfing units tucked under arm.
Young Manly man Ted Spencer, who won the Wind-and-Sea contest last week, has an 8ft. 6in. vee-bottom "stubbie" and a 6ft. 6in. vee-nised "gun" all fabri­cated by the progressive KEYO shop."

This is highly misleading.
Spencer took his Little Red pintail, and McTavish and Young only lengthened, or gunned, versions of the vee-bottom design, approximately 9ft 4'' and 9ft 6'' respectively, shaped at Keyo Surfboards,
specifically for the North Shore.
The noses were pinned, and Young's had a more parallel (
"racing snow ski") template  than was common for the standard vee-bottom of the day.
This compromise accentuated the importance of the vee-bottom design over, up till now, the associated reduction in length, and by the time they arrived in Hawaii, many top surfers were already riding boards of similar length.

Note that the reported intentions to take a quiver of boards may have been quickly abandoned when the additional cost of air-freight was calculated.
Also, that Evans, in several columns, refers to Nat Young shaping at Gordon Woods Surfboards, when the factory was more likely Keyo's.
This was probably because Young had long-term sponsorship at Woods, a major advertiser in Evans' Surfing World, and his current contracts were in limbo.

-Evans, Bob: Hawaii, here we come again.
The Sunday Telegraph
, December 10? 1967, page 121

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) page 163.
- Cassidy: On the Boardwalk.
The Sun, 1967, page
-Evans, Bob: The truth about 'Super' Stubbies.
The Sunday Telegraph, January 14 1968, page 96.

Keyo Surfboards : Vee-Bottom Stringerless Gun by Bob McTavish, December 1967.

Regrettably, Bob Evans' film The Way We Like It (1968) has never been released in video or DVD format, apparently due to contractual difficulties following Evans' premature death in 1976.
Premiering at Sydney's University's Union Theatre in November 1968, it included Drouyn at the 1967 Mahaka titles, Farrelly, Young and Drouyn surfing at Haliewa that same year, and the 1967 Australian titles.
However, the Haleiwa squence was later added to High on a Cool Wave (1968), and is available online.

- Thoms, Albie: Surfmovies (2000) page 103.
- Evans, Bob: High on a Cool Wave (1968)

Duke Kahanamoku Contest, Sunset Beach, mid-December 1967.
The Duke Kahanamoku Invitational held at Sunset Beach was considered the premier Hawaiian surfing contest, slightly overshadowing the long running Mahaka Contest.
Competitors were selected by the organizers, largely based on reputation, and included invitees from Hawaii, California, Florida, Peru and Australia.
Although Nat Young received an invitation to the contest, he passed the honour (and the pre-paid airline ticket) to Bob McTavish.
Note that it is probable that Young did not require the airline ticket, as that may have been provided by Eric Blum's production company, and that the formal invitation to the contest, and the support of Dr. Bob Spence, appears to have greatly assisted in McTavish's application for a US visa, as he had been previously deported from Hawaii for illegal entry in 1963.

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat  (1998) page 163.
- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) pages 377 to 378.

If the intention of Young in relinquishing his invitation to McTavish was to secure the later's entry into the US, it was certainly successful, if the intention was to demonstrate and promote the performance of "their" vee-bottom design in Hawaiian waves, it was unwise.
Young was the far superior competitive surfer, and unlike McTavish, had the experience of several consecetive Hawiian winters, and he made the final of the next Duke contest.

Despite test riding his vee-bottom at Sunset, Makaha and on Maui before the contest and noting its deficiencies in the powerful Hawaiian waves, Bob McTavish persisted in riding his Plastic Machine in his heat of the Duke Contest.
Also note, foreshadowing future developments, he had also ridden and was impressed by fellow competitor Mike Hynson's pintail, reported as both 9ft 6'' (page 385) and 9ft 3'' (page 388).

- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) pages 383 to 389.

The conditions for the contest were good, but less than ideal:

"The surf for the Dukes meeting was running at 8 -10 ft. Hawaiian size, 12 -15 ft. Australian or Californian size.
It was smooth but irregular, it was unpredictable, it was inconsistent and at times it was so consistent that there were several waves to choose from."
The surf was so tricky that it required a lot of ability and concentration to do well in those conditions."

- Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, page 35.

The judges included Phil Edwards, Wally Froiseth, Kimo Hollinger and Walt Hoffman, and the 24 contestants were judged in heats of six:
Heat 1
Herbie Fletcher 
Mike Hynson
Dick Katri 
Paul Strauch  #
* #

Heat 2
Eddie Aikau 
Corky Carroll 
Mickey Dora 
Mike Doyle  #
Jeff Hakman #  
Dick Keating 

Heat 3
Ben Apia  #
Fred Hemmings 
Rusty Miller  #
Felipe Pomar 
Jock Sutherland  #
Bruce Valluzzi 

Heat 4
Claude Codgen 
Jackie Eberle  #
Bob McTavish 
Greg Noll 
Butch Van Artsdalen 
* #

* Other competitors included Ricky Grigg (California), George Downing (Hawaii) and possibly Joey Cabell (Hawaii).
# Advanced to the final.

The top two competitors from each heat advanced to a nine man final*:
Jock Sutherland 1st, (H.3)
Paul Strauch 2nd,
George Downing, 3rd (H.x)
Mike Doyle (H.2)
Jeff Hakman
Rusty Miller  (H.3)
Ben Apia (H.3)
Jackie Eberle 7th, (H.4)
Ricky Grigg (H.x)
  *Grigg, as last year's winner, may have been seeded to the final, and three competitors (Apia, Miller, and Sutherland) advanced from Heat 3.

The Hawaiian surfers dominated the results -1st Jock Sutherland was first, followed by with Sunset veterans Paul Strauch and George Downing.
Midget Farrelly summarized Sutherland's performance:

"Jock Sutherland was definitely the best surfer in the contest.
He was so fresh, so clean, and so fast and wasn't scared of anything.
Here's a typical example of Sutherland: He takes off goofy-foot and goes 'right'.
When he hits the bottom of the wave he turns 'left', switches feet, comes out of the curl, climbs with a full turn vertical up the face, gets into the shadow, stretches out and just lets the curl clip him twice in
a row.
I think this was his winning ride of the contest."

- Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, page 36.

Confirming Farrelly's analysis, Jock Sutherland's outstanding ride was recorded by the ABC Wide World of Sports television cameras.

- ABC Wide World of Sports Television Program, 1968 (actual release date unknown).
ABC Wide World of Sports: Duke Kahanamoku Contest 1967.
DVD formatted by Doug Cavanaugh, courtesy of Ben Marcus, with many thanks.
Some of the contest footage was later used in a television special, The World of Duke Kahanamoku, screened later in 1968.

The Wide World of Sports program, aired sometime after the passing of Duke Kahanamoku on 22nd January 1968, was a compilation of contest footage augmented with archival material describing the early career of Duke, interviews with some competitors, judges and Kahanamoku, beach scenes, and stock footage by Californian film makers, MacGillvray and Freeman.

Some interviewees attempted to disassociate surfers from the negative image portrayed by the popular press- Paul Strauch wore a suit and tie and drug use was decried by Fred Hemmings and Ricky Grigg.
Grigg noted that surfing is "two sports - what goes on on the beach and what goes on in the water."
Jock Sutherland, in contrast to future developments, predicted "Big guns are the answer for anything over 12 feet".

George Downing's extended interview was illustrated with examples of a finless solid timber and a modern foam board- a short (8 ft?) pintail with a high aspect Greenough style fin.

Similar boards were shown in a sequence on board construction in a shop front factory with a large window opening onto the street.
Contemporary footage recorded Downing riding an solid wood board, ancient surfboards in the Bishop Museum and Duke Kahanamoku displaying his 16 foot board, famously ridden in 25 foot Castles surf for "a mile and a eighth - and that's a long way!".

Bob McTavish and Keyo V-bottom, Sunset Beach, 1967.
Photo: RonStoner.

Kimo Hollinger analysed his judging criteria as a combination of wave size, critical positioning, manoeuvres, and courtesy.

Despite test riding his vee-bottom at Sunset, Makaha and on Maui before the contest and noting some deficiencies in the powerful Hawaiian waves, Bob McTavish persisted in riding his Plastic Machine in his heat of the Duke Contest.
Also note, foreshadowing future developments, he had also ridden and was impressed by fellow competitor Mike Hynson's pintail, reported as both 9ft 6'' (page 385) and 9ft 3'' (page 388).
- McTavish, Bob: Stoked! (2009) pages 383 to 389.

Unfortunately, the ABC's Wide World of Sports footage of the heat records only one of McTavish's rides ( a wave "shared" with Claude Codgen), however Midget Farrelly, largely confirming Fred Hemmings' description as The Spin-Out King, commented on McTavish's commitment and the limitations of his board:

"McTavish went out there with a board that had never been used at Sunset, ever.

That is to say nobody had ridden that kind of board there.
He went out under average to poor conditions.
He was completely guts-up.
Whenever he lost his board, he swam so hard that you would have sworn he was a machine.
Whenever he dropped in, he dropped in like he was skydiving.
He really powered down the face, it was only when he went to make his turn that, that wide, flat, fat  tail just wouldn't sink in and bite.

Bob McTavish: Spin-out King, Duke Contest, Sunset Beach, December 1967.
Photo: Darling.

McTavish was outclassed in performance, he was outclassed in equipment, he was outclassed in
almost everything.
What was so great about McTavish was that the harder he got beaten down by those waves, the
harder he belted himself right back out there again.
He had twice the guts but half the equipment."

- Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, pages 35 and 36.

John Witzig was briefer, but essentially confirmed Farrely's contest report:

"For McTavish it was a couple of swims, and at Sunset it is just allover.
More probably than not, Jock Sutherland would have won whichever way the contest was run.
His fantastic knowledge of how a difficult Sunset would break was so evident in his choice of wave.
He would fade far left, then change feet and crank a bottom turn under twelve feet of white water.
He was superb, there was little doubt about it."

- Witzig, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 1 - Oahu.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 4 March 1968  page 29.

Not all the Hawaiian surfers were immediately dismissive of the Australian vee-bottom.
Bob Evans reported that George Downing "the most knowledgeable surf man in Hawaii," was:

"impressed with many of Mac's (McTavish's) tight maneuvers on the ex­tremely critical waves of Sunset.
Downing indicated that the problems that Mac was having with his turns and follow-through was a matter of modification to suit Sunset's particular wave.

Downing told me he was particularly impressed by the speed achieved coming out of the turns and recognized that the board was designed to give maximum flexibility up and down the face of a steep wave, rather than across the wall.

- Evans, Bob: The Truth about "Super" Stubbies.
The Sunday Telegraph
, January 14 1968, page 96.

Unfortunately, I currently do not have access to the contest reports of the Duke, and the Makaha, contest published in the two Californian based magazines of the period:

Surfer, Volume 9 Number 1, March 1968.
Duke Invitational and coverage of the Makaha International Surfing Championships.
Surfing,Volume 4 Number 1, June 1968:
Jock Sutherland wins the third annual Duke Invitational at Sunset, while Cabell takes the 15th annual Makaha International Surfing Championships.

The North Shore, late-December,
Midget Farrelly surfed his stringerless 7 ft 8"at many North Shore breaks, including sizeable Sunset Beach with Ted Spencer:

"When he (Ted) paddled out at Sunset and said (to me) "Gosh, this isn't like Manly," I knew he was serious."

He was quickly convinced that his board was totally unsuitable for these powerful waves:

"The boards that worked so well in Sydney were now impotent pieces of foam and glass.
The tails were too wide-too much area between fin and rail to make a vital turn at high speeds."

This was especially evident when he was confronted with 15 to 20 ft. Waimea Bay:

"I looked at my 7 ft. 8 in. and felt that it was rather impotent compared with the other guys' 10 ft. 3 in. to 10 ft. 6 in. pin tails.
I took one mental wipe-out at Waimea and that finished my day's surfing there.
Bruce Valuzzi finally comes by me and says, 'Yea, well what's the power school doing today?' then paddled out."

- Farrelly, Midget: Untitled (Hawaii, Winter 1967).
Surf International Volume 1 Number 4, March 1968, page 9.

Some of the visting Australians with Island connections were able to borrow boards, Farrelly observed Russell Hughes on borrowed board at Haleiwa:

"I watched him (Hughes) in some 6 - 8 ft. waves and he adjusted really fast, faster than any Australian I've seen.
He rode his own boards for a couple of days then switched to a pin tail and did just fine."

-Farrelly, Midget: Twelve Days in Hawaii.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, pages 35 and 36.

Hughes' "own boards" included his wide tailed 9ft 10'' board, shaped by Bob McTavish, ridden at the recent Australian Championships at Bells Beach (see above).
Likewise, Midget noted McTavish riding Mike Hynson's pintail:

"McTavish ... looked good on a borrowed pintail ... at Sunset."

- Farrelly, Midget: Untitled (Hawaii, Winter 1967).
Surf International Volume 1 Number 4, March 1968, page 9, adjusted.

McTavish was also "experimented" with other boards.
Following the Duke Contest
, Nat Young encountered Bob at Haleiwa:

"When we caught up with McTavish a few days after the event he wasn't even surfing his own short (sic) board - it was as though he'd given up - and watching him surf Haleiwa on a big conventional board borrowed from David Nuuhiwa, I thought he looked awkward and stiff.
Amazed by his about-face, I couldn't understand what he was doing and it was hard to get much sense out of him.
But later that afternoon, when I cornered him outside the house where he and Nuuhiwa were living, he sounded fine, promising to follow us to Maui when I told him I'd be going there next day."

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) pages 163 to 164.

In the book, Young laters attributes McTavish's behaviour to the high quality local cannabis, available courtesy of Hynson and Nuuhiwa.

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) page 164.

The Haleiwa Session(s), late-December 1967.
In late December, Haleiwa often provided the prime conditions and was the focus for intense competition by elite, particually one strong offshore day that was extensively recorded by a squad of photographers.
The surfers included Paul Strauch, Joey Cabell, Ben Apia, Nat Young, George Downing, Ricky Grigg, Mike Dolye,  Fred van Dyke, and Peter Drouyn.

Note that several other published photographs and some film was also shot at Haleiwa later that winter, probably in January 1968, where Nat Young's board has the repaired nose section, damaged at Honolua Bay at the end of December.
Also note that Californian photographer, Steve Wilkins was also at the Haleiwa sessions, and his excellent web site specifically dates it as 1st December 1967.
This must be incorrect as Nat Young was still in Australia as late as 4th December 1967.

- Steve Wilkins Photography  http//

On his return to Australia, John Witzig wrote a two part article detailing his impressions of the Hawaiian winter of 1967 for his magazine, Surf International.
Although titled The Australians in Hawaii, in the main, over the two articles the main focus was on his travelling companions, Nat Young, Ted Spencer and Bob McTavish.
However, he directly acknowledged his highly personal view:

"I preface this story with the advice that if this is not an absolutely accurate reconstruction of our trip to the Sandwich Islands, then it is the best that I can make up."

- Witzig, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 1 - Oahu.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 4 March 1968  page 23.

Witzig's report of a session at Haleiwa, several days after the Duke contest, identified two approaches to surfing performance and surfboard design, initially evident at the 1966 World Contest, that would dominate developments over the next five years. 
Bob Evans' film of the session, in High on a Cool Wave (1968) largely confirms Witzig's account, which is worth quoting at length, however some may dispute his description of Peter Drouyn's waves as "not much more than stand-up rides."

"I have seen Haliewa on a number of occasions.
It has been flat, or it has been reasonable.
On one day, with a good swell, and a side wind at Sunset, Haleiwa was 12' and good.
It was so good that I just could not imagine that Haliewa could get like that, and neither, I imagine, could the eighty surfers in the water, or the one hundred and eighty other photographers on the beach.
I wonder on reflection whether the rest of them wasted as much film as I did that day.
The spray was particularly bad and through the lens it just looked like a messy mass of blues and greys and sprayey-whites.

Still, if the photographs were to end up as a disappointment, then certainly the surfing on that day at Haliewa was not.
To my mind it was Cabell and Nat who were again outstanding.
Hawaiian Joey was coming from far inside and making waves where even George Downing and Ricky Grigg weren't.
Nat gave up, more because of the limitations of the crowd than because of those of his board or ability.
Certainly, Drouyn came from inside on a few waves, but they were not much more than stand-up rides.
Cabell though, was outstanding.
Tight in the curl, his 9'8" pintail board would fly across the face of the fantastic Haliewa waves.
What had become apparent, at Sunset on that late afternoon, was now compounded at Haliewa.
There were two schools of thought: Nat and acceleration, Cabell and flow.

It is difficult to the point of being impossible to try to evaluate one approach as against the other.
There is a considerable gulf between the two, attributable to the basic experience that has, as its result, either of the two points of view.
As an Australian, I was more used to Nat's approach to surfing, and if it should appear that I am biased in my appraisal, then it may very well be that this is so.

I cannot but think that the general approach of the pintail-flow school of thought is a logical extension, and perhaps conclusion, of a style of riding big waves that began with the first attempt on the big surf of the North Shore in the late 50s and early 60s.

In contrast, the short board- acceleration school of the Australian surfers appears to me to hold the key to the future.
I would be the last to claim that on the North Shore this year the Hawaiians, on their conventional equipment, were out-performed by the Australians on their short, V bottom boards.
Yet I cannot contain the enthusiasm that I feel for the breakthrough in performance big wave surfing that I feel must ultimately flow from this initial Australian assault on the Hawaiian surf.

Most probably there are lessons to be learnt from each approach.
Perhaps in some way, a marrying of the flow and acceleration is not impossible.
The sort of board that this would necessitate is quite beyond my knowledge.
While we were in Maui, shaper Dick Brewer began to experiment with V bottoms on pintails.
Perhaps there is an answer here.
Yet I find the two styles of approach to surfing to practically be the antithesis of one another.

To my mind the potential is with the Australian surfers and their equipment.
There is greater experimentation being done in Australia, and the excitement and inspiration that must arise from this, not to mention the equipment, assures a significant place in the future."

- Witzig, John: The Australians in Hawaii, Part 1 - Oahu.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 4 March 1968  pages 29 to 30.

- Evans, Bob: High on a Cool Wave (1968)

In 1970 Bob McTavish contributed an article to Surfer, illustrating that "the two schools of thought" identified by Witzig continued to resonate.
See McTavish, Bob: Streaks and Slugs (Surfer Tips Number 45).
Surfer, Volume 11 Number 2, May 1970, pages 27 and 29.

Per Paul Strauch: [The] Photo was taken in the 60's at Haleiwa at its best running 10 -12' on a NW with beautiful conditions... I remember the day well. It was a hairy takeoff because the guy on the red board dropped in on me and in a nano second, Joey Cabell was under me with George Downing in close pursuit. I think I crowded the guy in front of me into pulling out, but my memory stops there. Great day and super crowded since Haleiwa was the place to be!

Anonymous said...My guess is fall/early winter of 1967, based on the graphics on Cabell's was a 9'6'' Downing pintail, as I recall.

Nat, McTavish, Brewer, Drouyn, Honolula Bay, Maui, late-December 1967.
Whereas the Duke and Makhaka contests and the Haleiwa session(s) on Ohau were widely covered and witnessed, the Honolua Bay sessions on Maui were relatively obscure, although covered by two professional film units- one from Califormia, under Eric Blum, and Paul Witzig from Australia.
heir "significance" only became apparent later with extented media coverage, Witzig's footage was scripted as the climax when "one day the perfect waves came to Honolua," with more than a nod to Bruce Brown.
John Witzig detailed the sessions in words and photographs, the later, and those of Californian, Steve Wilkins, were widely printed, and re-printed, in magazines and books.
Wilkin's excellent web site specifically dates images of Nat Young and Bob McTavish riding their vee-bottom Keyo Surfboards on 28th and 30th December 1967, which is consistant with other accounts.

Steve Wilkins Photography
Hot Generation

Honolula Bay is in a swell shadow, requiring a large outside swell to break, usually when the North Shore of Ohau is nearing maximumun size.
Its picturesque location and  high quality right-handers have been the subject of many surf photographers and film-makers, with sequences in several previous surfing films, including Bob Evans' XXXX, (196-5?) featuring Nat Young.
This is the some of the largest, and certainly the best quality, Honoulua surf filmed up to this time.

Following the Duke Contest, while preparing to fly from Honolulu for the island of Maui, Nat Young encountered McTavish at Haleiwa:

"When we caught up with McTavish a few days after the event he wasn't even surfing his own short (sic) board - it was as though he'd given up - and watching him surf Haleiwa on a big conventional board borrowed from David Nuuhiwa, I thought he looked awkward and stiff.
Amazed by his about-face, I couldn't understand what he was doing and it was hard to get much sense out of him.
But later that afternoon, when I cornered him outside the house where he and Nuuhiwa were living, he sounded fine, promising to follow us to Maui when I told him I'd be going there next day.

I was travelling to Maui with John and Paul Witzig and the hot young Sydney surfer Ted Spencer; George Greenough was going to fly in direct from California and Doc Spence came over for a few days before going back to Oahu to fulfil his obligations as the official judge for the Makaha contest."

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) pages 163 to 164.

In the book, Young laters attributes McTavish's behaviour to the high quality local cannabis, available courtesy of Hynson and Nuuhiwa.

- Young, Nat: Nat's Nat (1998) page 164.

The highlight of the stay on Maui was a week excellent surf at the famous right handers of Honolua Bay, film of these sessions becoming the highlight of both Paul Witzig's short Hawaii  68 (1968), later added to the American release of The Hot Generation (1967, 1968), and Eric Blum's The Fantastic Plastic Machine, which due to production difficulties was not released until 1969.

- Thoms, Albie: Surfmovies (2000) page 101 and pages 106 to 107.
- The Hot Generation

These films, the widely reproduced photographs by John Witzig and a vast plethora of book and magazine articles simply too numerous to detail have contributed to the widely held view that the Honolua sessions were the inspiration for what is commonly called The Short-board Revolution.
Critical to this perspective was the meeting of McTavish and Dick Brewer, said to convert Brewer, and hence other Hawaiian and American shapers, to building either vee-bottom and/or smaller boards.

Nat Young, Honolua Bay, December 1967.

Photograph: John Wizig
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 5  May 1968  page 26.


In a contemporary article, perhaps composed before his departure from Hawaii, Bob McTavish wrote:

"Good Honolua is a tube from take off to calm centre.
This day Nat and I had our deep Vees going.
Ted S. had his 8'9" pintail in one piece till it was two pieces.
Buddy Boy was visiting Him on most rides - in spite of his overlong machine.
George did It quite often. .. Paule made It.
Six hours at six to eight feet.
Only a few there.
Coupla cameras, coupla shapers - one was R. B.
Dick was digging the whole thing.

Those Vees - pulling turns in the most tight spots, gaining speed in those turns, thrusting out of them.
Making waves, making them tighter.
Pintails were beautiful -  in the fall line.
Magical Mystery Tours.
But the U.S. - going round, up, thru- thrusting!!
YOU got the speed.
YOU went where you wanted - when you wanted.
Said R. B. when asked - "They work."

Dick Brewer went to his groovy tin shed and made a beautiful pintail - 'V' bottom.

Just a basic change of design - no "yippee-we did it first" because who is "we"?
We are all brothers 'V' is one change - many many more coming up from many many people - so names don't matter."

- McTavish, Bob: A plastic drinking straw...
Surf International, Volume 1 Number 3, February - March 1968, page 11.

The passage specifically relates the incorporation of the vee-bottom into Brewer's pintail design, and not a committment to a reduction in length, except for the aside "Buddy Boy ... in spite of his overlong machine."
In addition, the closing comment, "so names don't matter", indicates a substantial change in attitude as evidenced in the claims advanced several decades later in Stoked! (2009)  and Going Vertical (2010).

Despite McTavish's obvious enthusiasm for the wide tail vee-bottom design at the time, he later acknowledged the design's deficiencies:

"We took our boards to Hawaii in late 67, they were, just large versions of V bottom stubbies we were riding in the shorebreaks of Australia and they were pretty miserable failures except for Nat's board which was more of an arrow planshape and Ted Spencer's little double end sausage which went well in small surf."

 - McTavish, Bob: Pods for Primates Part 2.
Tracks April 1972, reprinted in The Best of Tracks 1973.

While Brewer and others have disputed the impact of the Australian vee-bottom, one of Brewer's team riders has subsequently confirmed the Australian influence, at least the impetus to construct shorter boards:

"Gerry Lopez supports that story with his own recollection: 'I think it was in late '67,' he told Drew Kampion.
'Brewer had just moved over to Maui from the North Shore and was shaping in Lahaina.
Reno Abellira and I each took a blank over  there to get our boards made by him.
Reno got his shaped first, but before he could shape mine, Nat and Greenough and McTavish and Ted Spencer and a couple of other Aussies showed up with those wide-tailed, vee-bottom boards.
They wanted to go ride em at Honolua Bay, but there wasn't any surf there.
John P. Thurston had a surf shop at the Cannery in Lahaina where all the boards were glassed, and they came there, and we met em, and Brewer and McTavish kind of bullshitted for a long time.
So the next day we go back to do my board - I think wanted like a 9 foot 8-inch, which was considered a shorter board then - and Brewer just takes the saw and cuts a foot of the blank, and it's 8 feet 6 inches, and he tells me, 'That's how big a board you're getting.' "

Holmes: Bing Surfboards (2008) page 164, quoting Drew Kampion in The Surfer's Journal, unspecified.

Reno and broken Brewer pintail, Honolula Bay, December 1967.
Photograph: John Wizig
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 5  May 1968  page 22.

Gerry Lopez outlines his early shaping history, including recalling his 8 ft 6'' Brewer- "the very first mini-gun", in his book Surf Is Where You Find It, Patagonia Inc. (2008).
The relevant chapter, The Buddy, is online at:
Patagonia: The Cleanest Line

Incidentally, while "Ted S. had his 8'9" pintail in one piece till it was two pieces" appears to indicate that Little Red was fatally injured at Honolua Bay, it was actually 8 ft 4'' and survived to return to Australia:

For what it's worth, so called Little Red board was 8'4" in length
It didn't break badly in Hawaii and I took it back to OZ.
Regards, Ted."

- Ted Spencer, personal email, November 2003.
Many thanks to Ted Spencer for this invaluable contribution.

Furthermore, although McTavish expressed the opinion in 1972 (above) that "Ted Spencer's little double end sausage which went well in small surf" , his enthusiasm for riding different designs, including Hynson's pintail and Nuuihwa's "big conventional board" at Haleiwa, is demonstrated by a John Witzig photograph of McTavish riding Little Red on a substantial  wave at Honolua Bay printed on the cover of Surf International, Volume 1 Number 12, circa 1969.

Finally, for those with a (possibly unhealthy) interest in surfing literature, McTavish's Surf International article includes the often quoted "A GIANT GREEN CATHEDRAL AND I AM THERE", invariably ridiculed as an example of one of the many excesses of the era.
Likewise, Jock Sutherland was derided for his similar themed description of tube riding as "In the Pope's Living Room" in a 1970 Surfer magazine interview (Volume 11, Number 6, page 72).
Both possibly owe a debt to Phil Edwards, a surfer unlikely to be associated with the psychedelia of the late 1960s, who, when describing his first ride at the Banzai Pipeline, wrote:

"The pipe was swirling thinly on top and it was a burst of green crystal with shafts of sunlight coming through it.

It was like a whirling cathedral; yet, immense, overpowering, somehow quiet."

 Edwards, Phil: You Should Have Been Here An Hour Ago. (1967), page 154.

Gerry Lopez's "a couple of other Aussies" on Maui included the Doc Spence, the Witzig Brothers, and Peter Drouyn, following his third place in the Mahaka Contest:

"Honolua Bay was probably the best surf we had over there, although Haleiwa was pretty good.
We had Honolua at 15 -18 ft., consistent and only 12 guys in the water.
I was riding one of the small stubby boards.
I borrowed it from Wayne Parkes, the New Zealand surfer."

- Drouyn, Peter: Drouyn
Surfing World, Volume 10 Number 3, March 1968, page 14.

Bob Evans "filmed every aspect of his (Drouyn's) performance" at Honolula Bay, the photograph below published in Evans' Sydney newspaper column in early 1968.

Peter Drouyn,
Honolula Bay, Maui, December 1967.
- riding Wayne Parkes' 9ft 3in Atlas-Woods (NZ)
Photograph: Bob Evans (digitally adjusted).
The Sunday Telegraph, January 21 1968, page 70.

In 2010, Herb Torrens recalled visiting Maui at the end of 1967:

"As far as the Shortboard Revolution - and I certainly agree it was - is concerned, I think it depends on where you were.
I came to Maui in '67, shortly after Mac and the boys stormed Honolua on their short V-bottoms.
I arrived with a 10-foot gun and a 9'6" semi-gun, both pintails in the latest style.
That style lasted about two weeks.
Brewer was on Maui at the time and he shaped a couple of 8'4 pintails for Jock Sutherland and Jeff Hackman, who were going to school there at the time.
They turned everything upside down at Honolua, and within weeks, we were all stripping down the long boards and re-shaping them into short boards.
I remember driving down Front Street in Lahaina one morning and seeing loads of trash cans lined up with stripped fiberglass.
Yes, it was a revolution and if you weren't riding a short board by the end of that winter, you were an outcast.
So, in my thinking, the Aussies definitely had an impact when they came, but Brewer and Bruce Jones took short board design to new levels.
I can't remember what happened after was the sixties!"

- Herb Torrens: Comments on the "Shortboard Revolution".
Posted on surf blurb, Sat, 21 Aug 2010.

In an online article on Surfing & Cannabis uploaded in June 2021, Paul Evans wrote:

1967: Surfer Magazine is conflicted.

Legendary cartoonist Rick Griffin embroiders a two-page magazine illustration with marijuana leaves, whilst the same year an editorial notes “No real athlete uses stimulants to improve performance,” and that “the fad of pot smoking will pass from the scene.”
It didn’t.
“Down on the beach, you’re in the most beautiful environment, relaxing, surfing, having a great time, [and] if someone was going to break out a joint, you’re in the best place to do it.” notes Nat Young, who also reveals that he and Bob McTavish “smoked a big fat one” before every Honolua Bay session that winter.
Paul Evans: Surfing & Cannabis: A Potted History

Other relevant, but currently unexamined, magazine articles:

Surfer, Volume 9 Number 3, 1968.
Corky Carroll,  1967 Surfer Poll Award winner, Noseriding cover.
"The Challenge from Down Under" featuring Bob McTavish and Nat Young.

Surfer, Volume 9 Number 4, 1968.
Nat Young at Honolua Bay cover in vee bottom outline.
Drew Kampion essay explores "the super short, uptight, v-bottom, tube carving plastic machines and other assorted short subjects"

David "Baddy" Trealor, Noosa, January 1968

Photograph by Albert Falzon.

Possibly Surfing World, Volume 11, Numbers 1-6.


Makaha Contest, 26th December 1967- January 1968.
By the 31st December, the preliminary rounds of the Makaha contest had been completed in "beautiful 6ft. to 10ft. waves."
The 450 entrants, from South Africa, Hawaii, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and the US, were reduced to a five man final comprising Joey Cabell (1963 champ), Fred Hemmings (1966 champ), Ben Aipa, Leroy Ah Choy, and Peter Drouyn, the only non-Hawaiian.

As runner-up in the 1967 Aus­tralian titles, Drouyn was seeded into the quarter­-finals, winning this event and his following semi-final on "a special pin-tail board he had helped to construct only the day previously."
Another Surfers Paradise surfer, Rodney Sneed, who was possibly an associate of Drouyn, progressed through the heats to the quarter-­finals, before the officials discovered he was substituting for the official Australian competitor, who had failed to attend.

On a "sunlit day of offshore breeze and eight-foot ground swell," the contest was won by Joey Cabell, with Fred Hemmings second, and Peter Drouyn in third place.
On his return to Queensland in early 1968, Peter Drouyn "brought back the only Hawaiian pin-tail board," perhaps the board he used in the Makaha contest.

- Evans, Bob: Makaha effort tickles Peter.
The Sunday Telegraph, January 7 1968, page 47.
- Evans, Bob: The truth about 'Super' Stubbies.
The Sunday Telegraph, January 14 1968, page 96.
- Evans, Bob: Echoes from Hawaii.
The Sunday Telegraph, January 21 1968, page 70.

Meanwhile, in California and Hawaii:

"Hobie is marketing a new Australian-type board to be designated a "MINI-BOARD" and George Downing and Fred Hemmings, the big men in Hawaiian surfing, have been testing pin-tail boards (not much longer than eight feet) in powerful Hawaiian waves reaching over ten feet.

- Evans, Bob: Rincon... it s a "frozen asset"
The Sunday Telegraph, February 18 1968, page 108.

Future topics : 1968

Australia: Post Hawaii, 1968.
As rumors of the limited success of the heavily promoted wide-tailed Vee-bottom boards began to circulate on Australian beaches, many were eager to try the  current pin-tail designs.
As illustrated below, this pin-tail was fashioned in an amateur enthusiast's backyard from a mid-1960s Malibu, the fibreglass has been stripped form the back half of the board and the tail reshaped as a pin; leaving remnants of the original blue off-set stripe and silhouette of a scalloped resin-pigment deck band.
The fin-box is mid-1970s.
The blue turtle sticker on the nose is 1990s? 

California: Post Hawaii, 1968.

McTavish visits George Greenough at Santa Barbara, California, and shapes Tracker model for Morey-Pope.
Hobie Gary Propper model vee bottom 8'6"
1968 Corky Carroll mini model
8 foot Greek, Maui Model lam, single fin
Rick VEE bottom with  single wave set fin.
Hansen 7'4 Derringer V bottom, bolt  fin,

Bobby Brown Memorial Contest, Cronulla, 1968.
Saturday 10th January, 1968 - Wanda.
Sunday 11th January, 1968 - Sandshoes.
1st Midget Farrelly
2nd Keith Paull
3rd Ted Spencer,
4th Frank Latta,
5th Robert Connelly,
6th Kevin Parkinson.
See: Lester Brien : Bobby Brown Memorial Contest.
Surfing World Volume 10 Number 4, March-April 1968, pages 32 to 35.

Surfer Magazine Vol 8 . No 6 . January 1968
Micky Dora gives his view of the contest scene.
The opening of the first Wave pool.
Rio de Janeiro.
US championships at Huntington Beach.
George Greenough in Australia, eight pages including Noosa aerial and  in-the-tube photo of Russell Hughes at Point Cartwright.
Photographer Rick Stoner picks his best photos of 1967.

Cartoons and Six pages of readers photos.

Bing Surfboards:
Noserider, Pipeliner (available in pintail model), Bing Standard.

International Surfing
Volume 3 Number 6
January 1968.

Australian Championships, Sydney, 1968.
1st Keith Paull,
Other finalists - Nat Young, Ted Spencer, Midget Farrelly, Robert Coneneely, Lester Brien.
Junior:- Wayne Lynch,
Women - Judy Trim

Wayne Lynch and O'Neill Short John, 1968.
Involvment model by John Arnold Surfboards.

EB (Everybody's Magazine) 12th June, 1968 : Surfboard Champ's 1968 Color Souvenir.

Midget waxes up his yellow pin-tail, Long Reef.
Midget                                                          Keith Paull                                     Nat

Others:  Robert Coneely, Ted Spencer, ? Campbell (4th in the Womens).

EB: Everybody's Mag,12th June, 1968

Batcheldor and Wright, South Africa, 1968.
In early 1968 John Batcheldor and Tony Wright, from the NSW South Coast, travelled to South Africa taking with them some of the first short Australian designs.
They were photographed and interviewed by then-resident Ron Perrott for John Witig's Surf International.
"Perrott: John, you brought an eight foot, vee-bottom Aussie board across with you.
What reaction did this board get from the locals?
Batcheldor: John Whitmore said it was the most beautiful board he's ever seen.
Perrott: Why? Because it was different?
Batcheldor: It was just so well shaped; he'd seen other short boards but didn't like them.
He's so set in his ideas.
Then he got to have a ride on one and it kinda changed his mind.
Perrott: Do you think surfers appreciate what you're doing with these boards?
Batcheldor: The better surfers can, but there aren't many around.
We met some guys the other day and they couldn't stop laughing at my board.
One picked it up, still laughing, then said, 'Christ !.' "

- Surf International Volume 1 Number 7 page 43, June 1968.

Surfer Volume 9 Number 3 June 1968

Surfing June 1968 Volume 1 Number 2
Introduction of the V bottom and transitional boards ,
The Australian charge- Nat Young, Ted Spencer, Bob McTavish, Peter Drouyn, and Midget Farrelly
Interview: What happened to Phil Edwards?
Leo Hetzel: Cabell, Cabell, Ole!
Bing Copeland: Maui

Dutch Vandervoort: Puerto Rico Discovered (cover photo)
Duke Boyd: New Challenges for the Committed- Innovative moves in surfing
Mickey Munoz: Is there any surf in Tahiti?

Ron Haworth: Duke Kahanamoku- The Last Days
Dick Graham:
The Australians, including Danny Bond (quoted from Surfing World, October 1967), Bob McTavish.
Dick Brewer: The Mini Board
Rusty Miller: The V-bottom
Greg Noll Surfboards:  The Bug
Gordie Surfboards
O'Neill Wetsuits, featuring Bob Cooper .

Puerto Rico Photos:
      Page 42:    Californian transplant, Dutch Vandervoort, Rincon.         Page 43: Californian Greg Tucker, Jobos. 
Also: Surfing October 1968
Tom Morey, Rincon.                                            Dutch Vandervoort, Crashboat.

Greg Noll Surfboards : The Bug!!!

Pintail and Short V-Bottom Models, Harbour Surfboards, Seal Beach California.
July 1968, Volume 9 Number 3, page

Double page advertisement for Bing Surfboards:
Hawaiian Pintail
The Hawaiian Pintail is a true high performance speed board.
The Bing Experimental Team put a lot of time and research into its design before releasing it to the public ...
about six months of full out testing!
When we finally finished, Dick Brewer said "the Baby PINTAIL is a magic break-through," and recommended it for the advanced surfer.
David and I concur, even so, we thought all involved surfers would like to know about our research and development program (of) our progressive designs.
Isn't that what surfing's all about?
Bing Copeland

Jock Sutherland, Rights and Lefts, Photo: Stoner.
Surfer November 1968 Volume 9 Number 5.

European Championships, La Barre France, 1968.
Following the 1968 Australian Championships, Nat Young, Wayne Lynch and Ted Spencer flew to Rome in company with Paul Witzig to shot footage for his next film.
They then travelled by car to France, arriving in Biarritz in August 1968 and competed in the European Championships at La Barr and built  new boards at Michael Barland Surfboards.
Following the contest they travelled to Morocco with Rodney Sumpter, ex-Avalon, now resident in England, before flying to Puerto Rico to prepare for the World Contest.
Their exploits would be documented in Paul Witzig's Evolution, released in 1970.
- Young: Nat's Nat (1998), pages 174 to 180.

Concurrently Billy Hamilton and  Mark Martinson and travelled to Europe with film-makers, MacGillivray-Freeman where they joined up with Keith Paull.
While the American surfers ride boards based on the wide tailed vee bottom designs developed in Australia the previous year, Keith Paull (like the other visiting Australians) has a round tail design.
The footage would be included in Waves Of Change, released in 1969, subsequently repackaged as The Sunshine Sea in 1970.

While the visiting surfers competed in the European Championship, apparently due to contactual conflicts, regrettably neither Witzig or MacGillivray-Freeman filmed the contest held in excellent surf.

The Australian surfers dominated the results:
1st Wayne Lynch
2nd Nat Young
3rd Keith Paull

- Wayne Lynch:France.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 11  January 1968 ?  Page 12.

Also see:
Surfer, Volume 9 Number 6, 1969.
"The Challenge from Down Under" featuring Bob McTavish and Nat Young.

World Contest, Puerto Rico, 5-14 November, 1968.
Given that most competitors were unfamiliar with conditions in Puerto Rico, many arrived in the weeks before the contest to prepare for the contest.
However, a number of international visitors arrived at the
San Jaun airport on 2 November 1968 where Duline McGough, a surfer-paddler from California, photographed a pile of about a dozen surfboards recently unloaded, and none in board bags.
There is considerable variation in lengths, with the shorter boards in the foreground, and a range of fin designs, the black-railed pintail in the foreground may have a WaveSet-type fin and box.
History of Women's Surfing

also see
(HWS Director) Sheri Crummer: My First surf Trip, 1968.
Boards at the airport, San Juan.
Puerto Rico, 2 November 1968.
Photo: Duline McGough

In his page devoted to the 1968 World Contest, Rod Rogers recalled:
This issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 9, No. 6, Jan 1969) has become one of my all time favorites.

I spent most of the semi-finals and finals surfing 2nd Rock at Maria's Point with the surf in the 8-12' range.
Mostly rode my Paipo-60, but also spent some time on a friend's McTavish V-Bottom.
We grommets didn't care too much for the California group, nor for Fred Hemmings.
They all seemed so constipated on their long boards and went about town with an inflated sense of self-importance.
David Nuuwiha and Reno Abellira rocked on down-the-line speed and the Aussies were lot's of fun with their progressive approach to wave riding and friendly dispostion--they also would loan us groms their boards!
Drew Kampion captured these feelings correctly in his coffee table book, Stoked!

Rod Rodgers: 1968 World Contest Rincon, Puerto Rico, November 5-14, 1968

World Contest Results.
1st Fred Hemmings (H),
2nd Midget Farrelly
3rd Russell Hughes
4th Nat Young
5th Mike Doyle (USA)
6th Reno Abelleira (H).

Contest Results: 1968 World Contest Puerto Rico.
Surf International
Vol. 2. No. 1  January 1969 

Paul Carey : World Contest  Puerto Rico.
 Paul Witzig : World Contest  Peurto Rico.

Volume 1 Number ?
February 1969.

Mike Doyle, Hansen Surfboards,
Puerto Rico, November 1968.
Doyle was the big wave reserve
 on the Californian team.

Page 27
Joey Cabell,
Semi Final 3,
World Contest,

Domes, Puerto
Rico, November 1968.

Cabell is riding David Nuuhiwa's board,
substituted after breaking his fin.
Nuuhiwa surfed in the first semi-final.

Also note:
Surfer, Volume 9 Number 6, January 1969.
Nat Young at La Barre, France, cover.
Articles Fred Hemmings wins the world title in Puerto Rico.
The evolution of the Short Board, Phase II with Drew Kampion.
Filmmaker Eric Blum introduces "The Fantastic Plastic Machine," featuring George Greenough's never-before-seen in-the-tube perspectives.
John Witzig: Wayne Lynch - Towards an International Man

International Surfing Volume 4 Number 2 (1969)
Short Board Round Up.

International Surfing (US)Volume 5 Number 1, February-March1969.
The World Contest held at Rincon, Puerto Rico.
In the world contest, 15-year-old Margo Godfrey won the women's division, while Fred Hemmings captured the men's division.
Plus a look at early shortboards. 

Doug Fiske: The Blink of an Eye

Keith Paull, Domes, Puerto Rico 1968.
Photo: Barry Church.

Wayne Lynch, Domes, Puerto Rico 1968. Photo: Doug Fiske.

Joyce Hoffman, Domes, Puerto Rico 1968. Photo: Doug Fiske.

Margo Godfrey, Domes, Puerto Rico 1968. Photo: Doug Fiske.

Fred Hemmings, Rincon, Puerto Rico, 1968. Photo: David Singletary.

Nat Young and Ski, Puerto Rico, November 1968.

Below: Nat and Ski, 1968 World Contest Final, far left.

Other World Contest Finalists:
Mike Doyle, Russell Hughes, Fred Hemmings,
behind Eduardo) and Reno.
ABC-TV footage

Russell Hughes, Puerto Rico, November 1968.

Midget Farrelly and others, Pueto Rico, 1968.
Surf International

January 1969, Volume 2, Number 1, page 24.

Stills taken ABC Wide World Sports Television
 film of
the final of at Rincon on14 November, 1968.
It was probably screened December 1968-January 1969.

World Contest Finalists:
Nat, Mike Doyle, Russell Hughes, Fred Hemmings,
Midget (hidden
behind Eduardo) and Reno.

Midget Farrelly pre-World contest final.

Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, Sunset Beach 1968.
1st Mike Dolye (USA)
2nd Ricky Grigg
3rd Fred Hemmings
Other finalists Rusty Miller, Eddie Aikau, Felipe Pomar, Jock Sutherland and Nat Young.
Nat Young and Midget Farrelly were invitees and both made the semi-finals.

Corky Carroll's Super-Mini for Hobie Surfboards, California.

Special by Mark Markinson
Harbour Surfboards, California, 1969.

Martinson's specifications for his board for the
World Contest in
Puerto Rico 1968, mailed from Portugal.

Surfer: World Contest Edition
Volume 9 Number 6 January 1969


1. In a early draft, Gary Chapman was incorrectly identified as Garry "Owl" Chapman.
Garry was the brother of Craig "Owl" Chapman, so called for his poor eyesight.
- thanks to Steve Shearer.
2. Rod of advised by email:
"One cannot ignore the innovation and experimentation going on in the paipo/bellyboard and kneeboarding world.
In addition to your mentions of George Greenough, it is important to recognize those folks that strayed
from the kipapa-style (prone) of riding the paipo/bellyboard and went "stand-up," such as Wally Froiseth and Val Ching.
This experimentation and riding of these very short boards was taking place in the mid- to late-50s, when Froiseth made his first "Pai Po" boards and at least in the mid-60s when Val Ching was riding The Wall."
home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2010-2022) : A Period of Transition - Shortboard Revolution, 1967-1968.

 Waterman : the life and times of Duke Kahanamoku / David Davis Davis, David SURFING WORLD Vol 10. No 2 1968

Duke Kanhanamoku obituary by Bob
David Treloar (hot junior) - eight page spread.
Kevin Platt: Surfboard design, mainly the Vee Bottom 8ft Stubbies.
"Ride a White Horse". new movie by Bob Evans
Photos from the Australia Vs the U.S. Wind'n'sea Club contest.
SURFING WORLD Vol. 11 . No5 . 1968 ?

Design:  Ric Chan-Deep in Curl Territory "tracker,wide back and pintail designs are about 8 ft and only 15 to 20 lbs in weight". is the place to be and the photos Interview: Wayne Parkes, N.Z. champ gets ed.
Western Australia tohold the next Aust. Champs, 5 pages.
Mangawhai in N.Z.
Ads - carroll Surfboards "Go small this summer to better surfing."


Surfabout surf magazine Volume 4 Number 3 " Summer 1967 Issue " .
This magazine has a fold out mural instead of the usual centre fold and with the recent passing of Bobby Brown the bi-fold is of Bobby surfing his stringerless DEEP nose concave George Greenough single fin malibu that the adjacent article states Bobby Brown designed . Inside front cover is a full page advert for Gordon Woods with Bob Kennerson head shaper making either stringerless , high density colour foam stringer or redwood stringer with the new modern GW in the diamond decal . Wallace surfboards are also offering " Real performance with the latest in flexible Stringerless Models " with a new custom surfboard costing $92.00 !!!! There is a long 4 page article titled " MINI BOARDS YET ! " that I thought would be the new shorter malibu's but no this is about kneeboard design and riding written by Jack Eden .
   4 pages on " Torquay : Birthplace of Victorian Surfing " with the Surf Life Saving club being formed in 1946 .  7 pages on the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Surfboard Championships . With interviews with Phylis O'Donnell , Lynn Stubbins , Midget Farrelly and Peter Cornish with Peter talking about his new Bob Kennerson shaped Gordon Woods with " stage 3 George Greenough fin " with Mark Richards father Ray Richards and Gordon Woods himself advising Peter Cornish not to take out his new light weight surfboard in the competition !?!? 
  4 pages on " South Coast Secrets" . Inside back cover has a funky advert for Scott Dillion surfboards with Scott Dillion laying over the hull of a new stringerless longboard showing the flex in this new fandangled flex fin madness . Back cover is of Nat Young wearing SPEEDO 's though quite cool looking Okanui style board shorts . Sydney, October 1967