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  phil edwards : what is good? 1964 

 Edwards, Phil: Contests - 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 features, some in evidence since the turn of the 19th century:
- competitors classed by age and gender,
- the use of identifying shirts,
-  timed heats (usually indicated by signal flags)
- progression by elimination to a final, and
- performance assessed by a panel of experienced elders.

However, at each contest the organising committee established its own format, rules, and appointed the judges, thereby determing the (usually otherwise unstated) performance criteria.

The oldest and most prestigious contest at the beginning of the decade was the Makaha Contest, held each winter since 1954?
Unlike most contests 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 break.  

As well as surfboard riding, some contest featured a range of events, including races with boards or boats, tandem surfing, or the use of alternative craft, such as inflatable surf mats.
These events enhanced the contest for competitors and spectators, as well as providing alternatives given the unreliability of good surf coinciding with the prescribed contest date.
This article precedes Phil Edwards' attendance at the 1964 World Championships at Manly, Australia, as the head judge.
Although he competed but, apparently,  never won a recognised surfing contest, Phil Edwards was held in high regard by the world's surfing community for his skill, knowledge, and pleasant demeanour; the later often contrasted with fellow California surfer, Micky Dora.
He was selected on the Senior Men's list for the first annual United States Invitational Surfing Championships to be held in mid-February 1964 at the Oceanside Pier, but declined in order to head the panel of judges.
- page 59.
Unfortunately, the articles' title creates unfulfilled expectations, in that it poses rather than answers the question.
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 my recent article in SURFER Magazine on contests, I felt that the accompanying picture and caption did Midget Farrelly an injustice.
Midge's grace and smooth style do not only deny the caption, but make him the epitome of the "stylist" surfer.
Phil Edwards, Dana Point, California

The editor responded:
Our apologies to Midget and Phil.

The caption was written in haste and referred to an early stage in Midget's surfing development...ed.

As head judge
at the 1964 World Championships in Australia, Phil Edwards was instrumental in awarding first place to Midget Farrelly.
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.
Also in this Edition.
Dwight Crum: Swimming ... a part of surfing, Surfer Tips 9, page 11.
Mickey Munoz: Makaha International Results, page 59
U.S. Invitational Selections, page 59.
Pacific Catamarans, designed by Carter Pyle, page 28.

Page 30


Midget Farrelly, caught in the middle of a spinner, or perhaps a series of spinners, demonstrates the
school of surfing where the wave is  an incidental means of expressing one's ability to others.

Australian surfer and 1962 Makaha champion, Farrelly is a "trickster" almost without parallel.
Page 31
Everyone discusses them in private surfing talks, but hesitates to write anything because 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 conditions in contests are not satisfactory.

In my experience I have taken part in many of these discussions and judged many contests and they have always boiled down to one common lacking-what is good?
No one knows.
We are in a new sport and have not decided what is good.
There are different styles of surfing and different lines of thinking, but until we combine the thinking of the leaders in the sport, the contests will not take on the meaning they should have.

In contest surfing there are two schools of thought.
There is the "stylist".
I have been termed this by many people who have borrowed the word from skiing.
As far as I can ascertain, applied to surfing, it would mean that the surfer concentrates primarily on maintaining complete control at times - with good form (whatever that is).
This naturally limits maneuverability and tricks.

I know of no name for the other school or style, but in every surfing contest I have judged there was always the contestant who "gets the job done."
These surfers do many things on a board and are willing to lose some control and composure and even take an occasional spill.
In contrast, , there will be an equally good surfer doing a little bit less, but always maintaining control.
In other words, the "stylist" will look smoother, but he won't be doing as much.
If he was, he wouldn't look as smooth, and vice versa.

During the winter on the north shore of Oahu, the best surfers live and surf together every day.
Naturally, there is competition among them.
In fact, the keenest surfing competition in the world can be seen almost every day of the week.
No one is better qualified to judge this competition than the surfers themselves.
They are experts in their own field and only they know enough to compensate for the various surfing styles.
At the end of the winter these surfers usually know where they stand on the list of champs.
The big letdown for some is that there is never a complete victory:
One will have done the best in big waves.
Another will have done better in the smaller surf.
Still another (sometimes a tie) will have done best in the intermediate sized waves.
One will get the best ride of the year.
There will be the most aggressive or daring rider of the year.
Finally, there will be the smoothest wave rider.

The "north shore competition" offers no trophies, but often the winners are recognized through surf movies, magazines, and elevated reputation.
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.
But contests are good for the sport and we must have them.
They've done a great deal to elevate surfing in the eyes of the general public.
What can be done about them?

The surfers who have done best in contests are the ones who have completely understood 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 difference between the various styles and abilities and weigh them accordingly.

The contests cannot improve until the leaders in the sport understand more of what they are trying to accomplish and what they are judging.
Setting up better contests must start somewhere and the start can be in trying to set up standards of what is good.
The skiing contests have presented similar problems which have been handled well.
An association has standardized rules, regulations, and judging.
If our contests are to improve, we must have standards that the judges can use in selecting the winners.

In the situation 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 opinion.
The most successful contests have been the "loose" ones where the judges were left to judge on their own.
A different cross section of judges will bring different results.
Older judges will pick a contestant with control.
Young judges will pick strictly performance.
If Australians were judging, the surfer that had the best wipe-outs would win.

Remember, there are two schools of thought - often it becomes apparent in the style.
In the first, the wave is an incidental means of expressing one's ability to others; often a gym or track field would serve the same purpose.
In the second, or other school, a wave is simply a beautiful  expression of nature and respected as reason enough to participate.
The "stylist" merges with the wave, while the former merely "uses" the wave.

What is good?


Page 11
Surfer Tips 9
Swimming ... a part of surfing.
Captain, L.A. County Lifegards
[Black and white photograph: Dwight Crum, Captain, L.A. County Lifegards]
We have been confronted in the past few years by many surfers who do not know how to swim!
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 swimmer and water man.
Five or ten years ago, many surfers were lifeguards or associated with surfing clubs who had swimming as part of the requirements.
The swimming problem has developed to such a point that last year in the heavy surf in the Redondo area alone there were seven resuscitations and over 200 rescues of surfers in a two-week period.
These rescued surfers, after losing their boards, could not swim to the beach by themselves.
There were several deaths last year of surfboard riders which were directly attributed to poor swimming.

It doesn't take 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.
Basically, he has not learned to swim well enough and is not at home In the water.
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 his board 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 piling it up next to the beach.
Water seeks its own level and it will flow out at the point of least resistance.
This outgoing 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.
Upon losing their boards, poor swimmers, who are usually beginning surfers, try to get in where the waves are smallest.
This is generally where the rip tide action is taking place.
The water is usually discolored and very choppy in a rip tide area.
Because rips are due to surf, wherever there are surfers and waves- there will usually be rips.
I feel that the basic swimming requirement for surfboard riding should be 300 yards without stopping.
From personal 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 when they lose their surfboard and find that they're in water over their heads.
Some surfing areas have jetties or piers that the novices can walk out on and launch their surfboards.
This is extremely dangerous because they can do this in large surf and be in much more danger upon losing their board.
A valuable swimming technique that should not be overlooked by the beginning surfer is treading water.
In some situations, especially in very big surf, you can stay outside of the breaking area for a long time, expending little energy. Also, you can tread water after a wipe-out and be washed in by waves.
Another area that 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 surfboard riding.
Body surfing comes in very handy to the surfer who has lost his board and faces a long swim.
It is a very good conditioner for learning to surf, timing the take-off, judging the waves, and being at home in the surf.
It also takes up the void during the day when the wind blows unfavorably for surfboard riding or when local regulations prohibit surfboard riding.
In the big surf in Hawail there is even more swimming ability and conditioning required.
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.
These are experienced surfers and good swimmers who know that they must be even better in big surf.
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 trying to scale Mount Everest with very little mountaineering experience behind you.
There is a lot more to surfboard riding than purchasing the board, going to the beach, 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 below illustrates the riptide action at Sunset Beach.
The shoreward, feeding the rip in the white water on each side pours center, (arrow indicates center of outward flow).

Page 59
Bulletin: Just received are the results of the Annual Makaha International Championships as covered by contestant Mickey Munoz.
Unfortunately, press time does not allow us a more complete coverage.


by Mickey Munoz

Joey Cabell walked off with First Place in the Makaha International Surfing Championships held in Makaha's dream surf- 20-foot point surf.
According to contestants and viewers, it was the best contest ever, with good waves, good riding, and a strong representation of the world's top surfers.
The semi-finals were held December 21 and 22 in extremely rough 25-foot surf.
The Men's finals were held the following Friday, December 27, in the perfection 20-foot point surf.
Saturday saw the surf go down to 12 to 15 feet and Fred Hemmings win the Junior Men's Championship.
By Sunday, the 29th, the surf had dropped to about six feet -just right for the Senior Women and Tandem.
Nancy Nelson of San Clemente, California, repeated as Women's champion, while Mike Doyle and Linda Merrill took top honors
in the Tandem event.
Wally Froseith can be credited with the smoothly-run contest that, along with outstanding surf conditions, produced the best Makaha Surf Championships to date.
In the Annual 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.
Only Mike Doyle (on a racing board) could stay ahead of Corky.
The rest of the contestants, including those on racing boards, paddle boards, etc., were left in the dust.

Senior Men

Senior Women: 
 1st Joey Cabell
2nd Boots Mathews 
3rd Kealoha Hakaio
1st Nancy Nelson 
2nd Joey Hamasaki
3rd Janice Husick
Junior Men

1st Fred Hemmings
2nd Jay Clarke
3rd LeRoy Ah Choy
1st Mike Doyle - Linda Merrill
2nd Nappy Napoleon - Laura Blears
3rd Rabbit Kekai - Momi Adachi


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 select contest.

20 Senior Men, 16 Junior Men, 8 Women, and 4 Tandem teams were chosen by a committee of experts.

Contestants were selected on the basis of open contests won in 1963 or outstanding surfing ability.

The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce has wisely turned over the surfing portion to recognized 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 mass of 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 double elimination, and, in general, a fairer contest.

This is not to say that all contests should be invitationals.

However, there is definitely a need for an event of this sort and it looks like Oceanside is going to come up with one of the most interesting talent-packed contests of the year.

Below are the selections and the alternates in each division, as well as a list of judges.

Phil Edwards, who was selected on the Senior Men's list, declined in order to head the judges.

Mike Hynson
L. J. Richards
John Peck
Butch Van Artsdalen 
Joey Cabell
Ilima Kalama
Mickey Dora
Paul Strauch, Jr. 
Mike Doyle
Skip Frye
Rusty Miller
Donald Takayama 
Butch Linden
Mickey Munoz
Lance Carson 
Robert August
John Fain 
Bill Fury

Ron Sizemore
John Mason
Mike Haley
Pete Kobzev
Buster Teague
Mike McCassey
Kemp Aaberg

John Hayward

Corky Carroll
Mark Martinson 
Danny Lenahan
Shawn Claffey
Francis Thompson
John Wilke 
Jeff George
John Close
Tom Lonardo 
Harry Layton
Steve Dabney

Jo Jo Perron
Mark Hammond 
Brett Kastlle
Jackie Baxter

Peter Pope Kahapea 
Buster Kruger
Dale Keller
Bruce Wood
Mike Stevens
Scott Hoxeng
Jimmy Irons

Pete Peterson
Hobie Alter
Rabbit Kekai
Mike Doyle
Bob Moore
Nappy Napoleon 
Mouse Robb
Illma Kalama 

Joyce Hoffman 
Judy Dibble
Nancy Nelson
Margo Scotton
Joey Hanasaki
Linda Benson
Linda Merrill
Candy Calhoun
Jan McPherson

Robin Leedy
Robin Calhoun
Marilyn Malcom
Kathy Pierce
Marge Calhoun 
Shelly Merrlck

Page 27

[Carter Pyle and Dick Pittet surf a 19 ft catamaran at "Killer Capo," South Laguna.]
Photograph: Bev Morgan or John Severson.
Page 28
...more than just something to do when the surf is blown out!
Sailing a rugged, all-fiberglass 18'9" PACIFIC can be exacting and exciting with superb control in a curl and enough strength to power through the soup. 
The only catamaran designed with the sport of surfing in mind and proven in the surf in California and in the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. 
Kick up rudders allow you to sail right up on to the beach. 
Designed by Carter Pyle and built by Newport Boats to the highest standards of quality.
$2285.oo F.O.B.
Newport Beach, Calif. phone (714) Midway 6-4737
Direct inquiries to: Box 1023, Dana Point, California

Volume 5 Number 1
February - March 1964 .

Rincon by John Severson.

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