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mctavish : indian head, 1968 

Bob McTavish : Indian Head, 1968.

McTavish, Bob : Indian Head.
Surf International
Volume 1. Number 9, pages 42-45, November 1968.

The same issue contained an article My Surfboard by Bob McTavish detailing the board ridden in Indian Head.
1968 Bob McTavish : My Surfboard.
Page 42


What do you do when there's not the slightest ripple of swell and you're a professional surfer?
That's what the taxation form said : Professional Surfer.
Well you can fool around trying to shape the board that's going to do everything : a little flatter on the bottom, sharper, blunt the nose a little, make it stronger with heavier foam.
(You know what happened to the last one, ugh that was power: Must have been a month since Boulder had those banks no more).
Then, a little more taper on the tail, cut it off before the pin-tail; don't need that kind of traction here.

In fact haven't needed traction in Byron for a while.

Right winds, no swell-right swell, wind on-shore.

No power anyway 'round here.

So you've got your board right, keen on surfing again.

Wow - let's go.
Where the hell can you go when there's no surf?
No low pressures anywhere on the map.
No semblance of South swell.
North ?
Yeah, but those guys from Noosa said there was nothing there either.
Kooks anyway, they wouldn't know the difference.
Maybe the storm in Fiji last week might produce something up there we wouldn't catch here ?
You should go up there - no water in the tank for a shower unless you buy some, no Porta-gas, no bloody money.
You should ask the guys if they want to go North ....

Page 43

Page 44

Nothing at Burleigh and nothing at Noosa.
P'raps you could go and see Wally see if he'll take us on the boat up to Double Island Point, even if it's only for the ride. Nothing so boring as this place with no surf, and we might get a free feed of prawns from Wally.
Buy the paper and check out the weather map.

For some incredible reason there's swell getting in here at Double Island.
There's no earthly reason why, but the wind's wrong.
Too strong from the East.
Ask Wally what he thinks of the chances of going up along Fraser Island.
Could be a bay or inlet there to give protection.
You wish Youngblood Young would stop barking at the sea-gulls.
Wally says yes, he's seen good surf often at Waddy Point.
Great! Things are getting better.
Swell's increasing and the wind is swinging more to a
What's that place there, Wally?
Indian Head?
That's good.
In fact very good.
Looks like sand on rock.
Pretty frequent swells but hollow.
Big suck-up on the inside.
Go to Waddy Point ?
They say yes.
Better there.
Put the boat across the swell.
One of the Yanks is feeling sea-sick.
Swell's getting up to rideable size.
Maybe 3-4 feet.
That's Waddy Point ?
Wally, you've got to be joking.
Nothing surf.
No kind of bank formation.
That's cleared that up then.
Back to Indian Head.
Cream of the Fraser Island Coast.
You get the board into the water at last.
Kind of scary, but lotsa guys.
No shapes.
Swells are local wind swells, peaks every three minutes.
Lots of time for surfing.
Lots of waves for ten surfers.
The new board is good.
In fact it works just like you hoped.
Very flighty though.
Needs more control but those flick-turns to set up the tubes are so fast you just keep holding
back and holding back.
Wow! Acceleration through the turn.
This is hollow! Groovy.

You camp on Fraser Island near an old wreck which you explore in the dusk because you're just too tired to go surfing any more. The tide is fuller and the surf is a little bigger - 5-6 feet but getting sloppy as the wind tries to turn Nor'-East.
You wake in the middle of the night and the dog's on your sleeping bag.
Wind's a lot stiffer, turned Nor'-West.
A board standing on the rock shelf above your head is rocking to and fro, making a hollow rattle as each gust catches it.
Must have been what woke you.
Combination of that and the dog.
Anyway you got some surf and the board works.
Maybe the rails are too thin ?
Catching a little when you need to turn hard.
No surf tomorrow.
Wind is too fresh . . . proved something today - there's no surf at Waddy Point ...

Page 45

[a. Bob McTavish: Indian Head]

[b. Bob McTavish (falling off), Russel Hughes, others: Indian Head]

Surf International 
Volume 1. Number 9
November 1968.

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Geoff Cater (2010-2016) : Bob McTavish: Indian Head, 1968.