Former Bondi boy Allan Levick called recently to talk about his 1950s Gordon Woods ‘Okanui’ surfboard. I asked him to send in some pics and pen a few memories.
photos courtesy Allan Levick
I had only used this brilliant surfboard for around 3 months………(it was fantastic to ride a board which you could take where YOU wanted to go, not just where the wave dictated)…….when I was invited to join a group of “Bondi Boys” to go water ski-ing, which was still in it’s infancy here in Australia. I immediately became addicted to this “new” exciting water sport, and, rather reluctantly, stored my board away.
Here’s a few words on the origin of my nickname “IKE”. As a young Bondi kid, of around 12 years of age, I decided to try my hand at being a “paper-boy”, selling newspapers on the Bondi trams, to earn some “pocket money”, in order to fund my regular trips to the “flicks” (movies) and my growing addiction to “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate” (which remains with me today ! ) The owner of the Newsagency Shop, Alex Griffin, grew a moustache and I “christened him “IKEY-MO”. However, HE turned it back on ME and instructed the rest of the team of “paper-boys” to ALWAYS, in future, refer to me as “IKE” and the name has stuck to this day!!
I am also sending pics of the “high-jinks” we young “Turks” used to get up to on the Beach, in those Halcyon Days!
Just one more anecdote……when I was around 15, I bought my first 16ft long “toothpick” surf board and put together a 2 wheel trolley using old Bike wheels to walk the board down to Bondi Beach (about a mile from the family home in Denham Street).
Bondi Tram photo sourced from lindsaybridge on flickr
On countless occasions, I would “scale” on the rear of a tramcar, and trail the board and trailer all the way down to the beach behind the tram! (Quite a remarkable sight!) The conductors thought it was a great “lark” and, only once, did the local “cops” grab me and gave me a “strict talking to”!
photo courtesy Allan Levick
In conclusion, (not really anything to do with surfing, but you may be interested), water-ski-ing became my passion and I used to get up to all kinds of tricks, eg. barefoot ski-ing, ramp jumping, and the most spectacular and unique, of all, was my own invention…..”ski-ing” atop a 6ft tall stool (ladder) on a 3ft diameter, plywood disc and executing 360 degree turns and backwards ski-ing.
photo courtesy Allan Levick
The “stool” was not attached to the disc which made the exercise even more demanding. Sounds unbelievable but, fortunately, I have photos to prove it, some of which I will attach. I am retired now and still ski occasionally, but haven’t been “up the ladder” for 5 years (I reckon I could though!).
With kind regards, Allan Levick