edwards : what is good? 1964
- What Is Good?
Volume 5 Number 1
February - March 1964.
Copy courtesy of
the Graham Sorensen Collection.
By the beginning
of the 1960s, surf riding contests had established several basic
some in evidence since the turn of the 19th century:
by age and gender,
- the use of
(usually indicated by signal flags)
- progression by
elimination to a final, and
by a panel of experienced elders.
contest the organising committee established its own format,
appointed the judges, thereby determing the (usually otherwise
The oldest and
most prestigious contest at the beginning of the decade was
the Makaha Contest,
held each winter since 1954?
As well as
riding, some contest featured a range of events, including races
or boats, tandem surfing, or the use of alternative craft, such
it had established performance criteria, given its reputation
of of big
wave location, wave size was critical, in conjunction with
length of ride,
usually indicted by the positioning of a buoy inside the
the contest for competitors and spectators, as well as providing
given the unreliability of good surf coinciding with the
Phil Edwards' attendance at the 1964 World Championships at
as the head judge.
but, apparently, never won a recognised surfing contest,
was held in high regard by the world's surfing community for his
knowledge, and pleasant demeanour; the later often contrasted
California surfer, Micky Dora.
He was selected
the Senior Men's list for the first annual United States
Championships to be held in mid-February 1964 at the Oceanside
declined in order to head the panel of judges.
- page 59.
title creates unfulfilled expectations, in that it poses rather
Edwards establishes that
there are two different schools of (small) wave riding, the trickster
and the functional, and, while clearly indicating a
preference for the
later, suggests that officials provide competitors with standardised
rules, regulations, and judging.
The uncredited photograph of Midget
Farrelly at Makaha in 1962-1963, said to demonstrate the trickster
school, is unfortunate.
In a subsequent
letter to the editor, titled Injustice, Phil Edwards wrote:
In regard to
recent article in SURFER Magazine on contests, I felt that the
picture and caption did Midget Farrelly an injustice.
smooth style do not only deny the caption, but make him the
the "stylist" surfer.
The editor responded:
Our apologies to
Midget and Phil.
written in haste and referred to an early stage in Midget's
As head judge at the 1964 World Championships in Australia,
Phil Edwards was instrumental in awarding first place to Midget
Sections of the Australian surfing
press characterised Farrelly's style, heavily influenced
by Edwards, as Functional; later challenged
by the New Era approach expounded by Bob McTavish and Nat Young.
... a part of surfing, Surfer Tips 9, page 11.
Makaha International Results,
Selections, page 59.
designed by Carter Pyle, page 28.
CONTESTS - WHAT
Midget Farrelly, caught
in the middle of a spinner, or perhaps a series of
school of surfing where the wave is
an incidental means of expressing
one's ability to others.
and 1962 Makaha champion, Farrelly is a "trickster"
almost without parallel.
them in private surfing talks, but hesitates to write anything
of the controversial nature of the subject.
They come up
with new ways to judge them, but someone always finds
something wrong with
whatever is proposed.
The fact that
they are so controversial makes one believe that present
contests are not satisfactory.
I have taken part in many of these discussions and judged many
and they have always boiled down to one common lacking-what is
No one knows.
We are in a
sport and have not decided what is good.
styles of surfing and different lines of thinking, but until
the thinking of the leaders in the sport, the contests will
not take on
the meaning they should have.
there are two schools of thought.
There is the
I have been
this by many people who have borrowed the word from skiing.
As far as I
ascertain, applied to surfing, it would mean that the surfer
primarily on maintaining complete control at times - with good
limits maneuverability and tricks.
I know of no
for the other school or style, but in every surfing contest I
there was always the contestant who "gets the job done."
do many things on a board and are willing to lose some control
and even take an occasional spill.
, there will be an equally good surfer doing a little bit
less, but always
the "stylist" will look smoother, but he won't be doing as
If he was, he
wouldn't look as smooth, and vice versa.
on the north shore of Oahu, the best surfers live and surf
is competition among them.
In fact, the
keenest surfing competition in the world can be seen almost
every day of
No one is
qualified to judge this competition than the surfers
in their own field and only they know enough to compensate for
At the end of
the winter these surfers usually know where they stand on the
list of champs.
for some is that there is never a complete victory:
competition" offers no trophies, but often the winners are
surf movies, magazines, and elevated reputation.
have done the best in big waves.
have done better in the smaller surf.
(sometimes a tie) will have done best in the intermediate
the best ride of the year.
the most aggressive or daring rider of the year.
will be the smoothest wave rider.
Of course, it
is impossible to break a standard contest into as many
divisions as this
and include the most important surfing asset of versatility.
are good for the sport and we must have them.
a great deal to elevate surfing in the eyes of the general
What can be
have done best in contests are the ones who have completely
the rules and conditions and have been able to adapt their
style of surfing
to fit the situation.
Now it is up
to us, if contests are to continue, to clearly define the
the various styles and abilities and weigh them accordingly.
improve until the leaders in the sport understand more of what
trying to accomplish and what they are judging.
contests must start somewhere and the start can be in trying
to set up
standards of what is good.
have presented similar problems which have been handled well.
has standardized rules, regulations, and judging.
are to improve, we must have standards that the judges can use
that exists now, you are often limited by obsolete rules and
if you judge
the way they tell you, the results will often be different
from your own
contests have been the "loose" ones where the judges were left
on their own.
section of judges will bring different results.
will pick a contestant with control.
will pick strictly performance.
were judging, the surfer that had the best wipe-outs would
are two schools of thought - often it becomes apparent in the
In the first,
the wave is an incidental means of expressing one's ability to
often a gym or track field would serve the same purpose.
In the second,
or other school, a wave is simply a beautiful expression
and respected as reason enough to participate.
merges with the wave, while the former merely "uses" the wave.
What is good?
... a part of surfing.
[Black and white photograph: Dwight
Captain, L.A. County Lifegards]
We have been
in the past few years by many surfers who do not know how to
This was not
always a problem and formerly, when a lifeguard saw a surfer
in the water,
he practically forgot him, knowing that he would be a good
Five or ten
ago, many surfers were lifeguards or associated with surfing
had swimming as part of the requirements.
problem has developed to such a point that last year in the
in the Redondo area alone there were seven resuscitations and
rescues of surfers in a two-week period.
surfers, after losing their boards, could not swim to the
beach by themselves.
deaths last year of surfboard riders which were directly
Sunset or Makaha surf for this problem to arise.
The danger is
present in four or five foot surf to the poor swimmer.
When he loses
his board: he suddenly finds himself in trouble.
has not learned to swim well enough and is not at home In the
In addition to
this, on the beaches up and down our coastline, the rip tide
is a very
important factor to surfers.
It can be used
as a tool to get out through the surf, but if the surfer loses
and ends up in a rip, he must know how to get out of it.
A rip tide is
caused by the incoming waves bringing water in with them and
up next to the beach.
own level and it will flow out at the point of least
flow of water is like a river flowing out to sea.
This is a rip
tide (or current).
When a surfer
finds himself in a rip tide, he should not swim directly
against it toward
the beach, but rather, across it- to an area where the rip
current is not
pulling and then swim in to the beach.
boards, poor swimmers, who are usually beginning surfers, try
to get in
where the waves are smallest.
where the rip tide action is taking place.
The water is
usually discolored and very choppy in a rip tide area.
are due to surf, wherever there are surfers and waves- there
I feel that
basic swimming requirement for surfboard riding should be 300
observations I would say that very few of the beginning
surfers these days
can meet this basic requirement.
The first time
some of the beginning surfers think about swimming ability is
lose their surfboard and find that they're in water over their
areas have jetties or piers that the novices can walk out on
dangerous because they can do this in large surf and be in
much more danger
upon losing their board.
technique that should not be overlooked by the beginning
surfer is treading
especially in very big surf, you can stay outside of the
for a long time, expending little energy. Also, you can tread
a wipe-out and be washed in by waves.
has been neglected by many beginning surfers is body surfing.
They learn to
swim a few yards and then by-pass this wonderful sport
completely to learn
comes in very handy to the surfer who has lost his board and
faces a long
It is a very
good conditioner for learning to surf, timing the take-off,
waves, and being at home in the surf.
It also takes
up the void during the day when the wind blows unfavorably for
riding or when local regulations prohibit surfboard riding.
In the big
in Hawail there is even more swimming ability and conditioning
Many big wave
riders start working out before they go to the Islands so they
can be in
top condition to handle the big surf.
surfers and good swimmers who know that they must be even
better in big
For the novice
surfer to go to Makaha or Waimea without being in very good
shape and without
having a great deal of experience in large waves would be like
scale Mount Everest with very little mountaineering experience
There is a lot
more to surfboard riding than purchasing the board, going to
and standing on it.
Learn to swim,
learn to body surf, and know the water.
This will make
your surfing much more enjoyable.
Photograph: The shot
illustrates the riptide action at Sunset Beach.
feeding the rip in the white water on each side pours
center, (arrow indicates
center of outward flow).
Bulletin: Just received
are the results of the Annual Makaha International
Championships as covered
by contestant Mickey Munoz.
press time does not allow us
a more complete coverage.
WINS MAKAHA INTERNATIONAL
off with First Place in the Makaha International Surfing
held in Makaha's dream surf- 20-foot point surf.
contestants and viewers, it was the best contest ever, with
good riding, and a strong representation of the world's top
were held December 21 and 22 in extremely rough 25-foot
were held the following Friday, December 27, in the
the surf go down to 12 to 15 feet and Fred Hemmings win the
29th, the surf had dropped to about six feet -just right for
Women and Tandem.
of San Clemente, California, repeated as Women's champion,
while Mike Doyle
and Linda Merrill took top honors
can be credited with the smoothly-run contest that, along
surf conditions, produced the best Makaha Surf Championships
Diamond Head Paddle Race Corky Carroll put the field to
shame as he won
the stock board paddle and broke Tommy Zahn's old record.
(on a racing board) could stay ahead of Corky.
The rest of
contestants, including those on racing boards, paddle
boards, etc., were
left in the dust.
1st Joey Cabell
1st Nancy Nelson
1st Fred Hemmings
2nd Jay Clarke
3rd LeRoy Ah
1st Mike Doyle
- Linda Merrill
2nd Nappy Napoleon
- Laura Blears
3rd Rabbit Kekai
- Momi Adachi
U. S. INVITATIONAL
The First Annual
United States Invitational Surfing Championships are to be
held in mid-February
at the Oceanside Pier.
Only the top
surfers from the United States have been invited to
participate in the
20 Senior Men,
16 Junior Men, 8 Women, and 4 Tandem teams were chosen by a
selected on the basis of open contests won in 1963 or
Chamber of Commerce has wisely turned over the surfing portion
top surfers and surfing authorities and the event promises to
be one of
the best contests of the year.
One of the outstanding
features of the invitational is that there will not be a great
surfers to wade through to eventually come up with the tops.
The contest starts
with the tops and this allows more time for heats, possibly
and, in general, a fairer contest.
This is not to
say that all contests should be invitationals.
is definitely a need for an event of this sort and it looks
is going to come up with one of the most interesting
of the year.
Below are the
selections and the alternates in each division, as well as a
list of judges.
who was selected on the Senior Men's list, declined in order
to head the
and Dick Pittet surf a 19 ft catamaran at "Killer Capo,"
Morgan or John Severson.
just something to do when the surf is blown out!
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designed with the sport of surfing in mind and proven
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allow you to sail right up on to the beach.
Pyle and built by Newport Boats to the highest
standards of quality.
Calif. phone (714) Midway 6-4737
to: Box 1023, Dana Point, California
Volume 5 Number
February - March
Rincon by John Severson.
Cater (2000-2018) : Phil Edwards : What is Good?, 1964