Once again I was lucky enough to make the Vic long board and short board teams which meant 2 weeks in Port. I’d been really struggling with my take offs on my 6’6” x 21¼” x 2¾” stubby and by the time I saw Julian Fellar a knee surgeon who told me I needed an arthroscopy on my knee and I had arthritis on my hip, it was too late to have it done so I decided I’d have to compensate by going longer and thicker which why the Stubby was made 10 years earlier. As most people were going wider I thought maybe 1” wider might be better than extra thickness and length, after a quick call to 4D the new Equaliser was in the water 2 days later and it was exactly what was needed, the extra buoyancy gives you that little extra time to organise your take off and the board still performed really well.
Going to contests might sound like a holiday but you have to be there by 7.30 where they start with a small program which gets added to a couple of hours later. Sometimes you’ll wait the whole day to surf one of the last couple of heats only to have a storm come in or the tide gets too low and if their short of time they put you out anyway, which is what happened in my short board semi. All I needed was a 2 in 1’-2’ shift peak close outs and I couldn’t get past a bottom turn, Graeme Galbraith who has won several Aussie titles needed a .9 with 9mins to go, but he also failed. The previous 3 days were probably the wildest conditions I’ve ever seen at a national contest almost continuous waves in extreme conditions you just had to be lucky to survive. The long boards had much better conditions and waves; I made it to the semis but fell off twice and couldn’t find a good wave. All results are on the surfing Aust web site. The rock art was at town beach some of the stacks are 1M height.
Somebody gave me a copy of the state teams taking part in the 1974 QLD nationals of which Paul and I were both members. It’s amazing to look over the names of so many amazing surfers, even the then unknown juniors turned out to be world champions. Doug Warbrick who co founded Rip Curl was a regular team member as competitor or a judge for the Victorian Team.
The first state rounds we went in we were ganged up on by the west coasters John Law (Quiksilver founding partner) Jim Pollock and John Pawson. We had played a pretty rough style of Jnr football with Chelsea F.B.C. and it wasn’t until we applied this aggression that we started to get results.
Our first state team was in Many in 1972 and Ted Bainbridge who lived with Paul in the back of the Chelsea shop made the judging team, so the 3 of us travelled in Paul’s Kombi to Sydney. The Brookvale surfboard making scene was an eye opener, every famous brand almost next door to each other. We didn’t have much success but we learnt that the better the surfers you surfed with the quicker you improved. 2 years later we started PSC along with another mate Harry Hodge. Another 2 years later we started the board riders club.
There were only 2 major contests in Aust. back then, Bells and the nationals so everyone went in them. In 1973 Bells went Pro and it was after watching it I told Paul we should go in it the following year. The system let you accumulate points for each manoeuvre you did, regardless of the changing size of the wave. The re-entry you did on an 8’ wave out the back got the same points as the one you did in the 2’ shore break. I ended up 5th and Paul beat Terry Fitzgerald much to his disgust but just missed out on making the main event.