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witzig & lynch : aust. titles, 1968 

John Witzig and Wayne Lynch : Australian Titles, 1968.

Witzig, John and Lynch, Wayne: Strine Jam Bean Chips. [Australian Titles, Sydney, 1968]
Surf International
Volume 1 Number 7, June 1968, pages 21 to 31.

Photographs by John Witzig and Alby Falzon.

Also in this edition:
Bob McTavish : Rincon, pages 10 to 11.
Greg Woodward : WA Design Retrospective 1964-1968
, pages 12 to 15.

Page 21

The Australian Championships were held in big and varying surf in
Sydney during the third week of May this year.
In the following pages we pre­sent a colourful coverage of the event
with competitor Wayne Lynche (sic) and SURF editor John Witzig.
Page 22

John Witzig

The voice over the PA system repeated its information.
"Anyone who comes near the tent or the Avis truck will be disqualified — and any Judge who comes near the tent or the Avis truck will be pulled off the judging panel."
This gem of tolerance and consideration was repeated for the deaf or just anyone else who had failed to believe.
Somehow it seemed a little out of place at Palm Beach.
It was the third day of the Australian Championships, and the raucous voice was not the only thing that was out of place.
There had been the unhappy sequence of events which had seen Russell Hughes excluded from the contest.
Sure, everybody was sorry about Russ, it was just that no one cared enough to do anything about it.
The kids in the Victorian team tried but they were knocked on the head by the executives in their wisdom.
So for a few people at least, the 1968 Australian Championships started on a bitter note.
Someone must have been happy though, cause Sydney turned on some surf for a change.
Monday was the first day of the Juniors' and Women's at Manly.
It rained.
Tuesday was the Open and Senior Men's at Warriewood of all places.
The surf was rising, tough and not particularly good.
Wednesday, Sydney turned on a special performance storm.
For a while someone considered holding the contest at Chinaman's Beach inside the harbour.
This fascinating idea was finally abandoned mainly because there wasn't any surf.
Mind you, all things considered, that might not have stopped them.

So Wednesday came and rather wildly went.
Thursday and Friday were at Palm Beach, leaving Saturday at Long Reef for the second Junior contest and the women's, and the Sunday at the same beach for all the Grand Finals.
By that Sunday, it was an interesting situation.
Keith Paull and Wayne Lynch had two contest wins - Nat astonishingly, a fourth and an equal third.
Up to that Sunday grand final, Midget was second some 21 points behind consistent Keith, and Ted Spencer was only 3.5 points behind Midget; Nat trailed by a further 10.5 points.
In the Juniors', it was Lynch all the way.
His surfing was the most dramatic of the contest - and was reminiscent of Nat near his best in terms of straight ability.

In the Women's it was the unexpected again.
Gail Couper bombed a semi-final and her chances of victory were gone.
Little blonde Judy Trim surfed consistently into second places.
In the codgers' I just can't remember.
A Victorian system was used to evaluate and pick judges.
It didn't work. It depended upon the average as an absolute and in doing so negated individual opinion and its expression.
Any system that provides a judge in a final panel who was as wildly out as one (and perhaps more) was, just is not worth the precision of a strictly mathematical system.
The practice of using judges from each state falls

Photographs, not shown: Top: The beach scene Long Reef. Lower: The Gladiators.

Page 23

[Wayne Lynch]

Page 24

down on two major points.
First many of the judges from Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania simply have not seen the type of surfing that they were asked to judge.
It was an impossible task, made more ludicrous by the second point, that all five finalists in the open Men's final
were from New South Wales.
Much of the judging
ranged from inconsistent to bad and this was hardly enhanced by the system.

But it wasn't just the judging, or the failure of some
of the top surfers to run hot. Something was lacking
in this Australian Championships.
Perhaps it was
the fault of some officials who fail to realise that  efficiency is no counter to officiousness.
The spirit and the fun that has been evident at previous championships just wasn't there.
Until the weekend.
It was the sun as much as anything else.
When it came out somehow the waves just looked better and even the officials looked better.
And perhaps it got to their brains too, for some of the decisions seemed more reasonable.
But that Saturday, when Lynch and those other talented Juniors started switching on, the whole contest scene came alive.
And when on Sunday Nat became Nat and tore the head-high waves to pieces, then some of the faith was finally restored.
I cannot imagine Nat more pleased to come in second in a major contest after his performance in the grand final.
And I haven't seen another competitor throw his hands up in admiration like Robert Conneeley did on Nat's last ride.

Still it was Keith Paull's contest.

Two firsts and a second in the three events, put him in an unassailable position.
Nat blasted his way into second place. Midget and Ted Spencer took third and fourth. Fifth and sixth were Conneeley and Brien respectively.
In the Juniors Wayne Lynch axed the opposition for the third time in a row. Peter Cornish, with a third in the grand final, pulled second place overall and the Jolly Green Giant David Treloar so carefully took third place.
Judy Trim surfed into yet another second place for an overall Australian Championship.
And for the Senior Men's, Mai Sutherland for the second time in a row.

These were all the placings and details.

It remains to be seen how much significance they will have in the long run.
What is of significance is several aspects of the contest structure which must be changed before Western Australia
exercise their option in running the 1969 contest.
That most of the right results seem to have finally come out of this contest was more a happy accident than anything else and is hardly a consolation for the bad aspects.
For a start surfers like Russell Hughes and Butch Cooney should have been allowed to surf.
Enough flexibility must be retained in the concept of the championships to allow entries such as these.
It was significant that on the first day of Junior competition, the sixth heat hit the surf less one competitor.
A little unbending by the officials and Butch Cooney would have been in the water.
This situation should not be allowed to arise again.

The average system of selection of judges for final panels must be abandoned.
Judges should be chosen by a knowledgeable head judge, based on experience and general results.
And finally, for the good of the sport, the general officiousness that was prevalent over much of the early part of the contest must be removed.
Surfing contests are primarily for fun and they must be run as if this were so.

The jolly green giant & a ship.

a cold Conneeley.
[Not shown]

Most spectactular ride of the contest- Lynch.

Wayne Lynch

Well there will be a lot of hot things written about what happened with Russell Hughes.
He is one of our greatest surfers and its sad to see him miss out.
But Russell should, and probably could have organized himself in advance.
That's just the start of the pros and cons of his case.
It started the contest off with hate.
It was overexposed.
Sickened me and others.
I don't know what John will write.
It will be very hot!
Too hot ?
You may decide.
He may criticise harshly and unjustly.
It won't offend me.
How about you ?
He feels strongly about his opinions and is quite willing to stick his neck out to protect them.
He often is right.

I must admire him for this.
Page 25

Ted Spencer on a left at Palm beach.

Page 26

The junior's and women today.
Three foot dribbles.
Only held heats.
Nothing new.
Gail's boards were stolen last night from a closed-in shed.
A yellow and a clear one.
Must have looked very much like mine in the dark !!!

Men's at Warriewood.
Nat came fourth.
He is not finished.
Perhaps only starting ?
But it was only the first round.
Keith Paull was first.
A deserved placing.
Ted was next.
Midget then Nat.
Maybe Nat deserved a placing.
That's my opinion.
You have yours.
Too close to get offended with.
Perhaps this will make Nat push himself?
He may become really advanced ?
Maybe not?
Tomorrow is another day.

Stan Couper would probably be the most depended upon official in the A.S.A.
He has organised most of this contest.
It frightens me to think what would happen without him.
Dictatorship in the Victorian A.S.A. ?
Puzzles and amuses me.

What would happen without the efficiency of Tony Olsson and others?
You all laugh at each other.
Go knowhere ?
Like knowone?
Too bad this unnecessary controversy has to come out before the contest.
Beforehand Sydney was everything.
Early mornings at Narrabeen.
Glimpses of Nat.
Short stories with Doc Spence.
Waves with Keith and Randy.
6-7 foot perfection.
God, that was surfing.
So far back that you could only look at the world from a round hole.
That was surfing!
That's what surfing is !
Today is unbelievable.
I have never seen a storm like this.
Surf's huge.
Very windy and very cold.
Chinamans was a write off.
No contest.
Guess I'll play cards.
Men's tomorrow.

The men's heats and semis at Palm Beach today.
Midget really impressed.
He looked like a strong finalist.
More drive and initiative than usual.
Keith Paull looks a definite winner.
Puts a lot into his surfing.
As Nat once did.
And can do again

Page 27

Just Lynch again,

on one of the best back hand turns
 of the contest.

Page 28

The surf was huge.
Fat and lumpy.
Lester Brien has suddenly become hot.
Maybe he always was, and I never knew.
Very impressive!
Conneeley had a good day.
Probably his best.
I spent the day wandering around eating greasy chips, and wishing the junior's were on.
Couldn't fit the men's final in today.

Men's final was good to watch.
Exciting rides because of exciting sets.
Keith deserved his first place.
Midget came a very close second.
Nat blew it.
Ted was quiet.
Both had an equal third.
Conneeley was restricted into fifth place.
Gail had an upset.
Last in her semi.
She worries too much about equipment and waves.
All she has to do is catch three dribbles, surf them O.K., and first is hers.
I won the juniors'.
I don't think you can argue about that.
Peter Cornish second. (Newcastle one.)
Very closely followed by David Treloar.
Very good surfing in that final.
Bruce Channon surprised me.
Guess he was unlucky.
I thought he was a definite finalist.
But I guess there is another round left.
Juniors and women again tomorrow.

Photographs, not shown:Top: Peter Cornish. 2nd in the juniors — a re-entry. Lower: 1968 Australian Champion Keith Paull.

Page 29

Midget slides his pintail down
a good Warriewood wave.

Page 30

Look at today's sheets, then bed.
A thought
As this contest proceeds I gain more respect for the organisation and efficiency of the officials.
The judging ?
Very erratic.
But the results always turn out right.
So no worries.

Juniors and women at Long Reef.
Gail a close first from Judy Trim.
I won the junior's.
A hard final.
A good final.
Very fast.
Inconsistant four to five foot smoothies.
No wall or drive.
Good contest surf.
Peter Cornish was second.
'Baddy' third.
I guess that's correct.
As long as I won.
That's all I worried about.
Nat went surfing.
Much better.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day.
Besides, I'm happy, you're happy and Shane's happy.

Top: The competitor unknown, the beach Long Reef.

Lower:    The maestro from the south, Lynch again.
Grand Finals.
The oldies first.
I think it was Mai Saunders?
Yeah ! That's right.
He won.
Can't remember the rest.
Then the chicks.
Gail just ahead of Judy.
The rest ? ?
Then the junior's.
Standing around for photos.
Getting cold.
Looking at the crowd and becoming confident.
Showing it to the rest.
The surf was bad.
Worse than it looked.
I felt happy.
David came in second this time.
Then Cornish.
Sitting down cold but confident I watched the men's.
Nat's back.
He showed it.
Keith Paull fought to the end.
Conneeley showed experience.
Midget had things against him.
He just couldn't get into rhythm.
Ted blew it in the shorebreak.
Lester didn't fire at all.
The others trod on him.
Keith won.
Nat second.
Midget third.
Excellent overall results.
The surfing standard was not high.
Nat fired but he was full of mistakes.
Not enough surfing previous to the event.
He tended to float a bit.
So what.
I enjoyed this contest.
I could look and see what has been developed.
Not much.
Puerto Rico next.
I'll be there.
And everywhere.

Page 31

Left: Conversation: Pa Bendall & Nat Young.
Middle: Australian champ Keith Paull: a tight little turn.
Right:  The glorious officials.
[All not shown]


Wayne Lynch backs off the breaking wave at Palm Beach.

Page 8

Nat Young
Surf International
Volume 1 Number 7
June 1968.

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Geoff Cater (2016-2019) : John Wiztig and Wayne Lynch : Australian Titles, 1968.