Witzig : World Contest, California, 1966. Witzig, John: The World Championship Contest
Story. Surfing World
Volume 8, Number 4, November, 1966.
Introduction This transcription is
incomplete. The third World
Championships were held in California in October 1966.
World Championship Contest Story.
By John Witzig.
INTRODUCTION When I wrote a day by day account of the trip to
California for the World Championships, I worried little
about what was written, apart from noting, in simple
fashion, the obvious event.
I reread the diary when I returned home and was
not a little surprised by the extent of the trivialities
with which I had concerned myself. I have edited the diary somewhat and yet at many
parts still remain which will mean little to the
reader. While apologetic for this aspect, I feel that
what follows should give the reader some sort of
in-sight into the Californian trip which I made with
Nat, Gail Cooper, Ted Wilson, Bob Evans and Peter Drouyn. I hope that it will be of interest.
FRIDAY, 16th. The world championships little
more than a week off. Got nearly everything done and
reached the airport in time to be half an hour late to
meet Gail. We only had time for a couple
of drinks with all the mob and than on to
the plane. They gave us lunch on the
flight lo Auckland and we drank two bottles of wine.
We were in high spirits and
either amused or annoyed most of the
other passengers. We are just above the wing -
stuck up one end of tourist so we can't upset too many
people. Back on
the plane with a minimum of formalities. The meals are not
really good. Another bottle of wine
and I am feeling very like sleep. Luckily most of tho
seals around us are vacant and Ted conned a
stewardess to get a guy to move his tape recorder
off the three seats behind. So he and I have a
group of seats each - the arm rests pull out. Gail has a set of
seats too - Nat is on tho floor - top of his torso
first - bottom economy. Surprisingly I slept
well and woke only a couple of times during
Carroll, Nat Young, Jock Sutherland.
STILL FRIDAY, 16th.
I awoke at dawn.
We are flying at about 37,000 feet above the Pacific. The wing and jet engines of the plane are
beautiful in the still darkened sky. It is oil grey blue with orange and magenta where
the sun begins its rise. The night is shortened by two hours and we land at Honolulu about 7 a.m.
First sight of the island of Oahu
- it is not what I expected - bigger - more barren.
Diamond Head is so small in
comparison to the mountains on the
island. Nat points out the
direction of Makaha. We approach from the other side
and so no good look at
Waikiki. At the airport - customs
inspection and so we deny everything and come through
unscathed except Ted who told the guy that he was going to
sell the board he brought over. So he's now less
$16. The airport is beaut. Plenty of gardens and not much
We wandered around for about half
to three quarters of an hour and sent a telegram
to the U.S. advising them of our arrival. I hope that someone meets us. I have written to George
Greenough, but doubt he will drive down. Back
on the plane. We have had the same plane but about three crews. All the hostesses seem very
pleasant and Air N.Z.
have someone meet us and cut out the formalities at each
is about to be served now and we arrive at 4.55 p.m. at Los
Angles. Lose another three hours on this
part of the flight.
about six Americans on the plane that we have been
Some of them are from Woomora and have been receiving photos
from the Lunar Orbiter of the moon.
They just gave a photo of the back side of the moon to Nat -
signed by them all.
The photo is astonishingly clear - taken with the medium
photographic gear that they had available.
Tho close up photos didn't work.
I had some photos and we gave that Fishos nose ride shot to
one of the guys for his daughter.
They aro going to watch the contest on TV. The sun is very bright and no
cloud is near.
We appear almost in suspended animation over the vast blue
ocean that drifts into mist and obscurity.
no movement, little noise.
The ocean if far below.
Lunch was rotten - though they give free grog on this run -
but we found out too late.
We first saw the offshore islands so we are approaching from
We looked for George.
Saw a few boats.
Out of the left windows we saw a point break that could be
Rincon, we land in about 10 minutes.
Los Angeles is huge and flat and rotten looking - smog.
No one to meet us except some guy from CPA who was more
interested in any group coming from Australia.
We squashed his hopes but not before he put us up in a pub
for the night.
Established, we decided we needed a car - for a while at
Ted voted for a Mustang - we decided we needed a station
wagon, so hired a Mustang - red.
It stays light till nearly 7 30.
We drove out to Malibu colony and visited Butch Linden.
He wasn't in, but his parents were.
We played pool, looked at the water and played good bop
The Lindens were very pleasant.
Left about eleven. First experience of a Mustang - driving on the right
and the freeway was traumatic.
I was really scared and succeeded in terrifying everyone
Everything on the freeway moved about 70 or so - about 4 or
5 lanes of traffic going each way - cars enter and leave at
the same speed.
We were going In eat with room
sevice but the cheapest thing was $1.50 and a steak $6.50.
So Nat and Ted went out and bought rotten hamburgers and
We are in bed.
SATURDAY. 17th. Up about 7.30 or so.
Nat rang Doris More (Hang Ten) and we invited ourselves
around for breakfast.
Because we ha d no idea how to get to Long Beach we took
tell about 10.30 to get there.
We squashed our four bodies and luggage into our Mustang and
got lost on the freeway about three times.
Arrived and found a better side of lot Angeles - Page 12
[Photograph: At left - The Left.]
[Photographs: George Greenough and Ted
reminiscent Wahroonga and Warrewee and better
areas of Melbourne. Plenty oftrees and rather pleasant
hoses. Doris told us this
was California living. Had breakfast and
were promised Hang Tan gear. Sales manager (or
advertising) arrived and took us for a drive to Seal
Beach and Huntington - surf pretty rotten. Evans rings from
airport - he, Drouyn and Lee Cross just arrived from Vancouver.
We meet them at
Hotel 1.30. George had invited
Nat, Ted and me to stay for a few days - so all decided Sanla Barbara
the place. It took us hours
to get ourselves ready and leave. We changed our
little hot woody for a big Chev that we can leave at Sanla Barbara. Mustangs are so
common here its funny. Rather beaut
little American animal woodies. The Chevy is a
tank. We had to drive to
downtown Los Angels to pick it up. Got lost again.
It is getting late and I can't remember what
tjme we arrived at Sanla Barbara. Rang George and he
came down to pick us up. We reached the
house and Evo had rung too. Saw Rincon on the way up. Seemed smaller and
not so pretty as I had imagined it to be. George hilarious - we
went for a ride to Hammonds in the V12 Caddy (the Eata). Talked about wtier
we are going to do tomorrow - Rincon, Ranch, Islands and
cherry bombs. Sleep about 12.30.
SUNDAY, 18th. George's house is
high on the hill above Santa Barbara (Montecito). It is a luxury
area and an oldish house ol Spanish-English influence -
principally the former. After the hell of
Los Angels Santa Barbara is beautiful. We walked higher
in the mountains this morning to check the surf. With an unocular
we could see from Rincon north to the Ranch area. On a clear day you
can see from Ventura to the Ranch. We could see a
small wave at Hammonds Reef and signs of surf at the
Indicator. We went to
Rincon and Evo and group were there. Nat and Ted went
surfing but George andI
weren't particularly stoked. It was very
crowded. We walked out to
the Indicator. There are some great houses here. I am liking Santa
Barbara more and more now. The freeway runs straight past Rincon. I am liking Yank tanks less and less. On cars - George
has the Eata, an old rusty Ford wagon, a ford truck, a
little old English car and a hot 100 mph
go-cart. Mr. and Mrs. have
a 3.4 Jag, a hot Mustang, 1922 Rolls and another Vintage English car. A 1925 Rolls arrives this
week. Other son has E
type Jag and some other older car that he has driven to
college. We helped George
clean up his fishing gear in the afternoon and then went
back to Rincon about 5.30 or 6. We all went out -
not crowdod but not very good.
The swell appeared
to be rising and at 7.30 at dark came some 8ft sets were
coming through. Prospects for Page 14
[Photographs: George Greenough and his
100mph Go-Kartand Nat Young, The Ranch.]
when we leave.
She did our washing for us today.
We went to the Disco (discount store) tonight and bought a
few T shirts, socks, sweat shirts etc.
I am liking colour TV now.
Just saw "The Fugitive".
If the wind is right we hit the Ranch tomorrow.
Today the Ranch.
By the time we mailed our letters we arrived at about 12.
They have a guard at the entrance to the property.
We drove past Ranch house, Little Drakes, Big Drakes, Rights
and Lefts, Lefts and Rights, Augustine and arrived at Cojo.
It was breaking pretty well and the wind, though from the
side, was being kept off the surf area by the kelp beds.
I decided to commence photography and set my camera up on
The break was quite a long way away but I shot off a couple
of rolls of film and then got ordered out of the area by the
guy who owns that part of the Ranch.
Shot a few more photos from the Northern point where the car
was parked but it was a long way away.
So went surfing.
It was a better wave than it looked.
Sets come through up to 8' and it was very fast.
Good surf, left early since we hed to go to a party at
Ventura - Tom Morey's.
It was OK.
The beer is pretty awful and I drank too much of it and made
a nuisance of myself.
We talked to Morey for quite a while on the judging of the
contest and I think we have an ally with regard to removal
of any restrictions on numbers of waves to be counted.
We checked out the surf as usual this morning.
Nat and Ted don't get up early so George and I walk up into
the foothills of the mountains.
It is still pretty desolate since the big fire they had
three years ago that raised most of the area.
The swell is still around but George didn't think that wind
conditions would be good for the Ranch.
So we went Bat ray fishing.
Everyone else; Evo and group, Hazzards, Yater, Cooper etc
was going to the Ranch today and it would probably be
crowded. After yesterday with four guys it would be a drag.
George had three lines set up and we went to Richard's house
down on the water.
George and Richard paddled the foam blocks with about 30
yards of heavy cord, wire tracer, and big hook baited
[Photographs: George Greenough, Santa Barbara
and Nat Young, Santa Barbara.]
went out for a few rides.
It was getting late and the light was not good.
I think that the film should be a classic - probably the
best I hava ever takan.
I can't publish them as Rights and lefts at the Ranch
but perhaps as somewhere else.
George and I were last out but the sets were infrequent.
We didn't get home till 8.30 end were late for dinner.
Saw Dean Martin in colour - wrote this crap and then
went to sleep.
This morning we wandered around town for a couple of
Bought jeans, sweat shirts and picked up George's film
of the Islands.
A few of them are excellent.
The majority good.
Mr. Greenough's 1925 Rolls was expected today but is
After lunch we set off for the Ranch at about 2 o'clock.
By the time we reached the area, the wind which had been
onshore from the side anyway - not enough to screw it
because of the kelp - but producing some bump, was
dropping and George said it would turn offshore.
Rights and lefts was pretty good, though not as big as
I ran off the greater part of another roll of Ektachrome
and went for a few waves.
Caught a couple of neat curl rides.
The wave was breaking on the back of my board.
Alan and Danny Haizard were up there - Yater, Bradbury
and a few other guys I didn't know.
George didn't hava a good day.
Yater was dropping in and Nat got plenty of really hot
Ted got stuck in a few times too and I finished the
session with an over the falls bomb out - actually
Nat and George didn't come out of the water till neely
7.15 and we didn't get home till 9 o'clock.
I had rung Morey this morning about a lift down to
He had rung back and plans were doubtful.
Nat rang Duke Boyd since eo were meant to be staying at
his place tonight.
He offered to drive up straight away and get us - a
three hour drive - we cautiously said yes and we expect
to be picked up in a couple of hours.
It will not be a pleasant night.
Some bird rang up too and said she had organised a luau
for the evening for us.
Too bad: no transport.
I am so stoked in this place that I will come up again
for a week after the contest and then spend the last
week in Hawaii.
I have to find Denny Aaberg to arrange accommodation.
Duke Boyd has just rang — we are going down to meet him.
The first day of the Huntington contest (OS.
championships) was rotten - most of the
people we meet seem to be finks and
Huntington is a degenerate place, the
standard of surfing is poor and the name
riders are making it for that reason.
Mark Martinson is a nice guy - he told us
about the LSD-pot set led by Fry and Hynson.
It has become almost a religion for them,
and much of tha current surfing progress is
being attributed to these people whilst
stimulated by drugs.
Saturday night was not much fun.
We were all at Jack Haley's place - it could
have been worse - didn't even get boozed.
The surf is better — the riding correspondingly
We saw Nuuhiwa - he is good and gets good nose
rides but Nat will beat him.
The seniors are a bunch of kooks and Corky
Carrol won by riding backwards - and by doing
Incidentally he did get some good waves as well.
We waited around after the contest for about
three hours for Duke and then went out to seme
bird's place for dinner.
I didn't enjoy either.
First day at San Diego.
We wandered around Shelter Island all bloody
Hanging over the deal was the accommodation
problem and the fact that the important
decisions about the contest conditions have yet
to be made.
We had dinner with all the team members of all
countries and they distributed a lot of crap and
Afterwards we went to the initial ISF meeting
and our bloc won all points.
The contest should be OK.
A complicated points system will determine
Actually when I think back on last night it was
quite an imposing occasion.
I doubt if ever before such a group of surfers have
gathered together for such an occasion.
At the ISF meeting I think we made Australia's point
Met Hebie and got acquainted with Hoppy Swarts,
Tom Morey was there - Hevs McCelland, Eduardo Arena
(Peru) and John Whitmore (South Africa).
Today we had to get up at a ridiculous hour and be
at breakfast by 6.
They decided no contest for the men — but the birds
We had breakfast with Doyle
Harrison, Ocean Beach
Young, Ocean Beach
and Rusty Miller and Don Hansen.
Mike said he would take us to LaJolla Shores to
Ted had to hang with the group for the bird's
He wes not too happy.
But later they all turned up at the Shores for the
A little interesting — Phyllis, 3rd, Gail 4th.
Wandered around with Doyle for a few hours this
Tried to buy some T shirts again ... and bought two
Slones LP's and a great 45.
We go to Rusty Miller's for dinner.
We eventually ended up at Rusty's.
There were only a few people there and we ate some
Quite a lot of people arrived - some of the Hawaiian
competitors, Hynson and Nuuhiwa.
Drank a bit.
Listened to Dylan and went home.
The drug position in
surfing in California is interesting. Hynson last night was
I would like fo talk to him about LSD but I don't
think he would appreciate it.
Apparently the swell will be up somewhat tomorrow.
Up at 5.30 again and wandered over to breakfast.
Women's contest on at South Mission beach - men's
possibly but was not to be.
The women's was interesting again and this time Gail
look out 2nd place, puts her in second to Joyce
Straight into final.
The men's will definitely be on tomorrow.
Blacks - Swamis or Mission could be good.
Nat was surfing quite well today and so was Peck,
Fry and Takiyama.
I cannol see much challenge coming from Nuuhiwa.
We will see.
The judging appears quite
Judge - Ted WilsonNat
Hoppy Swarts is a very capable person.
We went to the San Diego Zoo today.
It was really great.
The conditions are magnificent and very natural in
Squirrels and birds wander around all over the
The monkeys and apes were pretty funny.
Another ISP meeting tonight.
We have dinner at the Chart House before it.
Dinner was very good -
excellent steak - pity the meeting wasn't.
California and our side wanted the air fares
regulation regarding world championships re-moved.
Hawaii and Peru objected.
It is two years away- perhaps we may do it?
Men's competition - we finally started at about 10
this morning after objections from Hawaii about the
The surf was good at the start but rapidly de-
Midget Farrelly, Ocean Beach.
This was at LaJolla Shores.
After the twelve heats - all
Australians won - the semis were shifted to South Mission
It was a difficult long closing left with a tight short
Midget and Nat were second in the semis - into repercharge -
Drouyn missed out.
Nat easily won repercharge - into final.
The final was very close.
Nuuhiwa by 1/2 a placing — Nat 6 1/2, Nuuhiwa 6.
Nuuhiwa did surf well and I don't think I could pick between
them just watching.
He is a better surfer than I thought and can do other things
than nose ride - but mostly doesn't.
Midget our team captain cheered whan Nuuhiwa won.
It is great to see his nationalistic spirit - when it suits
He told us later that he didn't want Nat to win because he
doesn't like him.
Midget spoke to me for about half an hour on everything and
He speaks in
riddles and I honestly don't have much idea whet he was
He said he is being forced out of surfing in Australia.
I am rather sorry for him.
The contest didn't end till after six and we had to pick up
some new Chevy that we are allowed to drive till Sunday.
West coast premiere of 35mm Endless Summer, no dinner.
FRIDAY, 30th. We had some crap yesterday about
judging - everyone claimed Downing was biased.
Certainly he was the cause of Nat not winning though I think
bad tactics was the principal reason.
I don't think Downing is very good - he gave Nuuhiwa 20 out
of 20 for a nose ride.
It's a joke.
The contest was finally on at
Ocean Beach - the surf was very good for the early heats but
dropped - onshore wind and low tide.
The surprise of the contest was Nuuhiwa missing out in his
heat, only caught four waves.
Drouyn also would have got 1st place with another wave.
With Nuuhiwa out, Nat appeered to have a clear run.
He surfed well in his heat and semi — winning both clearly.
The final was interrupted but Nat was clearly superior.
He won and we realised that under the present rules he was
unbeatable in the World Championship - one 1st and one 2nd
and Nuuhiwa out.
A dramatic phone cell from Hevs brought us to a meeting -
Nat, Evo and I with Hevs, Hobie and McNulty.
We proposed that since we had realised that there was an
anomoly in the system thel Nat should surf in the beach
break contest at Ocean Beach and risk losing the contest.
Nat had every reason to refuse and every right ... ??
Hevs McCelland and Ricky Grigg
Volume 8, Number 4. pages 11 to