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mark warren : duke contest, sunset beach, 1974. 

Mark Warren : Duke Contest, Sunset Beach, 1974.
Warren, Mark: Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, Sunset Beach, Hawaii, 1974.
Photographs by Brady-Island Style.
Surfing World
1975 May, Volume 21 Number 2, page 77.

A highly candid and good natured report of the 10th Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Contest held at Sunset Beach by Mark Warren.
Failing to gain entry, as third alternate, Mark was offered a paid position on the international judging panel.
In the early days of professionalism, organisation and rules were flexible; that is, sponsors and officials largely made it up.
Invitations to the Duke Contest were based on a postal world-wide poll; o
nly one invitee failed to appear in 1974, Michael Peterson from Australia.

Given the difficult conditions, and to maximise
head judge Tiger Espere's injunction that performance was the key, each competitor was allowed a caddy with a spare board in the case of an extreme wipe out.
Leg-ropes were in their infancy and were not used in Hawaiian competitions until the end of the 1970s.
To the advantage of the television crew (and sponsor), an eight man final was held over 80 minutes.
Results:1st Larry Bertleman, 2. Ian Cairns, 3. Sam Hawke, 4. Jeff Hakman, 5. Reno Abellira, 6. James Jones, 7.Eddie Aikau, 8. Peter Townend.

Held at on the same day, the Pipeline Masters was also an invitational, with seven goofy-footers (?) and switch-stance master, Butch van Artsdalen.
The first surfer to be recognised as Mr. Pipeline, Artsdalen
often switched his stance from forehand to backhand when riding a wave.
The second Mr. Pipeline, Jock Sutherland, was essentially ambidextrous, going left or right he choose to ride on his forehand, facing the wall.

The 1974 champion was Jeff Crawford from Florida, renowned for
its small surf, who attributed his win to his choice of equipment, he had an 8'2" and everybody else was on a 7'6".
The iconic Mr. Pipeline, and last years winner, Gerry Lopez was relegated to third place behind his understudy, Rory Russell.
Results: 1st. Jeff Crawford, 2nd. Rory Russell, 3rd. Gerry Lopez, 4th. Tom Padaca.

Butch Van Artsdalen.
Jeff Crawford
Also see:
Pipeline, Ohau.

Page 77
The Duke Classic & Pipe Masters

My position this year was that I was an alternate.
Usually about three to five alternates get to ride in the contest, but this year as Michael Petersen didn't arrive only Ivo Hanza from Peru, as first alternate, was given a ride.
Therefore Mike Miller who was second alternate and myself, as third alternate, were offered the job of judging, along with other guys from several countries, making the judging panel truly international - Mike from Hawaii, Tony Staples from California, etc.

I feel that everybody who reads this does, or should, know the past history of the Duke contest.
This was the 10th Annual contest .
The Duke is a very traditional contest, in that it's a memorial contest to a guy who was the much loved father of surfing, a guy who really did spread the word throughout the world about surfing - I really believe this after reading his biography.
For surfers competing around the world I'd say that it would be the most prestigious contest that they could be invited to, even though it's not the richest (it offers about US $7,000 total prize-money, whereas the Smirnoff offers US $ 11,000 and the Coke this year at last count was around $14,000-$15,000 Aust).

Surfers are invited on a poll system - polls are sent out to anyone who is someone in surfing throughout the world.
Unfortunately, half of them aren't ever sent back.
I know that half of those sent to Australia in the past haven't been returned because they were sent to people who have since dropped out of surfing.
This year Jeff Hakman received the highest number of votes, followed by Barry Kanaiaupuni.
Ian Cairns was the fifth highest voted for, probably due to his win in the Smirnoff the year before, but even so to place so high in an international poll is really an accomplishment and he certainly must have impressed a lot of people all around the world.

This contest is run on a very professional basis, with a board of directors, a chairman, etc.
All the judges are paid, so there's none of the "doing it for the love of it" thing.
The guys who run it really believe in the contest - people like Moroni Medeiros, who was indeed an old friend of the Duke.

The head judge was Tiger Espere (in the past it's been Del Cannon).
Being a pure-blood Hawaiian and a truly good surfer himself, he no doubt considered this position as a great honour.
He did a really good job, listening to anyone's gripes and trying to help out.
He stressed that performance was the key word this year, whereas in the past it's been the long sweeping curving arcs, etc , that got the nod.
If a guy, for instance, came tearing at across to the inside section and instead of just straightening off, went for the tube, and got dusted that way, on my sheet, and a lot of other judges', he'd get scored higher, even though it meant a long swim.
So, as the end result showed I believe, performance was definitely what was judged highest.
Another factor which contributed to this increase in performance surfing was that each competitor was allowed, because of the hazardous conditions, a caddy with an extra board in the rip, so that if he fell off he wouldn't be at such a great disadvantage.

This proved a really good idea because the surf on the day was about 12-15 feet, probably bigger by Australian standards, at very, very gnarly, shifty Sunset Beach.
It was a big north west swell, in fact it had quite a bit of west in it and there was the occasional close-out set.
To sit in the best position you had to risk getting caught, so there were a lot guys cleaned up including Billy Hamilton and Paul Neilson.
It was so gnarly that even guys like Hakman, who are super accustomed to the place, were having troubles.

In the past an Hawaiian has nearly always won, Hakman three times, Joey Cabell, Booby lones, and last year Clyde Aikau got first place at Waimea Bay.
However, even being aware of the tradition of the contest, you still can't deny the fact that it would be good to see someone get up there and really rip it off, and this year Ian Cairns nearly did just that.
Previously the closest that an Australian has ever gone to winning was when Peter Drouyn came second in, I think, 1970.
But Ian must have really gone close with just an unreal performance.
He was hot.

The first four surfers to go into the final are the heat winners, in this case Ian Cairns, Larry Bertleman, Booby Jones and Reno Abellira.
They were joined by the first four place getters in the semi-main; Sammy Hawk, who just tore the semi apart, Peter Townend, Eddie Aikau and Jeff Hakman.
The day before the contest Jeff was involved in an accident with a horse.
He sat on the horse to have a photograph taken with a girl behind him, the horse reared, they fell off backward and the horse rolled on lop of them.
Jeff got a couple of scratches above his eye and his foot was crushed, twisting his ankle.
So on the morning of the contest he came down and had cortisone injections - considering the amount of pain that he should have been in, he was really impressive to pull off fourth place.

So that the ABC (who sponsor the event) camera crew can get sufficient footage to make a good television program, the organisers usually run two finals.
But this year due to the cost of getting the camera crew back another day, the extra cost of hiring the beach again etc . the decision was made to run an 80-minute final, which of course meant heavy work for the surfers, their caddies and also the judges.

In the final Larry Bertleman finished first on all the judges' sheets, an indication of how well he surfed.
In my opinion he won it by a mile.
Maybe if it was over two finals Ian might have edged him out, but Bertleman was covering much more surface area on the face of the waves than anyone else.
He was taking off, fading right, then fading left, then fading right again before he even did his bottom turn.
He was taking off right outside on really windblown waves and just covering so much distance that it was incredible.
He got one radical tube on the inside which I scored him in the high, very high teens; just an unreal wave.
He went for it on the inside, he could have been killed, but he made it.

Ian Cairns' last wave was unreal also.
Half the people on the beach didn't even see it because Sammy Hawke went left which is unusual at Sunset.
I was watching him too, until someone went "ooohhh!"
Ian took off out the back, just barrelled straight into a 12-foot backdoor tube.
He went about 30 feet inside the tube, no one could even see him - Leonard Brady from Island Style was out in the water filming and he said that if Ian had made it, it would have been the best tube he'd ever seen.
said later that all he remembered about it was almost making it, getting hit, then falling and seeing the planshape of his board going over in the roof of the wave above him.
He said that it seemed the board was about 15 feet away from him, the whole planshape was clearly outlined as it got pitched out in the lip.

The Results.
1. Larry Bertleman (Hawaii)
2. Ian Cairns (Aust.)
3. Sam Hawke
4. Jeff Hakman
5. Reno Abellira
6. James Jones
7.Eddie Aikau (Hawaii)
8. Peter Townend

There was an unreal banquet later on in the week to celebrate the contest and to hand the cheques out, followed by a bit of an outrageous party at Mike Purpus'.
Bertleman also ripped at the banquet by showing up really well dressed in a white suit complete with high-heeled shoes, an Afro hairstyle, sunglasses and a beautiful girl on his arm.
It all helped the contest end up on a really good note.

Story by Mark Warren

Page 76

Larry Bertleman

Ian Cairns

Jeff Hakman

Peter Townend

Jeff Hakman

The Pipeline Masters Invitational was held on the same day as the Duke Classic.
Eight notable Pipe riders were there to compete in a gnarly unpredictable surf.
An interesting selection was a former "Mr. Pipeline", Butch van Artsdalen, who, along with an injured Gerry Lopez temporarily lost their King of the Tubes crowns to Jeff Crawford.
Rory Russell was second on the day, with Gerry third and Tom Padaca fourth.

Jeff and Rory were pretty even with Jeff getting the edge due to a big tube ride on his first wave.
He collected $1000 for his trouble.
Rory landed $200.
The scene.

Surfing World
Volume 21 Number 2
1975 May


Geoff Cater (2019) : Mark Warren : Duke Contest, Sunset Beach, 1974.