Source Documents
lester brien : australian titles, 1968. 

Lester Brien : Australian Titles, 1968.

 Brien, Lester: Australian Titles, May 1968.
Photographs by Albert Falzon.
Surfing World
Volume 10 Number 6, 1968, pages 34-.
By the start of this contest, all but two of the top Australian surfers were no longer riding the wide tailed v-bottoms, or stubby, that dominated the showrooms of the recent summer.
Senior finalist Robert Conneely rode a short v-bottom, his Spacehip model by Hayden Surfboards, Queensland, and Nat Young rode a
'stubby' type gun, probably by Keyo Surfboards.
Here the wide-point was moved forward from the earlier design, a shorter version of the board he had taken to Hawaii five months previously.

Most boards were either
round-tails or pin-tails; the later saw some increase in length to compensate for the loss of volume with a reduction of up to 2" in width and the elimination of the wide tail.

Despite the controversial exclusion of Queensland's Russell Hughes from competing in the contest, at the end of the year he did represent Australia at the world contest, coming third in the final.
The photograph
on page 41 of Midget and Nat about to compete in the final at Long Reef must be rare - they're both smiling!
Page 34


Bernard Farrelly - Palm Beach

Page 35
[Photograph: Lester Brien]
The '68 Titles started, in Sydney, with politics.
A top surfer, alas, had missed out on a berth in his State team.
Most felt, and still do, that if non-state competitors were to be included in the National
Titles on the grounds of competitive injustice in their home State then all cases would have to be presented for review, not just those of personal friends.
During the weeks before the titles the real problem was the surf.
Basking in an Indian summer Sydney surfers were subjected to one of the smallest April-May surfs in memory.
The titles, however, kicked off on Monday May 13th with a southerly, a rising swell and heavy rain.
The National Titles are run over three rounds.
Each State has a representative team with the home State (that's where the competition is being held) having the right to drop-ins in the case of any competi­tor not
turning up.
On alter­nate days the Juniors' and Women's and the Men's and
Veterans' surf over three distinct competitions each round including heats, semi­finals and finals.
The results of the
first two rounds help determine who makes the final of the third round, the grand final.
On the Monday the juniors and women surfed at Mid-Steyne until all events were cancelled at the semi-final stage.

The best surfing on the Monday probably came from Lynch, in the juniors, and Couper, O'Donnell and Trim in the women's.

Tuesday saw the start of the Men's and Veterans'.
Notable omission was Peter Drouyn, who had a poisoned leg, was there but could not compete.
The competition was held at Warriewood.
Waves were large (6ft to 8ft), powerful and had a somewhat inconsistent right

Page 36

Outstanding surfer was Keith Paull who, with his crouching, weaving style and late starts, attracted enough attention to win. Second was hard competitor Ted Spencer, third Bernard Farrelly, fourth Nat Young.
In the veterans' Manly's Mal­colm Saunders ran out the winner from R. Wilson, McGuigan, Howard, Editor Bob Evans and Jack Mayes.
Hard winds and tremendous seas resulted in an obvious can­cellation of the Junior and Women's events set down for Wednesday.

Thursday saw the start of the second round of the Men's and  Veterans.
The round  was held at Palm Beach, the surf was basically a huge left wall with some odd rights.
Rides by Farrelly, Conneely and Young left spectators ecstatic.
Pin-tails were, for most surfers, essential.
My own pin is of the semi-wide tail variety and during the early events I I found it "floating."
I could not get any bite into my turns and was, predominantly out of control.
I checked the boards on the beach and for the semi-final borrowed a beautiful piece of equipment from Farrelly.
A short (8ft  10in) but raky pin, the board cut an easy track even on the bigger 10ft waves.
I had trouble with turns but I figure this is a result of inexperience with that type of board.
There was no lift or floating on the wave whatsoever.
Although sanity required the use of a pin-tail Nat managed to get enough vertical
climb and breathtaking drops out of his 'stubby' type gun to take his semi from hard cutting Keith Paull.
Robert Conneely, also surfing a 'stubby,' caught some big and hard running lefts.
He scooped second place in his semi behind Farrelly and ahead of Parkinson third.

Friday's events consisted of leftovers.
Senior reper-charge and final, veterans' final, women's first round semis and final, juniors' first round semis, repercharge and final.
Surf was still large but now inconsistent.
Paull and Conneely made the 3 finals from the men's reper-charge.
The 2nd men's final was held with Farrelly getting and handling a good selection of large lefts early in the event.
It looked as s though he would run out an easy winner but Paull came good with some late runs to squeeze in for first place.
Farrelly second, Spencer and Young tying for third, Conneely fifth.
Paull had nowwon two finals, putting him in a commandable position for an overall points win.
It is interesting to note that Keith came through reper-charges in both rounds to take the finals.
In both cases he was beaten in the semi­finals by Nat Young who, now, at the end of the 2nd round, was running fourth with no chance of winning and very little chance of end­ing other than where he was, fourth.

In the 1st round Junior final Wayne Lynch was.the outstanding surfer,
Page 37
Farrelly - Warriewood. [not shown]

Keith Paull - Warriewood.

Following Keith Paull's success in the contest,
the photograph was used for Peter Clarke Surfboards, above.

Page 3

and sliding for a well earned first.
The only surfer who pushed him was young Newcastle goofy footer, Peter  Cornish, who came second   ahead of Treloar, Neilsen and Williams in that order.
The women tried hard in the hard, harsh conditions, with  Lynne Stubbins winning from Trim, McKenzie, Campbell, Clements and Webb.
Surprise defeat was Gail  Couper, who in her semi-final wasted a lot of time waiting for large rides then panicked and caught a few low pointers.

Saturday saw the second round of the  juniors and women's.
The  event  was held at Long Reef in the quality surf of the contest.
Good lefts and reasonable rights.
Lynch showed that he was the form junior with a good display of fluid goofy foot surfing.
Peter Cornish and beach mate Roger Clements brought a new style of riding into the finals.
Both have similar styles though Cornish is by far the more fluid.
Clements though, caused low moans of pain throughout the crowd with his wide-legged nut-cracker cut-backs.
They have got to a be  seen  to  be believed.

Treloar put in a reasonable display, but was obviously upset by his ultra-light board s and the short wall on the rights that gave him little
[Not shown: Cornish]

Judy Trim,
page 39.

Page 39

Clements  [wide-legged nut-cracker cut-back, Long Reef]

Trealor  [Long Reef- one of two]

Page 40

chance of turning in a full performance.
In the women's Gail Couper was first, followed by Trim, O'Donnell, Stubbins, Camp­bell and Clemence.

Sunday was to be the last day, the day of grand finals.
Thinking back I took note of the vastly different surfs that the competition had been run in, from the hard breaking waves of Warriewood and Palm Beach to the small quality surf of Long Reef that day.
Somehow, though, I cannot help but feel that the contest had been too drawn out.
It's fair, no one can deny that, but a lot of excitement is cut from a final when only one or two of the finalists have any chance of winning.

Three rounds for every event are too many and everybody has lost enthusi­asm by the time the finals are reached.
The whole deal had, for me, wallowed in a quagmire of efficiency and fairness.
If it comes to a vote I will be backing shorter and more ruthless contests.
On Sunday the events, at first, looked as though they would be cancelled through lack of surf but the wind switched to S.W. and a small swell began to trickle in at Long Reef.
The finals were run.
In the women's Gail Couper repeated her per­formance of the day before but a final tally saw young Judy Trim in first place, second Lyn Stubbins, third Gail Couper.
Judy also pick­ed up the Duke Kahanamoku trophy for most improved.

Conneely, Palm Beach.

Right: Lynch on his backhand at Long Reef.

Not shown: To the left a junior surfer on the nose. To the right Bondi surfer Wayne Williams, a crowd of on­lookers.

Page 41

In the veterans Jack Mayes rode well to take the final but the final tally saw Mal Saunders, Mayes, McGuigan, Wilson, Howard and Hall in that order.
In the juniors Wayne Lynch repeated his performance of the first two rounds pulling, on the wave, a stunning backhand re­entry that set Sydney surfers thinking.
Second was Peter Cornish, third David Treloar, Clements, Neilson and Chan-non in that order.

By the time the men's finals were held a powerful 8-10 ft swell was pushing through to the first reef.
A heavy cross-wind was put­ting a 2ft chop on the face of the bigger waves yet, as I found towards the end of the final, they were sur­prisingly easy to ride.
The wind kind of pushed you through your turns, the main difficulty was in handling the chop.
Nat Young was outstanding.
He had nothing to lose and took chances that came off.
Hard turns, con­trolled sliding and some beautiful re-entries got him a well-earned first.
Keith Paull surfed his way into second position from Robert Conneely third.
Other final­ists, including myself, spent too much time on the centre break where there had been some good rights immedi­ately prior to the commence­ment of the final.

Midget and Nat
By the time I realised the quality of the waves on the first reef it was almost too late.
Ted Spencer fell foul of the same delusion.
On the progressive point score sys­tem Young had jumped ahead two places, the result of his own and Conneely's efforts in beating both Far­relly and Spencer.
The even­tual tally was Paull, Young, Farrelly, Spencer, Conneely, myself.
Paull and Young get trips to Puerto Rico, Farrelly and followers get plastic medals.

As the crowd scattered across the windswept sands of Long Reef they took with them the answer to yet an­other 12 months of effort.
The Australian Titles afford, for the professional surfer, his only genuine link with the public and his own sponsors.
For the balance, the non-professionals, the Aus­tralian Titles are just another contest, well run, as fair as possible and capable of change.
The A.S.A. is itself an amateur body, possibly the only amateur body working for professionals.
The violent personal criticism towards A.S.A. officials that seems to have followed these recent titles, and it remains to be seen just how far it will go, could be the death knell of the A.S.A. as an amateur body.
I, for one, do not have sufficient in­terest in the administrative side of surfing to withstand personal abuse for decisions, I believe, were rightly made.
Not shown: Ted Spencer, Trealor [Long Reef]

Surfing World
Volume 10 Number 6, 1968.

Wayne Lynch: Bells Beach Contest, Easter 1968.
Photograph by Albert Falzon.


Geoff Cater (2016) : Lester Brien : Australian Titles, 1968.