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Tag Archives: Harry Hodge

Bells Easter contest souvenir 1975

It was 1975 and Rip Curl was sponsoring the Bells Easter surfing contest for the third year. The co-sponsor was Midget Farrelly’s Surfblanks. The Breakway team, including Ted Bainbridge, Keith Platt and Harry Hodge, produced the official program that year. You can download a digital version of the historic publication on this site.

It features a potted history of Rip Curl and Surfblanks; a rundown on the star competitors, including an impressive list of internationals; a description of the scoring system; and photos and explanations of some of the manoeuvres the crowd could expect to see.

Australian Surfers’ Association president Stan Couper in his official message said: “This year, despite the unfavorable economic climate, thanks to our friends at Rip Curl Pty. Ltd. being joined by Midget Farrelly’s Surfblanks Manufacturing Company, Surfblanks Pty. Ltd., we have been able to offer total prizemoney in excess of $6000.”


Ocean & Earth founder Brian Cregan interviewed at 20

Ocean & Earth was started by Brian Cregan and some partners in Sussex Inlet, NSW, back in 1978 and made some basic surfing products. By the late ‘80s Ocean & Earth’s products had grown to a broad range of surfing accessories, backpacks and a small range of clothing.
In 2010 O&E released the “World’s Strongest Leash” – a fully moulded surf leash as opposed to three piece heat welded surf leash. Cregan’s introduction to urethane leashes happened in Durban, South Africa, when Shaun Tomson (IPS world champion in 1977) showed him the cord he was using.
“He gave me the address of where to get it and I bought back to Australia a roll to experiment with,” Cregan told an interviewer.
“From there we sourced it locally and then introduced urethane leashes into our range and the Australian market.”
Three years before the launch of Ocean & Earth, Breakway interviewed Cregan, then 20, during a trip to Bali where he was filmed for Harry Hodge’s movie Liquid Gold. This was July,1975.
He talked about leg ropes, professional surfing and even hinted at making a living from what he loved doing.
Cregan obviously relished the hollow, powerful Bali waves. And his surfing was impressive.
Riding his own boards, “Cool Curl Cruisers”, he was by far the best backhand surfer at Uluwatu.
Breakway: How big have you ridden Uluwatu?
I’ve ridden three times since I’ve been here. The first time it was a small 6 ft. the second time just a little larger and yesterday it was a solid 8 ft. with some 10 footers. There were two big sneaker sets about 14′ ft. I reckon. The first one broke in front of us and washed us way back down the line. I had a leg rope on and it pulled out the metal pin in the rope box. Luckily a guy got my board before it was battered against the cliff. Later there were only three of us out and another set with about ten waves poured through. We all managed to scratch over them. I think I was more scared the second time because I knew how hard they could hit. I think Harry Hodge got them on film for his movie.
Breakway: Is it like anything you’ve ridden before?
There’s a place on the south coast which definitely breaks in a similar way. It has as much power I think but more predictable, a shorter ride but as tubey as Uluwatu.
Breakway: Why do you make your own surfboards?
I never used to get exactly what I wanted from the guy who used to make them for me. I thought I’d be able to get closer to what I wanted by making them myself. The first couple worked all right and I’ve kept improving on them. I enjoy riding my own boards. It’s a fulfillment – you feel good riding a board you’ve made yourself.
Breakway: Would you like to make boards full time?
Maybe not for 12 months of the year, but through the summer it’d be feasible. I just enjoy being creative in my spare time and there’s not much to do weeknights in Sussex.
Breakway: What’s your opinion of professionalism in surfing?
It’s really great – for surfing in general and for the good surfers. It’s bringing surfing to older people and those who don’t surf. I think guys have got to understand that being a professional doesn’t mean just winning money in contests, it’s a whole lot of other things like endorsing products, appearing in movies and even shaping surfboards. At the moment it’d be fairly hard for a surfer to live solely from pro-contests.
Breakway: Would you like to become a professional surfer?
I think a lot of people would.
Breakway: Have you ever won any money?
I won a surfboard once; at Woolongong about two years ago, I just missed out on a trip to New Zealand. It was called the Aquarius festival.


Memories of the Pipeline pioneers

This is all about the Pipeline pioneers, surfing history, vintage surfing at its best.

Breakway covered surfing in ‘70s when memories of the first big wave riders at Banzai Pipeline were still fresh in our minds.


When you think of Banzai Pipeline you think of Lopez, Russell, Bertleman and the other latter day surf heroes. But what about the days when Pipeline was only ridden by a few? When Pipeline meant risking your life? When Pipeline wasn’t even ridden.

A nostalgic trip back into the “good old” surfing mags revealed the early days at the Pipe when surfers would stand for hours on the beach and watch in awe as these monstrous sucking giants threw out over a shallow coral shelf after travelling thousands of miles across the Pacific in huge swells.

Compared to Pipeline, Waimea Bay and Sunset were comparatively “safe” surfing spots. To even contemplate riding Pipeline was a long thought about affair.

Back in the early ‘60s Phil Edwards and a few of his hardy mates ventured out to the super-hollow lefthander followed by the ‘heavy’ of all big wave riders, the legendary Greg Noll.

And remember these guys rode cumbersome and heavy boards that lacked the speed of today’s guns!

However, back in those golden days, one man conquered the Banzai Pipeline like no-one else could – Butch Van Artsdalen. Van Artsdalen didn’t worry about those bottom- scraping wipeouts or huge drops down the vertical face at the take off. For every ride the ordinary person got at the Pipe, Butch got five. And four of them would be· bad wipeouts!

Van Artsdalen would slide down the face of a gnarly 15 ft. wall sideways, then push out through a spitting Banzai tube until he was speeding in front of the pursuing white water.

Pipeline held for Van Artsdalen what Everest must have nurtured for Hillary or America for Columbus. But although the Pipe is ridden by many these days, one can always reminisce about the “Good Old Days” when the long board surfers would paddle out at 15 ft. Pipeline, not knowing whether they would ever make it back to shore.