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slessor : surf, all about it, 1931 

Kenneth Slessor : Surf, All About It, [1931].

Extracts from
(Slessor, Kenneth):  Surf - All About It.
Sydney,[1931].
No author, editor or publishing details in evidence.
One copy noted with a pencil annotation on page seven
which appears to attribute copyright to "Slessor 26.2.31".

Introduction.
A jovial and enthusiastic promotional work for surfbathing in a wide range of manifestations.
The surfriding and related surf centred articles appear to lack an in-depth understanding of the art, for example contrast this work with the finely worded chapters by Harry Hay in his Swimming and Surfing, of the same year.
As such, these sections may not be the work of an expert and might be based substantially on an accumulation of beach knowledge, enhanced with access to some previously printed accounts.

No author, editor or publishing details are in evidence.although the copy in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, has a pencil annotation on page seven which appears to attribute copyright or contribution to "Slessor 26.2.31".
The work is included in papers held by the National Library of Australia. see below.

The only articles with by-lines are simply identified as "Medico" and "Eve", the later advising on Beauty and the Beach, pages 27 to 29.

Profusely illustrated with black and white illustrations (some of high quality) and cartoons, the later the only apt description for the Surfing Map on page 49.
Probably the work of several artists, the finest illustrations accompany a poem, Jan'tzen Josie, and a song, Bluebottle Blues, on pages 37 and 40 respectively.

Slessor, Kenneth / Papers (National Library of Aus.)
...
Series 4: Slessor's publications
Items 1-367
Books by Slessor in this series are Thief of the moon, Earth visitors, Darlinghurst nights, Portrait of Sydney, Australian profile, The grapes are growing, The story of Australian wine, and Canberra.
Also included are copies of the index of first lines to One hundred poems 1919-1939 and a small book by Slessor about surfing called Surf; all about it.

http://findaid.library.uwa.edu.au/cgi-bin/nph-dweb/dynaweb/findaid/slessor1/@Generic__BookTextView/335;cs=default;ts=default

Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/slessor-kenneth-adolf-11712

Slessor joined the idiosyncratic Smith's Weekly in 1927 and remained there until 1940, serving as an editor from 1935.
He enjoyed its unconventionality, interest in film and humour, and, probably, its 'knock-'em-down' vulgarity; he later described the period as 'the happiest chapter of my existence'.
During these years he wrote most of his major poetry, the bulk of his light verse (which was published in Smith's, with illustrations principally by Virgil Reilly), numerous articles and film reviews.

Slessor's 'Five Visions of Captain Cook' was included in a booklet, Trio (1931), with poems by Harley Matthews and Colin Simpson.
In 1932 he published his third major collection, Cuckooz Contrey, a collection of illustrated light verse.
Darlinghurst Nights (1933) and a collection of children's verse, Funny Farmyard (1933), followed.
In 1939 the small paperback Five Bells: XX Poems appeared.
Norman Lindsay again provided drawings for Cuckooz Contrey and Five Bells, but Slessor's work increasingly seemed to belong to another world from that of Lindsay.
The elegy 'Five Bells', a meditation prompted by the death from drowning of Joe Lynch in Sydney Harbour in 1927, is generally agreed to be his finest poem.
It placed him among Australia's foremost poets.
...
Select Bibliography
A. K. Thomson (ed), Critical Essays on Kenneth Slessor (Brisb, 1968)
D. Stewart, A Man of Sydney (Melb, 1977)
A. Taylor, Reading Australian Poetry (Brisb, 1987)
G. Dutton, Kenneth Slessor (Melb, 1991)
A. Caesar, Kenneth Slessor (Melb, 1995)
P. Mead (ed), Kenneth Slessor (Brisb, 1997)
Southerly, 31, no 4, 1971
D. Haskell, 'Sheer Voice and Fidget Wheels', Australian Literary Studies, 13, no 3, 1988, p 253
Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jan 1919, 2 Apr 1940, 25 Feb, 3 Mar 1944, 5 Nov 1953, 1 Jan 1959, 30 Dec 1967, 17 Sept 1971
Slessor papers (National Library of Australia)
SP109/3, item 392/17, and resignation of Mr Kenneth Slessor, A5954, item 609/3 (National Archives of Australia).

Haskell, Dennis, 'Slessor, Kenneth Adolf (19011971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/slessor-kenneth-adolf-11712/text20935, accessed 23 May 2012.

Kevin Patrick: Comics Down Under
...
Reilly was also an accomplished book illustrator, providing artwork for two collections of poetry by Kenneth Slessor: Darlinghurst Nights (Frank Johnson Publications, 1933/Reprinted in 1974) and Backless Betty from Bondi (Angus & Robertson, 1983).

Kevin Patrick: Comics Down Under
http://comicsdownunder.blogspot.com.au/2006/12/virgil-reilly-from-pin-ups-to-punch.html
This article originally appeared in the March 2004 edition of Collectormania magazine

A821.3/SLE (Nowra Stack)
Kenneth slessor: a biography
Dutton, Geoffrey, 1922-
Ringwood, Vic. : Viking, 1991


Page Thirty-four
(in highlighted box)

Duke Kahanamoku's Style

SLOW-MOTION pictures of the famous Hawaiian swimmer, Duke Kahanamoku, in the surf, reveal several points of interest to
Australian surfers.
Kahanamoku prepares to take off when the wave is about ten yards away from him.
He glides one arm out in front, and paddles himself along with the other, thus building up some impetus before the breaker reaches him.
He then catches the crest gracefully, and rushes off to the beach, swaying from side to side.
 

Page Fifteen

How to Use a Surf-Board
Any surfer can learn to use a board. - Australians as good as Hawaiians.
- Short boards. - Safety outside the breaker-line. -  Taking the board out.
- Catching a wave. - Standing up.

IF there is anything more graceful or more beautiful than a human being poised upright on a breaker, as it rushes to the beach, nobody, with the possible exception of Pavlova, has yet discovered it.

Between this glorification of surf-shooting and the ordinary method of riding a wave, there is as much difference as between a limousine and a bicycle.
Yet, strangely enough, few of the thousands of surfers who think nothing of spending a day in the farthest line of breakers venture to climb aboard that de luxe express train of the Pacific, the
ordinary surfboard.

No doubt, much of this reluctance is due to the supposition that the art of riding a board calls for some abnormal talent in the surfer.
Others again are under a false-idea of the dangers and difficulties attendant upon doing so.
Both of these popular delusions are entirely wrong.
It is no harder for a moderately skilful surfer to learn the use of the board than it was for him to learn the art of shooting.
And the risk of danger is certainly no more.
Many authorities, indeed, are prepared to argue that it is considerably less.

Surfboards appear to have been invented by the superb swimmers of that St. Andrews of the surf, Waikiki Beach.
To-day, it could be claimed that Australians have learnt to ride surfboards even more successfully than the Hawaiians.
In support of this, numerous experts have pointed out that the Waikiki rollers offer a far easier passage to the board than the shorter, and generally fiercer, breakers of the Australian coast.
Hawaiians, for instance, are able to enjoy a much longer period on the board before reaching the beach.
Despite this handicap, any impartial critic must agree that Australian surfboard users have attained just as high a degree of perfection as the Hawaiians.

Remember, therefore, that if you can shoot a breaker, there is no earthly reason why you should not pass on into the brotherhood of the board.
And the first thing you must do is to acquire a suitable surfboard.

No explanation need be wasted on the use of the "short boards."
These are really more for the assistance of the beginner, who is learning the feel of the surf.
When practising the in-shore glide (see Lesson One, page 7), you will notice the enormous
assistance derived by holding one of these little boards extended in front of you.

Let us take it that you have secured a smooth and nicely balanced "long board."
Once again, it is necessary to repeat that three-quarters of the battle is won if you have CONFIDENCE.
Cast your fears aside as you walk down the beach.
Remember these three comforting facts:-

Page Sixteen

No shark has ever yet attacked a swimmer with a surfboard.
The big brutes are frightened of anything unusual.

You are actually safer OUTSIDE the breaker-line than you are inside.
For one thing, the sea is much smoother.

Don't imagine you are in danger of being carried out to sea.
As a matter of fact, you could paddle several miles on the board.

First thing you must do is to notice whether any special atea has been set aside for surfboards.
If not, do your board-riding close to where the ordinary surfing is going on, but not close enough to run the risk of colliding with anybody.
Remember that a blow from a moving board can inflict a very serious injury.

Now, are you ready?
Right.
Carry your board down to the water and slide it in.
The first thing you've got to learn is how to manoeuvre yourself and your board safely out to the big stuff.
Wait till there is a momentary lull in the breakers, launch the board, and waste as little time as
possible in the shallows.
The board is twice as difficult to handle here as farther out.
And take care you don't get bumped by it.
Push it, DON'T TOW IT, through the breakers.

But, although you're pushing it from the back, don't make the mistake, if it is swept out of your control, of trying to recover it from the shore-side.
Approach it from the direction of the breakers, so that there is no chance of it being flung on top of you.

Go right out.
You'll probably have to start swimming as you approach the farthest breaker-line.
Keep on pushing the board, righting its direction every time you are buffeted.
Once past the line where the waves are breaking you'll find the sea much easier.

Halt just on the other side of the breakers.
Lift yourself smoothly on to the board, lying face-down, with your legs and knees just over the sides. Now you will have to pick out your wave.
Just as in Lesson Two, on the art of surf-shooting, the importance of properly timing the breaker cannot be over-emphasised.

Having selected the right wave, move the board in front of it by paddling till it overtakes you.
Never try to mount a wave that is in the act of breaking.
Catch it immediately before.

Once the breaker has reached your board, you will feel yourself gliding rapidly with it.
The principle of putting weight in front of a wave you are in danger of losing must be again applied.
If the breaker shows signs of leaving you behind, pull your body further up in the direction of the front of the board, and concentrate your weight there.

Endeavour to lie as still as possible, and balance yourself in the exact middle.
You are bound to roll off during your first few attempts, but stick at it without fear.
It won't be long before you taste the intoxication of whizzing in to the beach on your trusty steed. Once you've done it, you'll want to live on your board.

Of course, care must be taken if you fall off not to let the board strike you.
If, at the moment the wave breaks, the board dives vertically, simply let yourself go down with it, slide over the top, ...

Page Seventeen

... avoid it falling on you, and try again.

Make yourself a master of horizontal board-shooting before you try to stand up.
By that time, you'll have a much finer sense of balance, and your confidence in the board will have greatly increased.
You may find that standing on the board is a more difficult thing in its early stages.
Balance and timing are again the essentials.
Combine these with constant practice and you will triumph.

As before, catch the wave before it breaks.
Lie face-down on the board, exactly the same way, until it has gathered speed, and the wave has burst.
Then, smoothly and without changing the centre of balance, rise to a stooping, all-fours position, facing across the board, side-on to the beach.
Stand up very gently, sliding your legs wide apart, and adjusting your balance so that your weight is distributed centrally.

You may have to try dozens of experiments in the art of balance till you have found the position that suits the board and the wave.
But it's great fun- even falling off!
Don't think you can't succeed.
It's just a matter of patience, practice and confidence.
And once you've learnt to stand up on a breaker, you may consider you have won your final degree in the university of the surf.

Page Forty-seven
Follows Where to Surf Around Sydney, pages 46 and 47, that detail Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Clovelly, Cronulla, Manly and Maroubra Beaches.
...

Famous Foam in Foreign Lands
A surfer's-eye tour of the world. - Romantic Honolulu. - Two-mile shoots !
- Waikiki Beach. - Ricksha-boys of Durban. - Pink pyjamas on the Lido.
- East, West, Australia's Best.

FEW other countries have taken to the surf as eagerly, and in such anoverwhelming fashion, as Australia.
Few other countries, indeed, can boast such a splendid sweep of breaker-beaches as those that stretch almost continuously from Southport, up in Queensland, to Cottesloe in West Australia.
But the surfer who is fortunate enough to be able to travel to other oceans or other coasts will find
an absorbing interest in the bathing- fashions and surfing-peculiarities of the celebrated beaches whose fame has spread across the sea.

Outside Australia, easily the most noted beaches are those of Hawaii, swept by the same old Pacific that knocks at Manly's door.
St. Andrew's. the shrine of golf, is a name of no greater veneration than WAIKIKI to the surfer.

WAIKIKI: Only a fortnight's travel from Sydney, by luxurious liners, Waikiki, the cradle of surf-riding, flaunts all the tropical splendors of blue and scarlet, golden sand and green palm-trees, hibiscus and frangipanni blossoms, in profusion enough to make a painter sob into his palette.
At first sight, the famous beach seems rather surprisingly small to Australians accustomed to the huge half-moons of the eastern coast.
But what Waikiki lacks in vastnest-, it gains in the nature of its surf.
It is possible to swim out, and secure shoots, two miles from the shore!

More attractive still to the cautious surfer, the sea around Waikiki Beach is quite free from sharks. The breakers bank up slowly, and their crest does not form until they have come close inshore. There is not the same degree of curl about them as with Australian waves, and their long, flat, rolling formation is ideally suited for surfboard-rilflng.
The nearest Australian equivalent to Waikiki would, perhaps, be some such beach as Freshwater, in a light southerly breeze.

DURBAN, South Africa's most famous bathing-beach, stretches along the shore of Durban Bay in Natal.
The surf, though rather weak, is warm and inviting, and there is a system of nets and ropes, for the assistance of the novice and the prevention of sharks.
A pier extends into the water, and there are many attractions on land, including, of course, the gaily dressed ricksha-boy and his carriage.

THE LIDO, Europe's most famous bathing-place, is not, of course, a surf- beach, but its waters are none the less distinctive, as much for their warmth and beauty as for the colorful people who splash the hours away in them.
The Lido is next-door to Venice, and all the romance and charm of Italy seem to converge on the rainbow- painted beach.
The sands teem with exotic bathers: dukes jostle American millionaires; pyjamas and peignoires of every conceivable tint and pattern swarm on the terraces.
The beach is lined with a double row of gaily colored bathing-boxes, and forests of blue and white poles protrude from the sea.

Sun-bathing on, the sand is as popular as in Australia: many enthusiasts live almost entirely on the beach, in nothing but bathing-costumes or pyjamas.
There is a pier running into the sea, on which more crowds of bathers sit at blue tables, siopping orange drinks.
All sorts of fantastic amusements are pursued in the water- the sports range from water-bicycles to gymnastics.
But, alas, there is never a sign of a good Australian breaker and the water is warm, shallow, and cloudy, with none of that invigorating sting which adds zest to the Australian surf.

Page Fifty-one  (Inside back cover).


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Surf - All About It.
Sydney,1931, page 51.


Slessor, Kenneth: 
Surf - All About It.
Sydney,1931.
No author, editor, artist or publishing 
details in evidence.


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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2007) : Kenneth Slessor : Surf- All About It, 1931.
http://www.surfresearch.com.au/1931_Surf_All_About.html