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Cochran here …

I was only ever an onlooker of sorts at South Bondi, and that was only for a couple of years from about age sixteen to twenty, then, like many before me I shot through for distant parts only to come back many years later to a beach that had changed forever. But that’s the way of Bondi, the southern corner in particular, that litter of sunbaked rocks where we gathered under the low cliff in what must have been the loosest corporation of club members in the country. Members who paid no fees, had no book of rules, held no meetings, elected no officials, wore no uniforms and had no clubhouse. The only item on the agenda was to get out the back.

These members numbered only about thirty in memory .. a couple of youngsters amongst them learning the ropes and no shortage of the loveliest most under-dressed women ever to excite the rigid sensibilities of the white-hatted beach inspectors. These men of course belonged to the middle and north end of Bondi where happy families picnicked and the newer Australians liked to congregate and be watched over lest they drowned. An unsettling thought to some but one we paid no mind to, knowing the seas as we did.

Over the years a few survivors of those early days have come by here and dropped a word, Scott Dillon for one, and of course the biggest, noisiest, best looking, womanising scourge of both the north and south coasts.

Andy Cochran. Rivalled only by Bluey Mayes in the mug lair stakes. If this bloke was down at South Bondi you knew nothing was happening anywhere else and if he wasn’t then finding out where he’d got to was the work of Nations.

These days when someone gets back from an surfing trek they’ll assail you with photos and bore you stupid with stories: not so back then when every spot south of Maroubra was a secret as was everything north of Palm Beach.

Anyway, enough of that.

Andy C sent me a note today from his home in Hawaii, not the first and I hope not the last because the old lad must be getting on and I should know that being a bit long in the tooth myself.

I thought it might read better if I tarted it up, got rid of the caps, fixed up a bit of the spelling, organised some punctuation –  Words matter, you see. Yours, his, mine, whoever, when all’s just about done that’s all we have left for each other. Our words.

Take it away Andy.

ANDY.C.
A LITTLE COMMENT: TO THIS DAY I CANT SAY I REMEMBER AN ASS HOLE, WE WE WERE SO LUCKY TO HAVE GROWN UP IN THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE THAT TO THIS DAY HAD SOME KIND OF IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE, IF IT WASN’T FOR MAGOO I WOULD  NEVER HAVE BEEN A FIREMAN, AND BARRY ROSS, ROSS KELLY, DESIE PRICE, BLUEY, DILLON!
WHAT AN ERA,WE COULD GO ON AND ON WITH ALL THE STORIES THAT THEY LEFT WITH US AND THE IMPRESSIONS AND STANDARD OF LIFE WE HAVE ENJOYED TILL NOW,
ALL I CAN SAY IS MY MEMORIES OF BONDI AND ITS PEOPLE WILL LIVE WITH ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I AM SO THANKFUL THAT AT THE START OF SURFING I WAS PART OF IT.
SO THATS IT FOR NOW, SORRY FOR THE SPELLING, I AM ONE WHO TRIES TO PUT ON PAPER HOW MUCH THAT TIME MEANT TO ME AND THE GREAT PEOPLE WE HAD TIME TO SPEND WITH IN OUR EARLIER DAYS.
I ONLY WRITE WHAT I FEEL, AND IT WAS A GREAT FEELING.

BEST TO ALL WHO ARE STILL ALIVE TO REMEMBER
AND BONDI FOR EVER AND EVER.

ANDY,C.

Amen to that.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Terry Jenkings #

    Great post Pete. You were only an onlooker…..but Pete, so was everyone when Andy Cochran was on the South End stage. Andy mentions some wonderful people and zooms in on some wonderful days. Yes, it may not have been politically correct or what’s now called “new age”, but that era was so Bondi. Sixty odd years on and one can still chuckle and smirk when recalling Andy’s strut along the South end of the Prom . The gremmies of the day were in awe , and still are !!! No doubt AC has Bondi and the lifestyle of the day deeply embedded in his soul. He’s not on his own. When Andy makes his annual trek fro Hawaii to Bondi these days he “holds court” in one of the beachside cafes. Eager ears listen to his stories, many of which we have heard before, but it’s great to hear a true son of Bondi tell it as it was. Yes, the waves may not have been 30 foot breaking from just off the boot and Andy may not have been the only one to take them on, but the stories are never challenged. The only query that stumps AC is when someone asks whether Dooley was a better surfer than himself. The response is normally a mumble, so I guess Andy’s not ready to make that concession !!!!! Sadly the virus has put a hold on Andy’s annual trek to Bondi, but you need to be present at one of his story telling gatherings. You’ll enjoy it. Bondi Forever.

    January 28, 2022
  2. Mick is the antithesis of Andy. I remember saying to him once that he was considered to be a bit of a legend and he ducked his head and blushed, wouldn’t have a bar of it.

    January 28, 2022
    • Terry Jenkings #

      Bondi produced all kinds of people, but not many as humble as Mick – a true champion who is still remembered fondly. Mick contacted me just before Xmas to wish me well and good health. Truly a bloke Bondi’s surfing fraternity can be proud of.

      January 29, 2022
  3. ANDY.C. #

    AGAIN,THANKS TERRY AND PETE.
    I KNOW IF I PUT SOMETHING ON PAPER THE MASTER WILL CORRECT IT,
    BUT TRUE, DOOLEY WAS A MASTER AND ONE OF THE BEST FRIENDS A GUY COULD HAVE, ALONG WITH WHEELS, ROOTER AND BENNETT THE KOOK, A LOT OF PEOPLE COULD LEARN FROM THEM.
    FOR 60 YEARS I HAVE WONDERED WHAT MICK THOUGHT OF ME AS A SURFER, I HAD THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR A LONG TIME SO A MONTH AGO I ASKED HIM, HE SAID DO YOU WANT THE TRUTH AND HE ASKED WHY, I ANSWERED BECAUSE YOUR OPINION HAS ALWAYS MATTERED TO ME, WHAT YOU THOUGHT, AS I ALWAYS LISTEN TO MICK DOOLEY.
    SO TO MY UNBELIEF HE TOLD ME AND I WAS SHOCKED, HE SAID WHEN HE STARTED SURFING I WAS THE ONE HE WATCHED AND MY MOVES HELPED HIM, AND FOR ME TOO AS A LOT OF GUYS, MAGOO BARRY ROSS, TOLD ME SLOW DOWN, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH SO I TRIED TO LOOK LIKE MICK, WHICH NO ONE COULD AS HIS STYLE WAS UNIQUE. TO THIS DAY I AM PROUD TO SAY WE LEARNED FROM HIM, AND HE IS MY BEST FRIEND.
    I HOPE I HAVENT BORED YOU TERRY AND PETE, I AM SURE YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF CORRECTING THIS TIME. (not so much)
    i JUST WANTED TO SAY SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN ON MY MIND FOR A LONG TIME AND NOW I KNOW, TO ME MICK WILL ALWAYS BE A BEAUTIFUL SURFER, HE MADE IT AN ART.
    ALOHA PETE, I HOPE I HAVEN’T BORED YOU, BUT I HAVE ALWAYS SAID WHAT I THINK.
    LOVE TO ALL THAT’S ALIVE.
    BONDI FOREVER,YOU WILL NEVER TAKE THE BONDI OUT OF ME
    ALWAYS
    ANDY.C.

    January 30, 2022
  4. andy.c. #

    Sorry for all the mistakes, I just get carried away thinking of the good times,
    I still dont know how i was a fireman, and then qantas, I was lucky.
    Take care mate, and thanks, I hope I still have time to hook up with you again,
    but dont touch the hair.
    andy,c.

    January 30, 2022

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