Surf City, Sydney

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EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

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SURF CITY EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Museum of Sydney

September 2011 – March 2012

 

Surf City takes to the beaches of the 1950s, 60s and 70s and shows how a scruffy-haired bunch of boardriders and beachgoers left an indelible mark on sun-drenched Sydney. Throughout these 3 decades, surfers, shapers, writers, stirrers and everyday salts upended conservative attitudes and inspired an ethic of freedom and hedonism. As surfboards grew from toothpicks to malibus to arrow-like speedboards, and eventually morphed into radical shortboards, the vibe and vitality of surf culture snuck under the skin of Australian life.

 

EXHIBITION PRODUCTION TEAM

 

Gary Crockett

Kate Bruxner

Peter Burne

Kieran Larkin

Rhiain Hull

Beau Vandenberg

Alice Livingstone

Justin Maynard

Caroline Lorentz

Susie Sedgwick

Michael Power

Duncan Harrex

Pat Macan

Tim Girling-Butcher

Susie Sedgwick

 

1945-1960 : STIRRING UP TROUBLE

 

At the end of World War II Sydneysiders hit the road and headed back to the coast. Returned soldiers and eager youngsters joined regimental lifesaving clubs, paddling giant hollow longboards, or ‘toothpicks’, and patrolling crowded beaches. A handful of eager ‘boardmen’, however, were surfing for pleasure.

 

Lightweight and agile American malibus arrived in 1956, bringing a radical change in boardriding and surf culture. Films of surfers on hair-raising waves abroad and the sugary teen-flick Gidget soon followed, stirring up trouble and sparking a hunger for adventure.

 

Back to the beaches

 

After World War II Australia’s so-called ‘way of life’ left the outback and headed to the coast. Barbed wire, tank traps and sandbag defences were cleared from Sydney’s beaches and wartime rationing was lifted. The FX Holden, Australia’s first people’s car, hit the road in 1948, and the new 40-hour working week gave many Australians a full weekend off. Almost overnight, leisure and mobility became a cultural birthright.

 

As surf-starved Sydneysiders drifted back to the beaches, membership of lifesaving clubs increased. The blokey club culture appealed to returned soldiers, while youngsters were drawn by sun-tanned bodies, the healthy lifestyle and new-found freedoms. Throughout the 1950s, magazines, books, tourism campaigns and advertisements shimmered with images of surfers, seaside pleasures and sun-loving families.

 

Surfing for pleasure

 

For most beachgoers, surfing usually meant skylarking in waves on rubber surfoplanes or being tumbled in crowded shore breaks along well-patrolled swimming zones. However, around 1945 small groups of dedicated toothpick riders began to ride their surfboards for pleasure and thrills, distinguishing themselves from the revered and heroic lifesavers.

While a breakaway Surfboard Association proved to be short-lived, some lifesaving clubs, including Maroubra, did admit boardriding groups. Not so welcome was the larrikin behaviour of the so-called ‘Cornel Wilde boys’, a mob of surfers who hung around the boardwalk at Bondi. Their flashy suits and bad-boy antics were bound to stir up trouble. But their contempt for rules and love of surfing were an obvious sign of things to come.

 

‘Done Overnight’

 

Modern boardriding reached Sydney in November 1956 when American and Hawaiian lifeguards rode the waves from Avalon to Cronulla. Their malibus were made out of balsa wood and coated in a new material – fibreglass. As the visiting surfers flicked, stalled, walked and trimmed their finned boards with astonishing ease, it became clear that the days of the toothpick were numbered. In the words of Sydney board builder Gordon Woods, ‘the 16 footers were done overnight’.

 

Within a month, local board makers began turning out replica malibus in plywood, called ockanuis. But by the end of 1957, with shipments of balsa arriving from Ecuador, former toothpick builders were glassing up their own versions of the malibu, with far too many orders to fill.

 

A combined onslaught

 

In 1956 the Melbourne Olympics and the arrival of television opened Australia’s eyes to the world. A year later the film premieres of Bud Browne’s Surfing in Hawaii and The big surf at Queenscliff gave Sydney boardriders their first glimpse of overseas action. Soon after, a succession of roughly cut Californian surfing films was doing the rounds of local halls and theatres up and down the coast.

 

But it was the big screen adaptation of Frederick Kohner’s novel Gidget in 1959 that spread the word on surfing. While serious boardriders scoffed at its corny plot, the film took surfing to the masses and inspired almost a decade of ‘beach party’ spin-offs.

 

1960-1964 : TAKING HOLD

 

Surf mania took hold after 1960 and the new decade saw Sydney claim surf culture for its own. Tabloids brimmed with stories of bikinied surfer girls, bottle-blonde beach bums and ‘surfie–rocker’ wars. Big wave bomboras and point breaks were ‘king’, but nowhere near as ‘gas’ as local stomps and the primal thud of surf music.

 

Following their American rivals, local surfers became entrepreneurs, producing Sydney’s first dedicated surf magazines and movies, and becoming the voice of the surfing community. Mandatory board registration was introduced in 1960, angering surfers and leading to ongoing hostilities on the beach.

 

Surf movies

 

Surf movies revved up the surfing craze and kept surfers in the loop about the latest action at home and overseas. In 1961 Californians John Severson and Bruce Brown visited Sydney to screen their latest surf flicks and hunt for local talent. The premiere of Severson’s Big Wednesday (1961) at Sydney’s ANZAC House turned ugly when rowdy crowds vandalised the theatre entrance, ruling out further screenings.

 

A month later Brown’s double bill Slippery when wet (1958) and Surf crazy (1959) premiered at the Doncaster Theatre in Kensington. Both films then toured the coast with local filmmaker Paul Witzig and a gang of Sydney surfers in tow. Witzig captured the surfers in action along the way, and the footage turned up in Brown’s later films, Surfing hollow days (1961) and the internationally acclaimed The endless summer (1964).

 

Surf mania

 

At the beginning of the 1960s half of Australia’s population was under the age of 30. Postwar babies were now teenagers with jobs and cars, who were keen to distance themselves from the ways of their parents. Surfing satisfied their hunger for adventure. The rising number of boardriders worried swimmers and lifesavers, and the beach soon became a sun-soaked battleground. Surfers clashed with lifesaving clubs, beach inspectors, disapproving ‘oldies’ and rival tribes of jazzers, bikers and rockers.

 

Popular tabloids like The Australasian Post, Pix and Everybody’s hopped on the bandwagon, running provocative stories about lax morals, surfer slang, teenage scuffles and the latest in daring swimwear – all accompanied by images of bikinied beauties and scruffy-haired beach boys.

 

Surf magazines

 

In the 1950s rock-n-roll had given birth to teen culture, but it wasn’t until the early 60s that the print media got in on the action. In Australia, it all came together on the beach and surf magazines were the first to target young readers.

 

The Australian Surfer, based on Surfer (US), was launched in 1961 and lasted only two issues. Surfabout and Surfing World both hit newsstands in 1962 and quickly became cultural style guides for the newly mobilised surfing tribes. Eager readers devoured updates on board designs, club meets, techniques and surf scene gossip, along with the latest in pop music, fashion, travel and dance crazes. There was also plenty of room for profiles of rising stars and local beaches.

 

Surf music

 

Surf music, with its rumbling drums and shrieking guitars, became the sound of Sydney in 1963. As oldschool rockers like Johnny O’Keefe began to lose their teen credibility, this raucous new musical sensation arrived hot from California, mirroring the explosive craze of surfing. Releases from top local bands – including The Denvermen, Johnny Devlin, The Dave Bridge Trio and The Atlantics – regularly out-charted imported records from bands like The Beach Boys.

 

Surf music even spawned its own style of dance – the primal and hugely popular stomp. Inner-city nightclubs Surf City, the Beach House and the Sunset Disco were where Sydney’s surf-crazed teens went to dance, while 14-year-old Maroubra girl Little Pattie hit the local charts in late 1963 singing about her ‘blonde headed stompie wompie real gone surfer boy’. But The Beatles tour in the winter of 1964 marked the end of a twanging era; after less than 18 months, surf music was dead.

 

1964-1968 : PSYCHED UP

 

Australians dominated the first official world surfing championships at Manly in May 1964. Buoyed by this victory, Sydney’s surf culture entered a new phase of competition, commerce and progressive riding. Surfers wrote columns for city tabloids, and endorsed cars, cigarettes and confectionery. Radios crackled with surf reports and footpaths rumbled with skateboards.

 

 

The growth of boardriding associations and fierce interclub competition coincided with rapid improvements in board design, spearheaded by local shapers. On the beaches, tight-turning shortboards replaced the malibu and by 1968 surfing’s ‘endless summer’ was over.

 

Surf sensation

 

A massive crowd of spectators attended the 1964 World Titles. The event also enjoyed saturation coverage on radio and television. Of the 200 entrants, only 13 came from overseas including just one woman, Californian Linda Benson. Nonetheless, when local surfers Midget Farrelly and Phyllis O’Donnell won the men’s and women’s events with ease, surfing had its first ‘official’ world champions.

 

But the real winners were the everyday Sydney surfers, who were thrilled to see a handful of legends up close. The World Surfboard Titles led to major improvements in board design and the public exposure saw surfing’s popularity continue to skyrocket.

 

Getting involved

 

In 1966 Sydney surfers took wave riding to another level. Surfing’s new era of ‘getting involved’ was inspired by Nat Young’s powerful, competitive and no-frills riding style and increasingly lighter, manoeuvrable boards such as Midget Farrelly’s wafer-thin stringerless models. But it was Californian kneeboarder George Greenough’s astonishing feats on his fibreglass ‘spoon’ that showed just how involved a surfer could get.

 

Boards were becoming shorter and plainer, but they promised a far more exciting ride. This new school of surfing meant deep carving turns, powerful cutbacks and lots of action. It also involved freeing up the mind and riding in the wave, not merely on it. Nat Young’s victory in the San Diego World Titles of 1966 was hailed as a triumph of Australian power surfing over the older, smoother, ‘functional’ style favoured by the Americans.

 

Getting organised

 

In the mid 1960s surfers became more competitive and organised, forming their own local and regional boardriding associations, independent of lifesaving clubs. Surf wear and boards emblazoned with club colours, patches, badges and competition stripes became highly prized items.

 

By 1965 the various state branches of the Australian Surfriders Association (ASA), set up in Sydney only two years earlier, boasted membership of 50,000 surfers. Though largely conservative, the ASA championed the rights of surfers. In addition to opposing board registration, the association also battled against hostile councils in their ongoing attempts to restrict or ban surfing on metropolitan beaches.

 

1968-1974 : THE HIPPIE DRIFT

 

From 1968 the surfing world was swept up in the countercultural spirit reshaping politics, religion, the arts, music and youth consciousness throughout the West. As the Vietnam War dragged on, long-haired surfers dropped out, abandoned competition surfing and boardriding clubs, and dabbled in drugs, environmental activism and ‘cosmic’ lifestyles. Tracks magazine and a handful of movies tapped this subversive hippie drift and celebrated ‘soul’ surfing.

 

The sudden change saw many surfers flee Sydney or hang up their boards. But younger surfers, ‘grommets’, took to a variety of shorter, more radical boards with relish. By the end of 1974, mass-produced ‘pop out’ surfboards had reignited surfing’s popularity.

 

Lost youth

 

In 1968 Sydney filmmaker Paul Witzig recut his earlier movie Life in the sun to produce The hot generation, including new footage of Australian surfers Bob McTavish and Nat Young riding revolutionary wide-tailed V-bottom surfboards in Hawaii. This was the first glimpse of modern shortboards on screen – old-school nose riding, drop-knee turns and hot-dogging were history.

Surf culture had changed in other ways. In August 1967 young Sydney surfer Bobby Brown died tragically in a bar room fight. Bobby had featured in The hot generation and his death, like the movie, seemed to announce the end of surfing’s youth. Bobby’s life was honoured in a series of memorial contests held around his home breaks of Cronulla.

 

Art, not sport

 

The World Titles of 1970, held at Bells Beach in Victoria, marked a turning point in surf culture. There was growing fear of the Vietnam draft, and anger over sand mining and the destruction of pristine beaches along Australia’s eastern coastline. The growing subculture of drug use and a preference for simple living tempted older surfers away from the cities in search of uncrowded waves and so-called ‘country soul’.

 

Cinema reflected this cultural shift. The innermost limits of pure fun showed surfing as primal and pure – an artistic expression, not a sport with rules, contests and egos. Morning of the Earth struck a deeper chord with its ecstatic vision of surfers in harmony with nature, riding perfect North Coast, Hawaiian and Balinese waves. Despite its escapist, back-to-basics message, Morning of the Earth broke box office records and led a new generation of eager grommets into the surf.

 

1974-1981 : THE NEW WAVE

 

In 1973 the voting age dropped to 18, giving Australian kids a more powerful voice. National service ended, along with decades of conservative government. The following year, as surfing brushed off its antisocial image and the smoky haze of counterculture cleared, Sydney staged its first ‘big money’ contest: the 2SM/Coca-Cola Surfabout.

 

In the next few years a new era of professionalism unfolded, with sponsorships, a fledgling surf ware industry and the development of a world pro tour. It was also the beginning of hardcore surfing. Thanks to a skateboard revival, ‘lay-back’ cutbacks and explosive backhand re-entries were carving up Sydney waves. And girls on the beach began to question their exclusion from the surf. Then along came the three-finned ‘thruster’ …

 

Surfabout

 

Competition surfing came of age in 1974 when Coca- Cola and Sydney radio station 2SM co-sponsored the richest surfing contest the world had ever seen. Surfabout was staged annually on Sydney’s beaches from 1974 to 1983 in the low-swell weeks of April.

 

Devised by Sydney journalist Graham Cassidy, the contest initially used a fairer, more objective, points-permanoeuvre scoring system, and attracted aspiring pro surfers from around the globe. Australians won the first eight titles, with four of those going to Sydney surfers. Surfabout attracted unprecedented media interest and provided some of the most memorable contest moments in surfing history.

 

Concrete surfing

 

When the surf was flat or unrideable, Sydney’s boardriders took to the footpaths. Skateboarding, popular in the 1960s, reappeared in the early 70s, but really took off after 1975 when Coca-Cola ran its first skateboard contest in almost a decade. As before, the craze came from California, bringing with it new tricks and equipment such as flexible decks, alloy ‘trucks’ and impact-absorbing urethane wheels that gave skateboards more speed and grip.

 

Kids assembled skateboards from parts ordered from the United States, or purchased imported Bahne and Hobie rigs. Locally produced models by Golden Breed were equally popular. Flashy antics such as nose turns and ‘tick-tacking’ turned car parks, shopping centres and concrete slopes into thrilling arenas of ‘surf-less’ fun, while radical moves like layback 360-degree turns and aerials fed into surfing.

 

The end of the beginning

 

The creation of the International Professional Surfers (IPS) circuit in 1976 didn’t, as many had feared, mark the end of surfing as a simple and soulful pursuit. But neither did it, as some had hoped, bring instant wealth and glory to elite surfers. The IPS era gave rise to hardcore surfing, a new breed of contest-hungry grommets, and a surfing scene swamped with brands, products and sometimes colourful business ventures.

 

The arrival of the power-packed three-finned ‘thruster’ in 1981 capped off half a decade of innovation in board design and surf ware development. Better wetsuits, boards and leg-ropes had led to more action in the surf, but also more aggression, as surfers jostled for space in the waves. The overcrowding at many Sydney hot spots made it harder for aspiring surfers to join in, particularly women – a grim reality well observed in the 1979 publication Puberty blues.

 

The 80s and beyond

 

For the next three decades Simon Anderson’s thruster, a design he never patented, became the worldwide industry standard. The thruster unleashed a new style of surfing that was fast, energetic and exciting – and ordinary surfers leapt on them.

 

Throughout the 80s Australia set the pace in surfing. Local surf wear companies dominated the worldwide retail boom, while gifted and flamboyant Australian riders, including Cheyne Horan, Mark Richards, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew and Tom Carroll, were international surfing superstars. Role models such as Pam Burridge chipped away at surfing’s macho culture, making it easier for girls to take up surfing, and a longboard revival began to lure older surfers back to the beaches.

 

Along the way, the hedonism, freedom and sensuality of surfing – a revolution led by a scruffy mob of kids on boards – had merged seamlessly into Australian life.

 

SURFBOARDS ON DISPLAY

 

Toothpick

Alan Hinds, Palm Beach, 1944

marine ply and generic timber

Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Gift of Alan Hinds 1984

 

Palm Beach lifesaver Alan Hinds built this Australian Racing 16, or toothpick, to compete in the National Lifesaving Championships at Coolangatta in 1948. At that time, major lifesaving carnivals tended to favour swimming, reel and rescue challenges over boardriding events. Fortunately for Hinds and his good friend John Stomp, who had also qualified for the event, board races were held at Coolangatta, with Alan finishing fourth and John coming in second. By the 1960s Hinds had moved on to competitive sailing, finding the newer surfboards awkward to ride.

 

Surfoplane

NARM, Sydney c1950s

rubber

Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club

 

Bronte doctor and inventor Ernest Smithers first launched the rubber surfoplane at Bondi Beach in 1933. Since then, generations of aspiring boardriders have splashed about the waves on these popular inflatable floats. Many holidaymakers drifted far from shore while riding the ‘surfo’, adding to the work of lifesavers. Smithers died in 1976, about the same time that commercial production of his ingenious surfoplane ceased.

 

Ockanui

Gordon Woods, Bondi, c1957

varnished plywood with hardwood rails

Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Gift of Mr Crossing 1984

 

Ockanuis, otherwise known as ‘hollow mals’, were locally made plywood copies of the American malibu. Having seen the latter in action, inventive Sydney board builders were eager to knock off the new design but were initially unable to source regular supplies of balsa wood. While popular at first and a big improvement on toothpicks, ockanuis were soon superseded by Australian-made lightweight balsa malibus.

 

Pig

Wallace Surfboards, Bronte, c1959

balsa, fibreglass and resin, with cartoon by Rollosmith & Son

Australian National Maritime Museum. Purchased with USA Bicentennial Funds

 

‘Pigs’, or wide-tailed malibus, were made from balsa wood shipped from Ecuador. Coated in resin to make them watertight, they were light and manoeuvrable. Pig boards were a revelation to local surfers; Bondi’s John Knobel recalls being able to ‘flick, stall and turn the tail like never before’. Pigs were commonly decorated with funky graphics, stylised motifs and their owner’s initials.

 

Dillon malibu

Scott Dillon Surfboards, Brookvale, 1960

foam, fibreglass, resin, timber stringer and reverse ‘D’ fin

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

This malibu was among the first foamcore boards made in Australia. It was built by Scott Dillon, lifesaver and bigwave rider, who started producing balsa boards in Bondi around 1957. Dillon was one of the first manufacturers to shift northside to Brookvale after 1960. The stringer on this model has sunk, indicating the problems that were yet to be solved in blowing and glassing foam.

 

Jackson malibu

Jackson Surfboards, Caringbah, 1963

foam, fibreglass, resin and timber stringer

Courtesy Brian Jackson

 

Brian Jackson took up boardriding shortly after joining the Wanda lifesavers in 1950. He founded Jackson Surfboards in 1957 when, as a young engineer, he teamed up with Ron Candsell to produce balsa pigs, ‘teardrops’ and, later, quality foam malibus. The company has been an industry mainstay and a cultural icon on Sydney’s southern beaches for more than five decades.

 

Ron malibu

Surfboards by Ron, Belmore, 1963

foam, fibreglass, resin, timber stringer and wooden fin

Courtesy Graham Beatson

 

This board was purchased in 1963 by Graham Beatson and Donald Griggs, both keen Cronulla surfers. Surfboards by Ron produced large quantities of malibus in standard shapes that were distributed mainly through well-known sporting chains and department stores; they were even exported to America. Unlike surfboard factories, department stores offered convenient terms of credit, allowing surfers to ‘play now, pay later’.

 

Woods malibu

Gordon Woods Surfboards, Brookvale, c1964

foam, fibreglass, resin and triple timber stringers

Courtesy Pete Shiel

 

Australian Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly’s sensational win in a surfing contest at Makaha, Oahu, in 1963 spurred rapid improvements in board design back home. This included the use of multiple stringers (timber strips) for strength and decoration, clear resin coats and progressive fin shapes. Gordon Woods Surfboards was highly regarded for its cutting-edge shapes and quality finishes.

 

Bennett malibu

Barry Bennett Surfboards, Brookvale, 1964

foam, fibreglass, resin and timber stringers

Courtesy Peter Francis

 

In 1964 Brookvale stalwart Barry Bennett returned from California with the latest knowledge in ‘blowing’ foam blanks and set up his own foam production company, Dion Chemicals. This beautifully made malibu combines quality volan resin with racy red panels highlighting its triple stringers and streamlined form.

 

Jackson malibu

Jackson Surfboards, Caringbah, 1965

foam, fibreglass and resin with triple timber stringer and deep blade fin

Courtesy Brian Jackson

 

Top Cronulla surfer Bobby Brown rode this striking ‘candy cane’ malibu between 1965 and 1967. Brown and his distinctive board were featured widely in surfing magazines and movies, including Paul Witzig’s The hot generation. According to Brown’s good friend Garry Birdsall, the board’s ‘sharp knifey rails and square-bladed fin may have looked hot, but it was a difficult board to ride. Only Bobby could make it sing’.

 

Bennett malibu

Barry Bennett Surfboards, Brookvale, 1966

foam, fibreglass and resin with competition stripe and nylon fin

Courtesy Barry Bennett

 

The thin rails, wide volan rail-laps, deep raked (sloping) nylon fin and blue ‘cigar band’ on this board are typical of the cutting-edge designs from leading Sydney factories in early 1966. Nat Young rode a similar model to victory at the World Contest in San Diego later that year.

 

Farrelly stringerless

Farrelly Surfboards, Palm Beach, 1967

foam and fibreglass

Courtesy Robyn Harvey

 

Innovative Palm Beach board maker Midget Farrelly pioneered stringerless models in 1965, creating ever lighter and more responsive surfboards. In 1966 he began experimenting with hull shapes, and variations in width, thickness and tail designs. This board is wider towards the tail, has sharp rails, a narrow and flexible fin, and a squared-off tail – features that would later characterise the ‘V-bottom’ shortboard.

 

Keyo V-bottom

Shaped by Neal Purchase, Keyo Surfboards, Brookvale, 1967,

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy David Bell

 

This board helped spark the shortboard revolution. Known as ‘the Virgin’, its unique shape led key designers to develop shorter, wide-backed boards that were fitted with slender and flexible fins. V-bottoms could bank from rail to rail and, unlike the malibu, could be turned and trimmed from a single position on the board. In early 1968 V-bottoms were the hottest things around but by the middle of that year the model was history.

 

Bennett tracker

Barry Bennett Surfboards, Brookvale, 1968

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Steve Abbott

 

An evolutionary leap beyond the stocky V-bottom, the torpedo-shaped ‘tracker’ gave the new shortboard much-needed speed.

 

Farrelly egg

Farrelly Surfboards, Brookvale, c1969

foam, fibreglass and resin

Mick Mock Collection

 

In early 1970 many top surfers rode stubby, egg-shaped boards that were under 6 foot long. ‘S-decked’ eggs like this model were common on Sydney beaches.

 

Keyo pin-tail

Keyo Surfboards, Brookvale, 1969

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Rob Hitchens

 

This ‘transitional era’ Keyo pin-tail belonged to Rob Hitchens. Around 1970 western suburbs surfing mates Hitchens and Steve Abbott began making regular weekend ‘escapes’ to North Narrabeen Beach, hanging out with chums and in their words, ‘surfing from dawn till dusk’. Both resisted moving to the coast until their careers were under way, balancing their weekday grind with regular coastal escapes and extended South Coast trips when possible. Although he no longer surfs, Hitchens enjoys regular ocean swims off the beaches near Stanwell Park. Abbott lives a stone’s throw from Werri Beach and, in addition to hoarding and restoring surfboards, continues to surf regularly.

 

McCoy twin fin

McCoy Surfboards, Brookvale, c1970

foam, fibreglass and resin

Warner Surfboards

 

The twin fin was introduced to Sydney by Californian Tom Hoye in 1970. The first generation of locally made twin fins, produced by McCoy Surfboards, were the most popular boards in Sydney for the next two summers.

 

Bruce Hart Greenough spoon

McGrigor Surfboards, c1972, Brookvale

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Bruce Hart

 

In 1965 George Greenough, the eccentric Californian inventor, filmmaker and ‘barefoot genius’ created a strange concave kneeboard, called a ‘spoon’. With a clear flexible deck providing exceptional turning ability, the spoon performed like nothing else before. Its fins were also unusual, bending under pressure and springing straight back. These fins triggered the end of longboards and paved the way for future changes in weight, width, bottom shapes and tails that would revolutionise surfing after 1967. But it was Greenough’s uncanny ability to ride deep inside the tube and push his spoon through cranking bottom turns and slicing cutbacks that astonished local surfers. His radical design reappeared briefly in the early 70s, with many Sydney factories producing a spoon-like model. All but the most experienced surfers found them impossible to ride and the design quickly slipped into obscurity.

 

Winged pin with eagle design

Hot Buttered, Brookvale, 1972

foam, fibreglass and resin

Mick Mock Collection

 

Hot Buttered was founded by Terry Fitzgerald in 1971. Its sleek and speedy Hawaiian-style boards were at the forefront of board design throughout the 1970s and beyond.

 

Shane standard

Shane Surfboards, Brookvale, c1974

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Steve Abbott

 

Generally dismissed by hardcore surfers, mass-produced pop-outs or ‘standard’ models were a cheap and reliable alternative for beginners. They were called pop-outs because their pre-moulded foam core required minimal shaping. In the early 1970s Shane Stedman’s company churned out 200 low-cost standards a week. Despite their poor standing among surfers and some manufacturers, pop-outs were also produced by the Wallace, Keyo and Farrelly factories.

 

McCoy pin-tail flyer

McCoy, Avoca, 1978

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Pete Shiel

 

Trailblazing board shaper Geoff McCoy cut his teeth at Rons, Bennetts and Keyos in the 1960s before establishing McCoy Surfboards in 1970. Throughout the decade McCoy twin fins, ‘swallowtails’, ‘pin-tails’ and ‘pin-tail flyers’ – such as this model with its pronounced Hawaiian influences – were among Sydney’s most familiar and respected surfboards.

 

Energy thruster

Energy Surfboards, Brookvale, 1980

foam, fibreglass and resin

Courtesy Simon Anderson

 

This is the board that North Narrabeen hot shot Simon Anderson surfed to victory in the Sydney Coke Classic of 1981. Around 1979 Anderson had started working on an alternative to the twin fin, which he found ‘skittish’ and hard to control. A tall surfer, he needed a board that could drive forwards through a turn without skidding. His revolutionary three-fin ‘thruster’ was unveiled in a series of spectacular contest wins throughout 1981, including the ‘Bells’ and the Pipeline Masters.

 

Energy thruster

Energy Surfboards, Brookvale, c1981,

foam, fibreglass and resin

Warner Surfboards

 

It seems remarkable that it took us just 15 years to get from the longboard – 10 feet or more, flat, thick, round tailed and blunt edged – to the Thruster, a shift so dramatic that a surfer of 1966 would barely recognise Simon’s invention as a surfboard. Yet the thruster has endured for another 30 years – whittled down, curved, given various degrees of concave, but with essentially the same configuration. Simon’s Thrusters still look strikingly contemporary today…the universal design for waves from one foot to 30, adapted to boards from under 6 feet to over nine feet, from vee bottoms to concaves. It is as if Simon was searching for the cure to the common cold and stumbled upon a cure for cancer.

 

(Tim Baker from the introduction to Thrust: the Simon Anderson story, Simon Anderson with Tim Baker (ed), 2011. Reproduced courtesy 3 Crown Media Group).

 

Hot Buttered Drifta III with Phoenix wave artwork, 2009

board based on 1976 design

foam, fibreglass and resin

Hot Buttered International P/L

 

Hot Buttered Sunset round-tail gun with Introspection artwork, 2004

board based on 1977 design

foam, fibreglass and resin

Hot Buttered International P/L

 

Hot Buttered Hawaiian gun with Phoenix artwork, 2002

board based on 1978 design

foam, fibreglass and resin

Hot Buttered International P/L

 

Dynamic power surfer Terry Fitzgerald, the ‘Sultan of Speed’, established Hot Buttered Surfboards in a tiny Brookvale cottage in 1971. His boards were streamlined, sleek and highly personalised. Fitzgerald wanted to give surfers ‘the capacity to bend their surfboard to what they wanted it to be, whether by shape, design intricacies, or colour’. Hot Buttered boards were often spray-painted end to end in spacey dreamscapes by Sydney airbrush artist Martyn Worthington. Like Fitzgerald, Worthington saw surfing emerge from ‘an age where everything was so regimented through surf clubs, so it was good if you could get down a bit of free feeling and creativity on a board’.

 

SHOWCASE 1

 

Heading for the coast

 

Holden, ‘Australia’s own car’, sales brochure

Holden, c1950s

Courtesy Richard Potter

 

Camping area, Palm Beach Caravan Park

c1950

Courtesy Warringah Library

 

Sydney is one of only a few capital cities around the world that can boast sandy beaches and lively surf lapping at its doorstep. Since the early 1950s, tourists, holiday-makers and daytrippers have travelled to Sydney’s coast to enjoy its well-known attractions, from idyllic Palm Beach in the north to windswept Wanda to the gritty urban enclave of Bondi in the east.

 

Sydney souvenir postcard

c1950

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Sea wall and barbed wire entanglements on the beach front at Manly

27 November 1942

Australian War Memorial

 

During World War II Sydney’s beaches, particularly those closest to the city, faced the threat of enemy attack. Tank traps, bomb shelters and barbed wire fences were built along several city beaches after houses in the Eastern Suburbs were struck by shelling launched from a Japanese submarine in June 1942.

 

Australian Geographical ‘Walkabout’ Magazine

Australian National Travel Association, Melbourne and Sydney, 1 February 1956

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Wherever you go this summer, you’ll see Holdens sparkling in the sun – at beaches … on long bush roads and beside shady rural streams, in gay and crowded holiday resorts …

 

SHOWCASE 2

 

Improved Hollow Surfboards

 

Adventure story book for boys

Beaver Books, c1950

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Australian Geographical ‘Walkabout’ Magazine

Australian National Travel Association, Melbourne and Sydney, 1944

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surf: Australians against the sea

C Bede Maxwell, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1949

Manly Surf Museum

 

Know-how in the surf

John Bloomfield, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1959

Courtesy Geoff Cater

 

Maroubra boardmen Bruce Devlin, Frank Adler and Vince Mulcay at Bondi, c1945

C Bede Maxwell, Surf: Australians against the sea, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1949

Courtesy Geoff Cater

 

‘Improved hollow surfboard for all-around sport’

Raymond J Brown, Popular Science, vol 134, no 6, June 1939

Courtesy Geoff Cater

 

Beach towels

c1950

Manly Art Gallery And Museum

 

SHOWCASE 3

 

Hot-doggers of the surf

 

‘How to make a malibu’

Edna Wood and Matt Kivlin, Mechanix Illustrated, September 1954

Courtesy Geoff Cater

 

Surfers at Dee Why c1957

Courtesy Gordon Woods

 

Surfboard rally, Long Reef Beach, 1958

Photographed by Charles ‘Snowy’ McAllister

Wanderers surfboard rally competition guidelines, 1958

Courtesy Surfworld, Torquay

 

Surf World, Torquay

‘Hot doggers of the surf’

Australian Women’s Weekly, 3 December 1958

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

SHOWCASE 4

 

Gidget

 

Gidget

Frederick Kohner, Van Rees Press, New York, 1957

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Watching these guys riding in on waves ten feet high, standing up like bitchen lamp-posts, is something you can’t forget for the rest of your life. I guess that’s a lousy way of putting it but when I think back now to the first time I saw the ‘Go-Heads’ of Malibu dragging to shore, that’s precisely the way I felt … (Gidget, p36)

 

Gidget goes Hawaiian

Frederick Kohner, Bantam Books, New York, 1961

Courtesy Robyn Harvey

 

Woosh – I was tossed to the crest of the wave but it was only the beginning, higher and higher I went until the drop before me seemed incredible, unbelievable, staggering. My toes gripped the surface of my board as I went down the crash. Down I went, down and down, and it was not until I felt the crunching sound of the sand under me that I realized I had actually made it. I had ridden the fantastic boomers of Makaha without having been wiped out to smithereens … (Gidget goes Hawaiian, p114)

 

Gidget films stills

Directed by Paul Wendkos, 1959

Columbia Pictures

 

SHOWCASE 5

 

Big Wednesday

 

Big Wednesday / highlights from Surf safari and Surf fever film poster

Artwork by John Severson (director), 1961/1959/1960

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Surfing the Southern Cross/The Midget goes Hawaiian film poster

Bob Evans (director), 1962

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Surf stomp/Follow the surf film poster

Dennis Milne/Dennis Elton (directors), released 1963,

pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

Hand-drawn poster from pinboard at Narrabeen Boys High School

Artwork by Nat Young, early 1960s, pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

Surfing hollow days film poster

Bruce Brown (director), 1961, pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

Ticket stub for a selection of US surfing films

Surfing Promotions, early 1960s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Long live the waves/ Surf trek to Hawaii film poster

John Williams / Bob Evans (directors), 1961/1962, pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

SHOWCASE 6

 

Surf culture

 

‘Surfies v Rockers’

The Sunday Telegraph, 10 March 1963

State Library of New South Wales

 

Saturday arvo, Cronulla

Jeff Carter, c1960

State Library of New South Wales

 

Rockers [Wanda Beach]

Photograph Bob Weeks, 1963

Courtesy Bob Weeks

 

Cronulla Crew, Golf Course

Photograph Bob Weeks, 1964

Courtesy Bob Weeks

 

PIX magazine cover

Fairfax Magazines, 22 June 1963, pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

Everybody’s magazine

Australian Consolidated Press, 18 November 1964

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

De Soto Surfmobile [Cronulla]

Bob Weeks, 1962

Courtesy Bob Weeks

 

Northside surfers at Collaroy

Photograph Baba Looey, 1960

Courtesy Baba Looey

 

John Knobel and friends changing a tyre on Pittwater Road c1962

Courtesy John Knobel

 

SHOWCASE 7

 

Surfing Magazines

 

The Surfer

Produced by John Severson, vol 1, California, 1960

Courtesy Ron Saggers

 

The Australian Surfer

Produced by Lee Cross, vol 1, Bronte, 1961

Courtesy Ron Saggers

 

Bronte lifesaver Lee Cross launched The Australian Surfer, Australia’s first homegrown surf magazine, around August 1961. A second issue came out in December before the operation folded.

 

Surfabout: Australasian surfer

Edited by Jack Eden, vol 1, no 1, Sydney, August 1962

Manly Art Gallery & Museum

 

The first issue of Jack Eden’s Surfabout was filled with ads for board makers, tips, news, cartoons and photographs, mostly slanted towards surfing on Sydney’s southern beaches. The magazine closed in 1968, after 23 issues.

 

Surfing World

Edited by Bob Evans, vol 1, no 1, Sydney, September 1962

Courtesy Ron Saggers

 

Surfboard wax

Ray Richards Surfing Centre, early 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘Bower Boy’ surfboard wax

Bob Brewster, early 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

The Australian surfrider

Edited by Jack Pollard, Sydney, 1963

Courtesy David Platt

 

Bob Fell, Scott Dillon, Bob Evans and Robbie Lane at North Narrabeen

Photograph Ron Perrott, c1960

Ron Perrott collection, courtesy Ron Saggers. © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Interstate Surf Meet North Avalon

Photograph Bob Weeks, 1963

Courtesy Bob Weeks

 

Interstate Surf Meet North Avalon, poster, April 1963

Mick Mock Collection

 

Interstate Surf Meet North Avalon, patch, April 1963

Mick Mock Collection

 

SHOWCASE 8

 

Surf music

 

HMV Tropicana Radio

1964

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

‘Have you tried the stomp?’

Kerry Yates, Teenagers’ Weekly supplement, Australian Women’s Weekly, 11 September 1963

National Library of Australia

 

Stomping at Bondi

Photograph Ron Perrott, 1963

Ron Perrott collection, courtesy Ron Saggers. © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

The Delltones surf ‘n stomp featuring Hangin’ Five

Leedon, 1963

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

The Sun Herald promotional disc

Little Pattie in conversation with Midget Farrelly in

Hawaii/ Surfin’ easy by The Dave Bridge Trio, 1964

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Surfie Stomp, Wanda Surf Clubhouse

Jeff Carter, 1961

National Library of Australia © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

Bombora sheet music for guitar solo

Peter A Hood and Jim Skiathitis (The Atlantics), Music

Publishing Co of Australia Pty Limited, 1963

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

Little Pattie and the Statesmen, Australian Invitational Surfing Championships, Bondi, 1963

Photograph Ron Perrott, November 1963

Ron Perrott collection, courtesy Ron Saggers. © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Surfstomp ticket, St Ives Masonic Hall, early 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surf City cloth patch, early 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘That TV dance and how to do it’

PIX magazine, 15 June 1963, pasted into 1960s scrapbook

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

SHOWCASE 9

 

World Surfboard Titles

 

Midget Farrelly ‘cutback’ during a World Title heat 1964

Photograph Ron Perrott, 1964

Courtesy Ron Saggers

 

World Surfboard Titles sticker

Sydney, 1964

Mick Mock Collection

 

Midget Farrelly and Phyllis O’Donnell holding winners trophies at World Surfing Championships 1964 in ‘Complete World Title coverage’, Surfing World, Sydney, June 1964

Courtesy Robyn Harvey

 

First World Surfboard Titles contest program

Manly, May 1964

Courtesy Ron Saggers

 

SHOWCASE 10

 

Surfing goes pop

 

Manly souvenir vase

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfer figurine

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfing figurine

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Manly souvenir teaspoon

Mid 1960s

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Cronulla souvenir teaspoon

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Manly souvenir letter opener

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Souvenir tray

Willow, Australia, early 1960s

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Souvenir pennants, Palm Beach, Cronulla, Manly

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘Now the girls are taming the wild waves’

People magazine, 29 January 1964

Mick Mock Collection

 

Men’s shirt with surfboard pattern

Made in USA, Unknown maker, mid 1960s

Courtesy Naomi Barwick

 

Surfboard board game

John Sands, c1964

Courtesy Dale Egan

 

Surfies bubblegum counter box

Scanlan’s confectionary, c1964

Mick Mock Collection

 

Following the huge success of the world championships at Manly, surfing became even more popular and there soon appeared a lucrative marketing in surfing-related goods. Images and designs with surfing themes proliferated on souvenirs, trinkets, ornaments, postcards and many other products. Surfing kitsch is characteristically nostalgic, evoking memories of sunny beachside holidays. It’s a safe bet that some kind of treasured sandy memento, picked up one summer long ago, is gathering dust in every Sydney household.

 

SHOWCASE 11

 

This surfing life

 

Surf International

Gareth Powell Associates, vol 1, no 1, December 1967

Mick Mock Collection

 

This surfing life

Midget Farrelly as told to Craig McGregor, Rigby, Adelaide, 1965

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Board wax

BP, mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Board wax

Esso, mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Board wax

Ampol, mid 1960s

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

Surf beaches of Australia’s east coast

Jeff Carter, Angus and Robertson, 1968

Courtesy David Platt

 

Surfing World

Edited by Bob Evans, Sydney, May 1967

Courtesy David Platt

 

World Surfing Championships official program

San Diego, 1966

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

SHOWCASE 12

 

Competition stripes

 

Windansea Success Story

Surfing World magazine, November 1965

Courtesy Steven Abbott

 

Manly-Pacific Boardriders Club, North Steyne Beach

Photograph Ray Joyce, 1966

Courtesy John Smythe

 

Manly-Pacific vs Wind’n Sea contest program

29 September 1968

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

Manly Pacific Surf Club patch

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Bronte Surfriders Club Annual Report

1965

Mick Mock Collection

 

Mid Steyne Surfriders’ Club 2nd Annual Report

1966

Mick Mock Collection

 

Australian Surfriders Association patch

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

NSW State Championships program

NSW Surfriders Association, 1966

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

North Narrabeen Boardriders club patches

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Balgowlah Boardriders patch

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘It’s an all girl surf spree’

Everybody’s magazine,13 April 1966, Consolidated Press

Mick Mock Collection

 

Kurranulla Wahines womens boardriding club

Photographed by Bob Weeks, Cronulla, 1965

Courtesy Bob Weeks

 

Fight the Warringah Board Ban sticker

1966

Mick Mock Collection

 

South Bondi Surfboard Riders Club patch

Mid 1960s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

SHOWCASE 13

 

Bobby Brown Memorial

 

Bobby Brown Memorial Surfboard Riding Championships poster

1968

Mick Mock collection

 

Bobby Brown Contest program

1970

Mick Mock collection

 

SHOWCASE 14

 

Making tracks

 

Tracks

October 1970, vol 1, no 1, facsimile © Tracks Magazine

 

The Australian tabloid Tracks was produced by writer and photographer John Witzig (filmmaker Paul Witzig’s brother) with Alby Falzon and David Elfick from October 1970. Ignoring competition surfing entirely, the magazine gave surf counterculture a voice. In its content Tracks struck an intelligent balance between pure surfing, board design and industry news and politics, pop culture, environmental activism, healthy living, spiritualism, satire and contemporary photography. The magazine is still published today.

 

SHOWCASE 15

 

Evolution

 

Evolution film advertisement

Directed by Paul Witzig. From Surf International, vol 2, no 7, 1969

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham

 

Shaggy mat with Morning of the Earth graphic 1972

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Morning of the Earth soundtrack, cassette tape

Various artists, produced by G Wayne Thomas, Warner Brothers, 1972. Directed by Alby Falzon

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

The innermost limits of pure fun soundtrack, album

Farm, Rebel Records, 1970. Directed by George Greenough

Mick Mock collection

 

Sea of joy soundtrack, album

Tully, Harvest (EMI), 1971. Directed by Paul Witzig

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Crystal voyager soundtrack, album

Various artists, Warm & Genuine (Polgram), 1973

Directed by David Elfick

Mick Mock collection

 

Captain Goodvibes – mutants of modern disco volume 1

Artwork by Tony Edwards. Regular Records (Festival), 1978

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Captain Goodvibes presents handy hints for survival cartoon cell

Artwork by Tony Edwards. From Tracks, October 1973

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

A pictorial history of surfing

Frank Margan and Ben R Finney, Hamlyn, Sydney, 1970

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

School exercise books

Narrabeen Boys High School, c1970s

Courtesy Dale Egan

 

Dale Egan with his Keith Paull surfboard, artwork by his brother Shane Egan

1973

Courtesy Dale Egan

 

Improvised marijuana bongs

1970s

Justice & Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums

 

Surfa Sam skateboard with 2UW stickers

LH Nicholas Pty Ltd, mid 1960s, Tasmanian oak, aluminium, rubber wheels

Courtesy Peter Francis

 

SHOWCASE 16

 

Surfabout

 

Coca-Cola visor

Coca-Cola, c1978

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘2SM 1270’ sticker

Radio station 2SM, 1970s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfabout book,

1970s

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘Surfabout’ T-shirt

c1976

Courtesy Hugh McLeod

 

SHOWCASE 17

 

Skateboards return

 

Skateboard: techniques, safety, maintenance

Russ Howell, Ure Smith, 1975

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

T-shirt

Golden Breed, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Shoes

Boards by Dunlop, 1968

Mick Mock Collection

 

Skater socks

1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

SHOWCASE 18

 

End of the beginning

 

SeaNotes

Edited by John Witzig vol 1, no 1, 1977

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Coca–Cola towel

late 1970s

Courtesy Dale Egan

 

‘Surf gear by Tracker’ sticker

Tracker, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

‘Bennett Surfboards’ T-shirt

Mid 1970s

Courtesy Hugh McLeod

 

‘Hobie’ visor

California Headware

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

‘Energy’ surfboard decal

‘Designed and shaped by Simon Anderson’

Graphic design by Hugh McLeod, late 1970s

Courtesy Hugh McLeod

 

Surf Aids advertisement

SeaNotes back cover, vol 1, no 4, December/January 1977/78

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Platts Surfwear sticker

Platts, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Model car, sea-witch sandman

Ford, mid 1970s

Trax Models

 

‘Stubbies’ visor

Stubbies by Efco, late 1970s

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Golden Breed label

Golden Breed, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Puka shell necklace

late 1970s

Courtesy Chantal Sneddon

 

Puka shell necklaces

late 1970s

Courtesy Jenny Olman

 

Leg-rope

1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Bronzed Aussies board shorts

Textile, Adidas, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfing World

1978

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Puberty Blues

Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, first edition 1979

Mick Mock Collection

 

STUFF ON DISPLAY OUTSIDE SHOWCASES

 

Surfers at Queenscliff Beach*

Photographer unknown, 1953

Courtesy Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club and Manly Library

 

Surfboards were heavy and difficult to carry, so many boardriders joined surf lifesaving clubs to take advantage of their handy storage racks and easy access to the beach.

 

Surf lifesavers racing surfboards at Bondi Beach*

V Gadsby, 1950

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L13332

 

Sports Illustrated (US) cover 10 March 1958*

Courtesy Gary Crockett. Cover photograph George Leavens 23/5/1957. © SI Covers/ Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

 

In 1958 Bilgola lifesaver, sports writer, committed boardrider, and future ‘ad man’ Ross Renwick was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated riding a Gordon Woods ockanui.

 

Surfoplane

NARM, c1950s, rubber

Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club

 

Bronte doctor and inventor Ernest Smithers first launched the rubber surfoplane at Bondi Beach in 1933. Since then, generations of aspiring boardriders have splashed about the waves on these popular inflatable floats. Many holidaymakers drifted far from shore while riding the ‘surfo’, adding to the work of lifesavers. Smithers died in 1976, about the same time that commercial production of his ingenious surfoplane ceased.

 

Men’s swimming shorts

Casben, 1955

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Surfboard rally, Long Reef Beach*

Charles ‘Snowy’ McAlister, 1958

SurfWorld Museum, Torquay. © Estate of C J McAlister

 

Gidget promotional poster Australian daybill

Robert Burton Print Company, 1959

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

The sugary ‘beach girl’ story Gidget hit the big screen in 1959 and kick-started a surfing mania.

 

Homemade bikini

c1950s

Courtesy Naomi Barwick

Crowds at Manly World Surfboard Championships

Ron Perrott, 1964

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Women’s one-piece swimming costume

c1950

Manly Art Gallery and Museum. Gift of David Jones Collection, 1993

 

Men’s swimming costume

c1950

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Australian Outdoors cover*

January 1960

Mick Mock Collection

Cover photograph © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

BMC Morris 850 advertisement*

Surfing World, vol 5, no 3, November 1964

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham (nee Bennett), Surfing World and MINI (BMW Group Australia)

 

EH Holden Station Wagon advertisement*

1st World Surfboard Titles program,1964

Courtesy Manly Library and GM Holden Ltd

 

Catalina beach wear advertisement*

Sutex Pty Ltd, 1967, from Surf International, vol 2, no 7, 1969

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham (nee Bennett) and Gareth Powell

 

Bikini

Professional, mid 1960s

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Beach bag

Mid 1960s

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Midget Farrelly spray jacket

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Men’s swimming shorts

Gold Coast, mid 1960s

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Skimboard

Blue Pacific, Brisbane, mid 1960s,

marine plywood

Courtesy David Bell

 

Midget Farrelly surf-skates advertisement*

Surfing World, vol 5, no 6, February 1965

Australian National Maritime Museum

Courtesy Surfing World and Midget Farrelly

 

Surfa Sam skateboard

LH Nicholas Pty Ltd, mid 1960s,

Tasmanian oak, aluminium with rubber wheels

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Leo Kalokerinos knocked up skateboards in his Rose Bay home before founding Surfa Sam in 1965. Thousands of Surfa Sams – complete with Kalokerinos’s unique trucks, ‘Detroit Super’ wheels and tubby surfer logo – were churned out before the company closed in 1974.

 

Molokai ‘slalom’ skateboard

Makaha Skateboards, Santa Monica, 1965, timber

Courtesy Gary Crockett

 

Midget Farrelly skateboard

1965, timber

Mick Mock Collection

 

Midget Farrelly Custom skateboard deck

1965, laminated timber

Mick Mock Collection

 

Highly sought after, Midget Farrelly skateboards were built locally and distributed by Paul Witzig’s Surfing Promotions. Skateboarding and surfing shared similar moves such as nose riding, ‘soul arches’ and plenty of fancy footwork.

Surfboards, Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross

Wesley Stacey, 1970–71

Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive. © Wesley Stacey

 

The innermost limits of pure fun *

promotional poster

From Tracks, vol 1, no 1, October 1970

Directed by George Greenough

Courtesy Tracks

 

Morning of the Earth*

promotional poster

Directed by Albert Falzon, 1972

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Short John wetsuit

Sea Bee, c1970s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfers at Fairy Bower, Manly*

Ron Perrott, c1960

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Surfers at Dee Why*

Bob Weeks, 1962

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Women’s bikini

Catalina by Kayser, US, c1960

Courtesy Kate Bruxner

 

Men’s sunhat

Early 1960s

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Men’s leisure shirt

Speedo Australia, early 1960s

Courtesy Naomi Barwick

 

Men’s swimming shorts

Early 1960s

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

Graham Beatson (left) and Donald Griggs with their shared ‘Ron’ surfboard at Hurstville

Photographer unknown, 1963

Courtesy Graham Beatson

 

Teenagers’ Weekly cover*

Australian Women’s Weekly supplement

22 August 1962

National Library of Australia. © ACP Magazines

 

The cover shows a large group of young surfers competing in a rally at North Narrabeen.

 

Scuba-diving wetsuit with ‘beaver tail’

Early 1960s

Courtesy Geoff Cater

 

Little Pattie and the Statesmen, Australian Invitational Surfing Championships, Bondi

Ron Perrott, November 1963

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Surfers on Dee Why Point*

Ron Perrott, c1963

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

T-shirt with ‘Surfboards by Bill Wallace’ logo

Bonds, early 1960s

Courtesy Robyn Harvey

 

Men’s blue jeans

Levi Strauss & Co, US, early 1960s

Princeton Brooks, Paddington

 

Beachcomber sneakers

owned by veteran Sydney

surfer Charles ‘Snowy’ McAlister

Dunlop, early 1960s

SurfWorld Museum, Torquay. Gift of C J McAlister

 

Women’s playsuit

1950–60

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

 

Surf City Sound Lounge*

promotional poster

Early 1960s

Courtesy John Waters

 

Kids on Manly boardwalk*

Kenneth Clifford, 1960

Courtesy Dale Egan. © Beverley Clifford

 

Leisuremaster Jeans advertisement*

The Australasian Post, 24 August 1967

Mick Mock Collection

 

Devondale Cyder advertisement*

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

Casben leisure wear advertisement*

Surf International, vol 1, no 5, May 1968, back cover

Courtesy Gareth Powell

 

The hot generation*

promotional poster

Directed by Paul Witzig, 1968

Photograph Ron Stoner

Courtesy John Witzig.

Poster design © Paul Witzig. Photograph © Surfer (US)

 

Winning entry, ‘Keyo’s fantastic plastic machine psychedelic colouring contest’*

Ian Jarvis, Lorne, Victoria, from Surf International, vol 1, no 4, April 1968

Private collection. Design © Surf International. Reproduced courtesy Gareth Powell and Denny Keogh

 

Whitestag short-legged wetsuit

Mid 1960s

Mick Mock Collection

 

John Adrian and Afghan hound*

John Witzig, c1970s

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Maybe only a miracle can save us*

Hugh McLeod, 1973

Courtesy and © Hugh McLeod/Aitionn

 

Brown suede jacket, belt buckle and desert boots

1969–75

Mick Mock Collection

 

Men’s jeans

Amco, 1965–71

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Gift of Robert Gillespie, 2000

Western-style shirt

Pumping Iron, mid 1970s

Courtesy Hugh McLeod

 

A winter’s tale promotional poster

Artwork by Hugh McLeod. Directed by Phil Sheppard, Russell Sheppard and Bruce Usher, 1973

Courtesy Hugh McLeod

Col Smith re-entry

Hugh McLeod, 1975

Courtesy and © Hugh McLeod/Aitionn

 

Boards sneakers advertisement*

Surfing World, vol 20, no 3, December 1974

Australian National Maritime Museum.

Reproduced courtesy Surfing World and Pacific Brands

 

Red Golden Breed flex deck skateboard

Bennett Surfboards, Sydney, c1976

Courtesy Duncan Harrex

 

Yellow Bahne superflex skateboard

Bahne, 1974–80

Mick Mock Collection

 

Red GX-Caliber skateboard

South Bay Recreational Products,

California, 1974

Private collection

 

Yellow skateboard with black footprints graphic

1974–80

Courtesy Dale Egan

Surfing World cover Vol 25, no 2, 1977

Australian National Maritime Museum. Courtesy Surfing World.

Cover photograph © Hugh McLeod/Aitionn

 

Mexican cardigan

Crystal Cylinders, 1974–80

Vintage Surf and Skate Emporium

 

Jumper with surfer graphic

Speedo, 1975–76

Mick Mock Collection

 

Men’s board shorts

Stubbies by Efco, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Surfer Joe’s thongs

Beachcombers, 1975

Mick Mock Collection

 

Simon Anderson*

Hugh McLeod, 1981

Courtesy and © Hugh McLeod/Aitionn

 

This famous portrait of Simon Anderson sitting in his maroon Falcon at Mona Vale, beer in hand, was actually staged to celebrate Anderson’s first decade in shaping surfboards. The photo shows one of his first ‘thrusters’ (possibly the board on display at right) poking through the car’s back window.

 

MOS FORECOURT SCULPTURE

 

Tides Turn

Peter Collins, 2010

eucalypt sticks and steel mesh

Collection of the artist

peterbeatlecollins.blogspot.com

 

Artist, surfer and former Sutherland local, Peter ‘Beatle’ Collins describes this work as ‘a wave that escaped the ocean, dressed up in sticks and went to shore looking for blood’.

 

 

EXHIBITION MURAL

 

One Ocean

As One, 2011

acrylic paint

 

By examining surf art, typography and photographs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and using a variety of techniques such as masking, freehand and digital projection, the artist has created an exciting work that captures the dynamic and vivid nature of Sydney’s evolving surf scene. Scottish-born As One has been a graffiti artist for the last 18 years and is now based in Sydney.

 

Mural image credits

 

Brad ‘Pork’ Andersen and Jeff ‘Critter’ Morris

in Long Reef car park (detail)

Chris Seller, late 1970s

Courtesy Warren MacKenney

 

Boy on surfoplane, Bondi Beach (detail) Valentin Sowada, mid 1960s

© Valentin Sowada

 

As One working on a piece

at CarriageWorks, Sydney

Brode Compton, 2011

Courtesy Andy Steel

 

* Large mounted graphic image

 

1945-1960 : DIGITAL SLIDESHOW

 

Manly surfboards and barbed wire, photographer unknown, c1945

Manly Library

 

A North Bondi lifesaver on surfboard, J. Fitzpatrick, 1950

National Archives of Australia A1200, L13161

 

John Falkner and friend at Bondi, photographer unknown, 1948

Courtesy Lorraine Coan

 

Boy With Toothpick, Kenneth Clifford, c1950s

Courtesy Dale Egan © Beverley Clifford

 

John Falkner riding toothpick at Bondi, photographer unknown, 1948

Courtesy Lorraine Coan

 

Michael McKelvey, Lorraine Kay, and John Knobel at Bondi, photographer unknown, 1960

Courtesy John Knobel

 

John Knobel With Norm Casey Toothpick, photographer unknown, 1957

Courtesy John Knobel

 

Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan and Scott Dillon at Bondi Beach, photographer unknown, late 1950s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Surfboard riders on Manly Beach, John Tanner, 1958

National Archive of Australia A1200, L26853 © Commonwealth of Australia

 

Surf sirens, Manly beach, Ray Leighton, 1938-1946

National Library of Australia

 

Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan and friends, photographer unknown, c1950s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

‘Cornel Wilde Boys’, photographer unknown, c1950s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan and friend at Bondi, photographer unknown, c1950s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan on a wave, photographer unknown, c1950s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

John Knobel taking a dive, photographer unknown, c1950s

Courtesy John Knobel

 

Fairy Bower, photographer unknown, 1960

Courtesy John Knobel

 

Surfers at Queenscliff Beach, photographer unknown, 1953

Manly Library, courtesy Queenscliff Surf Lifesaving Club

 

South Bondi Boardriders, photographer unknown, c1958

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Gordon Woods making a toothpick, photographer unknown, 1957

Gordon Woods Archive

 

Gordon Woods, Scott Dillon and friend, photographer unknown, 1957

Gordon Woods Archive

 

1960-1964 : DIGITAL SLIDESHOW

 

Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan at the Polio Pit, Bondi, photographer unknown, 1961

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Riding the breakers on a surf board at Tamarama Beach, John Tanner, 1960

National Archives of Australia A1200, L34988. © Commonwealth of Australia

 

Wanda Carpark, Bob Weeks, 1962

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Board Hire, Bob Weeks, 1963

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Unknown surfer, Cronulla Point, Bob Weeks, 1961

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Green Hills Crew, Bob Weeks, 1964

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

High Five Dee Why Point, Bob Weeks, 1962

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

North Narrabeen Surf Club, Bob Weeks, 1963

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Flats at North Bondi, Bob Weeks, 1962

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Surfers at Dee Why Point, Ron Perrott, 1960s

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

North Narrabeen Beach, Ron Perrott, c1960

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Bondi carpark, Ron Perrott, c1960

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Little Pattie concert, Bondi surfing championship, Ron Perrott, 1963

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

North Narrabeen Carpark, Ron Perrott, c1960

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Stomping at Bondi, Ron Perrott, 1963

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Boys demonstrating surfing moves, photographer unknown, 1960s

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

Dee Why surfers, Baba Looey, 1961

Courtesy Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club. © Ron Graham

 

Club stripes, Collaroy, Ron Perrott, c1960s

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Boys at Dee Why, Ron Perrott, c1960s

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Dancers demonstrating the Stomp and Shake at the Victory Theatre, Sydney, Ern McQuillan, 28 Feb 1964

National Library of Australia. © Ern McQuillan

 

Frank Latta Sandshoes, Bob Weeks, 1964

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Midget Farrelly at Palm Beach, John Witzig, c1960s

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Board storage, South Bondi, photographer unknown, c1961

Courtesy Barry McGuigan

 

41 Winborne Road, Baba Looey, 1963

Courtesy Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club. © Ron Graham

 

Gordon Woods Surfboard Centre, photographer unknown, 1960s

Gordon Woods Archive

 

1964-1968 : DIGITAL SLIDESHOW

 

Manly Beach, Leo Duyckers, 12 May 1967 Call number PXA 907 Box 25 no.64

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

 

Long Reef, Jeff Carter, c1964

National Library of Australia © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

Boy at Bondi Beach, Valentin Sowada, late 1960s

Courtesy and © Valentin Sowada

 

Women at Bondi Beach, Valentin Sowada, late 1960s

Courtesy and © Valentin Sowada

 

Dee Why, Jeff Carter, 1965

Call number PXD 1070 no.89

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

Beach culture at Palm Beach, Jeff Carter, 1965

National Library of Australia © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

Bondi boardwalk, C H P ‘Bill’ Moseley, late 1960s

Courtesy Marilyn Moseley © Estate of the photographer

 

Sydney beachgoers, C H P ‘Bill’ Moseley, late 1960s

Courtesy Marilyn Moseley © Estate of the photographer

 

Surfers at Bondi, C H P ‘Bill’ Moseley, late 1960s

Courtesy Marilyn Moseley © Estate of the photographer

 

Surfers at Bondi, C H P ‘Bill’ Moseley, late 1960s

Courtesy Marilyn Moseley © Estate of the photographer

 

Green Hills Carpark, Bob Weeks, 1964

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Skateboarder, Bob Weeks, 1965

Courtesy and © Bob Weeks

 

Unknown surfer, Bruce Usher, c1960s

Courtesy and © Bruce Usher

 

Sydney surfers, Bruce Usher, c1960s

Courtesy and © Bruce Usher

 

Beachgoers, South Steyne, L. Nelson, 1967 Call number PXA 907 Box 25 no.73

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

 

Teenagers on Manly Beach, Douglass Baglin, 1960s

Manly Library. © Estate of Douglass Baglin

 

Tony, Nat, Maz, Kerry at Long Reef, photographer unknown, September 1965

Courtesy Marilyn Birmingham (nee Bennett)

 

Phyllis O’Donnell at Manly World Championships, Ron Perrott, 1964

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Women surfers at the World Contest, Manly, Ron Perrott, 1964

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

World Contest, Manly, Ron Perrott, 1964

Courtesy and © Estate of Ron Perrott

 

Surfers At Wanda, Jeff Carter, c 1964

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Call number PXD 1070 no.85. © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

The Card Game, Manly, Jeff Carter, 1964

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Call number PXD 1070 no.84. © Estate of Jeff Carter

 

1937 Ford with boards and boys, Baba Looey, 1960s

Courtesy Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club. © Ron Graham

 

Surf wagons, Fordson and Ford single spinner, Manly, Baba Looey, 1960s

Courtesy Australian Surf Museum, Manly Life Saving Club. © Ron Graham

 

1968-1974 : DIGITAL SLIDESHOW

 

Brad Mayes, Bondi, John Witzig, c1968

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Dapper Oliver, North Narrabeen, John Witzig, 1974

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

David ‘Baddy’ Treloar and Owl Chapman, Fairy Bower, John Witzig, 1974

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

George Greenough, John Witzig, 1974

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Max Bowman, John Witzig, 1968-1969

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Ted Spencer and Midget Farrelly, Long Reef, John Witzig, 1968

Courtesy and © John Witzig

 

Surfer with board, Bruce Usher, c1970

Courtesy and © Bruce Usher

 

Long Reef Car Park, Jeff Carter, 1968

From Surf beaches of Australia’s east coast, Jeff Carter. © Estate Jeff Carter

 

Manly promenade, Kenneth Clifford, c1968

Courtesy Dale Egan. © Beverley Clifford

 

Beach scene, Kenneth Clifford, late 1960s

Courtesy Dale Egan. © Beverley Clifford

 

Steve Abbott and surfboards, Donna Abbott, c1970s

Courtesy and © Donna Abbott

 

North Narrabeen, Christmas Eve, Steve Abbott, 1972

Courtesy and © Steve Abbott

 

Rob Hitchen’s 21st birthday, Donna Abbott, 1973

Courtesy and © Donna Abbott

 

Transistor Radio, Jeff Carter, c1968

From Surf beaches of Australia’s east coast, Jeff Carter. © Estate Jeff Carter

 

Dawn surf at Warriewood Beach, Shane Egan, 1972

Courtesy and © Shane Egan

 

South Bondi Beach, C H P ‘Bill’ Moseley, late 1960s

Courtesy Marilyn Moseley © Estate of the photographer

 

Old clubhouse, North Narrabeen, Phil Howard, 1970

Courtesy Rob Hitchens © Phil Howard

 

Typical summer weekend landscape at North Narrabeen, Jeff Carter, c1968

From Surf beaches of Australia’s east coast, Jeff Carter © Estate Jeff Carter

 

1974-1981 : DIGITAL SLIDESHOW

 

Terry Fitzgerald, Hot Buttered Surfboards, Hugh McLeod, 1977

Courtesy and © McLeod/Aitionn

 

Surfboard riders on Collaroy beach, photographer unknown, 1979

National Archives of Australia A6135, K2/7/79/14. © Commonwealth of Australia

 

Warriewood, Steve Abbott, 1978

Courtesy and © Steve Abbott

 

North Narrabeen, Steve Abbott, 1978-1979

Courtesy and © Steve Abbott

 

Steve Abbott, North Narrabeen, Donna Abbott, 1977-1978

Courtesy and © Donna Abbott

 

Steve Abbott holding Rob Hitchen’s surfboard, Narrabeen, Donna Abbott, 1977

Courtesy and © Donna Abbott

 

Kay Jarman, John Jarman, 1975

Courtesy David Platt and Kay Jarman. © John Jarman

 

Dale Egan at Narrabeen, Shane Egan, 1970s

Courtesy and © Shane Egan

Warriewood beach kiosk, photographer unknown, 1970s

Courtesy Dale Egan

 

Surfing at Collaroy Beach, photographer unknown, 1979

National Archives of Australia A6135, K2/7/79/2. © Commonwealth of Australia

 

Cronulla surfer, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Cronulla beach, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Surfers in carpark, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Cronulla point, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Shire skaters, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Cronulla beach, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Supermarket skaters, Alistair Waddell, 1970s

Courtesy and © Alistair Waddell

 

Jim Parkinson (shaper) with a Michealangelo Surfboard design, Tim Vanderlaan, March 1979

Courtesy and © Tim Vanderlaan

 

Showroom at Jackson Surfboards shop, Tim Vanderlaan, October 1978

Courtesy and © Tim Vanderlaan

 

Back stairs of Jackson Surfboard factory, Tim Vanderlaan, October 1978

Courtesy and © Tim Vanderlaan

 

Col Smith re-entry, Hugh McLeod, 1975

Courtesy and © McLeod/Aitionn

 

Toffer, Magoo, Bunny, Chris and Nick at surfers’ shack, Long Reef, Jeff Morris, late 1970s

Courtesy Warren MacKenney © Jeff Morris

 

Tony ‘Humph’ Humphreys, Paul ‘Surl’ Goffett, Brad ‘Pork’ Andersen and Jeff ‘Critter’ Morris in carpark at Long Reef, Chris Sellers, late 1970s

Courtesy Warren MacKenney © Chris Sellers

 

Surf club, Long Reef, Jeff Morris, late 1970s

Courtesy Warren MacKenney. © Jeff Morris

Written by Gary Crockett

May 22nd, 2013 at 5:18 am

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