Source Documents
surfermidget and world contest, 1964 

Surfer : Midget Farrelly and World Contest, 1964.

Midget Farrelly Interview. Ron Perrott: Australian World Contest. Newport Wedge
Volume 5 Number 4 September 1964.

An extensive interview, recorded on a visit to California, with Midget Farrelly after his win in the 1964 World Championships at Manly Beach, Australia.
This is followed by (some of) Ron Perrott's coverage of the contest, with colour photographs.

Meanwhile, a highlight in California is the Pacific Coast Tandem Championships.

Midget recalls the hollow paddle-board era and the changes initiated by the arrival of the Malibu board with US and Hawaiian lifesavers in 1956.
Noting he now builds his own boards, Midget's current preference is a little in excess of ten feet and about the standard width and thickness.
From the Malibu era he notes the influence of
"Nipper" Williams (possibly the first surfer - on film at least - to take a step forward on a surfboard in Australia), Bob Evans, and Bluey Mayes from Bondi.

International influences came via
Bud Browne's surfing movies (1957-1958), showing Dewey Weber, Phil Edwards, Mike Doyle, Conrad Cunha, and "Squirrelly."
Interesting, Midget commented that Phil Edwards' casual, controlled surfing was a new era (my emphasis) that we didn't quite understand.
Two years later John Witzig wrote of another New Era, as he saw it marking the end of Farrelly's dominance in Australia.

Unfortunately, Ron Perrott's coverage of the world contest is incomplete.

Other articles include a two page spread on California's renowned body surfing break, the Newport Wedge, Guns, Pistols and Cannons (possibly on surfboard design?) by Fred van Dyke,
The Fantastic Juniors, Skateboards -  Kids Stuff or Real Sport?, and the Surfer Tips was Ding Repairs by Dewey Weber.

The unusual cover  features eight photographs of Orange County, and one of Tanya Binning at the World Contest in Australia.

1964 1st World Championships, Manly Beach, NSW  (May 16 and 17).
Open: 1st Midget Farrelly 2nd Mike Doyle (USA) 3rd Joey Cabell (USA)
4th Bobby Brown, 5th Mick Dooley  6th L.J. Richards (USA).
Women:  1st Phyllis O’Donell  2nd Linda Benson (USA)  3rd Heather Nicholson
Juniors.  1st Robert Connelley  2nd Nat Young  3rd Wayne Cowper
(All  competitors are
Australian, except where noted.)
British Pathe: "Midget" Regains World Board-Riding Title (1964)
Misleadingly titled
Open Surfboard Championships In Australia (1929)
Footage of 1964 Makaha contest, won by Joey Cabell, followed film of the mens, womens and juniors at the 1964 World Contest at Manly.

Final Results World Surfboard Championships. Manly Beach, NSW. May 16 and 17, 1964.

Manly Library  L.S.W. 797.32 AUS
Typed document, included in held copy of Contest Program.
Forwarded, with thanks, by Garry Crockett, August 2011.
1st. World Surfboard Championships
World Championship
1. Midget "Midget" Farrelly (Dee Why)
2. Mike Doyle (Long Beach, Calif.)
3. Joey Cabell (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Australian Senior Men's Championship
1. Midget  Farrelly (Dee Why)
2. Bobby Brown (Cronulla)
3. Mick Dooley (Manly)

Australian Junior Men's Championship
1. Robert Connelley (Bondi)
2. Nat Young (Collaroy)
3. Wayne Cowper (Maroubra)

Australian Women's Championship
1. Phyllis O’Donell (Kira, Qld.)
2. Linda Benson (Encinitas, Calif.)
3. Heather Nicholson (Coff's Harbour)

132 points 
118 1/2

87 1/2
80 1/4

90 1/4

Page 36

The little fellow stood on the beach watching with amazement as the visiting American Lifeguard Team demonstrated surfing with an ability the Australians hardly believed possible.
Bernard Farrelly, so small his surfing counterparts nicknamed him "Midget," dreamed of the day he could ride and maneuver a board like the Americans.
He could have no idea at that time that in less than ten years his surfing skill would far surpass what he was seeing that day and, in fact, he would have two world championships to his credit.
With the winning of the 1964 World Championships in Australia, Midget emerges us a giant in the surfing world.
In addition to his surfing ability, his courtesy and diplomacy makes him an outstanding representative of the Australian people.
In an interview, with the new World Champion, Midget puts forth his views on the recent World contest, the Makaha event, and
many other aspects of the sport.

What did you think of the Australian World Contest?
I have never attended a more well-run contest.
It was a great credit to the ASA.
The attendance on the second day was around the 30,000 mark with 80,000 people passing through Manly on that day.
It was the largest crowd ever to pass in and out of Manly and the largest to attend a surfing contest.
I must sound like an awful bragger, but it's a fact

Was winning the contest your biggest thrill in surfing?
I don't think it was the greatest thrill, but I do know that the impact of the winning announcement was overpowering.
I was really shaken up and very happy.
It fell like a real honor.
The tension on the beach, or should I say Alfred Hitchcock-type suspense, the finalists and I went through on the beach was murder.
So you could understand that all the finalists and I were really on edge.
I have never seen or felt anything the magnitude as was happening while we waited tor the decision

Recently you placed
high on the SURFER POLL.
How do you feel about this?

I am very pleased to have been selected fourth.

How old are you?
I'm 19 years old.

How did you get the nickname of Midget?
I suppose it was because I was so small when I started surfing.
There weren't very many youngsters surfing then because the boards were so large and heavy.

After you saw the American team in 1956, what did you do?
We had been riding sixteen foot paddleboards and realized that we must have boards like the Americans to improve our surfing. The American boards were made of balsa, but the longest length we could get in balsa was three feet, so for quite a while the manufacturers were making ten-foot hollow boards, using a design and shape similar to the Malibu boards that the American team was riding.
We used these for nearly
It wasn't until about 1958 that we had a reasonable supply of balsa.

Then we were able to make and use boards that were much the same de
sign as the surfboards that came down in 1956.

How did the boards affect your riding?
Well, was a completely new concept in surfing.
We didn't walk, but we were shuffling further forward than we had ever gone before.
We were turning and riding more parallel to the wave than we had ever done before and were holding the white water more successfully.
We were able to maneuver much better to get out of trouble and into the curl.

How were the shapes on those early balsa boards?
Oddly enough, the boards that came down at that time were rather similar to what the boards have gone back to today.
We started with what is now caned a semi-gun, but while they weren't quite as comfortable as the ones we ride today, they were farther on the track to good surfing than some of the boards that came through in between times.

What kind of board do you ride now?
Actually, the board I'm riding now isn't to my liking.
Unfortunately, I've outgrown it and it isn't a good, all-around board.
As you know, I lost two of my boards in Hawaii, which was rather unfortunate, and I'm left with a board that is too small for me.
(Editor's note: Two boards were stolen from Midget just before the Makaha meet in Hawaii last year.)
But the board I do prefer to ride - I build my own - at this time is a little in excess of ten feet and about the standard width and thickness.

And weights?
Previously I had gone for the heavier board.
I'm more dependent on shape now rather than weight for the greater benefit from the board.

Did you have any early surfing heroes?

I was split between two.
When I first came into contact with the light-weight boards, the heroes were Australians, and we did have some really good surfers.
They still measure up today - really well.
"Nipper" Williams, possibly the first surfer - on film at least - to take a step forward on a surfboard in Australia and Bob Evens
(sic, Evans) - he's visited Hawaii three times - who possibly made the greatest advancements on an American board he owned for several years.
He had a semi-gun that he persevered with and practiced on and finally wound up riding some mighty big
waves with plenty of comfort to show - which was something different.
Bluey Mayes was another of the surfers that I looked up to in those days.
There were several others, but these three stand out in my mind.
Of course the rather abrupt turning point came when we saw the surfing movies.
Bud Browne's surfing movies, which came late in 1957 and 58, showed such surfers as Dewey Weber, Phil Edwards, Mike Doyle, Conrad Canha
(sic, Cunha), and "Squirrelly."
We were most impressed and influenced by these surfers and possibly I tried to develop my style to look a little similar to these people - so as to learn.

Did this film affect surfing in all of Australia in addition to yourself?
We saw Dewey Weber's head dip and his flamboyant riding in the movie and wherever the movie touched, the kids were wearing red shorts and sticking their heads into the wave.
And when we saw Phil Edwards' casual, controlled surfing it was a new era that we didn't quite understand.
However, we were highly impressed.
Perhaps we understand that more today than we did any of the others.
We saw Conrad Canha's quick turning at Makaha — he's a goofy footer and his cutbacks were something fabulous at the time.
We saw Squirrelly's powerful arches in the soup at Makaha and, of course, Mike Doyle's riding and his antics— well, they set us all off with head dips, arches, fast backhand turns, and smooth and casual riding.
So, we got it all in one big lump.
Possibly we didn't know what to do with it all, but we got something out of it that gave more maneuverability to Australian surfers than any other one thing.

After the films had gone, did you just remember what it was like and go from there or did they come back regularly?
They came back occasionally, but not until the 60's did they become regular.
Bud was the only one that showed in the 50's and then came John
(Severson)'s , Bruce (Brown)'s, John Williams', and several others.
We remembered what we saw and, of course, without copying exactly, we evolved our own style which led us on to learning new things.

How do you manage to travel and surf?
Well, I've been able to travel because of the bit at luck I've had in surfing contests and the publicity I received.
Certain clothing manufacturers have been interested enough to sponsor me in my travels in return for helping them on their sales programs.

Speaking of contests, you won the Makaha Championship in 1962 and I'm curious as

Page 37
to how it affected your life.
It made quite a change, actually.
Whereas quite a bit of my time has been taken up with surfing previously, I found it was practically a full-time  job upon my  return to Sydney.
As the surfing season started to progress, more and more I was called upon to take an active part in publicizing surfing and handling of surfing.
I became a figure in surfing, took part in the Australian Surfing Association and  was traveling around the coastline and overseas for demonstration purposes.

In Australia the public looks more favorably on surfing than in the United States, wouldn't you say?
Now it does.
It wasn't this way little over 12 months ago.
We had the same publicized gremmie problem.
I fact, we had what was known as the surfie-rocker war.
This was an over publicized minor incident and was jumped upon by the press and blown out of proportion. This caused a large blot to appear on the name of the surfer, but through favorable publicity we have received this summer we've been able to gain a strong foot hold in Australia as a sport.
More and more we are being recognized.
I feel that now we possibly have a strong foothold than you have here.
For us it changed rather quickly from bad to good, while here you've been receiving unfavorable publicity for a number of years, and now you're working towards the favorable publicity and coming up slowly but very strongly.

Midget Farrelly at Huntington Pier, mid-1964.
This year you entered the Makaha contest again and we would like to know how you felt about it — the contest and its out come.
Of course, as you know, this year was the best surf that the Makaha Contest has ever had.
It was the biggest surf.
It was also the year for some of the biggest problems to ever to be brought to the surface at Makaha.
What was possibly evident before could not be helped but be seen this year.
One of the major things that comes under fire as usual, but most evident this year, was the judging and possibly the handling of the contestants.
Of course, we're all aware of the international title that the Waikiki Surf Club places on the Makaha meet and the poor fact that they don't have international judges.
This thing everyone recognizes.
This must be changed, I feel.
If it isn't, I know that a great many of the great surfers who participated will be forced by the Waikiki Surf Club to refrain from taking part again.
Conditions at Makaha generally for the competitor were down.
The people who traveled a great distance were shown little consideration, while consideration was shown for others under the same circumstances.
This was another thing that was greatly to the disfavor of the Makaha Contest.
There were several other minor points — poor occurrences that were unnecessary, but most of all, those that appeared strongest were the inefficient judging and judging standards and the care for competitors.
A lot of things could be changed.
I remember driving over 700 miles in seven days, being charged to park, and not knowing
what actually was going on at the contest.

700 miles?
In seven days.
You see, a hundred miles a day — from Sunset Beach to Makaha and back.
Overseas contestants, especially Australians were rather in the dark because of the lack of communications - just what was happening

In all international sporting events, a representative of the country in which the event is to be held usually meets the foreign competitors and keeps them informed.
Also, they usually assigned a host who provides housing and transportation for them.
Were you shown this courtesy in Hawaii?

Well, unfortunately, no.
We were on our own until the actual time it came to receive the judge's instructions.
We came into practically no contact with any member of the Waikiki Surf Club or the organization that handles the Makaha Contest.
However, they certainty used us well for publicity purposes.
It was rather disheartening to see that practically no courtesies were extended to us.

Did your experience and treatment at Makaha prompt you (Australia) to initiate the Australian World Championship?
We rather took it upon ourselves to have a world contest.
We've done so as a radical step to try to create a good image of the international contest.
We had international judging at the contest.
However, I feel mat aa international contest should be a rotating thing and it should be held each year in a different place — in a different country so that all the surfing areas in the world should be touched upon.
It would be a credit to surfing to be able to boast a rotating international contest such as the Davis Cup or possibly the Olympic Games— traveling from country to country

In your country are the contests sanctioned by the Australian Surfing Association?
Of course we're still a very young Association and the Association holds a lot of its own contests.
The Australian Surfing Association ran off contests in every state in preparation for the World Championships.

Do you feel that the United States Surfing Association and the Australian Surfing Association, along with other foreign countries who have or wil have an association, should form an international board to decide on these international contests?
Headquarters are in Peru for one year, as Peru is the site of the next world contest.
The Federation ruled that only one world contest should be held a year.
The country wishing to submit a bid must invite all countries and sponsor a minimum of three.
The contest must be run to the rules of the Federation.
I think that there is new hope for contests now — let's hope so.

Do you feel this will improve relations between the various counties competing?

It certainly will.
Quite often sports seem to hold countries together a little closer than politics do.
For example, the Olympics.
I know that it
Page 39

Midget Farrelly jams a cutback during the recent World
Contest at Many Beach in Australia.
A man concerned with every move he makes, Midget
displays great concentration over the well executed manoeuvre.
Color photography by Ron Perrott.
Page 40
Midget most impressed by Phil Edwards and other "thinking surfers."

would be the greatest thing for surf­ing countries of the world to lake part in an international contest.

Do you plan to continue in competition?
I do, possibly not always as a con­testant, but I plan to take part In every content possible so as to feel that I know what's going on with the contests as I believe that my ideas on contests fit in with just about ev­eryone else's and possibly I can do a little bit of good by being in them - whether as a contestant or a judge or possibly even just setting the con­test up.

Will you compare Californian surfing with Australian surfing?

Surfing is still such a young thing that an ultimate comparison would be foolish to try to give.
However, as I see it, the accent in California is on the finer points of surfing.
This is among the knowledgeable surfers.
The accent is upon the finer points in surfing and the finer points in surfboards.
In Australia we're still in the younger and we're still getting our teeth a little strong on the thing.
So, possibly we're making some pretty good mistakes right now and in doing so, we appear rather odd at limes.
How­ever, we are on the way to learning the finer points, I think.
I would say that   surfing  has developed  a little more as a fine art here, while we are still in a younger stage.

I've heard it said that Australians in their ridding of big waves in Hawaii show a dare-devilty.
Do you find this to be true?
Well, yes I do.
A lot of surfers who have been doing these dare-devil things have had bad results from them.
By chance quite a few of these surfers happen to be Australians.
I think they're out to learn everything they can about the places and really take chances to learn rapidly, espe­cially people like Bob Pike and Peter Troy, who both had a little bit of a battle with the bottom at the Pipe­line this year.
Unfortunately, Bob went home with separated ribs.
He's recovering quite well now.
Peter Troy received two sets of stitches after only two encounters with the Pipeline.
Both of them are dare-devils-
they certainly are,

As to the surfers themselves how would you compare our top surfers to the top surfers in Australia?
The sport here has progressed to the finer points and stages of surfing.
You have more understanding of the sport and have taken your chances.
We in Australia are still taking chances and quite often getting really bombed out because of it.
Then, as people, you here in California spend a lot more time in school, but basically you ap­pear to be the same and have very much the same interests.
The accent is on sport and get as much surf as possible and travel to find the surf.
This is rather comparable to the Aus­tralian attitude, they're extra keen on getting as much surf as they can.
In their younger years everything else seems to take second place and then - as they get past 21,  they start to bal
ance it out and it becomes more of a pleasure and pastime rather than a fanatical thing.
Basically they re the same.
It's just that you've gone through it a lot longer than we have.

What are the various styles of surfing that you see and the exponents of these styles?
The style that I look for the most often is the smooth, functional crea­tive, and searching style that is rep­resented by Phil Edwards and several others.
He more or less stands for a smooth type of thinking surfing and his actions seem to speak of the re­sult of a thought in connection with the wave.
This is one of the major and most popular styles.
I have noticed in such areas as the South Bay a complete difference in style as must be put to work in that type of surf.
The shorter-riding shorebreak that they have there produces a quicker style - it's a little bit faster and pos­sibly, as a result has to be a little bit showy.
Dewey Weber is one of the greatest exponents at this quick maneuverability.
I'm not against this; I think It's something to see and it's good to see the difference.
In big waves there is a different type of style again.
It's a much more limited thing and the accent is on thinking about the wave and worrying more about the wave than your style, I feel that eventually one style will evolve after a general round of thought has been put into surfing.
Surfers will develop a style that will suit their movements in connection with the wave and the surfboard and it will balance out - it will be a style that will evolve from all three of these.

Is that what you're working towards in you style?

It is my idea on getting anywhere near what you might call looking for perfection and I didn't say perfection, I said looking for perfection.
It works up to the amount of thought put into surfing and basically the way a surfer controls himself and his surfboard on the wave.

Who are the people that you think are outstanding in big surf?
There are quite a few, I think, and although there's a lot of new heroes, they all seem to have a set pattern after those I've watched.
I've always been a great admirer of Pat Curren, who uses intense thought in the de­signing of his surfboards and into his riding of big waves.
The size of the waves he's ridden is a result of that.
Paul Strauch has influenced my think­ing highly with his aggressiveness on big waves.
And such people you might compare with Paul and Pat are Paul Gebauer and George Downing.
I feel that Downing, Gebauer, and Strauch appear to me as the aggressives in big wave surfing, along with Ricky Grigg.
Another one who stands out again is Phil Edwards and although he hasn't ridden the biggest waves, he's im­pressed me highly with the way he's handled himself in big surf.
I know there s been a lot of others and I don't like to pass over so quickly but they're the ones who impressed me.

Do you think a surfer in your position of being an international champion has to be careful in how he acts and talks?
When he has participated in an international sport such as surfing and receives an ultimate credit, then he's obligated to the public to put forward a reasonably good image.
Be reasonably sincere, yet cautious in the things he says.
I feel he's more or less looked up to by other surfers and quite often he will impress a number of people by what he says and does.
I feel it would be a great thing if all our champions were diplomats and people who had a lot of experience with the problems of surfing.
They can do a lot for the sport by selling an example that will help their sport progress.

What do you feel about surfers who would like to travel to Australia for surf?
I've run into a lot of Californians who are very eager to come down.
The surfer would be interested in two things: the surf and whether you can survive down there comfortably with it.
Our surf is best during our winter part of the year, which is of course June-July
 Its the opposite to your season.
The wind is off the shore most often and the surf is more of the ground swell type at that time of year.
Conditions are uncrowded and the best surfing spots seem to best at that time of year.
We have beau­tiful coastline - 600 miles either way of Sydney.
From Queensland to Vic­toria you'll find tremendous surf it that time of year.
You can even come down and discover your own places.
The sport is that young down here.
We haven't found all our places.
You'll need sufficient money - things are rather expensive.
Food is reasonably cheap.
In addition to sufficient money for your stay, most of all a round trip ticket is important.
It isn't too hard to work.
Jobs are reasonably easy to come by as long as you're reasonably talented.
The surfboard business is booming, even though at that time of year it's the off season.
Knowledgable surfers in Australia will welcome California surfers who come down to surf and sample what we have.

How do you find your reception here in Southern California by the surfer?
As far as the average surfer, they're extremely Inquisitive and quite friendly.
We've been received rather well; I hope we haven't put our foot out of the line too much as to what we've done.
It's been great!

Would you like to see an international contest - one of the international contests - held in California?
I feel that it would be a sad thing if there never was one and I think in a place where surfing is being de­veloped to such a fine art, it would be a great shame if there was never one held here.

Would you  attend a  contest of proportions If it wan held in California?
I would make every effort to do so.

Page 41
Australian Word Contest
Photos and story by Ron Perrott.

To arrive in a strange land on a cold, wet Tues­day with a howling wind tearing at your coat is bad enough for anyone, but for Makaha Champion Joey Cabell and other top surfers lacing a major compe­tition in a few days time, the outlook was more like "What are we doing here?"
Billed by the Austra­lians as the "first truely international surf cham­pionships," the World Contest was scheduled for May 16 and 17 at Manly Beach, north of Sydney.

Assured by all that the strong southerly winds would prove to be the best thing that could ever happen, the international group was taken on a guided tour of the wind-swept beaches, described by some as "a churning mess."

For several weeks before the contest the sand banks had been shaping perfectly.
The major worry was whether the small consistent swell would hold out for the big event.
It seemed highly unlikely that a ground swell would appear in time, but at least the south wind was a guarantee of sufficient surf for the contest.

By the first day of the contest most of the over­seas contestants had settled in, as well as a five-foot swell rolling into the contest area situated midway between North Steyne and Manly.
The weather had long since cleared, although it was still cold and hazy in the mornings.
The sand bank in front was perfect for the championships with the rights hold­ing the better shape.
The first of eight 30-minute Junior qualifying heats started at 7:30 a.m. and the World Contest was underway.

Outstanding among the Junior Heat winners were Robert Connely of Bondi, Wayne Cowper of Maroubra, and Avalon's Russell Hughes.
The heat winners seeded straight into the semi-finals on Sunday, along with the respective Junior State champions.

The Senior heats, also of 30 minutes duration, started around mid-day with Mick Dooley from Bondi and Wayne Burton of Newport (Australia) showing their usual fine style in winning their heats.
In another heat Glen Ritchie displayed per­sistant nose work, time after time hanging per­fectly-judged "fives" and "tens" on seemingly un­suitable waves.
The crowd appreciated his work, as did the judges, declaring him heat winner.

The first quarter finals on Sunday saw some of the best surfing of the meet.
Offshore winds, good "right banders " and surfers like L. J. Richards, Wayne Burton, Kevin Platt, and New South Wales Champion Bobby Brown all combined to keep the spectators on their toes.
Bob Brown and Wayne Burton were delayed and arrived for the action halfway through the heat.
However, they surfed to such good effect that they managed to come in sec­ond and third respectively behind a masterful per­formance by "Little John" Richards of California.

The second quarter finals saw Mike Doyle head­ing an international group comprising French champion Joel de Rosnay and New Zealand's John McDermott.
Mick Dooley repeated Saturday's per­formance with several good waves, while Glen Ritchie was at the well-worn nose section of his board once again.
This time, in the presence of
(continued on page 44)
- incomplete.

Page 43

In a helicopter view of the contest,
surfer-photographer Ron Perrott captures the color of the event.

The crowd on the beach watches participants (left, center),
while surfers on the right work out in the "free surf" area.

Contest area detail.

Page 46 

Mick Dooley Drop-Knee,
Joey Cabell Paddling.
Page 47
Junior Champion: Nat Young ... a stall-type cutback.

Page 26.

The Newport Wedge is known throughoul the world as one of the most ferocious bodysurf breaks existing.
The above shot, taken on a tremendously large soulh swell day, shows the immeme size of the crushing shopbreak.
The onlookers line ihe beach, hardly believing the awe-inspiring spectacle.
Photo by Bill Silzle.

A smaller Wedge wave with Joe Quigg in position.
How long he stayed in the curl remains in doubt.
The wave appears to be fast folding
Photo by Carter Pyle.


Volume 5 Number 4
September 1964.

Our unique cover montage features the colorful surf of Orange County.
From left to right.

Top row:
Chuck Burgess, Huntington Beach;
Sunset, San Onofre;
Tanya Binning - Australian World Contest (see page 41);

Center row:
Don "Red" Thomas, Huntington Pier;
Cathy Pierce, San Clemente;
paddling out, Doheny;

Bottom row:
Eric's woodie, Doheny State Park;
Sunset, Doheny;
rail-grab, Huntington Pier.


Geoff Cater (2015-2020) : Surfer : Midget Farrelly Interview and World Contest, 1964.