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 surfing : illawarra, australia

Australia : Illawarra

Surfriding in the Illawarra, and the South Coast of NSW, at least to 1956.

The earliest Wollongong surf report was recorded by James Cook on the afternoon of 27 April 1770, when the Endeavour was "3 leagues" (about 9 miles or 14 kilometres) north of "Red Point" (Port Kembla).
Cook, Joseph Banks, Dr Solander, and four crew (including, a recent addition from Tahiti, Tupia) launched the ship's yawl, but were unable to "effect a landing by reason of the great surf which beat every where upon the shore."

This is approximately around the area of Bellambi and Sandown Points.
From the ship, the crew observed a number of men on shore, two carrying a canoe, and Parkinson noted that the "country looked very pleasant and fertile; and the trees, quite free from underwood, appeared like plantations in a gentleman’s park."

On approaching in the yawl, Banks noted "many cabbage trees," however, when a quarter of a mile off-shore the canoe carriers, "naked, and of a very dark colour," (as described by Parkinson) disappeared into "the woods."
Cook was close enough to observe onshore "3 or 4 small Canoes which to us appear'd not much unlike the small ones of New Zeland."

- Cook's Journal: Daily Entries

The presence of these canoes on the sea-front certainly indicates these craft were used in the ocean for fishing by the indigenous inhabitants, requiring substantial knowledge of the local surf conditions.
Five days earlier, the high seas had thwarted Cook's plan to shelter behind Brush Island, about two kilometres off Bawley Point.
However, on approach, the Endeavour was close enough to make its first sighting of the country's indigenous inhabitants, on 22 April Cook reported that they "were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear'd to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not."
Clearly, these aboriginals were visiting Brush Island and had ventured from the mainland in bark canoes, most likely those of the Illawarra similarly travelled to their five offshore islands.
This is not to say that they were active surf-riders.

When the Endeavour was able to land on the Australian mainland, Cook was able to observe the canoes of Botany Bay at close hand, describing them as "about 10 12 or 14 feet long made of one peice of the bark of a tree drawn or tied up at each end and the middle kept open by means of peices of sticks by way of Thwarts," they were "the worst I think I ever saw." (Hawkesworth)
Following the settlement of Sydney Cove in 1788,  Lt. William Bradley crossed the harbour to the Manly penisular where he observed a number of indigenous canoes, confirming Cook's earlier assessment, "they are by far the worst canoes I ever saw or heard of."
As the Endeavour sailed northward up the east coast, at no point did the crew observe indigenous fisherman at sea, except for one occasion in the far north, and then inside the Barrier Reef.
This was not the case in Polynesia, where native canoes often approached European ships before they had a chance to make a landfall.

It is unlikely the Aborigines of South East Australia would put directly to sea in poor weather in their bark canoes; either they were used in benign conditions or, when necessary, launched and beached inside a point that shadowed the prevailing swell.
Several such points on the Illawarra coast are suitable; for the  Kay-ye-my clan of the Manly peninsular, the sheltered cove at Fairy Bower was, undoubtedly, the terminus for ocean fishing.
In the only known account of aborigines at sea in bark canoes, Daniel Cooper wrote that: "In 1834 I saw the natives using the large canoes outside both Jervis Bay and Twofold Bay, and the large fish which were brought in by them clearly proved to me that their canoes must have been very buoyant and strong."

- Canoes in Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 1862, page 3.

The first recorded surf fatality, a prisoner of the Illawarra Stockade, was noted in a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald in December 1836.
The correspondent noted that two recently constructed "beautiful new bathing-houses" were available, and "to permit men (some of them unable to swim) to bathe when the surf is running so very violent" was wrong.

- A Subscriber: Letters, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1836, page 25.

At the turn of the 19th century Sydney, relaxation of the bathing regulations in Sydney saw a marked increase in surf-bathing, and a developing enthusiasm for "surf-shooting," that, is bodysurfing, first introduced at Manly by Tommy Tana, a South sea islander.
It also resulted in novice surf-bathers often getting into difficulties, sometimes with fatal consequences, which germinated the first moves to establish local volunteer surf life saving clubs.
The premier clubs were Manly, Bondi and Bronte,  and they quickly adopted distinctive costumes and insignia, and highlighted the concept teamwork in the members' patrol.
Equipment included numerous flags, the shark-alarm bell, the look-out tower, the surfboat, and the (now defunct) line-and-reel.

W. H. Broadhurst: Surfing [Surf bathing], Thirroul, NSW, circa 1910.

- Wollongong City Library: Images
SURFING [picture]
Image Number:

Permission pending.

"William Henry Broadhurst (1855-1927) published a extensive collection of photographic postcards of New South Wales, from 1900 to 1927.
William Henry Broadhurst was born at Maitland on 13th August, 1855; he died aged 72 on 29 July 1927.
He moved to Ashfield, Sydney, and began employment as a surveyor's assistant, working mainly on the south coast of NSW.
He turned his interest in photography into a business, and from around 1900 began to publish postcards.
To secure his photographs Broadhurst is said to have travelled by train and then continued on foot to his intended destination.
Many of the photographs were hand coloured for sale by his daughters. To secure his photographs he travelled by train and then walked wherever he wanted to go."

- Illawarra Historical Society Bulletin, September 1970, pp. 2-3 (PXA 635/1071)

One in a series of similar images of Thirroul, with similar annotation, this postcard appears to be one that was hand-coloured by one Broadhurst's daughters before sale.
Also see Wollongong City Library: Image Numbers: P02/P02886, P02/P02887, and P10/P10156.

With the formation of a surf life saving state body in 1907, branches sprang up along the NSW coast; Stanwell Park-Helensburg and Thirroul were formed in 1908, followed by  Bulli, Wonoona, and Shellharbour in 1909, Port Kembla in 1911, and North Wollongong and Austinmer by 1913.
They were often assisted with visits of administrators and exponents from various Sydney clubs, mostly demonstrating surf-shooting and the use of the rescue reel.
The use of the surfboat, pioneered by the Sly Brothers of Manly, was not immediately adopted by all clubs, however Stanwell Park-Helensburg were early enthusiasts, obtaining their first boat in 1912.

In late January 1908, a team from the Bondi Surf Club travelled to Wollongong and gave exhibitions in life saving and rescue work for members of the Wollongong Club, and two months later, ten members of the Woliongong Surf-bathing Club, competed in the "Bondi Club's Surf Carnival at Wonderland City beach."

.-1908 'BONDI SUR BATHERS.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 31 January, p. 3, viewed 12 December, 2013,
- 1908 'Surf-bathing Club.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 3 March, p. 2, viewed 12 December, 2013,

To coincide wth the 1908 Wollongong Show in Feburary, Manly Swmming Club sent a team of lifesavers and surf-shooters to give an exhibition, in conjunction with the  Wollongong Surf Bathing Club, at Fairy Beach, near Stuart Park.
On the day, "there was a confused sea, which did not assist the bathers," but "the shooting of breakers by Messrs. Pen Murray, K. McKelvie, C. Smith, and G. Tartakover was splendidly carried out, but under extreme difficulty."
The rescue exhibition was not interrupted by a real-life rescue, when Master Norman Osborne got into difficulties further along the beach, but members of the Manly Life Saving Brigade "applied, a scientific method of resuscitation (and) Osborne was soon restored."

- 1908 'SURF BATHING.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 7 February, p. 3, viewed 12 December, 2013,

As surf-bathing gained popularity, of the local press devoted considerable column inches to the decency of swimming costumes, and the inherent social difficulties posed by mixed bathing.
At the extreme, a letter signed by four local churchmen decried the tendency "to become lax in the observance of the Lord's Day," which is "aggravated by surf-bathing during church hours."

-1908 'Shellharbor Council.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 3 March, p. 2, viewed 12 December, 2013,

During this period, Sydney surfers were also beginning to experiment with surfboards, mostly small prone boards but some larger, such as the board brought from Waikiki by Manly's Tommy Walker in 1910-1911.
In response to a number of complaints, mainly from Freshwater and Manly, to  the NSW state government over the next summer (1911-1912),  amended the Local Government Act (Ordinance 52, March 1914) to authorise council inspectors to order bathers to refrain from surf shooting, with or without a surfboard.

In the Illawarra, circa 1913, Thirroul Surf life Saving Club appealed to the Bulli Council to regulate “boards shooting waves in the surf,” and in response to the concerns of a local resident, C. W. Stirling, in early 1914, wrote to the council "re the use of surfing boards at Austinmer beach," presumably in contravention of Ordinance 52.
The public spirited Mr. Sterling added that "if Council supplied notices he would see that they were erected in conspicuous places."
The Bulli Council "clerk was instructed to forward copies of Ordinances respecting surf bathing to all beach inspectors in the Shire."
 was petitioned again  to regulate  "the use of surfing boards at Austinmer beach."

- Middleton & Figtree: SLSCs llawarra (1963), page 10.
-1914 'Bulli Shire Council.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 16 January, p. 5, viewed 12 December, 2013,

 In his report to Wollongong Council in March 1914, the Mayor recommended "the erection of ladies' swimming baths and the deepening or repair of existing baths on the northern side of the breakwater," hopefully, "ready at the opening of next season."
Apparently, the project was initiated by locals, aiming to collect £100, or more, with further funds expected to be supplemented by government grants.
He also noted that " the southern side is not to be neglected, if the conditions are suitable for surf bathing."
At the the same meeting, a letter "from Water Rats applying to be given control of the southern half of the north beach at Wollongong" was "referred to the baths committee."

- 1914 'Wollongong Council.', Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), 10 March, p. 2, viewed 12 December, 2013,

The famous exhibitions by Duke Kahanamoku, on Sydney's beaches in the summer of 1914-1915, gave massive exposure to surfboard riding across Australia.
At Kiama, in March 1915, "the beach inspectors reported on the constant use of surf boards by certain bathers notwithstanding being warned on several occasions to the contrary."
The next weekend, the local cinema program included the Australian Gazette, featuring "the surf carnival at Dee Why, (Sydney), and Kahanamoku giving an exhibition on the surf board."

- The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser, Wednesday 10 March 1915, page 2; Saturday 13 March 1915, page 3.

With the outbreak of WW1, many surfers and lifesavers joined the military services.
At North Wollongong, "Fifty-eight  members were in the services, 6 being killed in action in the 1914-18 war."
However, "Despite the serious depletion of membership as a result of enlistments in World War I, the Club continued to be active.
Surf awards were gained in 1914-15, none in 1915-16, then 14 Bronzes in 1917-18."

.- Middleton & Figtree: SLSCs Illawarra (1963), page 8.

Following the war, surfboard riding steadily gained further popularity and spread along the coast, on occasion generating some resistance.
One of the early enthusiasts was photographed in front of the Stanwell Park-Helensburg SLSC, circa 1920.

Surfboard rider, Stanwell Park-Helensburg Life Saving Club, circa 1920.

 - Wollongong City Library: Images

[Surfboard rider, Stanwell Park Life Saving Club, circa 1920.]
Negative Number: FM2/81/2/22A
Permission pending.

Donald Arlie "Mick' Warden (1904-1956) of Milton on the NSW south coast, attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College along with  fellow swimmer Andrew "Boy Charlton.
Following college, he moved to Wollongong and joined the Austinmer SLSC  in 1922 and was a member of the recue and resuscitation team that won the Illawarra Branch Championship in 1924.

In 1923, Olympic swimmer and Manly surfboard rider, Andrew "Boy" Charton visited Austinmer, where he stayed at Iden, the home of a Mrs. Warden, probably a relative of Mick Warden.
While there, Charlton attended the Stanwell Park SLSC carnival, photographed (fifth from the left) with members of the Austinmer team. 

Returning in 1924, Charlton  performed briefly in the local rock pool.

Andrew "Boy" Charton and members of the
Austinmer SLSC, Stanwell Park, 1923.

- Wilton and Salm : Austinmer SLSC (2009) pages 13-.15

Following in the footsteps of Tommy Walker (c1910), in December 1925, Mick Warden visited Honolulu for four months where he became interested in surfboard riding, possibly meeting the Kahanamoku brothers.
Mick returned to Wollongong with two large Hawaiian solid timber boards, <MW> and Toots II.
He continued to compete for the Austinmer club and in 1934 moved back to Milton where he was instrumental in the formation of the Mollymook SLSC.

- Johnson: Mollymook SLSC (2010) page 5.

Toots II was pictured outside the clubhouse in a photograph of the Austimer's champion R&R and surf teams in circa 1925, and a similar photograph was taken of the club's 1928-1929 R&R champions, see below.

Austimer's champion R&R 
and surf teams with Toots II, 
circa 1925.
Wilton and Salm : Austinmer SLSC
(2009) page 13.

Frank Robson 
and Toots II, 1929. 

Detail from 
South Coast R&R Champions 1928-29.
Wilton and Salm : Austinmer SLSC
(2009) page 17.

"Hilo-born, A. E.'Toots' Minveille was the classic beachboy/waterman and the father of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing.
He was a fine swimmer, joined the Outrigger Canoe Club at age 14, and there was coached by Dad Center.
While surveying on Moloka'i, Minveille conceived the idea of an outrigger race across the 26-mile Kaiwi Channel from Moloka'i to Oahu.

Toots formed the International Hawai'ian Canoe Racing Association, which established the gruelling race in 1953,
the premier event for outriggers.
He is recognised for spreading the seeds of aloha and canoe paddling worldwide and is honored with a fine statue at Honolulu International Airport." (adjusted)

Toots Minveille, Outrigger Canoe Club entrance, Waikiki, 1927.
Photograph: Arthur Yarborough

- Dela Vega, et al.: Surfing in Hawaii, 1778-1930 (2011), page 125 .
Also note the board marked Toots III, second from the right in:

Jan. 1 1927 - Alawai, Honolulu - Hawaiian
Blackburn: Surf's Up (2001) page 43:

- noted by Ivan Johnson, phone call July 2011, many thanks to Ivan.

Toots II was photographed with Fred Mumford outside the original Mollymook surf club in 1938, and <MW> , with a square nose and repairs, is currently held in the Mollymook SLSC.

Fred Mumford and Toots II, Mollymook Surf Club, 1938.

- Johnson: Mollymook SLSC (2010) pages 23 and 24.

A surfboard, possibly <MW>, with a squared, or severely damaged, nose was photographed on Mollymook Beach in 1937, detail below.

- State Library of NSW: Mollymook Beach, Milton

At Easter 1925, an instructional surf life saving team from Sydney was head quartered at Kiama, with the purpose of giving demonstrations there and at Crookhaven Heads, Shellharbour, and Gerringong.
The demonstrations featured "an exhibition of surf shooting on surf boards about 8 feet long, at which Messrs. Adrian Curlewis, Geofrey Bland and D. Lorking are experts."

- The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser, Saturday 4 April 1925, page 2.

Adrian Curlewis joined the Palm Beach Life Saving Club in 1921, was taught to ride a surfboard there by John Ralston, and purchased his first surfboard from Manly's Claude West in 1923, "owner in hospital owing to using same."
This was probably the board Curlewis rode, with considerable skill, in the Illawarra demonstrations.

- The Australian Women's Weekly, Saturday 3 February 1951, page 17.

Adrian Curlewis, Palm Beach, circa 1929.
- Maxwell: Surf (1949) , facing page 208.
Note that the other boardrider in the phototgraph is female.
Note that after the outbreak of the second World War, Curlewis enlisted in the army, was captured at Sinapore in 1942, was sent to Changi Prison, and later worked on the infamous Thailand railway
On his repatriation to Australia, Curlewis went on to an extended career on the bench, and was a long-serving president of the Surf Life Saving Association, where in the 1960s, he was known for his disapproval of the growing popularity for surfboard riding.

In 1926 "Austinmer Surf Club. NEW SEASON LAUNCHED:
Two quotations were read for supplying a surf board nine feet long, : two feet wide ..."

- Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950) Friday 8 October 1926 p 3 Article

 In 1927, Kiama Council prohibited the use of surf boards, AId. Walker noting that:
"The other day a lady had to be carried out of the surf, having been bumped above the eye by a surf board used by another lady."
The next summer (1928), despite the erection of signs, according to  AId. Walker, the situation had deteriorated further:
"There's not one but dozens being used now, and they are a positive danger to other surfers, he said."
Not all locals supported the ban, and at the next council meeting Mrs. Reid, of Manning street, "asked the prohibition of surf boards be modified, pointing out, unless the surf was very crowded there was no danger to other surfers in using the boards."
Mrs. Reid probably attended the Kiama cinema the following weekend, where the program included the Australian Gazette, featuring "the surf carnival at Dee Why, (Sydney), and Kahanamoku giving an exhibition on the surf board."

- The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser, Saturday 19 March 1927, page 2; 21 January 1928, page 2; 4 February 1928, page 3.

    Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950) Friday 20 March 1931 p 1 Article
    ... picture shows in the Commonwealth. : Mr. Marks concluded his lecture with glimpses of surf-board ... 322 words

By the mid-1930s, a number of large boards were in use at Stanwell Park, note the square noses similar to Mick Warden's <MV>, above.

Stanwell Park SLSC Surfboard Riders, 3-3-1935.

H. Bennett        C. Lee       A. Brown     T. Bennett     J. Mawson (Captain)     I. Melville

- Thorn: Stanwell Park SLSC 1908-1983 1908-1983 (1983), page 22.

Following the First World War,  many surfers experimented with different construction methods and alternative surfriding craft, and the most successful was Tom Blake from Wisconsin, USA.
A competitive swimmer, inspired by Duke Kahanamoku, he was a late convert to surfriding, and was enthusiastic promoter of the sport, and himself.
Along with Duke, he developed and patented what is commonly known as the Blake Hollow Board, whose high buoyancy significantly improved paddling and substantially broadened the range of surfable waves.
Blake self-published his seminal Hawaiian Surfboard in 1935, with a selection of his surfing photographs printed concurrently in the prestigious National Geographic, and his surfboard plans were printed extensively in magazines and journals between 1933 and 1946.
He also experimented with an early type of sailboard.

In Australia, of particular significance was the development of the surf-ski by Harry McLaren from Port Macquarie, 1926-1930, and the inflated rubber Surf-o-plane, invented by Dr Ernest Smithers of Bronte, circa 1932.

The Surfo-plane Coy. applied to the local council in December 1933 to establish hire faclities at Stanwell Park, Austinmer, and Thirroul beaches, and at the end of that summer (April, 1934) the proprietors of the company met with the council with a "business proposal."
The proprietors were "the distinguished Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, with Dr. Smithers (inventor of the surfo-plane) ... thousands of which they have already manufactured."

- Illawarra Mercury, Friday 8 December 1933, page 3, Friday 27 April 1934, page 2.

Over the next five years, surfo-plane hire would be extended along the Illawarra coast, even if at Kiama they were, perhaps, not the "real thing," and they were adopted by the Surf Life Saving Association as both as rescue craft and for competitive events.
The Illawarra branch reported that in the 1935-1936 season "138 rescues were effected with the line and belt, nine with surf boards and surfoplanes, 72 without lines."
Surfo-plane races were a feature at Illawarra life saving carnivals from 1935 to 1949, one of the earliest at the North Wollongong carnival in 1935, won by J. Bell of Austinmer, followed by North Wollongong's G. Hyam and W. Kelly.
On many occasions, inexperienced surfo-plane riders required rescue by local life savers; in 1948, twenty one surfers were rescued when they were "washed off their surf-o-planes from a sand-bank by a huge wave at Austinmer beach."

- The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser, Saturday 2 February 1935, page 4.
- The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser, Saturday 24 October 1936 page 2.
- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 10 November 1949, page 10.
- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 15 January 1948, page 1.

Following up on initial contacts with the Surfo-plane Company, the Kiama SLSC was informed in 1934 "that owing to the demand for the planes in the metropolitan area, the company could not extend its operations to the country beaches."
Subsequently, a representative of the Safe-way Surf Plane Company called on the Club, proposing that it "take up the agency of his company for the forthcoming season (1934-1935)."
Appearing before the Committee, with one of the planes as an exhibit, the company representative noted that suggested "the company would supply as many of the planes as required, old planes would be replaced when damaged, and the club was under no obligation, except in the event of loss.
They could not be purchased outright, and would have to be returned at the end of the season.
The cost of hiring them to the public was fixed at 6d per half hour, and  the club would retain a percentage of the takings."
If the club decided to accept the proposition, the company would be able to deliver the planes for Eight-Hour week-end, when it was thought that a big crowd of surfers would be on the beach."

The committee was generally supportive of the proposal, noting that "the club would benefit considerably by the proposition," however,  "if the club accepted, say 24, there would be a responsibility of over £30 in the event of them being lost.
They would need to be kept under lock and key- a double lock and key in fact."
Kiama Club member, Mr. Tully, indicated that security may not a serious, difficulty as "the Safe-way Planes had an advantage over other planes of a similar nature, in that they could not be deflated by merely pulling out the air plug, and thus could not be wrapped up and taken away."
It was also noted "that the Surf-o Plane Company took out a policy covering theft and fire on their planes," and it was suggested that the club inquire if Safe-way Surf Plane Company provided a similar facility.
One club member asked if, "in the event of the sole rights being granted to the company, would it prohibit the use of the toy rubber articles used by the children in the surf."
At this time, there was no consideration given to insurance cover for those using the surf plane.

- 1934 'Safe-way Surf Planes.', The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser (NSW : 1863 - 1947), 29 September, p. 3, viewed 7 December, 2013,

The surf-o-plane remained in common use, especially by juveniles, well into the 1970s; and the surf-ski, now in a variety of forms, is used world wide.

Stanwell Park would eventually have several national and state surf-ski champions, but in the early 1930s club members also experimented with surfing canoes: "two wooden canoes, named the Gumbol and Frothblower, ... contained floating tanks to prevent sinking, ... were capable of carrying two persons and were constructed by the late George Logan, an architect, and the late Jack Mawson, a foreman boat builder, both employed at the Naval Dockyard, Garden Island, Sydney, ... from about 1930 to 1935."

- Thorn: Stanwell Park SLSC 1908-1983  (1983) pages 53 and 67.

 In 1933 the Corrimal SLSC "secretary received word that the 'Surf Ski' ..."
[Probably reports introduction of the surf-ski to the Illawarra, further information to come]
- Illawarra Mercury, Friday 8 December 1933 page 12.

In the later 1930s, surf-skis began to vie with surfboards in popularity.
The models of this period featured a prominant splash guard and a leash attaching the paddle to the nose, and were occasionally ridden while standing.
Several surf-ski riders were photographed in the Illawarra, circa 1936.

Surf-ski riders, Illawarra, 1936.

- Wollongong City Library: Images
SURFING [picture] 1924; 1920-1930.
Image Number: P13/P13836.
Permission pending.
Note that the catalogue date of 1924 is surely incorrect, and the scalloped cropping of the image suggests the photograph was possiby published in some type of promotional material of the period.

PORT KEMBLA CLUB [coming soon]
    Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950) Friday 3 April 1936 p 7 Article
    ... anyone finds a surf board of doubtful age, with a two inch crack, in it, they will be rewarded on ... 402 words

Walter Dare was a member of the Corrimal Surf Club in the 1930s, who excelled in many surf swimming events and was involved in two significant rescues; in the first , he and his brother, Jack, rescued two young girls at Corrimal Beach in 1937.
[Further information to come]

- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 25 March 1937, page 6.

Walter Dare, and probably Jack, were photographed in 1937 with the Corrimal SLSC reel and two trophies; these were possibly awarded for the 1937 rescue and photographed for an associated newspaper article, see below.
The same year, Walter was photographed performing a head-stand while riding a surf-ski at Corrimal, below, in the manner illustrated by Adrian Curlewis at Palm Beach, circa 1929, see above.


Walter [and Jack] Dare, Corrimal Beach, 1937.

Walter Dare, Surf-ski Headstand,
Corrimal Beach, 1937.

- Wollongong City Library: Images

1937; 1930-1940.
Image Number: P05/P05729.
DARE, Walter [picture] 1937; 1930-1940.
Image Number: P06/P06433.

Permissions pending.

In 1939, an invitation was made to Australian boardriders to compete in Hawai'i, in what would be called the Pan-Pacific Games.
Sean Brawley noted that “The trip was originally the idea of the Honolulu Star Bulletin which, upon hearing of a ‘new type of board’ in Australia, challenged Sydney's Daily Telegraph to send Australia’s best board riders to see if they could beat Honolulu surf-board men in their own surf.”
Unfortunately, Brawley does not identify the “new type of board”.
Harry McLaren's surf-ski (1926-1930) was definitely a "hollow board," and it appears some Sydney designers were beginning to build surfboards in this method.

- Brawley: Palm Beach SLSC (1996), page 64.
Brawley cites Honolulu Star Bulletin, 18 January 1939, Daily Telegraph, 6 February 1939.

Plans were made to send a full team of Australian surfers and lifesavers to compete in Honolulu, with intense competition for inclusion on the tour.
Dick Chapple (North Bondi), Lou Morath (Manly-Balmoral) and Blue Russell (Palm Beach) were selected as the surfboard representatives, and North Wollongong's Alan Fitzgerald represented the Illawarra in the R. & R. squad.
The Australians were warmly welcomed in Honolulu by Duke Kahanamoku, and had some success in the board and surfboat events, although their highly-prized line-and-reel failed to impress the Hawaiians.
Despite the widespread press coverage and success of the event, and somewhat reminiscient of Kahanamoku's tour of 25 years earlier, its impact was severely truncated by the outbreak of World War 2.

Around this time, another Wollongong SLSC member, Ted Burns also travelled to Hawaii, returning with "a 14-foot hollow three-ply board," which was later said to be the (first) "introduced it to Wollongong Beach more than 20 years ago."

- Illawarra Mercury, 1959-1960?

With the end of the war, surfers returned to the beaches, essentially using the same equipment as before.
Some commentators have noted that this period saw a further emphasis on team-work and regimentation by the surf life saving clubs, reflective of their military experience.
(Regimented) volunteer community service, highly valued in the return to peace, would be less attractive as post-war society focused on more individual, perhaps more hedonistic, pursuits.

After the war, Dick Chapple, a surfboard competitor at the Pan-Pacific Games, manufactured hollow timber boards, with a stencil reading “Hawaiian Surfboard,” in a clear reference to the designer, Tom Blake, and the SLSA Handbook for 1947 included plans for the Hollow Surf Board, a 14 feet model, which also failed to credit Blake. 

 - Dick Chapple: Hawaiian Surfboard, circa 1946, Quicksilver Surf Shop, The Corso, Manly, 2008. 
 - SLSA: The Australian Surf Life Saving Handbook, Fifteenth Edition (Revised June 1947) pages 208 – 209.

In February 1949, the local coastal steamer, Bombo, floundered off Port Kembla:
"Residents of Kiama were shocked to learn on Wednesday morning that the s.s. Bombo, which left Kiama on Tuesday for Sydney, was overdue and believed lost.
According to the story .of the mishap as related by one of the survivors ...
The hoped for break in the weather did not eventuate and by 9.40 p.m. Captain Bell decided to make for Port Kembla.
However the ship started to list more dangerously and the Captain gave orders to abandon ship.
There was no time to launch the lifeboat and the crew jumped over board with lifebelts.
A few minutes later the vessel keeled over and sank.
Eight of the crew, Captain Bell, Stevenson, Lucey, Stringer, Cunningham, Norris, Thomsen and Fitzsimmons grasped a floating plank and tried to paddle towards the shore.
They clung to the plank all night, but several became exhausted and sank.
At daylight they saw . a beach and decided to try to get ,ashore individually as they were afraid that if' they stayed with the plank they would be injured in the heavy surf breaking on a reef."
Mr. Percy Ford, Bulli Beach Inspector, went out on a surf ski and although the seas prevented him getting Thomsen on board, the latter had enough strength to hang on and he towed him to shallow water where one of the lifesavers, Mr. George Brown, picked them up, having swum out with a surf line."

Ford was later awarded for his part in Thomsen's rescue,

- 1949 'S.S. BOMBO SINKS.', Kiama Independent (NSW : 1947 - 1954), 26 February, p. 3, viewed 2 December, 2013,

In 1949, it appears that some members of the Bellambi SLSC "went through their pier."
[Further information to come]
- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 10 February 1949 page 6.

The next summer, "Bob Evans, surf board champion from Queenscliff, S.L.S.C." was scheduled to appear in surfboard riding and racing events at several Illawarra surf carnivals.

- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 13 October 1949, page 13.
[Further information to come]

Bob Evans' nickname in the 1950s was 'Surge,' for his ability to negotiate his way past Surge Rock at Fairy Bower, Manly.
In 1956, Evans was one of the lucky few to purchase one of the new Malibu boards from the visiting American-Hawaiian Olympic team, see below, and in the early 1960s began Surfing World magazine (still in print), was the first successful local producer of surfing films, and instrumental in the foundation of the Australian Surfriders Association.

Preparing for the upcoming 1949-1950 season, Kiama SLSC "decided to obtain prices for a new surf ski from J. B. Dillon, Sydney."
J. B. Dillon was the secretary of the Cronulla Life-saving Club in 1922, and The Surf Life Saving Association's publicity officer 1931-1953.
It was purchased for 24 pounds.

- 1949 'KIAMA SURF CLUB.', Kiama Independent (NSW : 1947 - 1954), 22 October, p. 1, viewed 2 December, 2013,

In 1950, Queenscliff surfer Jack O'Brien, a 32 year-old aircraft engineer, of Strathfield, paddled a surf ski 44 miles from Wollongong to Bondi.

- Illawarra Mercury, Thursday 13 April 1950 page 1.

At Thirroul SLSC Carnival on 6 January 1951, Kiama "junior, John Bloomfield, recorded wins in the Junior Surf Race, Junior Belt Race and Open Surf Ski Race."
At the end of the decade, after an extensive competitive career, John Bloomfield published Know-how in the Surf (1959). 

- 1951 'SURF NOTES.', Kiama Independent (NSW : 1947 - 1954), 13 January, p. 3, viewed 2 December, 2013,
In the early 1950s, North Wollongong SLSC had a quiver of 16ft hollow boards, ridden notably by Bob Chapman, John 'Sparrow' Palmer, Col Markham, and 'Big' Bob Ferrell.
"Young cadet members," such as Owen Jones, "leant catch waves on rubber surf'o'planes and to paddle the 16 footer's.
As we got older we were allowed to (ride them, they) caught waves easily, but were hard to stand up on and turn - they were uncontrollable really." (edited)

- Owen Jones: The North 'Gong Boys Story, circa  1958 to 1967.‎

The sitution was similar over the point at Wollongong (City) Surf Life Saving Club, where Dennis Taylor, Colin Demestre, and Arthur Morris, also a skilled surfboat sweep, rode hollow surf-skis and sixteen feet long Toothpick boards.

- Craig Morris: phone conversation, 22nd November 2013, and supplementary photographs, 6 December 2013, with many thanks.

Dennis Taylor [surf-ski], Arthur Morris and Colin DeMestre on hollow boards,
Wollongong Beach, June 1958.
[The date confirmed, with thanks, Neville de Mestre, May 2014.]

Arthur Morris with 16ft Toothpick at South Wollongong, circa 1950.

Photographs courtesy of Arthur and Craig Morris, December 2013.

Mr.  Morris
[and Gordon Woods Hollow board]
Winner Illawarra Branch Surf Board Championship, 1950-51.
Below: Gordon Woods decal, detail.

 After WW2, the hollow board was the dominant surfboard design, most of old solid boards were retired, and surf-skis remained popular, both as paddling and wave riding craft, sometimes ridden while standing.
Meanwhile, in California, Bob Simons, Matt Kivlin and Joe Quigg had began experimenting with fibreglass and resin, materials that had become more widely available with the accelerated industrialization of the war, and in 1947, Kivlin and Quigg produced the definitive Malibu Chip.

A relatively short board for the period, it was a balsa wood blank, laminated with resin and fibreglass, and with a large fin.

Only a few Australian boardriders were aware of these new designs.
During 1950-1951, Hollywood actor and Malibu Point surfer, Peter Lawford, was in Australia in to film ‘Kangaroo.’

He brought a state-of-the-art balsa surfboard from California, inscribed Malibu, which he left at Bondi Beach, where it was ridden by Jack 'Bluey' Mayes, Ray Young, Aub Laidlaw, and others.

 -Thoms: Surfmovies (2000) page 63.
- Surfer, Volume 6 Number 1 March 1965 page 18.

Scott Dillion and Barry "Magoo" McGuigan, members of Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club, visited California during 1955-1956, where they rode the new balsa boards at Hermosa Beach, courtesy of local surf life guards.
Around the same time, Queenscliff's John ‘Nipper’ Williams obtained a "beat-up" balsa Malibu from Hawai'i.

- Scott Dillon Interview, Longboarding, Number 5, Autumn 1999, page 23.
- Pollard: Australian Surfrider, (1963), page 71. 

Another of the first Australian's to ride the Malibu board was possibly longtime Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club member and noted board rider, Ted (Edward) Burns.

In early 1945, it was reported that Burns had resigned as the club's R and R  and the chief instructor. 
However, several months later, the Sydney Morning Herald noted that Ted Burns' innovation of towing a small sea anchor  "is revolutionising training methods for belt swimming competitions."
Burns was identified here as the "chief instructor of the Wollongong Surf Life-Saving Club."

- Illawarra Mercury, Friday 26 January 1945 page 5.
- Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 4 April 1945, page 9.

Arthur Morris and Ted (Edward) Burns,
circa 1950.
Photograph courtesy Arthur and Craig Morris, 6 December 2013.

In the photograph, of Burns is riding a short Malibu type balsa board and wearing a numbered competition shirt, consistant with those in use at Makaha in at this time.

However, he could have only entered the contest in 1954, or later.
Also, the caption does it not acknowledge the large representative Australian team of lifesavers to the Pan-Pacific Games in Honolulu in 1939-1940, that included  North Wollongong's Alan Fitzgerald

The Malibu board made a dramatic impact on Australian surfriding in November 1956, with the arrival in Sydney of a team of American and Hawaiian surfers to compete in the International Surf Championship Carnival at Torquay, held in conjuction with the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
The team include some of outstanding boardriders, including Mike Bright, Greg Noll, and Tom Zahn, and a quiver of fibreglassed boards, including a short belly-board.

Their surfriding at several Sydney beaches impressed many locals, and the boards were eagerly purchased before their return.

Some members of the U.S.A. and Hawaiian teams were entertained by the North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club at the Illawarra Leagues Club in November, 1956, before attending the Olympic Games.
It is unknown if any of the visitors brought their surfboards to Wollongong on this occasion.
In 1954, the Werri Beach Surf life Saving  Club celebrated  the opening of their new club house with a surf carnival display, where the surfboard race was won by G. Miller of Port Kembla, with Ted Burns second.

- Kiama Independent (NSW : 1947 - 1954), 13 March 1954, p. 4, viewed 29 November, 2013,

In 2000, the History of Wollongong City SLSC included a photograph of  Ted Burns with the caption:
 "Ted Burns competing at Makaha in 1950- said to be the first Australian to compete in Hawaii."

 - Looking Forward- Looking Back: History of Wollongong City SLSC, 1915-2000 (2000), page 27.

The Makaha International Surfing Championship(s) was first successfully held in 1954, won by master-surfrider George Downing, and it came to be widely considered as the unofficial world championships.

Ted Burns, Balsa Pig, Makaha International Surfing Championships, circa 1958.
Photograph courtesy of Arthur and Craig Morris,
6 December 2013.

- The Corfu Lifebuoy- History of North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club 1908-1996 (1996) pages 85-86.

Sydney surfboard builder
, Gordon Woods was one of the locals who manged to purchase one of the new boards, a 9 ft 6” Velzy-Jacobs from Bob Burnside.
Initially, the unavailabilty of suitable balsa forced established builders, such as to Gordon Woods, Bill Wallace, Norm Casey, and Barry Bennett, to replicate the Malibu in hollow board construction, known as the Okinuee.
The enthusiasm for the new design was such that Gordon Woods had built and tested his first Okinuee before the US team departed.

- Gordon Woods: phone conversation, 18 th July 2005.

At North Wollongong, John 'Sparrow' Palmer rode an Okinuee board built by Bill Wallce, his factory then located in Waverley-Bronte.
"Copied from (the) Californian boards, it  was about 10 foot long, with a round nose, a narrower tail shape, and with laminated solid timber rails that were, importantly, hand shaped."
However, the
board was in high demand, and the rigours of constant use tended to crack the seams, and the board "took in seawater and you would have to drain it out via a plug every ten minutes," rendering it "heavy and hard to manourve."

- Owen Jones:
The North 'Gong Boys Story, circa  1958 to 1967.‎
- Owen Jones: additional comments phone conversation, 30 November 2013, with many thanks.

By 1958, supplies of balsa wood were found to be available via Melbourne, and the surfboard builders quickly starting producing fibreglassed boards.
Three of the earliest balsa models by Gordon Woods were obtained by Arthur Morris and Ronnie Grant, members Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club, and North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club's Bob Chapman.

Arthur still has his original Gordon Woods balsa board at his home in Wollongong.
Other Wollongong SLSC members to ride balsa boards were Neville DeMestre, T. Carney, B. Bowan, G. Barnes, N.Martin, and, of course, Ted Burns.

Right: Neville DeMestre, T. Carney, B. Bowan, A. Morris, G. Barnes, N.Martin, and Ted Burns,
South Wollongong Beach, circa 1958.

Above: Permanent  lifesaver Arthur Morris and Neville DeMestre, Wollongong Beach, May 1959?

Right: Five Balsawood Malibu Surfboards,
South Wollongong Beach, circa 1958.

Photographs courtesy of Arthur and Craig Morris,

6 December 2013.

Ted Burns died on Wollongong Beach in 1959-1960???, after returning with his board from his last surf.

Having begun his surf riding on the hollow timber boards that first came into general use in the late 1940s, Arthur Morris was one the earliest Australians to adopt the new fibreglassed balsa boards, and continued into the foam era, riding boards by Collins Surfboards and Carrabine Surfboards into the 1970s.

- Craig Morris: phone conversation, 22nd November 2013, with many thanks.

Around this time, Dave Anderton, of the North Wollongong SLSC, also obtained a balsa board from Sydney "surfboat builder, Bill Clymer.
Pigboard, around 9 to 10 foot long, (with) a round nose, wide curved tail, and a big wooden fin, (it featured) cedar inlaid rails." (edited)
Owen Jones found the board "different and exciting to ride, so much easier than the toothpicks!"

In 2012, Owen identified the board in the photograph right, with the distinct cedar rails, as one built by Bill Clymer and in Sptember 2015, the surfer as Hughie Brandon..

- Owen Jones: The North 'Gong Boys Story, circa  1958 to 1967.‎

Right: Surfriders and Bill Clymer Balsa Pig Surfboard, North Wollongong Beach, 1958.

-Wollongong City Library: Images
WOLLONGONG - Beaches - North Wollongong Beach [picture]
1956; 1950-1960.
Image Number: P04/P04217.

Permission pending.

Note that the catalogue date of 1956 is, almost certainly, too early.
Given the prominance of the board in the photograph, and that one of the surfers is wearing a bikini, this was probably taken by a newspaper photographer, possibly for a related article.

With the introduction of foam blanks, circa 1960, an increasing number, "in different shapes and sizes," were added to the North Wollongong SLSC quiver by boardriding members, including Bob Chapman, John 'Sparrow' Palmer, Col Markham, and 'Big' Bob Ferrell "
"Stored under the old boat shed, under the stairs of the Bathers Pavillion," the boards were also regularly ridden by cadets, Des Lees, Owen Jones, Ken Bool, Brian 'Bruno' Sucur, and John Skipp and Ken Middleton, who both made an effort to quickly obtain their own new boards, most probably from Brian Jackson."

Around 1963, the enthusiasm for boardriding was at conflict with the requirements of beach patrols and training sessions, and "the younger blokes rebelled and surfed in the souther corner of the beach, and parted ways with the club."
At this time American magazines and films were considered the benchmark of surfriding performance, and "the best riders at North 'Gong were Ken Middleton, 'Duke Jones, Dees Lees, Paul Hopkins, John Skipp, Mick Carabine, 'John The Pom', Kenny Bool, Mick Legge, Lord Ted Meades, 'Sharpie', and Steve Goodwin, whose parents ran the kiosk."

Other Illawarra riders who performed well at North Beach included "Gary 'Droppy' Andreas, Troy Williams, Kevin Parkinson, Mick Cram, Warren Boyd, and Paul Brooks."
The occasional visit of Sydney surfers, Gary Birdsall and Robert 'Nat' Young, was especially noted.

Owen Jones noted the importance and influence of the local gallery:
Some of us would watch the surfing and comment on who got the better waves and who surfed the best on the day, amongst loud cheers, hoots and hollers, and laughter at the antics of the surfers .. a new, exciting, and beautiful event.

This ad hoc group of enthusiasts was the core of the Wollongong Boardriders Club, formed in Ted Meare's Parents' house garage around 1963-1965.

- Owen Jones:
The North 'Gong Boys Story, circa  1958 to 1967.. (undated)‎
- Owen Jones: additional comments phone conversation, 30 November 2013, with many thanks.

In 1968-1969, Owen Jones travelled to South Africa, meeting up with
Shellharbour's John Batchelador and Tony Wright
(see below), and in the early 1970s, he relocated to the North Shore of Oahu.
After surfing at Pipeline, Owen was photographed leaving the water by Jeff Devine, circa 1972.

Owen Jones : Pipeline, dog and rainbow, 1972.
Photograph: Jeff Devine
Nat Young : History (1983) pages 12-13.

Surfboard Manufacturing in the Illawarra

Around 1958, boatbuilder Ron Cansdell and Cronulla boardrider Brian Jackson started Jackson and Cansdell Surfboards at 59 The Bouvevade, Caringbah.
Shortly after this, they open an outlet in North Wollongong, and in 1963 factory at 426 Princes Highway Corrimal.
At this time teamriders included Wollongong's John Skipp and  Mick Carrabine, along with one of the premier riders of the period, Cronulla's Bobby Brown.
Skipp and Carrabine would later have extended careers as surfboard manufacturers in Flinders Street, Wollongong.

Right: Jackson and Cansdell Surfboards Advertisement, 1963.
(cropped-the top of the page has an inverted photograph of Bobby Brown)
- Surfabout, Volume 1 Number 5 page 32.

Some of the last photographs of Bobby Brown, now riding for Gordon and Smith Surboards, were taken by Cronulla's Jack Eden, at Sandon Point shortly before his untimely death in August 1967.

Right: Bobby Brown, Gordon and Smith Stringerless, Sandon Point, mid-1967.
Photograph: Jack Eden.
This photograph, and several others, are featured in:
 Margan and Finney: Pictorial History (1970), including some in colour.

In 1968 Jackson Surfboards released the Frogman (Tracker) model shaped by Laurie "Froggy" Byrne from Currarong.
Skipp and Carrabine would later have extended careers as surfboard manufacturers in
Flinders Street, Wollongong, and Laurie Byrne continued his shaping at (Phil and Dave's) Bryne Surfboards at Fairy Meadow.
He shaped some of the first boards for Wollongong grommets, Phil and Dave Byrne, and is currently providing boards for
Owen Wright and Dean Bowen.

One of the earliest Wollongong fibreglass surfboard builders was Colin "Biggsy" Ashford.
He began his shaping career in "a converted chook pen in the backyard at Stanwell Park" in the early 1960s by stripping and reshaping balsa boards, discarded after the introduction of foam blanks.
Materials were sourced from
Cansdell and Jackson Surfboards, Caringbah, or King Surfboards, Kirrawee.
In 1966, with schoolmate Bill Trestrail, he started the short-lived Bill Collins Surfboards in a disused ex-service station on the hill at Stanwell Park.
This was followed by a brief stint in a shed at Kennedys Hill, Thirroul, before he relocated to a workshop at 30 Flinders Street Wollongong from 1967 to 1974.

During 1976 -1977, Ashford continued making boards at home as  Sybernaught  and Seaglass Surfboards, retailed through David Matthew's Southern Man surf shop  at Ulladulla.

Colin Ashford moved to Lake Conjola in the early 1990s, and is currently building hollow wooden boards, shaped from
home-grown paulownia.

- Collins Green Island Hollow Wood Surfboards

Collins Custom Surfboards, Decal, circa 1968.

Collins Surfboards Advertisement, Tracks, circa 1971.

Skipp Surfboards
John Skipp was a agent and team rider for Jackson Surfboards, before starting Skipp Williams Surfboards at  24 Flinders Street North Wollongong NSW in 1970.
- Advertisement,  Tracks, December 1970, page 28.
After a short time, the company became Skipp Surfboards, at the the same, and still current, address.

Over the years the company featured the core of the Illawarra surfboard industry, including Paul Nichol, Phil Byrne, Dave Byrne, Terry Richardson, Terry Cooper, Chris Horne, Kevin Parkinson, Richard Palmer, Ed Sinnott and, the late, Frank Latta.

Top: Port Kembla on the NSW South  coast.
In a cold weather crouch, Jonny Skipp, improvises.

- Pollard: Australian Surfrider (1963), page 110.

Bottom: Skipp decal, circa 1974.

Byrne Surfboards
The Byrne brothers, Phil and Dave opened their factory at Fairy Meadow in1975, and was immediately popular.
The shapers included longtime shaper Laurie Byrne, who later designed the Twin-fin Clinker model, circa 1980,
and Terry Cooper.
Phil Byrne shaped boards for the 1983-1984 world champion, Tom Carroll and produced the Tom Carroll model.
Dave Byrne competed as a junior and in the early years of the pro-surfing era, followed by younger brother Chris Critta" Byrne.
In the late 1970s, the company produced Australian models for 
South Africa's Shaun Thomson's Instinct Surfboards and Hawaiian Pro-Design by Larry Bertlemann.

Right: Chris "Critta' Bryne, Bryne Surfboards Flyer Rounded Pintail, citca 1979.

Illawarra Beaches
Sandon Point

The following book is an important resource, unfortunately my copy is currently unavilable.

Lowrie, David :
Surfing at Sandon Point - Includes History, Highlights and Photographs.
Self published (No publishing credits). 1995.
Soft cover, 32 pages, 8 colour photographs, 30 black and white photographs.
A mix of some local history, boardriding clubs, local manufacturers and personal rememiciences. 
Many paragraphs comprise lists of local identities (including the ever present nick-names).
The lack of a map to distinguish the various breaks (the Point, Bombie, Southy, Reef, Jetty, etc) is a difficulty for non-local readers.

Lowrie dates boardriding in the area from the early 1950's, before the introduction of the Malibu board in 1956, but does not mention the influence of the local surf life saving clubs.


Right: Malibu riders and one surf ski in Kiama Harbour, circa 1963.

- Kiama Council Library: Images

Permission pending

North Illawarra Surfers
Kevin Parkinson
Kevin Parkinson, north Wollongong, was one of the Illwarra's most skilled and competitive boardriders.
In 1967, he came third in
Australian Titles at Bells Beach, behind Wayne Lynch and 'Butch' Cooney.

He shaped for Skipp Surfboards,
Carabine surboards 1977; Hotline Surfboards, c 1979.


Right: Kevin Parkinson, Bellambi Pier, c 1962.
- Margan and Finney: Pictorial History (1970) page 281.

Kevin Parkinson,
Toes on the Nose, c 1964.
- [Jack Eden] Margan and Finney:
Pictorial History
(1970) page 259.
Phil [Kevin] Parkinson,
Toes on the Nose, c 1966.
- [Jack Eden] Margan and Finney:
Pictorial History
(1970) page 262.

Ken Middleton

Right: Ken Middleton, Shellharbour Harbour, c 1965.
- [Dave Milne] Margan and Finney: Pictorial History (1970) page 270.

Paul Brooks
Right: Paul Brooks Port Kembla Beach late 60s
- of Surfing/

Robbie Page

Terry Richardson

North Illawarra Surfers
John Batchelador and Tony Wright were childhood neighbours and  juvenile members at Warilla-Shellharbour SLSC in the early 1960s, and were of the local SLSC, where they were familiar with the boards, surfskis, and surfboats of the era.
Similarly, brothers Richard and Albert Fox were members of the adjacent Warilla SLSC.
Most boardriders in the area rode Jackson Surfboards.

Donald 'Sticky' Spearpoint, Warrilla Beach, circa 1964.
- Pollard: The Surfrider (1968), page 84.

[Albert Fox], Windang Island, circa 1964.
- Margan and Finney: Pictorial History (1970) page 281.

The noted experienced surfboard riders of the period were ...
Following completion of their appenticeships, and inspired by Bruce Brown's Endless Summer, Batchelador, Wright and Albert Fox travelled to South Africa in late 1967, taking with them some of the first short V-bottom Australian designs, Batchelador's shaped at Jackson Surfboards.
Their impact on surfboard design and performance in Cape Town was immediate.
Fox returned to Australia after several months, but Batchelador and Wright had an extended stay, and were later photographed and interviewed by then-resident Ron Perrott for John Wiztig's Surf International.

Following the visit to South Africa, Tony Wright spent two winters and a summer on the North Shore of Ohau.

On his return, Albert Fox procured several surfboard templates of master-shaper Dick Brewer from ???, who had recently returned from Hawai'i, from which he shaped several  boards, mostly for Warilla locals.
He subsequently relocated to Angourie, on the NSW north coast, around 1973-1974.

John Batchelador,Tony Wright, and Albert Fox, a highly respected shaper, all currently reside at Angourie, NSW.

- Richard Fox, personal conversation, Gerroa Beach, 28 November 2013, with many thanks..
- Surf International Volume 1 Number 7 page 43, June 1968.

home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2013-2020) : Locations : Australia - NSW - Illawarra