Source Documents
allan byrne : world contest,  1968 

Allan Byrne : Puerto Rico World Contest, 1968.
Surfing New Zealand
Volume 1 Number 1 December 1968

A rare contest report from a rare publication - New Zealand's second surfing magazine, following the New Zealand Surfer of 1965-1966.

Semi-finalist, Allan Byrne, the current
New Zealand junior champion and head shaper at Bob Davies Surfboards, writes of the 1968 world contest in Peurto Rico.
The senior champion, Wayne Parkes of Atlas-Woods Surfboards, did not make it through the preliminary rounds.
Not surprisingly, he was mostly impressed with the Australian surfers, notably Nat Young as well as Wayne Lynch, Keith Paull, Russell Hughes and second-place Midget Farrelly.
He also was impressed with Hawaiians Reno Abellira, Joey Cabell and Californian transplant David Nuuhiwa, but in his opinion Midget won ... he got the waves and he surfed all over them.

Initially from Gisborne, at
the end of the 1970s, Allan Byrne relocated to Queensland's Gold Coast where he shaped at Hot Stuff Surfboards before starting his own company, Byrning Spears Surfboards, around 1983, see below.

Page 12
Puerto Rico - Allan Byrne : Report
New Zealand junior surfing champion, Alan Byrne, of Gisborne, was the only New Zealander to
reach the semi -finals of the World Surfing Championships held recently in Puerto Rico.
Byrne was second in his heat but won his quarter-final in 6-8 ft surf.
In the semi-final Alan was placed third, behind the eventual winner Fred Hemmings (Hawaii)
and third place getter in the final, R. Hughes (Australia).
He gave a tremendous performance in the face of such stiff competition and just missed out on reaching the final.

Allan Byrne : Bob Davies Surfboards, page 2.

Puerto Rico paradise - the best contest ever?

Both these statements were definitely applicable to certain aspects of the whole scene.
For example, the actual island of Puerto Rico is a beautiful place, something you would see in the airline or travel agencies - propaganda posters - deserted beaches, clear warm water, and outa-sight surf.

Move inland., however, and your paradise is destroyed.
There are too many people living in too few places.
Severe extortion of food prices began on our arrival - not ill it that worried us much, as the food generally wasn't edible.
Our main diet became fruit which is relatively cheap and bread and honey.
Perhaps I lost a few pounds in weight.

As far as the contest went the organisation was negligible.
Not that the officials didn't try, it was just that the whole atmosphere was too strained, too many people were only interested in their own thing.
Still, with these setbacks the contest ran very smoothly when we had surf.
For five days following the preliminaries there was not enough surf to hold the finals.
Then on the final day, bless our little watcher, the surf jumped to 8ft-10ft.

Although slightly uneven during the middle of the day, the morning and afternoon were beautifully reminiscent of Hawaii.
Word had it that the following day Tres Palmas was breaking 15 feet.

But for all these apparent setbacks, the standard of surfing was the highest ever seen at a world contest.
The whole scene was a power play between the Hawaiians and Australians.

Nat flowing and driving all over the waves, Reno Abellira snaking through unbelievable sections on his 6 ft. 6" by 17 in. wide ski.
Wayne Lynch pulling off unbelievable back hand turns and re-entries, straight back down, bordering on the vertical.
Nuuhiwa on it different track again continued turning with fantastic speed.
Cabell really moving out on these larger waves, he snapped his fin off on a really big one.
This broke up his pattern, knocking him out of the finals.
Keith Paull surfed really well, also complete flow,
no sharp edges.
He didn't get through owning partly to bad judgement, and a greater part to the judging.

This was a really bad point.
There was and will be articles and letters downing the judging.
Too many good surfers missed out because of it.

However, I think the criticism will sound better coming from elsewhere.
You will read these articles and understand.
As for the final results, sure Nat shouldn't have won but he should have come higher than fourth.

He was having trouble with the width of his tail.
He blew the first two waves and had long swims, wasting about 15-20 minutes.
Once he had controlled it he was beautiful.

As I and the rest of  the surfers see it, Midget won.
He got the waves and he surfed all over them.
He was better than he has ever been.
Russell Hughes deserved to place as he did.
I had
 underestimated him.
He really is good.
Reno Abellira only caught about two waves, although one of them was the best wave in the contest.
Doyle was good, very good, as for
Hemmings, well I didn't notice him, perhaps he did surf well, perhaps I am biased - who know knows.

By the time this comes out you will have read several other magazine
s with articles by more prominent names, some up-breading the contest.
Some, as I have, will be critical.
Who is right?
What I have written are the feelings of a majority of surfers from a great number of countries.
I hope they still feel the same.
Anyhow, that was Puerto Rico.

Page 13

Page 2

Everthing is in a new dimension this summer at
bob davies surfboards




bob davies surfboards
New Factory: Hewletts Road, Mt Maunganui
p. o. box 118   phone 53-994

Page 4

Atlas/Woods Surfboards
Wairau Road, Tapapuna, Auckland, 9.

New shape pin tails, square tails, trackers. Flat or V-bottom.
Lighter boards.
... Removable bolt-on fins in translucent colours, opaque black, or clear I.P.C.
... Wayne Parkes, No 1 Shaper:
3 times NZ senior title, (surfed) Hawaii, Australia, California.
NZ representative at the world champs, Puerto Rico.

Wayne Parkes surfing at Mangowai Heads.

Left to right:
Wayne Parkes - Design
er and Shaper, NZ Champ.

Wayne and Glen Kelly discussing shapes.
Tony Ogilvy, shaper and leading junior surfer.
Steve King - Atlas /Woods manager.

Page 5

The Removable
A revolutionary detachable fin system by Atlas/Woods.

Removable bolt-on fins in translucent colours, opaque black, or clear I.P.C.

Atlas/Woods Surfboards
Wairau Road, Tapapuna, Auckland, 9.

Depth: 11"         Base: 10"
Camber: 13"     Area: 40 in. (squared)
Weight: 14 1/2 oz.

Alan Byrne Designs
Hot Stuff Surfboards,

Surfing New Zealand
Volume 1 Number 1
December 1968


Geoff Cater (2022) : Alan Byrne : Puerto Rico World Contest, 1968.