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witzig : world contest, 1966 

John Witzig : World Contest, California, 1966.

Witzig, John:
The World Championship Contest Story.
Surfing World
Volume 8, Number 4, November, 1966.

This transcription is incomplete.
The third World Championships were held in California in October 1966.

Page 10
The World Championship Contest Story.
By John Witzig.

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.
John Witzig

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.

ck on

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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 the night.

Corky Carroll, Nat Young, Jock Sutherland.


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 tourist crap.
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 airport.
Lunch 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.

There are about six Americans on the plane that we have been socialising with.
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.
There is
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 the north.
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.
5 p.m.
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 least.
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 records.
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 else too.
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 malts.
We are in bed.

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

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[Photograph: At left - The Left.]
Page 13...

[Photographs: George Greenough and Ted Wilson.]
reminiscent Wahroonga and Warrewee and better areas of Melbourne.
Plenty of trees 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 and I 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

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[Photographs: George Greenough and his 100mph Go-Kart and 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.
Nothing special.
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 beach.
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

Page 19

[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.

FRIDAY, 23rd.
This morning we wandered around town for a couple of hours.
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 delayed.
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 yesterday.
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 rides.
Ted got stuck in a few times too and I finished the session with an over the falls bomb out - actually through mid-air.
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 Huntington.
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.

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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.

SUNDAY, 25th.
The surf is better — the riding correspondingly so.
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 spiners.
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.

MONDAY, 26th
First day at San Diego.
We wandered around Shelter Island all bloody day.
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 talk.
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 winners.
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 most satisfactorily.

Met Hebie and got acquainted with Hoppy Swarts, George Downing.
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 on.
We had breakfast with Doyle

Dru Harrison, Ocean Beach

Nat Young, Ocean Beach
Page 23
and Rusty Miller and Don Hansen.
Mike said he would take us to LaJolla Shores to surf.
Ted had to hang with the group for the bird's contest.
He wes not too happy.
But later they all turned up at the Shores for the contest.
A little interesting — Phyllis, 3rd, Gail 4th.
Wandered around with Doyle for a few hours this afternoon.
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 good tacos.
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 very pleasant.
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 Hoffman 60-44.
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

Australian Judge - Ted Wilson                   Nat Young,        
Ocean Beach.      

[Rare left-hander, unidentified]
Page 24
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 most cases.
Squirrels and birds wander around all over the place.
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 surf.
The surf was good at the start but rapidly de-

            Mimi Munroe                              Phil Edwards

Midget Farrelly, Ocean Beach.
Page 25

This was at LaJolla Shores.

After the twelve heats - all Australians won - the semis were shifted to South Mission beach.
It was a difficult long closing left with a tight short right.
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 him.
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 nothing.
He speaks in
riddles and I honestly don't have much idea whet he was talking about.
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 ... ??

Hoppy Swarts

Hevs McCelland and Ricky Grigg

Hobie Alter

Bruce Brown
Page ??

Surfing World

Volume 8, Number 4. pages 11 to
[November] 1966.

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Geoff Cater (2014-2018) : John Witzig : World Contest, California, 1966.