Breakway
  • No products in the cart.

Category Archives: Features

Claw remembers the rough track to a legendary break

Rip Curl co-founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick describes the first time he saw and surfed Bells Beach (from a Breakway interview, March, 1974)

“Bell’s had this really rough track to it. What happened was the government and surfers made a road through.

They saw Bob Pettit who owned the land there and asked him if they could make a road. The surfers all chipped in about five pounds each and hired a bulldozer and made the road through. That’s the old road that goes from Torquay past Boobs Bay. The worst bit used to be from Boobs there, where we swung around the corner – where the new road is, from there to Winkipop. That was really bad.

You couId never see Bell’s breaking, like Winkipop was completely different. There were all trees there and stuff. You had to get around the trees before you could see Bell’s breaking.

But getting back to the very first time I saw Bell’s. It was the Christmas of 1960-‘61 and I was down with some of my friends and one guy had an M.G. or something. We all climbed into his M.G. with our boards sticking out – he didn’t have one. We’d all been surfing Torquay for about a week and, feeling pretty confident, we decided to try Bell’s. It’s funny but there always seemed to be good waves then. Torquay aIways seemed five or six foot, offshore and glassy.

Anyway, we made our way around to Bell’s and there it was. Well it wasn’t a particularly big day, it was high tide, and although the waves weren’t very big they were very thick. It was basicalIy breaking off the bowl at high tide. I kept thinking how small the cove was and how big the waves were.

The dominant surfer out there was Marcus Shaw. Of course Marcus was one of the all time greats at Bells and he was a real heavyweight – at least he had the reputation of being a heavyweight. He was champion boxer and star karate man and all that sort of stuff. He used to just terrorise the surf.

Anyway we went out and tried to surf it. I can remember getting crushed a few times – didn’t get past the take-off. I was about 15 or 16 and getting run over by Marcus Shaw. One of my friends just about got in a punch-up with him and it was just sorta too much for us.

And oh, Marcus was surfing it quite well, he was a goofy but he was probably the first guy to do the big sit down backhand turns. Nat really brought that in, in about 1966, but Marcus had been doing it all along – it was just his natural style. He used to do big reverse flickouts and stuff in the shorebreak, even then.”

BREAKWAY, MARCH, 1974

Kym Thompson talks about making a hot-dogger for himself in 1974

Kym Thompson wrote this article on design for Breakway’s second issue (January 1974). At the time he was South Australia’s surfing champion. Today Kym heads surfboard production at the Cobra Surfboard facility in Thailand, the biggest board maker in the world. Ted Bainbridge says the principles of design that Kym discusses still resonate more than four decades later.

Design: well, in surfing it probably has the biggest and broadest spectrum in all senses of the word. We are individuals so our instruments must be designed for versatility in all types of surf.

When designing or ‘planning’ a new board, there are several factors to consider:

  • The type and size of the waves you want to surf (this has a bearing on the board’s overall dimensions).
  • How you want to surf; and —
  • How you do surf.

I’m in the process of shaping a new hot-dogger and this is how I went about working out what I wanted.

First, I should say that I am just stoked about the way my old hot-dogger worked. It was manoeuvrable, had amazing speed at times, and it had an incredible wave range which is unreal because it meant I did not have to switch boards when the surf started pumping over 6 to 8ft.

I did have one complaint about the board, though: during cut backs off the top and down into the curl area and coming out of the bottom, it would quite often come into a stall. It was rather frustrating finding myself in a stall while the curl was hot on my heels.

The main cause I think was the swallow tail – all the pressure was built up during the turns and then suddenly it was all released when it came to a flat plane on the bottom. But, on the other hand, the swallow was helping my manoeuvrability so much I couldn’t afford to give it a miss. It created a smaller turning circle.

I decided to stick to virtually the same plan (6ft. 8ins. by 19ins. with a 6in. wide tail) and incorporate the same nice even curve with the least amount of area as possible. I feel that area of a plan shape is very important, depending on your ability.

Bottom line? Well, the other one was real good with 4 3/4 ins. of nose lift, an inch of tail rocker (not lift) and the apex of the lift being at the widest point to give good control while up front on the board. The lift must be continuous with no abrupt lines.

I like the bottoms flat because this is where I extract speed from the board. I change the “V” in the tail. I was using a light “V” in the last foot of the board so the “V” (to look at) would roll up on each side of the tail.

This seemed to give the back too much release so I moved it forward up under my feet and made it straighten out behind the fin.

I hope this will reduce stalling on the bottom (theoretically it should because the flow of the back will be much straighter).

Next in line is thickness distribution. There were no complaints about the last board so I kept it much the same – 3 ins. thick at the widest point, thinning slightly into the nose and considerably into the tail.

However, this time I have made it 3 1/4 ins. thick because I’ve added a light roll to the deck to give me more feeling under my feet and a much smoother shaped rail. The rails on my old board were of the fairly full block variety with a hard edge on the bottom. Through the lift I had a light roll up underneath (release) but maintained the edge. The full rails help the board’s versatility They are less prone to “catching” in choppy or even slop surf.

The hard edge gives sensitivity and will bite in the more critical parts of the wave. I find the roll underneath the rail allows quick release when required.

This time I have rolled the top of the rail, still keeping the thickness but getting rid of the “blocky” feeling. I hope the flow over (the rail) will be much cleaner.

The swallow is to be 6 ins. wide and 3 1/2ins. deep. I’m in love with the swallow because of the quick pressure release of the wider tail. This encourages fast pivoting off the fin through turns and allows the track to be easily and quickly changed.

As we still get water coming through the inside of the tail to allow a clean flow, I think it is important to have an even convex curve for limited drag. Because the rail is used for turning and holding in, I don’t place a lot of emphasis on the fin. It was placed I½ ins. in from the swallow so the tip is about half way over the cut away section.

Still, in a couple of months I’ll have something new buzzing my brain so the designs will keep changing. It’s infinite the amount of different changes you can make to improve boards.

Board design will never stop. Think about your board – what it does and how it does it? You’re the only one who can help you. See ya in the tubes!

BREAKWAY, JANUARY, 1974

Little River Band members lose ownership of the group’s name

A television current affairs show in March 2015 led with the story that Little River Band band members Glen Shorrock, Beeb Birtles and Glen Wheatley etc. don’t own the name any more. To say they are pissed off is to put mildly.

Baby boomers loved Melbourne-based LRB and the band was a feature act at Breakway’s Surfworld ’75 on the Yarra banks. Journalist and author Peter Ellingsen reviewed the band’s first self-titled first album for Breakway around the time we booked them for SurfWorld, along with Phil Manning and a host of other Melbourne talent.

Ellingsen, after a rant about commercialism in popular music, wrote: “… you may be relieved to discover there is reason to suspect life is still worth living. The encouragement comes in the form of an album from the local Little River Band.”

He continues: “Despite an unbelievably insensitive Mickey Mouse cover, the talent and quality of this six-piece group is established on first playing.

“In nine original songs the Melbourne-based band shows just what can be achieved when capable performers use the limits of the commercial market to make the rock idiom zing.

“Their first album is tight, professional and consistent. There are no fillers, few lapses and no detectable pretensions.

“With old Twilight’s vocalist Glen Shorrock out front, and Zoot bassman Beeb Birtles supplying drive the music becomes a joy to behold. Lyrics by the various members are all good, with occasional signs of brilliance.

Instance the rocky “Statue of Liberty” by Shorrock which sends up the American competitive ideal with cutting jibes at “values built on the dollar” and a beautiful turnabout … “if this is America/you’ll have to try a little harder”.

“Harmonies on this offering are in the CSN & Y class, and that’s saying something. Guitar work by Canadian Rick Formosa sparkles with rock appeal without getting self-indulgent.

“For those who find it hard to believe a local band can produce an entertaining record, without becoming facile, the Little River boys offer unlimited hope.

“To someone like me with obvious and decided prejudices against over loud and under talented groups, the attraction is overwhelming.

“The live thing is even better, particularly if you’ve been suffering the gimmickery grandstanders that abound the pub and dance circuit.”

In July, 1976, Greg Smith and our music writer, Rod Stone, of radio 3XY, interviewed Little River Band members after the release of their second album, which also went gold.

Glen Shorrock talks of “Man in Black” on the first LP: “It was a song I wrote in England, again I think all the songs on the album were written in England. I was just fooling around … .I used to try to spend a few hours each day on the piano regardless of what came out.

This was one of the lucky days where a good song came along.

Didn’t take too long to write … the lyrics did, though, because I couldn’t find a subject and I thought a Western type ballad with all the connotations of gunslingers and that type of thing … I’m very into Western things .. .I like Western clothes … and I figured guitars and guns go together … sound a bit like a redneck, don’t I . . . it came pretty easily.

“Statue of Liberty” was one of the first songs I ever wrote . . . the third, actually. . . written about five years ago just before Axiom split up and while I was thinking of things to do, I went to see Planet of the Apes which is a movie starring Charlton Heston and the last scene is the key to the whole thing whereby they find they’re on Earth rather than another planet.

He comes around a cliff and sees the Statue of Liberty sticking out, sort of rusted and on an odd angle .. .I got the idea from that … I went’ home and thought of the words on the bottom of the inscription and I wrote ‘give me a home/give me a wanderers … Statue of Liberty sinking in the harbour.’ I wrote the song on piano but the riff I had in my head . . . Chris Stockly (now in Dingoes) picked up on it … the song has been previously recorded over the years … with ‘Esperanto’ and now finally with thisband … the way it should have. Beeb Birtles steps in now to tell of Lil Rivers initial hit Curiosity: “I think we were in England around July-August ’74 when I was flatting with Graham Goble and his wife in Wochester Park and they’d gone out somewhere and I was playing around on acoustic guitar when these chords came to me … and I played them over andover kinda funky … we had a little ‘cat which I’d bought for Jane, Graham’swife’s 21st … Sparky … and being more into writing up songs rather than down, the melody just came and it turned into “curiosity killed the cat”.

“Emma” was a song that I admit I didn’t write from the heart, just from the head, just a song I wanted to fill in a demo session I was doing for a publishing company. We always had to do four or five songs … and I had three. I always muck around with open tuning on guitars and I think this was written on E-tuning.”

While reminiscing Beeb wanders back to Mississippi days and their trip to England . .. it wasn’t his scene at all, but out of it comes the beautiful “I’ll Always Call Your Name”.

Mississippi had seen a lot of changes in line-up, mainly due to conflict in ideas in music and personality clashes. We saw a lot of members come and go, but the three main members were Graham Goble, myself and Derek Pellicci, our drummer.

When the band went to England and saw how hard it was to survive and work, the band broke up over there and the same three people stayed together.

The way we met Glen Sharrock was when he came over to our house we played him some of our songs and he played us some of his. The music was very much on the same level so he came in on the whole thing as well. When we came back to Australia we virtually had a band as such, along with Glen Wheatly, our manager, and we set out to find a bass player and guitarist.

The first guy we found was Rick Formosa, who was a Canadian and in Australia for five months. He was recommended by Phil Manning. Later we found Roger McLachlan, who had been playing with the cast of Godspell and when he’d finished that he was playing at the Whiskey here in Melbourne and he came along to one of our rehearsals one day and there it was: The start of The Little River Band.

Graham Goble tells of the last song on the LP, I Know It: “Often when I write a song I pick a pattern that repeats over and over but takes weeks to come up with the right idea for the song, but with this particular song, as far as I can remember, it was an experience that I was going through at the time, a love affair if you like to call it that, something that I’m quite happy with now and a little different from, say, “It’s a long way there”. I ‘like’ love songs … I’m a bit of a romantic and we felt it had a place on the album. We wanted to show the extremes . . . it just adds a bit of a contrast.

Of course, the much-heralded After Hours album had to come into discussion and from side one track two, oddly enough another Beeb Birtles song, was selected as the A-side Every Day Of My Life.

“This song was actually about one of our band meetings … would you believe it ..  I think it was Glen and I who were pushing to do some comedy stuff and to add a bit of theatrics to our concert appearances.

“Of course, at that stage it wasn’t feasible because we were doing a lot of pub gigs and I don’t think these things would’ve come off in pubs.

“I was being pushed down a bit with my ideas and it was really getting to me and at one of these meetings it got me so down that I went home and wrote this song which is about every day of my life “I can surely see where I am going .. . and with every day of this year I can see I haven’t wasted any time” etc. It just started out with this run down on the guitar then the melody just came. That was virtually it … Every Day of My Life.

Of interest only last week news was out that the first LP has been released in France and they’re already considering importing the new After Hours set. That should please Glen Shorrock as his love for Paris and women surround the song Seine City …

He tells: “I spent five years in England and a few weeks in Paris … and I wrote this song about my time there. I really loved the place. I think Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world … very expensive to live in, but it’s got such class and character and the women are marvellous. They’re all very elegant and polite and they know how to handle themselves properly and I mean handle themselves properly!

On talking of pretty tunes on the LP, Another Runway came to pass and, in fact, only too timely when it’s a good time to introduce guitarist Rick Formosa, who with Beeb Birtles co-wrote the 6 min. 28 sec. story of the Formosa family pride and problems … Problems in shifting from Italy originally to Canada for 13 years then back to Italy then back to Canada then out here. It was on Beeb’s suggestion that he should write about packing, shifting, unpacking, the lot. That’s what Another Runway is about.

Rick’s only other contribution to the LP is “Bourbon St.” which,’ not unlike the family highlights on “Runway”, seemingly giving rise to being on the road and getting the chance to rock down some nightlife avenue with having a good time in mind and leaving those petty problems behind.

Leaving things behind is probably a much used thought track on both Little River LPs, but then, as the guys have been around so long and through so many lineup changes in different bands that the stockpile of songs would tend to rely on tunes written some time ago and be relative to their experiences. The bands that we readily associate with the background to Little River (they’ve all been well respected locally) are: Mississippi, Twilights, Zoot, Axiom and a guiding hand from an old Master Apprentice. Let’s hope that if they do go big internationally, it won’t take too long.

BREAKWAY, JULY, 1976

Oh, no … the $200 board, says Claw

Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick took to the columns of the surfing press back in 1975 to put the manufacturers’ case for an increase in surfboard prices. His arguments about economics, custom products and artisan producers probably still apply.

Surfboards for $200! “Crazy”, you say, “everybody knows boards have always been $100.” It seems the time has come for surfboards to go up, along with everything else.

The big board builders have had a series of bad years profit-wise and the shapers and workers want to make the same kind of money as any other skilled tradesmen. The world’s most famous shaper, Dick Brewer of Hawaii, has been selling his boards for $US300 and more.

Boards in Australia probably won’t reach that $US300 price for a long time, but they will get to nearly $200 before long.

There will still be cheap boards around. Everyone sells boards for lower than the established price when they first start making boards. Guys will make boards for just their wages with no profit while they are learning the trade.

There are two ways to learn to make boards, one is to start with an established manufacturer and the other is to start making your own.

The https://www.viagrapascherfr.com/sildenafil-prix-belgique-usa/ guys who start out by themselves usually just want enough bread to surf a lot. This is a great thing for a young surfer to do but, although their boards are cheap in price, they are nowhere near as professional as when these guys become experienced.

Boards have been creeping up in price about $5 or $10 a year for a few years. One reason for this was the increase in sales tax a couple of years ago. Now at 15% sales tax is one of the major components of the price of a board.

Of course, if you are just a beginner manufacturer, you don’t pay sales tax at all; at least I didn’t when I started out in the garage at home.

The biggest single increase in the cost of producing a board facing the established manufacturers is new legislation on workers’ compensation. The cost of workers’ compensation alone will increase the cost of each board by at least $5 for the average size manufacturers.

Most of the manufacturers in the Torquay surfing industry, the place I know best, are open to the public seven days a week and custom make boards and do repairs within one week. These people also sponsor surfing contests.

The traditional $120 or so for a board does not seem realistic anymore. Since the introduction of decimal currency around 10 years ago nearly everything you can think of has increased 100 per cent. In this time surfboards have increased from around $95 to about $120 to $130, an increase of less than 50 per cent.

In those days it took a young surfer at least three weeks pay to buy a new board, recently a young guy with a reasonable job has been able to get a board with a week’s pay. Working on the normal wholesale and retail mark-ups for other businesses, surfboards would be at minimum $225 already.

Surfboards. are a highly refined, high performance piece of equipment. Boards are available from true surfing champions and innovators. People like Wayne Lynch and Terry Fitzgerald who draw upon years of international experience in all kinds of surf to hand-shape boards just the same as they use to win professional contests or ride the classic waves of the world. These boards will cost around $185 this season. Top class boards by people who have also had great success with their designs like Geoff McCoy, Don Allcroft, Pat Morgan and Kym Thompson will probably cost around $175.

This is some attempt to explain the price rises in surfboards on behalf of the shapers, workers, owners and retailers of the surfboard industry by the maker of Victoria’s first cut price surfboard the $89 Rip Curl hot dog model.

BREAKWAY, AUGUST, 1975

Surfworld ‘75 on Melbourne’s Yarra banks

It was a bold experiment, bringing surfing to the city: a bigtop on the Yarra banks right next door t0 Melbourne’s CBD.

Utimately nobody made any money, but losses aside it was a hoot for four days. The bands were great and so was the giant timber skateboard ramp, constructed especially for the occasion. And then there was the ‘skurfing’ on the Yarra. This was Breakway’s big moment as an entrepreneur … and we weren’t fantastic at it.

Four days of fun and action, including Victoria’s biggest ever skateboard contest … that’s Surfworld ’75.

Four afternoons and nights of top music, disco-style parades of surf fashions and exhibitors associated with the whole range of surf products … that’s also Surfworld ’75.

And it’s all happening in a circus tent near the Yarra banks in Melbourne. It’s Australia’s first full-on surfing exhibition and will cost around $60,000 to mount. The cost of the specially constructed 150 ft. skateboard ramp alone is about $5000.

Details and official entry form for the ‘Surfworld’ State Skateboard Titles are in this issue.

‘Surfworld’ will open its (canvas) doors on Thursday, November 27, around noon. Shirley’ Skyhooks and Youth Minister Mr Brian Dixon will be there to start proceedings.

BREAKWAY, OCTOBER ‘75

 

At 16 Tommy Carroll was chasing the cash

Tom Carroll won the Australian Junior Title in 1978, the Pro Juniors in 1977 and 1980, the 1983 and 1984 ASP World Tour, and the 1987 Pipe Masters. He became the first surfing millionaire after signing a contract with Quiksilver in 1989.

Surfing press polls have rated him among the top 10 surfers of all time. He was 16 in December ’78 when Hugh Hamilton taped an interview for Breakway at Carroll’s home beach of Newport.

You’re both really aggressive in the water.

Well, when we surf we look upon aggressive surfers. People like. Michael Peterson, aggressive radical surfers like Col Smith and a few smooth surfers like Nat Young in an old movie I saw, this was when I was a small kid. And I thought the only way to surf was to watch someone and learn. That’s the way I learnt, just watching in the movies and stuff.

Anyone influence you heavily?

Derek (Hynd) was a heavy influence when I started. He was a bit of a snob when I first knew him. I just watched him surfing. He was a lot better than most surfers at Newport then.

What do you think of commercialism in surfing, turning surfing into a major sport at last?

Surfing should become commercial if it’s going to survive. Otherwise it’ll just go off into its own little world, and just completely empty out. If they try to keep the prices low business is just going to run out. They’ve got to raise the prices in boards or they’ll go out of business.

Do you think it could become a Olympic sport?

Yeah. Surfing should become like skiing, tennis or golf. Its so unrecognised now.

BREAKWAY DECEMBER 1977

It’s their domain, after all

If there’s two things that really put the shits up a surfer there’s the thought that the next swell might” by a tidal wave … and sharks (as rhyming with faaaark!!)

Story has it that one surfing champion would often arrive at the local hot-spot and casually truck up the beach telling surfers he’d just spotted a dorsal fin from the cliffs. Five minutes later when every surfer in sight had cleared the water he’d paddle out and crack a few waves on his own. The hodads thought he was a hero.

Most Australians have a dread of sharks that borders on paranoia: surfers are no exception.

Despite the fact that there is only an average of four ‘attacks’ each year in Australia, surfers live in constant fear of having their legs nibbled off at the knees, or worse. Their fears are fuelled by misleading newspaper reports of shark attacks which begin to filter through at the start of every summer. Minor injuries involving maybe a dozen stitches will make big headlines all over the country. Past ravages will be recounted for the ninth time.

When 21-year-old surfer Gary Grace of Queensland received 30 stitches after a shark attacked at Alexandra Headland in July the Melbourne Sun ran the story as a page three lead.

Shark stories sell papers. A recent survey of Australian newspapers revealed that the word ‘shark’ was the most emotive word that could be used in a headline or poster.

But the truth of the matter is that most ‘Shark attacks’ are not really attacks at all.

The skin of many sharks is like sandpaper, extremely rough, tough and abrasive. In fact old time cabinet-makers called it shagreen and used it extensively until sandpaper replaced it. I have blunted many a razor sharp diving knife trying to hack through a dead shark’s hide.

Consequently a shark can cause quite extensive injury merely by giving a person an ‘investigative bump’. Likewise the fins, particularly the large pectoral fins on each side and the dorsal fin on top can inflict gaping wounds. Most shark attack victims are actually injured in this way.

The possibility of injury is also multiplied by the speed at which a shark approaches, often at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Make no mistake about it, a medium sized White Pointer, Whaler or Tiger Shark could quite easily devour a whole human. Whole turtles weighing in excess of 100 pounds have been found in the stomachs of sharks caught on the Great Barrier Reef. White Pointers have been known to swallow porpoises and seals with one gulp.

Read Bob Barrow’s full article in the August 1975 issue.

SHARK!

The stories remain the same; only the dates change. This is from Breakway, August 1975. This issue also carried a spirited defence of the apex predator by journalist Bob Barrow.

Newspapers all over Australia carried the story of the shark attack on surfer Gary Grace in Maroochydore beach break on July 26 (1975).

The reaction by the different publications was interesting. For instance, Melbourne dailies were much more hysterical than their Queensland counterparts. Maybe Queensland didn’t want to scare off too many tourists. A more simple explanation would be that noahs really scare the bejesus out of the Victorians. All in all it was great publicity for ‘Jaws.’

On (or close to) the spot correspondent Dadee Taylor reported:

The shark, believed to have been between 10 and 12 ft. long, attacked just on dusk. The species is unknown but newspapers are generally blaming a white pointer – the pointer was also fingered when Bruce Lawler had his leg taken at Stradbroke in August ‘73. However, the shark that got him was definitely a whaler.

We rarely get pointers this far north – but whenever they are caught it is around this time of the year.

Gary Grace is a glasser at Jim Pollard Surfboards. I don’t think Gary would have said what the papers attributed to him (about being “dragged from the jaws of death” etc.) but he was really thankful to Mick and others who helped him. It’s just that the papers laid it on a bit thick.

From what most people I’ve spoken to about sharks say, it’s generally by mistake that they attack humans (invariably, however, this never seems to comfort the human). Sharks also dislike fibre glass things (such as boards). Apparently they quickly spit out such things as boards and surfers (like in the cases of Gary and Bruce), but unfortunately the damage is done with the one bite.

BREAKWAY, AUGUST, 1975

‘H’ is for headline: the heroin story

Once again the mass media seems to have done it for surfing. Heroin. Drugs and surfing. Great stuff.

From an editor’s point of view it’s great to get hold of an emotive issue, i.e. drugs, and find a handy medium-sized cult that stands apart from the mainstream of society, i.e. surfing. A combination of these two ingredients is great headline and story fodder.

And with the current frenzied anti-drug climate it didn’t take long for the media to catch on.

First came the “mysterious” disappearance of a Liberal Party official (Donald Mackay) in the Riverina town of Griffith, followed by all sorts of Mafia allegations, quotes by ex-Calabrians and then the NSW government hopped in with a drugs inquiry. Slap bang in the middle of that lot –carne a coroner’s inquest into the death of a Queensland 21-year-old. The coroner found evidence of heroin use on the night Peter “Noughts” Evans attended a party and later died. Evans was a surfer – a “star” surfer according to the headlines.

Days after that was splashed across the front pages, a Gold Coast doctor carne forward telling a tale of local teenagers sniffing heroin.

Soon after carne the report of Michael Peterson facing charges of importing heroin and hash. He was later convicted and fined atotal of $2400.

This preoccupation with drug users is not unusual for the press and neither is the singling out of surfers. It’s not so much the press looking for a scapegoat, it is more its desire to be able to safely apply a label. Once labelled, the subject can be promoted in such a way that people believe the press understands what it is talking about and everyone can sleep easily at night knowing that, although interesting and eyecatching,

The story continues in the October ’77 issue.

BREAKWAY, OCTOBER, 1977

 

Summer and the rise of localism

By Jon Barns, January 1978: Now that summer is here the term localism takes on another dimension. Throughout winter most breaks have handled capacity crowds and now, with the usual influx of summer surfers, these spots will be tested to the maximum. And in the long hot days ahead surfers’ tempers and tolerance are also going to be taken to the limit. Already in Victoria there have been some ominous signs.

  • Contestants in a schoolboys’ competition held by the Australian Surfriders’ Association were threatened with a head beating by locals unless they left the water;
  • Cars parked at so called secret spots have been broken into, message scrawled in the paint work and tyres let down, although that just means the occupants will have to hang around that much longer;
  • In some places, where access to a particular break is through bushland, tracks have been blocked, disguised and generally made hard to traverse;
  • And of course there’s been the usual frosty greetings and deliberate drop-ins from surfers who think they have special rights to a particular break. They scratch “go home touros” signs in the sand and get a bit of a giggle trying to make others feel like trespassers.

But surfers are usually a thick-skinned bunch and suffering fools – if it means getting good surf – is not so hard to do.

Articles in this issue deal with aspects of localism in some parts of Australia as well as in Sri Lanka, an island that some think has gone west, much to its detriment.

BREAKWAY JANUARY 1978