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history : duke at cronulla 
Duke Kahanamoku at Cronulla, 7 February 1915.

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Extracts from
Cairns Post
Wednesday 18 April 1923, page 5.


Sydney, April 17;
A number of thrills were provided at Manly on Sunday, where the heavy seas and beach proved treacherous.
Very fine work was done by the Life-savers.
Caught by a treacherous backwash a dozen swimmers were dragged out to sea.
They were battered by tremendous seas, in a swirling current, and carried near the rocks.
A surf boat was manned, but huge waves crashed over its bows, and the craft was swamped, and washed about like a match box.
The Manly Life Saving Club memhers saved some boys with life lines.
Claude West dashed out on a surfboard and, when three hundred yards out picked up a young boy who was in a desperate plight, packing him on to the board after dragging him from the rocks.
The two were caught by a huge wave and landed safely, on the beach.
It was a wonderful rescue.

Life Savers with lines had a difficult swim against the seas, and the position was worse by inexperienced bathers catching the lines.
Mountainous seas were breaking on the swimmers, and there was great difficulty in keeping hold of them.
More than once they were washed away when just on the point of affecting the rescue.
Two swimmers descarded their belts, and supported the boys on them till other belts came out.
One boy, mercilessly tossed about, was washed on the rocks, where he lay, dazed.
The waters dragged him back, and he was going out to sea again when he recovered his senses, and with supreme pluck made for thc rocks.
He was swept up on the rocks again, and was badly scratched, but was able to make his way up the beach.

The Mercury (Hobart)
Monday 4 February 1929, page 6.

Royal Democrat.

That the King lakes a very real and close personal interest in Australia is stated by the Governor (Sir Dudley de Chair), who has just returned to Sydney after enjoying leave in England.
He had audience of the King before his illness, and His Majesty surprised him with his remarkable knowledge of Australian affairs and conditions.
He asked particularly how Sydney was growing, and about the wool and wheat.
The King also knew a great deal of our troubles, and was sympathetic and inquired with regard to farmers' transport and other difficulties.
While Sir Dudley was in England, Lady and Elaine de Chair spent a short holiday at Honolulu, where, to the delight of the Sydney flappers, Elaine, who is an attractive girl and most popular, learned to shoot the breakers on the surf board.
If she wants to make herself an absolutely furious success, all she has to be do now is to enter our next Surf Club competition for girl surf board riders.

The Mercury (Hobart)
Tuesday 5 March 1929, page 8.

Surf Rescue Work.

A terrific surf pounded all the beaches over the week-end.
The wind was not particularly strong, and the sky was clear and sunshiny, but there was a
tremendous swell, and there wasn't a safe beach anywhere near Sydney, huge combers tumbling in the full width of the bays.
Some of the waves were two miles long without a break in them.
In these circumstances it was small wonder that a lot of people were carried out, despite the natural caution which such a heavy surf prompted.
It was through this that a new means was inadvertently discovered of rescuing swimmers In such seas.
The waves were far too severe for even strong swimmers, such as we have in our surf clubs, to get through.
No man could have made his way out hampered with a belt in the normal way.
The surf boats likewise were out of question in this instance on account of the monstrous waves. Then it was discovered that a surf hoard would do the trick.
At South Steyne two men on two boards worked out through and over the biggest seas that have been seen on that beach for 20 years, and, reaching the people in distress, placed them on the boards and got safely back to the beach with them.
Members of the Life-Saving Association declare it was the finest rescue they have ever seen.
The local authorities have been in the habit of discouraging surf-board riders on account of the danger they offered to swimmers, but now all the surf clubs are going lo take them up.
A surf board can he made for a few shillings, whereas a surf boat costs at the very least £100.

The Mercury (Hobart)
Saturday 6 December 1930, page 2.


SWIMMING SUITS, including Body-and pants, as in illustration of Lady on Surf Board.
In S.W. and W.
Saxe-black-and-white. Royal-black-and orange. Jade-and-bottle green. Saxe black-and-red. Black-orange-and-saxe. Orange-nigger-and-jade. Peach-tango-and brown. Saxe-black-and-white. Nigger orange-and-jade. Black-and-tomato. Chrome Yellow-nigger-and-tango.

Price, 21/ Suit.

The Mercury (Hobart)
Saturday 21 December 1929, page 3.

All sizes now available.
'Phone or Call.

16 Elizabeth Street, Hobart,
"For Everything to Build Anything".

The Mercury (Hobart)
Saturday 8 January 1938, page 9.

Owing to Removal from Present Site, Our Entire Stock MUST Be Cleared!

20 SURFING BOARDS, in Huon Pine, shaped and cleated, with curved ends, at .... 12/6 each.
RISBY BROS. LTD., cnr. Elizabeth & Davey Streets, Hobart

The Mercury (Hobart)
Saturday 14 January 1939, page 22.


To complete the joy of holiday time, secure one of our Special Surf Boards.
They can be obtained in the following sizes at prices shown:
4ft. long  .. .. ..  ..  at 12/ each
4ft. 6in. long .. ..  at 14/ each
5ft. long .. .. ..  ..   at 15/ each
5ft. 6in. long .. ..  at 16/6 each
Varnishing, 3/ extra.

Timber Merchants, Sawmillers, and Joinery Manufacturers,
(Just across Harrington St. intersection.)
Telephone 6545 (3 Lines).

The Queenslander
Thursday 20 September 1928, page 19.

A "Better" Surf-board.

NOW that the season is approaching when the city dweller turns longing eyes to the sea and its surf a new surf-board idea is worth consideration.
To the under side of an ordinary surf board, near the front, is attached a flap by means of hinges, so that when pushing the board out to meet a wave the flap folds against the board and offers no resistance.
When spinning ashore on the crest of a breaker, however, the force of the water opens out the flap at right angles, and by pressing against it materially assists the swimmer in maintaining his or her position on the crest.
A strong cord attached to two screw-eyes on the flap and the board holds the flap at the correct angle.
In using this surf board care must be taken to avoid getting the fingers pinched between the flap and the main board.
The efficiency of a new surf-board is in creased by having the front curved slightly upward, as shown in the diagram.
—"Popular Mechanics." Improvement for the Surfboard.

The Mercury (Hobart)
Thursday 30 June 1921, page 7.


The vogue of the Hawaiian idea in story, dance, and song results in such a confused medley of ukalele, poi, and the varied charms of waikiki that any opportunity of acquiring authentic
information as to what exactly goes on in that romantic region is not to be lightly allowed to slip by. Such a chance came in the way of a "Mercury" representative yesterday in the form of an introduction to Mr. Gilbert J. Waller, of Honolulu, who is on a hurried visit to Tasmania.
Mr. Waller is not the champion ukalelist of the Sandwich Islands, nor does he rival Fau Kealoha as an exponent of classic surfing.
The visitor is content with being manager of the Hawaiian Beef Company, which, among other things, contracts for the supply of bovine nourishment to the 20,000 men of the naval and military establishment of the United States at the Pacific base.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 26 April 1933, page 9.


Mr. Walter V. H. Biddell, who died on Monday, was one of the pioneers of surf-life saving on the ocean beaches.
More than 25 years ago he formed the Bronte Surf Life- saving Club.
Mr. Bidden visited the famous Waikiki Beach at Honolulu to study surf life-saving methods, and on his return provided the surf lifeboat Albatross for use at Bronte.
He also devised the Dr. Lees surf life-saving buoy, shaped like a torpedo, in order to facilitate work by the beltman in a rough sea.
Mr. Biddll was a resident of Waverley for 40 years, and formerly carried on a manufacturing business at Oxford-street, Bondi Junction.
He is survived by a son, Mr. G. L. Biddell.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 19 September 1933, page 15.


Cronulla club will start Its patrols of the beach on Monday, October 2.
The committee is now drawing up the roster for patrols for the season.
Although there have been no notable activities among members so far during tho ensuing season Cronulla expects to fill a prominent place in competitions.
The Juniors are particularly strong especially In the boat crew.
They will havo the coaching of Mr Jack Toyer, captain of the senior boat crew which won the Australian championship last year.
The "surf ski" which Mr Toyer invented, promises to be a useful innovation among surfers.
The device Is half canoe and half surf-board and it is claimed by the inventor that it will ride the biggest breaker without capsizing, and with a minimum of practice.

Mr E. Young the new honorary secretary of Cronulla club Is a brother of the representative Rugby Union player now In South Africa.

The West Australian
Friday 22 September 1933 p 24.


It is claimed that the surf ski, seen in action at Sydney, can ride any sea, and is easy to handle.
It weighs 35 lb. and can be carried on the roof of a car.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 27 November 1933, page 15.


The first surfing carnival of the season was held on Saturday, when in conjunction with the Health Week committee, the Bondi Surf and Life Saving Club held a carnival at Bondi Bench.
The competltors were restricted to clubs withln the municipallty of Waverley these being Bronte, Bondi, North Bondi, Tamarama, and Clovelly.
Three trophies were competed for, the Commemoration Shield presented by the Waverley Municipal Council, a surf reel presented by Hoyts Theatres Ltd., and a silver cup presented by the proprietor of the "Bondi Weekly" newspaper.
Bondi Club won all of them.

The programme included a march past, Junior surf rescue and resuscitation, surf-boat, beach flag relay, open surf, and teams' races.
In addition, Dr. S. Crackanthorp, formerly of Manly Club, and J. Toyer, boat captain of Cronulla Club, gave a very interesting and thrilling demonstration of the new surf skis of which they are the joint inventors.

During the afternoon addresses were given through the amplifiers by Professor Harvey Sutton on behalf of the executive of "Health Week," Alderman F. H. Frith (Mayor of Waverley) and Mr. C. D. Paterson president of the NSW Surf and Life Saving Association.

All the clubs were represented in the march past.
Bronte, who last season suffered only one defeat in those events, winning from North Bondi with Bondi third.

When proceedings commenced the surf was fairly calm but It freshened considerably as the afternoon progressed and helped to provide thrills for the onlookers, especially in the surf-boat race.

The surf boat race was responsible for a display of very fine boatmanship, excelling, in the opinion of experts, anythlng of the kind seen on the beaches.
North Bondi had a slight lead from Bondi at the start, while Bronte shipped a good sea when getting under way.
Bondi, however, led at the turn, and when half the return journey had been covered was leading Bronte by about four lengths.
Fifty yards from the shore Bondi raced for and caught a big shoot, which landed their boat well up on the beach.
Bronte was not so fortunate, as the receding wave caught the boat a heavy blow on the bow, which caused the bow man to fall out and the craft broached to and emptied her crew out.
The boat was quickly righted and beached, the team gaining second place.

The combined open surf race and teams race provided another exciting contest.
H. Nightingale of the Bondi Club was the first to show out, and rounded first.
Although closely pressed by Hans Robertson, of North Bondi, and Turnbull, he raced home a winner by a couple of yards.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 14 December 1933, page 15.


The North Bondi Club Is busily engaged in completing the details for its annual surf carnival, which will take place at Bondi Beach on Saturday, January 6.
Among the regular surf carnival events which will be included in the programme will be surf canoe and surf ski races.
Entries close next Tuesday; at the Surf Life Saving Association's headquarters, the Sports Club, in Hunter street.

The North Bondi Club will hold its usual Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve members' parties this season in the new clubhouse, which was opened for regular use on December 10.
As Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, this party will be held on Saturday, December 23.

The Argus
Tuesday 29 December 1936. page 5.

Holiday Reading ...
... How to make a surf board, (The Junior Argus Thursday 31 December 1936).

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 26 August 1938, page 12.

Australian Surf Board at Biarritz.

LONDON, Aug. 25.
Lord Gifford, who was formerly A.D.C. to the Governor of New Soulh Wales, Sir Philip Game, was yesterday arrested at Biarritz, but was later released with a caution, for having used an Australian type of surf board, and having disregarded warnings by one of the beach lifeguards.

Lord Gifford later said to the Barritz correspondent ol the "Daily Mail" -
"Half the bathers were on my side and half were hostile.
Boys tried to pull off my bathing suit.
When charged I was told that the offence was graver because the lifeguard had actually put on a bathing suit preparatory to going to my rescue, when I came ashore."

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 29 November 1947, page 12.

When Ironing Boards Took To The Waves

Wives and mothers of many "board men" (surf-board riders) will reap some satisfaction from the fate of the first surfboard to be imported to Australia.
Sent to Mr. C. D. Patterson in 1912 from Honolulu, this nine-feet piece of red-wood was launched with considerable ceremony, but it ended in the Patterson household as an ironing board!
A few men, however, who saw the initial tryout and had read about the success the Hawaiians had with such toys, were inspired to make boards themselves.
Jack Reynolds, Norman Roberts, and "Looney" Walker (nicknamed  "Looney" after he had dived into the water to retrieve the bait for his fish hook while other fishermen managed to catch the shark that was cruising around before it got him), went into a conference with Les Hynes (a builder at North Steyne) on the shape these boards were to take.
They were to have ordinary gothic shaped noses, about 1 ½ inches thick, and a flat top and bottom with rounded edges.
This design indicated that the only waves these early enthusiasts thought "takeable" were "broken
waves" at low tide.
This was all changed when, in 1914, the Australian Swimming Association decided to invite Duke Kahanamoku to this country—as a swimmer.
While here, he was asked to give an exhibition of surfboard riding.

Having no board, he picked out some sugar pine from George Hudson's, and made one.
This board- which is now in the proud possession of Claude West- was eight feet six inches long, and concave underneath.
Veterans of the waves contend that Duke purposely made this surfboard concave instead of
convex to give him greater stability in our rougher (as compared with Hawaiian) surf.
Duke Kahanamoku was asked to select the beach where the exhibition would be given.
He chose Freshwater (now Harbord).
It was in February, 1915, that the Australian board enthusiasts had their first opportunity of seeing a "board expert" on the waves.
There was a big sea running, and from 10.30 in the morning until 1 o'clock Duke never left the water.

He showed the watchers all the tricks he knew, sliding right across the beach on the face of a wave. Demonstrating the ease with which he could manage with a passenger, he took Isabel Letham (still a resident at Harbord) out with him, and they would come right into the beach with incomparable grace and precision.
One young aspirant watched breathlessly.
He was 16-year-old Claude West.
He watched everything Duke Kahanamoku did.
When Duke came out of the water, he asked him endless questions.
The result was that Duke taught him all he knew, and with-in a month the pupil had become proficient in paddling, in catching a green unbroken wave, at judging the correct time to catch a wave, and at selecting the right wave for the surfboard.
Duke had explained to him that before attempting to shoot green waves on a board it was essential first to learn how to paddle and balance a board in deep water.
When one Australian had learned the art, others became interested and soon Tommy Walker, Geoff. Wylde, Steve Dowling, "Busty" Walker, Billy Hill, Lyle Pidcock, and Barton Ronald began to make boards similar to the one Duke Kahanamoku had made.
Official approval was given to the use of surfboards when the Surf Life Saving Association decided to include surfboard exhibitions at the various surf carnivals, and Claude West was co-opted to give demonstrations at carnivals all along the coast.
He won the championship at these exhibitions for 10 consecutive years.
With more people becoming interested in surfboard riding, new names and new ideas came forward. "Broaching" the wave was an idea invented by "Busty" Walker and interested surfboard riders soon adopted the principle of swinging the board around quickly, which provided better control in a heavy "dumping" wave.
"Snowy" McAllister won the championship in 1925.
He made the first hollow board somewhat similar in shape to the first solid one (Claude West had actually made a hollow board earlier- in 1918- but it was based on a different idea from that of McAllis- ter's).
Quite early youthful surfboard riders had decided that for speed they must have less weight in their boards and more buoyancy.
To achieve this, Claude West had "hollowed out" a solid piece of redwood, but he struck trouble when he found that the water came in very freely through sun cracks.
The board was scrapped.
A surfboard rider of long experience- Lou Morath- considers that Claude West had no equal on the
solid board.
Indeed, many claimed that West had "suckers on his feet" because no wave and no sea could toss him!
Now approaching 50 years of age, West has adopted the hollow board and surfs on it whenever the waves are "on."

About the time the Surf Life Saving Association adopted surf-board races instead of surfboard
"exhibitions," the surfboard began to come into disrepute on beaches.
Surfers claimed they were dangerous and municipal councils were feeling that something should be  done about banning them.
The Manly Council, in particular, was of the opinion that a regulation should be introduced to prohibit their use, until some council members at South Steyne witnessed one of the most amazing rescues ever seen.
A party of five surfers were carried out in a very rough sea.
The surfboat was manned but capsized twice in trying to get out.
Claude West slammed his board into the water, battled out from the comer of South Steyne, and picked up the surfer who was in the worst shape.
He cracked a "howler" with his patient in front of him and deposited him on the beach before the boat had been righted to make a third attempt at rescue.
Again West sallied forth and another and another of the surfers was brought in.
The council made no move to ban surfboards!
Now the Surf Life Saving Association, surf clubs, and members realise the immense help
surfboards, manned by expert riders, can be in rescue work when seas are dangerous and difficult.
Even if that were not so, the fact that a good green wave means more to most boardmen than wife, home or family suggests that Authority would have been hard pressed to make any "prohibition"

The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 28 January 1913, page 7.


Freshwater Beach yesterday afternoon was the scene of the local life-savlng club's annual surf carnival.
There was a large attendance, and the carnival proved a great success.

Proceedings commenced with a fancy dress processlon from Manly Pier and the gay and comical costumes of the processionists were highly amusing.
On arrival at the beach a large crowd of spectators was in waiting, the hills overlooking the beach were scattered with sightseers, and the scene was most picturesque.
Freshwater is an ideal spot for the holding of a carnival, as it is in itself a natural amphitheatre.
A high class programme had been arranged and the number of entries, 800, constituted a record.
The programme was gone through without a hitch.

The grand parade and march past of members of the life-saving clubs in bathing costume and equipment attracted seven clubs, Manly Life-saving gaining the prize.
The other clubs who competed were Bondi, North Bondi, North Steyne, Manly Seagulls, and

Perhaps the most exciting event was the surf race, in which about 20 competed.
A. W. Barry, the noted sprinter, won from K. H. Grieve (Bondi) who beat M. Farley (Freshwater) by about 2 yards for second place.

The Manly Life-saving Club annexed the rescue and resuscitation competitions and alarm reel race,
A. W. Barry donning the belt on each occasion.
The latter clearly demonstrated that he is an adept in the surf as well as in smooth water.
During the afternoon the Australian Musicians' Bund rendered selections.
Mr D. D. McIntyre was secretary of the carnival, and Mr L. Wright was his assistant.
Ald. C. D. Paterson (president of the NSW Surf Bathers' Association) was referee while the Judges were -
Water events, Messrs G. ii Williams, C. Martin, O. G. H. Merrett.
Beach events, Messrs. W Craven, Fitzgerald, and Captain A. Holmes.

Followlng were the results -
Fancv Dress Parade -I I asedies (Chidley), best sustained character 1, \\ Nixon (The Svva¿gie), J
Best tomlc II ltydqui*t (Black Queen), J Best group, W Norton s "Darktown 1 ire Brigade '
Grand Parade and Mnrch Past in tull Bathing Cos turne with lifesaving gmr and rqiupinent Prize Life saving belt valued 17/1, Manly 1 ifo bav Ing Club, I 1 rcshvvatcr and North Stevnt (dead heat), 2
Dusting the Bellman - f"irst piue, 10/U li Shaw
(I rcshwater)
itescuo and Itesusi ¡tatton Compétition -I irst prize, gold medals or trophies value £1 Is per man Points awarded as follows JO for speed in reaching the drowning man, by support and bellman 10 for Axing and preparing belt, and general tfllciency In use of line, 20 for resuscitation work and treatment generally 10 for general discipline Tirst heat North Steyne (It, E Bowden, I M'Fwcn, T A kelly, 11
Hind, \ anderson I Neilson, \ Willctts), 1, Coogee ( I M Gorl» J I e in L M Uod 0 Baker S Windon, II Johnson), 2 Manlv I lfc Saving B team (I> B Nott, L MCracken S M' «.ulifíc, I bimble, V II Hills, \ Holmes, It Quinn) 3 Second licit freshwater (0 I Steel S Maul, 1 Conlon, II Shaw, I Oniniinit* L Wright II Newman) 1, Manlv Seagulls (It Thom I Iliitchin h Ihmksftird, C Turner, C liai
greaves n M Pherson It II Walker), ¿ Thirl heit Manly Life Saving t Team (S Wright S MKclvcy.I Schwarz » Mullen, A Wright, It "Miller, B Boardman), 1 North Bondi (P Foran, I H atkins, W Dough«, M. Douglass, D Mason, 1. Mooney C Smith), 2 Bondi K Team (P Stewart, 1 Walker, If II Grieve G Lindsay A C Brownhill, O Bis tian, 1 G Brown), 8 I Inal Manly A Team, Bl 0 points North Steyne, 501J, J Bondi \ , 4100 1 Manly B, 47 23, 4 Coogee, ia, 5, North Bondi, 40 8J, 6 freshwater, 4170 7, Manlv S,eagulls, 4">20 8
Quino liare (juniors to l8 years of agc) first pra/c cold ine.1 ii second value is -D Mnthleson (AH On) 1 This was a novel event The canoes were iuddlcd lound a buo) from in assisted start, and caused muih amusement as the. in turn toppled over
"oyds Beiuh Sprint-Final t li halls (Manly Life saving) 1 I Nicholls (North Stonie) °
\lanu Reel Race Prizes Bcltm in lfs and four at 10s C1 each -First heat Alud) \o 1 terni (S AVright belt S M kclvcv S M Auliffe V M Mullen li Miller linesmen) 1 North Bondi No I am fAV Douglas belt It Douclass II Boldon C King C Smith linesmen) - Time lill n0 i s Second beat Manly No 2 tem! (A AA Barry belt 1 Oiniblc I' Merrett T A Gunning NT Holmes linesmen) 1 rreshwitor No 1 team (t> B Steel belt I Drum mitt T O'Connor O Downton AA Owen linesman)
Time lin 40 3 5s ""hird heat Freshwater No J team (J Conlon belt I P AA atkinson II Shaw
\ Townsend I O Connell linesnaian) 1 North Steyne No 2 team (C Hind licit P Powell I Porteons O Ferris <! Kellv linesman) 2 Time lm ti 4 5s. Final Manlv No 2 teim (A W Barry belt) 1
Manly So 1 team (S AA right belt) 2 Trchwatcr No 3 team (J Conlon belt) 3 Time lm SO 4 5s
turnor Alarm rtccl Race limit age 17 \cars I rixe C1 Is per team -North Stevne (1 Melson belt A AA illotts O Fuller D Carroll B M 1-waaa linesman) t Freshwater No 3 teim (A Townsend belt I 0 Connell A Ohlsen I Kirkcaldie M I cwis lines men) ?> Time lm 41) 1 "w
Camp Corroboree AAalk (most novel walk) First pnxc £1 Is per team of 6 - Biwiew Camp (1-rcsh water) !
Flag Relav Race (four in a team eich man to run 50 yards) Prizes, four at 5. -I irst heat North Steyne No 1 team f!I Nicholls T I Nicholls H O Taubman V lyons) 1 S. eond beat Dead Faann) Camp Freshwater (II Slaw I Conlon A Townsend I Oconnell) 1 Third heat Alanlv No 1 team (0 f V M Mullen ! I Lascelles 1 II
Sclawarr K. O Childers) 1 Final North Steyne No 1 team 1 Dead Funny* Clmp r-rcshwatcr ¿ Manlv No 1 team, t
Pillow Fighting First pro* 7s ed second 5s - Ii B Nott (Manly Life saving Club) 1
Surf Race Prixr- valued at £1 Is.-A AT Barry, (Manly I if« saving Club) I K It Grieve (Bondi) 2
Al Farlcv (Freshwater) 3 AAon casal) I
Interclub Push hall Conrpetitlon (six in a team) | Prises trophies valued 6s per man - Canberra Camp I Freshwater (N Broome F H Pierce r Baw lins 1 I Green, L. Clissold J Smith) 1

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