: california-bells, 1968
Bob McTavish : California - John Witzig : Bells
Volume 1 Number 6, May 1968.
Hawaiian winter of 1967-1968, McTavish travelled to Santa
Barbara in northern California as a guest of George Greenough.
This article, an
introduction to California and specifically the outstanding
right-hand Rincon Point, was probably written in late January,
given the extreme publishing lag at the time.
A more detailed
exposition on the intricacies and delights of riding Rincon were
explored in a two page article in the following edition of
International Volume 1. No. 7 June
1968, pages 10 to 11.
contrast with McTavish's The Wild and Wonderful
Days of Noosa , Part Two : National.
World March 1967 pages 18 to 25.
This edition also carried articles on that years Bells Contest, with photographs, by
Some of Witzig's and junior finalist, David Trealor, observations are
readers would have been mystified the Witzig recalling a hurried
trip to Melbourne to see Peter Brook's screen adaptation of
However, they might have got the import of the lines What's
the point of a revolution, without general copulation?
In a later edition (Volume 2 Number 3), Witzig
published a dramatic sequence of water-shots of junior finalist
Butch Cooney competing at
The coast drag
by County Line, Secos and eventually Ventura. ...Solimar and
is a mind blowing experience.
California is the place it's all come from for
where Gidget, Simmons, Dora, Yater, Phil and Hollywood
happened, the after flow that's happening.
into the joint - L.A. is the usual - lights
disappearing into smog - just a glowing carpet, with
the pattern of the snake weaving across and around.
and these snakes become streams of headlights going
towards the two lines of blue lights, a big
de-throttle, shuddering like hell and bump and grind
and a wail.
cold, but you don't feel it.
is central heated.
tentacle tube that suckers to the plane's door is
heated, the terminal is heated, the car headed north
70 m.p.h. in the middle of the city is freaky.
start screaming at anyone who sees and who can help
and white with simple brainwash slogans. ...
Not a traffic light till close to ... Malibu!!
fence and real estate signs are all the night shows,
but it's Malibu.
corner by the sea is asleep and I join it.
The sun rises
in the south.
cop-car rips to Rincon - he knows someone who lives on the
point, so we're allowed past the signs that say "Keep Out!!
Residents and guests only."
walking around Rincon point from the north end, we spy waves,
people out and Yippee!!!
since Christmas," said Moto.
Six weeks of
nothing ... bloody cold nothing too.
is 4-5' maybe, and getting bigger.
So we hit it,
and it's so bloody cold I can't bear it, so I come in.
I haven't got
a board anyway.
a giant slug.
What a bastard
of a way to start my Rincon friendship.
Like meeting a
guy and saying "Hi, meat-head!"
So I go away
But I come
back tomorrow, this time on a surfoplane of Greenough's.
onshore anyway, so I go out and get wiped a few times and
develop early arthritis from the 52 degree water.
So I miss out
on a whole swell. Who cares, I say, I'm surfed out from Hawaii
later I have a board and I get to do my Rincon thing.
For the next
five weeks Rincon wasn't good. .. for four or five days.
The rest of
the time ranged between 3 and 6 and perfect.
Even some days
better than perfect with sections that meant you disappeared
perfect means it's hotter in some spots and cooler in others,
allowing some kind of creativity, while still maintaining
glass conditions and no cross bumps.
Size up to
in five years.
is more than Rincon.
It's guys ...
super friendly, stoked on Aussie accents, but generally hang
on to their pants quite tightly.
chicks know how to love their man.
well, make beads with soul- strings, smile easily.
beads alla time.
are expensive and wanted.
everywhere, so are cops, narcs, sheriffs, Highway Patrol,
All cars have
radio and stereo ... All pads have same.
have treasures of good rock that we'll never get to hear in
are eighty percent huge factories, twenty percent contact
good, but confused.
are moving but through the sea of confusion.
very good, same as Sydney standard, but more jelly gut kooks
floating out of wave range.
California are suffering from several major diseases.
Smog: which is
killing millions slowly but very surely.
It's so bad
that somedays people can't leave their beds - can't breathe.
which comes from doing something you think is all right, while
the cops think it's not.
And from not
knowing which one of your surfing buddies is a narc.
terrible sickness that ensnares all Californian males because
it ruins their best years with two years of compulsory killing
and hate-your- brother brain washing.
But, wonder of
wonders, why does it still exist when 85 per cent don't want
free enterprise conditions a look-after-thine-self attitude.
fortunately this disease appears to be on the decline amongst
the clean, more level headed young people.
addiction has somehow been kicked.
thing is festering like a boil.
This year is
election year, and things are going to be ugly.
uglies want draft.
war, youngens don't.
freedom to breathe.
still make the bomb.
who are people know it, and apologize to the world.
will probably sink with the ship - many anyway.
May their protein and iron and stuff
We drove to
Melbourne twice to see a movie.
Bing Bong Bells
Yes, we went to Bells this year.
There wasn't any surf.
But we had a good time.
There was driving around the Great Ocean Road to
Lorne and beyond.
That was a bit of fun.
We played on the swings at Apollo Bay and saw the
And Russell went for a swim in the "nuptials" and
we all laughed.
And ate toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches and
my hand bled like hell.
Oh how we had fun.
And if you know how Nat drives you will know how much we
really wanted to see the film.
It was called THE PERSECUTION AND ASSASSINATION OF JEAN
PAUL MARAT AS PERFORMED BY THE INMATES Of THE ASYLUM AT
CHARATON UNDER THE DlRECTlON OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE.
lt was good.
You see, it didn't really matter that there wasn't surf.
And anyway there was, really.
We had of fun at Boobs on the Thursday before the contest.
It was just that it went flat afterThursday and at Bells this
just doesn't happen.
This year it did.
There was none of the Bells that we have all known and loved.
But you see it was the first Easter for seven years that there
was no surf
And you see it was the first time in seven years that Bob
Evans went to Bells.
And yes, you can draw your own conclusions.
The contest was our excuse to got out of Sydney and when it
started on Sunday we all dutifully turned out and started
taking photos and things.
And when it had finished Ted had won it.
And really not that much happened in the meantime- surf wise
Three Faces of Wayne Lynch
(Photos of the Bells Competition by John
David Baddy Trealor:
Was this to be an experience or another surfing contest
The heats had started and already Ted, the Phenomenon
had shown his form once again.
By noon the seeded red coats had all qualified.
Was it to be the same in the juniors?
In my opinion the surfing in the juniors was of a higher
Sunday afternoon had arrived and so had every junior red
coat who went in the competition except for Lynch.
The stimulation running in the junior's minds was
stronger in every heat.
The first heat went in.
And third and still it was the red coats.
What a speculation, Channon with a sign post fin.
Would it work ?
People gasped, especially me, when it slipped in every
Again the Phenomenon won.
Would it be his contest again?
What a day of surfing, competitors getting through
didn't think they would and vice versa.
The red coats this day had the wrong colour with the
They had no chance.
The contest in the juniors and seniors was Lynch, would
Nat, as commentator, made up for his withdrawal from the
surfing scene but was replaced by the swinging "O".
The semi finals had arrived and so had the surprises.
The contest was to change dramatically, Conneeley was
eliminated because he got too many fantastic waves.
Lynch and Paull made it not because they out-surfed him
but because they only got one good wave.
Butch Cooney got eliminated because he got too many nose
rides covered up by the wave.
Congratulations, judges, I wish you would let us, the
competitors, when it is April Fool's Day twice in one
Seven instead of six.
Someone was not going to get a pair of jeans.
Would it be Channon, Lynch, Smith or myself.
Did we all have rib cages full of butterflies as we
watched the oldies compete ?
I forgot to ask the others, but I did
One minute to go, tension stronger.
But I was relieved when Surf Dive & Ski T-shirts
were thrown at me.
I forgot the surf.
What an experience clogged with butterflies one minute,
next minute paddling out with stimulation in my mind
I got the first wave, second and third.
Stoked even though I did fall off.
Lynch had had it.
I could see he had no strength but still had style.
Channon playing it cool, getting every big wave that
I knew that it the siren went now I had won.
But no: Channon came again with head dips, heavy stalls
Lynch re-entered in front of me but fell off.
It was out of Lynch, Channon and myself.
I thought Channon.
A momentous final except for Nat positioned with some
other spectators around the rocks as the Phenomenon
cheats five, while Lynch re-entered going left.
Keith Paull worked a curl from outside.
Halfway through it was Phenomenon, Paull, Lynch.
Who would it be?
But the speculation was to change with Drouyn ripping
turns, nose rides, head-dips.
Continuously he did this but must not have been seen by
Phenomenon again arched on the nose, cutting back and
He was from the look of this wave another contest
Sequence: Butch Cooney, Bells
Beach, Easter 1969.
Photographs by John
Volume 1 Number 6,
Geoff Cater (2010-2020) :
McTavish - Witzig : California - Bells, 1968.