Surf City, Sydney

an Historic Houses Trust blog

Dunlop Surfboards Brookvale 1964


image sourced from The Surfing World Vol 5 No 4 December 1964 page 14

Just had a great conversation with Bruen Finey, a fibreglass sculptor and manufacturer in Brookvale in the late 1950s and 60s who made surfboards for Dunlop along with his own business ‘Crest Surfboards’ out of a factory in Roger Street. Dunlop distributed his boards far and wide across the state – wherever they had a sports store.

Bruen left the army after 1945 and studied sculpture, funded by an ex-war service grant, and took up working with fibreglass and foam in the 1950s, building chemical vats and shop displays, based in Brookvale where land was cheap and other fibreglass companies were located. He recalled sourcing polyurethane chemicals from a sugar refining company in Waterloo, but couldn’t remember the name.

His contract with Dunlop to supply large numbers of boards every week meant hiring itinerant shapers, finishers and polishers. Bruen did all the glassing himself. ‘When the surf was up, no one wanted to work’. Profit was small and output of boards was slow so he decided to develop standard molds and ‘pop-out’ a generic shape. Not surprisingly, this proved a flop as surfers were a ‘fussy breed’ and wanted unique features and characteristics – so decided to sell business to Dunlop, who moved the board making operation to St Mary’s, far from the surf.

Working in Brookvale, on the northern beaches, Bruen remembers Scott Dillon, who sometimes sold him resin, Gordon Woods, a hard working scruffy bloke, Greg McDonagh, who built beautiful boards with clear resin over faultless foam and, or course, Barry Bennett. Bruen rode a large board he made himself although didn’t hang around with surfers who were a ‘close clique’ and didn’t take kindly to outsiders. He mostly surfed around Manly and could take off 40-50 feet outside everyone else and run through the crowd like a tanker. No wonder they cursed him. Big thanks to Bruen for the info and support.

Written by garycrockett

June 20th, 2011 at 10:37 am

Posted in 1950s,1960s

9 Responses to 'Dunlop Surfboards Brookvale 1964'

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  1. I am looking for Dunlop bord can you help


    23 Jul 11 at 4:50 am

  2. keep your eyes open on eBay barney – not many of these come up though

    Gary Crockett

    24 Jul 11 at 1:45 am

  3. Hi, i happen to have a Dunlop single fin surfboard unfortunately it’s missing the fin but i aim to fix either by myself or professionally done. It came into my possession about 20 years ago, i diddn’t really know much about it only that it was about to be scrapped, i put it up to sell awhile ago and was surprised at the offers i was getting, one guy offered me 400 hundred bucks and the latest slim line walkman which was just coming out back then. Sadly I refused the offer (don know why but now glad i did) I finally did some research on the net to find out the board was made in the lates 50 n 60’s. Would you be able to tell me what these boards are worth now? I think the fact that they were made by dunlop was also a buzz because you wouldn’t have thought that a tire company was making surf boards. Could you or anyone tell me what these boards are going for these days as I’m looking to get rid of mine, thank you. T


    5 Feb 12 at 11:26 pm

  4. Thanks T,

    I’ll ask around and send this on to a few collector contacts – not really my area. Great that you’ve hung to it though – would love to see a photo if possible.


    Gary Crockett

    6 Feb 12 at 12:14 am

  5. Hey Gary, oh way cool man, I wasn’t expecting anyone to reply so soon. The board is with my brother in New Zealand right now. I’m in asia but heading back to nz in 4-5 months time. I’ll try to get a couple of shots of the board n plaster’m online b4 then. I’ve just been trying to find dunlop surfboards online but cant find anything on dunlop surfboards at all. Cheers Gary! T


    6 Feb 12 at 6:38 am

  6. I’m listing my Dunlop board on Trade Me within the next couple of weeks if anyones interested . Be good to know a bit of history, though after 50 years might be pushing it . Smokin seaweed and drinkin saltwater dont do much good to da brane .


    27 Aug 12 at 6:44 am

  7. Let us know how it goes and link to the board for sale if possible…thanks

    Gary Crockett

    26 Oct 12 at 5:04 am

  8. Hi just wondering if their are records of who shaped what serial no as I have a mint 9.6 d fin with more of a big wave shape thanks Dave

    Dave Somerfield

    31 May 19 at 3:04 am

  9. Sorry – this blog is closed now. Best of luck with your research.


    3 Jun 19 at 1:56 am

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