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problems pertaining to the early surfing years in australia

Surfing in the 50’s and 60’s was a fraught business  .. everything about it was new and lessons were hard learnt.

Friends were generally untrustworthy, girls a deep and profound mystery, parents a necessary burden, schools a battleground, owning a car an impossibility, having money an unreachable dream and living an uncomplicated life dedicated to catching waves was only something you read about in American surfing magazines.

For instance … 

Loose wingnuts on boardracks.

See what happens when the wingnuts fail, the front rack collapses and all the boards slide down over the windscreen while you’re crossing the Harbour Bridge. Explain that to three lanes of incensed drivers on their way to work.

Slip knots and the damage overly tightened ropes did to the rails of thinly glassed balsa boards stacked on racks with loose wingnuts.

Technique for crossing Campbell Parade with a forty-pound water-logged balsa board balanced on your head. Try to run it.

Flickoffs, how they were weaponised by aiming the board’s downward trajectory into the middle of a mob of blokes from Maroubra.

Board-short groin rash and why mothers didn’t ever want to know about it. Let alone see what you were complaining about.

Four bloke’s getting changed in the same car at the same time car after a surf at Manly in wet weather. Just as well the windows were fogged up, some people may have misinterpreted what was happening inside.

The unspoken rule of not repaying the resin and hardener you bludged from a mate. Tell him the mix didn’t work.

Rail rash  .. an inner thigh problem of the sluggo era, as if groin rash wasn’t enough.

Of the thousand reasons why a thin rubber sleeveless wetsuit top didn’t work at Bells in winter only one is enough. You looked and surfed like an numbed up kook.

Why did everybody lie about where the turnoff to Crescent Head was?

And who pinched the bloody sign?

Critical milkbar etiquette, or where to sit when none of your mates were there. Pick a booth when everybody in there is an enemy. Bodgies were not to be trusted, Widgies less so.

Why surfing wasn’t all about ability, having a station wagon helped

Early surf fashion  .. look back and cringe. Duffle coats?

Drugs ? Like Coca Cola mixed with a Cherry Ripe. How did that work?

The logistics of taking a day off school to go surfing in 1959. Read the manual. And never wear your uniform down to the beach.

Board bumps .. how they won babes who didn’t know any better.

Surfing and fighting … or where the Easybeats really got their name.

Rock and Roll and its influence on a surfer’s wardrobe. Remember Crash Craddock? Blame him.

Boom Boom Baby

Hawaiian Strained Poi T shirts .. were they worth killing over?



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Terry Jenkings #

    Did Strauss Levi Jeans, high waisted and imported, really need to be boiled in the tubs of the down stairs back yard laundry? Yep … that was the only way to get them to fade.

    September 7, 2020
    • Not only that, we became experts at identifying the back pocket stitching. Levi’s and Wranglers were the go. … Amco was for losers.

      September 7, 2020

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