history : the racing 16,
australian racing sixteen : 1934
Frank Adler and Hollow Racing
cropped from Maxwell,
facing page 117.
The Racing 16, a
hollow board with timber frame with plywood skin, was first built
by Frank Adler at Maroubra, no doubt based on the widely
circulated design by Tom Blake (USA).
Given the emphasis established by the
Life Saving Clubs on rescue and racing, the light weight
advantages of the design were quickly realised.
Although some builders may have
recreated their Alaia boards, most were to follow Tom Blakes'
lightweight copy of a traditional Olo, with lenghts eventually
reaching sixten feet and the boards narrowing to less than 20
As was the case with the Hollow
board's paddling successes in Hawaii and the USA, the design
dominated at carnivals.
This was demonstrated by Frank
Adler's competition wins despite his considerable weight
The design however downplayed wave
riding technique and taking the largest wave on a straight line to
the beach was considered the fastest, race wise.
An addition noted on Australian boards
is the (stainless) steel handle fixed at the tail, used by
the rider to hold and/or push the board through breaking waves.
Some examples also use an very fine
timber gunnel on the rail, to assist in balance when both paddling
In 1934 Tom Blake added a small water
ski type fin/skeg to one of his hollow boards.
Although an significant addition,
because of the emphasis on paddling, the small size relative to
the board, the increased danger and the difficulty in attachment,
many riders did not consider fins necessary and it rarely appears
on Australian examples of long Hollows.
Many examples of this long serving
(1934 to 1956) design are in existence, mostlong established ASLA
clubs have one mounted in the clubhouse.
In Victoria, Surfworld The Surfworld
Museum has three examples : #31, #32 and #33;
In Coffs Harbour Scott Dillon;
In Sydney,Northside see
Barry Bennett Surfboards, 188 Harbord
Road Brookvale or
Quicksilver, The Corso, Manly.
Southside see Brian Jackson Surfboards
The ANMM, Darling Harbour has several
examples, note # 00015143 but these are generally not on
display. See Notes on ANMM Collection
The adoption of the Hollow board was
not the only surf-craft development of this period.
The Surf ski, Surf-o-plane and the
Belly board were significant alternatives to wave riding of the
The belly board initially adapted the
paipo design, built of laminated solid wood with steamed or shaped
scooped nose, in the manner described in Popular Science/Mechanics
of the time.
Later models used laminated plywood,
and later still fins and sometimes a nose grip.
See Surfworld, #17 and #25
Structurally, if a board is hollow it
should have a drain or pressure plug to let out any water from
dings and to equalise the pressure for climatic extremes.
In 1935-1936 Bern Gandy acquired an
imported Redwood-balsa laminate surfboard, probably from
California. and surfed it at Lorne, Victoria.
Impressed with the lightness of the
board compared to the solid redwoods, he built his own 10ft 6''
The blank was two 10'' x 4 '' balsa
blocks with a redwood stringer.
This new board was surfed at Torquay in
1937, and Bern took the board with him when he relocated to Sydney
- Press clipping, un-sourced, on
display at Scott Dillon's Legends
Surfing Museum, Coffs Harbour, June 2005.
A surf canoe was designed and built by
Jack Myers in 1933 at Freshwater.
It was 9 foot x 2 foot 6 inches with a
Construction was a hardwood keel, local
tea-tree ends with buoyancy tanks and covered with marine ply.
Jack and his canoe, named 'Lady Ruth',
placed second in South Curl Curl's carnival on 1st January 1934. Myers
In 1934 Jack Myers designed and built
another canoe with George Henderson , this one a lighter model
with canvas stretched over a ribbed frame and named 'Hot Shot'.
George Henderson and 'Hot Shot' won the
canoe race at Curl Curl's carnival, 1st January 1935.
1934 Surf Ski, hollow board
construction applied to Dr G.A. Crakanthorpe’s original design and
used up to the mid 1960’s.
Early models were 8 ft x 28" x 6" thick
with a '12" spring in the tail'* (tail lift), but an emphasis on
paddling soon saw lengths extended and widths narrowed.
Plans and specifications for a solidwood
Bellyboard were printed in an article Making Money at
the Beach, Popular Mechanics July 1934 Vol 62 No. 1 pages
115 - 117
1935 'G.K.' Manly surf life
saving Club’s 7th surfboat, carvel built by E. & A. Townes, of
This lighter design was adopted by many
Mawson I. Neville
Boardriders, 3 March 1935.
Thorn: Stanwell Park SLSC (1983) page 22.
The Bennetts - when delving into the
history of this club, it is important to record the valuable
assistance rendered by the late Bill Bennett who was a Cartage
Contractor at Helensburgh.
Bill provided his truck free of
charge to the club for the conveyance of members and their gear
to and from the various carnivals.
This service was continued by his
During the depression the generosity
of the Bennett's enabled many members to attend carnivals, which
their financial position would not otherwise permit.
Harry will be remembered for the
rescue he took part in at the south end of the beach, whilst
clad in his birthday suit."
"Albert Brown - known as "Pal", a
very active person in all club affairs, was boat sweep for many
Assisted in maintaining discipline
amoung younger members and their training in surf boats."
"Tom Bennett -"Red", cousin of Harry
Bennett, an outstanding surfer of the 1930's, teamed with
notable swimmers Owen and Charlie Griffith, Lance Cutcliffe,
Harry McDonald, Toby Barton, Oscar Cook and Ian Melville to
provide possibly the strongest swimming competitors the club has
experienced and a force to be reckoned with by any other club.
Tom's son, Charles of the Bulli Club
proved a top belt swimmer winning many Branch Championships.
"Red" enlisted in World War 11, was
captured in Greece and made a P.O.W. in Germany for a number of
"Jack William Mawson
Jack joined the club on the 28th
February, 1912, at the age of thirteen years and enlisted in
World War 1 at the age of eighteen years.
On discharge from the army he
eventually took employment at the Naval Dockyard, Garden Island.
Jack became foreman boat builder and was able to use this
knowledge in the various craft he constructed voluntarily for
He was also able to repair many of
our craft when necessary.
The year 1921 saw the appointment of
Jack Mawson as Club Captain, a position he fulfilled with
distinction for the next twenty-four years continuously.
As Captain, Jack took a personal
interest in all members, giving them encouragement and tuition
where ever possible in their surfing activities and most
importantly sound advice on the necessity to improve their
position in life.
As leader, he extended tolerance and
sympathy, but was also able to exert discipline and drive.
"Daki" became a household name, not only in our club but to the
surfing world in his era.
Jack was a strong surf swimmer and
board rider, instructor of March Past and R. & R. teams.
He was an Illawarra Branch Delegate
to the S.L.S.A. for a period of twenty years and was made a Life
Member of the Illawarra Brandch and this club."
."Ian "Snow" Melville - outstanding
junior surfer particularly strong in belt races not only in club
events but in the Illawarra carnivals.
Still maintains a keen interest in
club matters and a worthy contributor to the financial needs."
Library of NSW
"A damaged boat was received from the
Maroubra Club, formerly used by them and known as the "Arthur
Rodman", named after Arthur Rodman a most respected President of
that club for many years.
It was given to Stanwell Park Club
on the condition that the name be retained.
During the winter months of 1934 and
1935, much hard work was carried out repairing the boat by
members of the club under the skill and guidance of Jack Mawson.
It was of heavy construction and
required quite a number of helpers to carry it up the beach
This craft was launched on the
1st September, 1935 by J. S. G. (Gordon) Worland, President of
the Illawarra Branch. It might also be mentioned that Gordon
Worland served in the capacity as Branch President from 1933
Gordon had shown a keen interest
in the reconstruction of the boat, visiting our club on a
number of occasions and it was a fitting tribute that he
should officially launch the craft.
The boat was eventually sold for
£1 to club member, Jim McMahon, for fishing."
members and the
Thorn: Stanwell Park
(1983) page 53.
|In late 1935, Collaroy
SLSC member Bert Chequer, a noted surfboard shaper, used
his board in a mass rescue.
Assisted by 13 year old Bill
Abbott, who twice swam out with belts, and a goup of
inexperienced juniors on the reel, they managed to
successfully return a group of approximately 10 persons to
(1995), pages 96 - 97.
Image right :
Bob Maladay and
Ron Hall with Solid Wood Boards,
Bill Abbott with Hollow
Collaroy SLSC, circa
The solid wood boards were possibly shaped by Bert
Bob (Robert) Maladay's board
features the Collaroy club emblem and his formal initials
(1995), page 97.
In November 1937, the Courier
Mail of Brisbane printed a boardriding image by
"McBain" as the cover of The Queenslander
Howell, R. and Howell, M.:
A History of Australian Sport.
Shakespeare Head Press,
Sydney, 1987, page 105.
Dr Ernest Smithers'
'' was soon in mass production,
being hired by the half hour on Sydney beaches, and proving
popular with all ages and both genders.
Surf-o-planes were... filmed for Movietone
News 6/7 (1935), ...Movietone News 7/15 (1936),
...Movietone News 8/13 (1937), ...Movietone News 9/14
(1938) , which included shots of Dr Smithers riding his
invention at Bronte, ...and...Movietone News 10/6 (1939)
Thoms, page 40.
The craft was extremely popular, Manly
Surf Life Saving Club reported 261 rescues for the 1938-9 season,
half of which were carried out on or swept off rubber floats.
pages 54 to 57.
Lambert is first away
in the surfoplane race
Manly carnival in the
Cardigan: Icon (2008)
was included in 1938 Australian Surf Titles (only time, won by
Jack 'Strawb' Turnbull) and in the Makaha contest for a period in
the 1930's. (Reference: Maxwell?)
In 1936 Jack Toyer of Cronulla extended
the surf ski to improve paddling.
Concurrently 'Mickey' Morris and
'Billy' Langford developed the double ski, although their first
model proved too narrow.
During 1937, the Surf ski was adopted
as standard life saving equipment after extensive testing at
page 245) and included in the Australian Chamionships as a rescue
event with a paddler and patient. Galton
The Surf-ski was first seen on film in
Movietone News 8/51 in 1937 at Manly, the riders
riding sitting and standing with the paddles attached to the nose
Thoms page 40.
In 1937 at Hurstville, NSW, a
company ("the only surf ski manufacturers") marketed
a surf ski at seven pounds and fifteen shillings, packing and
delivery by rail or boat for two shillings and sixpence, or
fifteen shillings deposit and payments of three shillings and
sixpence per week.
In circa 1938 'Snowy' McAlister
moved onto hollow longboards, and several seasons later converted
it to as surf ski.
On Sunday, 6th February 1938 the most
celebrated rescue in the history of Australian surf life saving
took place at Bondi beach.
Sean Brawley, in examining the events
of that day, noted:
"Having had his name registered and
his handicap awarded, Francis calculated he had 20 minutes to
spare before the race and so headed for the water with a rubber
surf mat known as a 'surfoplane'.
The surfoplane had been introduced
to Bondi Beach a few seasons earlier by Stan McDonald.
On his retirement, McDonald had
designed a rubber surf mat that he called a 'beacher'.
Along with his chairs and mutton oil
tan: spray, McDonald leased the mats in their hundreds;riding
them became a popular surfing activity at a time when board
riding was still a marginal and almost exclusively surf club
The surf mats soon became more
popularly known as 'surfo- planes', the name of a rival surf mat
Brawley (2007) page 134.
This is in conflict with the
substantial claim by Thoms (2000,
page 40), and others, that the craft was invented by Dr
Ernest Smithers circa 1934 which, at the worst, parallels
Brawley's estimated time frame.
Certainly it post dates a patent
application (#9929 Class 3) for a "Surf plane" by E. E Smithers
and C. D. Richardson which was lodged on the 7th October 1932.
Official Journal of Trade Marks and
Volume 3, Number 13, 1933, page 432.
out on a skim-board. It's the latest, but no good for
crowded beaches. It weighs 90 lb., is nine feet long, folds
into four sections, is driven by a four horse-power
outboard, and does 20 miles an hour."
It's a Skim-Board,
October 1938, page 7.
Guila Bustabo, famous violinist,
of surf board riding at Bondi yesterday.
is shown here with her tuitor, George
surf board rider at bondi beach Club.
Note Connor's swimming suit with the NSW logo,
issued for interstate competition.
November 1938, page 5.
In the 1938-1939
season, Bill Hawkins of Manly paddled from Manly to Maroubra in
three hours and was reported as missing when strong headwinds
caused him to shelter in Manly cove on the return journey.
"In 1938, Osmar Gonasalves, from
the city of Santos Sans Paulo aged 16, surfed the first wave
of Brazilian surfing history.
Between December 1938 and January
1939, Osmar and his friend Joao Roberto Suplicy Haffers "the
built the first Brazilian
The board was built from Popular
With technical support from the
naval engineer Julius Putz, Osmar and Jua were behind the
required material. They bought the wood indicated (cedar
planks of four meters) and ran the project.
Following the tips friend Putz
and guidelines of the magazine, produced a board of 3.60
meters and weighed 80 kg."
- Fluir Magazine
presents - The History of
Surfing in Brazil - 50 Years of Adventure, page?.
In 1939 a highly sophisticated
example of solid wood design was shaped by L.A.Morath. of Manly
LSC Features include rail and tail grips, concave deck, metal tail
and nose plates.
A branded Outrigger Canoe Surf Club
logo was possibly added to the board after Morath
represented Australia at the Pacific Games, Honolulu ?
Held by Morath family of Balmoral,
restored to original condition by ICS/Chatswood. Nov, 1998.
Currently displayed at Balmoral Beach
Life Saving Club, Sydney.
The Australian surf team to the Pacific
Games, Honolulu were selected at local competitions.
1. Several races were
held as selection trials for the 1939 -1940 Pan Pacific
Games in Honolulu.
2. The photograph has
been substantially cropped, the rider on the far left is
missing the top half of his board.
3. Variations in board
length and design.
4. Lou Morath, second from the
Other riders should be
The Australian surf
team were selected at local competitions.
Boardriding representatives to the
Pacific Games, Honolulu included...
Dick Chapple (North Bondi),
Keightly ('Blue') Russell (Palm Beach),
Lou Morath (Manly). 'Blue'
Russell, who made hollowboards
and popularised the kneeling position for paddling, won the
"Les McKay, the Club Champion, in
his first season in the club, was selected as a member of the
Australian Surf Team, to visit Honolulu, Hawaii, for the
Pacific Surf Games in 1939. Les was well over six feet tall,
very solidly built, and excelled as a swimmer and beltman.
After many selection trials during the season, he received
both the honour of representing Australia on the first
overseas surf tour and of being the first North Cronulla
member. selected in an Australian team. Those who made the
journey to Hawaii were the envy of all surfers in Australia;
for of those applicants chosen, scores failed."
Belbin: North Cronulla (1976) page 22.
"Before his departure for
Honolulu, Les was farewelled at a dinner at the Hotel
Cronulla. Later in the evening a farewell dance was held in
the club house, where Club Captain, L. W. "Ding" Campbell,
made a presentation to Les on behalf of the club members. Miss
Aileen Atkinson (now Mrs. Griffiths), on behalf of the Ladies
Committee, presented a silver cigarette case to Les and a
bouquet of flowers, in the club colours of blue and gold, to
Mrs. Muriel McKay. Les was to travel to further honours in
1948 at the Olympic Games in London, representing Australia
once again in the water polo team; he also achieved the
distinction of being Standard Bearer for Australia at the
opening ceremony at Wembley Stadium."
Belbin: North Cronulla (1976) page 23.
Hermie Doerner capped off such
representative honours for the club in 1939 when he was
selected for the SLSA team that visited Honolulu.
Brawley (2007) page 146
Doerner captained the team, which was
accompanied by Bondi club stalwart, Tom Meagher.
Duke Kahanamoku (left) welcomes the Australian team
to the Pacific Games Honolulu, 1939.
Olympic swimmer and industrialist Sir
Frank Beaurepaire's rubber company manufactured a Surf-o-plane using the Advanx brand.
There were eventually three models -
Elite (5ft), Standard (4ft) and Small (3ft).
Colours other than black were also
available - yellow and black with yellow stripes.
Sold to the public from the factory at
Neild Avenue, Rushcutters Bay Sydney for 8 pounds ($16.00), the
company also offered a repair service and compressed air fill ups.
-ABC Radio Talkback, circa 1998.
By the 1960 the design was available
from several companies, notably Clarke Rubber and Advanx, and with
the expanded use of the automobile sales were directed more at the
general public than the hire concessions.
This was principally done by elaborate
decor, for example the Advanx Marlin model as surfed by Nick Carroll in
1969, while some later models had twin fins.
Image right :
Blue Russell, Elton
Ifould and other
with 20 foot tandem
Palm Beach, circa 1940.
Because of the disruption to the
surf clubs and their memberships during World War II,
Australian Championships were not held in the seasons between
1940 and 1945 (48).
As a substitute, the SLSAA oranised zone competitions, which
were held during the 1942-19843 and 1943-1944 seasons in the
Sydney metropolitan area.
These competitions culminated in a metropolitan championship
carnival, and were followed by a SLSAA 'patriotic'
championship carnival, the proceeds of which went to charities
such as the Australian Red Cross Prisioners-of-War Fund, and
the Australian Comforts Fund (49).
Hollow board owners who were committed
wave riders determined a small area of the board where they stood
and enhanced grip by applying a paint and sand mix.
Some riders alternatively applied a
small section of timber ridges across the board - in a similar
manner to modern adhesive rubber deck patches.
Boards were heavily varnished or
painted to cover and protect the copper nails.
Reported and illustrated by Scott Dillon at his Legends Surfing
Museum, Coffs Harbour, June 2005.
The "Jack Mawson" was named after
the illustrious Captain.
When it was suggested that a plywood
surf boat be built there were many who had doubts about the
likely durability of such a craft in the sea conditions
experienced at Stanwell Park.
However, these doubts did not deter
the wiIy Jack Mawson and he soon got permission to build such a
boat. Thus Jack 'Daki' Mawson with some assistahce from other
volunteers was to spend many hundreds of hours in Fletchers boat
shed on the Georges River building the boat, which when
completed presented a wonderful appearance.
Boat rules and the boat name were
decided six months before the craft was completed and so all was
in readiness for that launching day- 17th June, 1945.
The launching ceremony was performed
by Mrs. Moseley and the launching crew was Bill Jardine, Geoff
Russell, Jack Standen, Harry Bennett and Ken Redshaw.
Crews trained very diligently, as
there were always others wanting to get into the boat crew.
The club was successful in winning
the Illawarra Branch Championships in 1946-7 and in 1948-9. The
first winning crew consisted of Bruce Russell, Jack Brandwood,
Bob Malcolm, Jim McMahon and Con Asmussen, and the 1948-9 crew
was the same except that Norm Trevithick had replaced Con
The Jack Mawson was in service right
up to 1954 either as a first or second boat \and in that year it
was given to Fairymeadow Club providing it was used for
lifesaving purposes and that it was housed under cover.
The senior longboard became a
national event in 1946 (102), but the SLSAA had been pricked
in 1945 by the formation of the Surf Board Association of
Australia which it stated was:
to encroach upon the preserves of constituted authority
surf bathers by running a pseudo 'Surf Board Championship
of Australia.'' (104)
It seems that the SLSAA did not
want this new ''hedonistic'' Association, which also had women
members, involved in its competition or competing for the
social space which was occupied by disciplined surf life
saving clubs on Australian beaches. The Board Association was
refused affiliation by the SLSAA on the grounds it was not a
life saving club, and members of life saving clubs were
prohibited from participating in surf events organised
by an unaffiliated association.
The advent of the board Association seemed to precipitate the
SLSAA's formation of a Surf Board and Ski Section, and
formulation of appropriate rules for use of boards and skis in
its affiliated clubs, as a means of recues and in carnivals
Noted North Bondi SLSC
surfboard champion and surfboat sweep, Keith
"Spaz" Hurst demonstrates his technique
on his "Magpie" board,
Bondi circa 1947.
Bondi SLSC (2006) page 103.
Bondi Surfboard Riders
18 January 1947 page 18.
-Australia Day Week Edition
Hollow maple, silky oak and marine ply
board John K. McLennan, Queensland, no fin
- Australian National Maritime
See Notes on
In 1948 Bill Wallace was sweep of the Bronte
- Photograph, unsourced, on display at
Scott Dillon's Legends Surfing Museum,
Coffs Harbour, June 2005.
December 1948 : Outdoors and
Hudson Publications, Sydney.
A full page advertisment for Mick
Simmons' Sports Stores includes "The Winner" a
surfmat described as a 'canvas and rubber
inflated surfboard', priced at 67/- (67 shillings?).
In the classfied section , Seacraft
Plans Pty Ltd, Sydney listed a large number of boat plans
for sale by mail, including plans for surfboard, 14 ft and 10ft,
and surf-ski. Price 8 shillings.
The issue also contained advertising
for metal and rubber suction cup roof racks to transport a boat or
"The Jack Mawson 2"
In 1948 discussions were taking
place with the Council with a view to them assuming ownership of
the surf clubhouse.
Some members felt that club funds
may also be sought by the Council so it was decided to utilise
the available funds to invest in a new surf boat.
The order was placed within N. &
E. Bowns of Newcastle at a cost of £217.
Initially the boat was to be "double
rigged" as crews felt that it was better for the bow rower to
pull rounding the buoys rather than be "back watering" to effect
a quick turn around.
However, the boat builder dissuaded
the club from pursuing this idea.
On 9th October, 1949 the craft was
launched by His Honour Judge Adrian Curlewis (later to become
Thorn: Stanwell Park SLSC
(1983) page 55.
"Though a new craft was launched in
1954, the Jack Mawson 2 remained in service unt 1962 when it was
donated to the Yowie Bay Sea Scouts."
Suann was the (Cronulla) Club's inaugural surfboard
champion in the 1951-2 season (102)".
F. page 66.
surf skis, hollow board and others, Manly Beach circa 1951
Photograph probably Ray Leighton
"The (Cronulla) Club's
was tested in 1954 when Jantzen Girl, an already successful
surf boat, was destroyed by a freak wave at the North Steyne
carnival in January.
Launched in 1952-1953 season, it
was built by the Club's Vice-President Roy Phillips employing
the latest technology, and to the specifications of leading
Cronulla boatmen. ... a new surf boat apty named
Good Samaritan was launched in March 1954,"
F. page 68
"The District News 1"
As boat builders were holding many
orders for boats which they could not supply speedily,
consideration was given as early as 1951 to placing an order for
a boat, but it was decided to defer for a while.
A further move in November, 1953
met with the same result.
However, a Special General Meeting
in February, 1954 decided to order a tuck stern boat from
Phillips, Boat Builders.
Mr. Sam Frew, the editor
of the "District News" circulating in the district, offered to
conduct a newspaper appeal to raise funds to purchase the boat
and this offer was readily accepted.
The craft was completed and
delivered in time to be launched on Boxing Day, 1954.
The official function was performed
by Jack Mawson and to his credit Mr. Frew honoured his stated
intention by going for a trip through the surf in the boat
straight after the official launcing."
Australian champion surf ski paddler
for the North Bondi
and Olymic Kayak
Bondi SLSC (2006) page 125.
Stand Up Paddle Rider, circa 1940.
The source and location are
This is a hollow plywood
the double bladed paddle possibly from a surf-ski.
Note the chess-board decor
on the deck.
(2000-2016) : History : The Australian Racing 16, 1940.