Ted Bainbridge talked to his friends, The young Trigger Brothers Paul and Phil, for this interview published in Breakway, December 1974.
The brothers remain successful board makers and retailers to this day, operating out of their headquarters at Pt Leo, Victoria, their spiritual home.
At the time Phil, the glasser, was 22 and Paul, the shaper, was 24.
That year Paul qualified for the Australian team to compete in the World Titles and was Victoria’s top seed in the team for the Australian Titles. Phil was fifth in the Bells Easter Contest against a field of internationals and Australian surfers. He went on to win Victoria’s only other professional contest – the Pt Leo ‘1200’, where he regularly surfs.
TB: How many boards do you ride and what dimensions are they?
Phil: I’ve only really got one at the moment because I’ve sold all my others in our summer secondhand board sellout. I would like to ride 6’8″, 7’0″, 7’4″ and 7’8″; I think that would give me a really good range for all surfing conditions that I’d find in Victoria.
Paul: I’ve got a 6’8″ hot dog board, a 6’10” “good wave” board and a 7’1″ “power wave” board. I haven’t really got a big wave board because I don’t like big boards, but I like riding big waves. I’ll probably make a 7’8″ speed machine pretty soon though.
TB: Are they all basic boards?
Phil: We’re definitely basic surfers. Surfing’s a basic thing so you should stick to basics. A basic (board) should go best because it’s a flowing sort of an art.
TB: But isn’t a concave a basic thing in a board?
Phil: They only have a real affect if they’re pretty deep and right at the back of the board.
Paul: We’ve ridden boards with bonzas, tronzas, twin finners, five finners, swallow tails, scoop-outs and we always go back to a basic board.
TB: You’ve competed against all the top surfers in Australia and seen them in action, who do you think is the best?
Phil: Michael Peterson: he’s the best contest surfer.
Paul: He can go out in any contest and get a tube, do re-entries, cutbacks, and manoeuvre his board anywhere.
But in bigger surf there’re better surfers than him. There’s Farrelly, Nat Young, Drouyn, Wayne Lynch, Ian Cairns, Ted Spencer and Peter Townend.
Out of the international surfers, Lopez is about the best I’ve seen because he can manoeuvre his board radically but with continuous carving arcs.
He’s incredible because he’s about the best tube rider in the world, but if you watch him hot-dog he can hot-dog better than anyone, too. A lot of people don’t realise that: he impressed me as much as Peterson and Drouyn did at Bells’ contest, but he didn’t get the waves they did.
TB: Who do you admire the most in Victorian surfing?
Phil: I’d say Alan Atkins and Rod Brooks. Those two guys have been in the finals of almost every contest since the A.S.A. started down here (Victoria). Rod even won the last contest we had. His surfing has improved out of sight this year compared with the last couple of years. When you look at those guys, you can see that as long as you have enough time in the water you can still improve even through you’re middle and late twenties.
Read the entire interview by downloading the issue or the whole set.
BREAKWAY DECEMBER 1974