John Witzig and Wayne Lynch : Australian Titles,
1968. Witzig, John and Lynch, Wayne: Strine Jam
Bean Chips. [Australian Titles, Sydney, 1968]
Volume 1 Number 7, June 1968, pages
21 to 31.
John Witzig and Alby Falzon.
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.
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.
Tuesday was the Open and Senior Men's at Warriewood of all
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
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
Little blonde Judy Trim surfed consistently into second
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
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 washardly 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 thatefficiency
is no counter to officiousness. The spirit and the fun that has been
evident atprevious 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
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
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.
MONDAY 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
But Russell should, and probably could have organized himself in
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.
Spencer on a left at Palm beach.
The junior's and women today.
Three foot dribbles.
Only held heats.
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 ?
Tomorrow is another day.
Stan Couper would probably be the most depended upon official in
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 ?
Too bad this unnecessary controversy has to come out before the
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
That was surfing!
That's what surfing is !
Today is unbelievable.
I have never seen a storm like this.
Very windy and very cold.
Chinamans was a write off.
Guess I'll play cards.
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.
Just Lynch again, on one of the best back
hand turns of the contest.
The surf was huge.
Fat and lumpy.
Lester Brien has suddenly become hot.
Maybe he always was, and I never knew.
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
1968 Australian Champion Keith Paull.
Midget slides his pintail down
a good Warriewood wave.
Look at today's sheets, then bed.
As this contest proceeds I gain more respect for the
organisation and efficiency of the officials.
The judging ?
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.
Inconsistant four to five foot smoothies.
No wall or drive.
Good contest surf.
Peter Cornish was second.
I guess that's correct.
As long as I won.
That's all I worried about.
Nat went surfing.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day.
Besides, I'm happy, you're happy and Shane's happy.
competitor unknown, the beach Long Reef.
The maestro from the south, Lynch again.
SUNDAY Grand Finals.
The oldies first.
I think it was Mai Saunders?
Yeah ! That's right.
Can't remember the rest.
Then the chicks.
Gail just ahead of Judy.
The rest ? ?
Then the junior's.
Standing around for photos.
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.
Sitting down cold but confident I watched the men's.
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.
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.
I enjoyed this contest.
I could look and see what has been developed.
Puerto Rico next.
I'll be there.
Conversation: Pa Bendall & Nat Young. Middle:
Australian champ Keith Paull: a tight little turn. Right: The
[All not shown]
backs off the breaking wave at Palm Beach.