witzig : 1968 world contest and evolution, 1969
The world contest in Puerto Rico was a time and a place when surfers from many different lands got together, lived together, renewed old friendships and made new ones which will last for many years.
It was a time when we finally ironed out our old differences with Hawaii; and we created new bonds between our lands.
found the friendship of Downing and Hemmings and Apia and
Akon and Pena.
The wife of Peruvian Pancho Wise.
I cannot explain to you in words what Pena was to us.
Mother, sister, friend.
Always ready to listen to our problems.
Ted and I had been in Puerto Rico for a month before the
Not too much good surf during that period.
Two or three swells, each lasting three or four days, and never over six feet.
So when the
contest began and a small swell came on the first day, we
were anxious for them to run the small wave event quickly,
and take maximum advantage of the swell.
But the officials decided to run the the Women's on the first day.
So that by the time they got the Men' heats going the swell was already dropping and, with tired judges and all, there was not enough time to finish the event.
So, with the quarters, semis and finals to go, began four days of tension and frustration while we waited for a new swell.
stage let me say that had Eduardo started the men's event on
the first day and finished it in the first swell, either
Wayne or Nat would almost certainly have won it.
In the smaller surf the Australians form and equipment completely overshadowed everyone else.
Most of the Americans were riding crude equipment and their surfing lacked the freedom and involvement of the Australians.
waited for a new swell.
Everyone had his own opinion as to when it would come and how big it would be.
It came on the fifth day.
On the Thursday.
Through the night we heard the surf rising, and in the early dawn rose and looked out onto the biggest swell we had seen in five weeks.
A reprieve, for this was the final day allotted for the contest.
Rincon Puerto Rico, 1968.].
But now a
new element had entered the scene.
And for the first time the Australians realised that they could be beaten.
This was what the Hawaiians wanted and this day they would be strong.
quarters started early at Domes and went according to plan.
The waves were big around eight feet, but smooth.
|At the time of writing this story it's
mid December & I know that I've got to think well
ahead, because this magazine is not going to be
released until March.
I have just got back to Sydney after a four month trip around the world with Wayne Lynch. Nat Young & Ted Spencer.
If you are interested, we travelled through many, many different countries.
We surfed & filmed in France, Morocco. Portugal, Puerto Rico & Hawaii.
I could write pages on the trip; on how we got La Barre perfect again, eight to ten feet & HOLLOW; on the day Nat & I had to ourselves at Hossegor, about ten miles North of Biarritz, with perfect, perfect six foot rights tubing off.
The film looks like The Ranch at its best.
Or on travelling down to Morocco & Portugal; in both countries we found really good surf & absolutely no surfers.
Morocco was unbelievable & was one part of our trip that none of us will ever forget.
The place has got pretty close to total freedom & great surf into the bargain.
Or the World Contest in Puerto Rico.
Where we expected Nat or Wayne to win, but when Fred Hemmings won everyone was happy anyway.
Puerto Rico was really weird It's an island in the Caribbean where tropical diseases run wild, where the water is filled with poisonous coral & sea urchins & where the head of the Mafia drives around San Juan in a bullet proof car with a motorcycle escort.
We were there about six weeks & sometimes wondered if we were going to get out alive.
The waves are really good though & the water temperature is probably about ten degrees hotter than Hawaii.
It's so hot that it takes a few days to get acclimatised.
The best time for surf starts around Christmas.
We stopped in Hawaii for a few weeks on the way home; surfed all the places - Sunset, Pipeline, Haliewa.
Then cut short our stay in the Islands to get home for Christmas- We'd got sick of travelling, sick of crowds & scenes & wanted to come back to Australia
Because here is where it's all got to happen.
Where there are lots of good waves for everyone; where anytime you want to get away to good surf and no crowds, all you've got to do is drive a few hundred miles up the coast, or down the coast, or along the coast.
What I really want to tell you is that you've got to come along to see the new film.
Because we've been working on it for a long time now & it's going to be called EVOLUTION.
It's taking a very long time to make because it's got to be great.
We've got to show everyone what is really happening to surfing NOW.
This EVOLUTION which is bringing radical changes in boards & radical changes in the way waves are being ridden.
Spearheading this forward movement are surfers like Wayne & Nat & Ted.
And Bob McTavish & Joey Cabell & David Nuhiwa & Reno Abelira & Skip Fry & Midget & Russell Hughes & Mike Doyle & Fred Hemmings.
All of whom are in the film.
It should be finished by Easter & it should be good because we're giving it everything we've got.
We've got to film more in Australia this Summer then, with luck, it will be released in Australia & California before the middle of the year.
Volume 2, Number 1, pages 18 to 22,