Smooth/Radical: The Keith Paull Story

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

In his first book, So You Wanna Be a Surfer, Chris 'Swag' Gudenswager bound together a range of surf stories largely involving the early surf industry and his Gold Coast peers. It was a boisterous and lighthearted read; a bunch of beer garden conversations rolled into a book.

For his second effort, Swag has sharpened his focus, honing in on just one surfer and chronicling his life story.

The popular image of Keith Paull is as a victim of 1970s chemical excesses, often told as a cautionary tale against LSD use. Yet his demise overshadowed his achievements. Prior to the fall, Keith Paull pursued a very different surfing life to that which he's remembered by. He was mentioned in the same breath as Nat, Midget, and McTavish, was a premier stylist who travelled widely including early sessions in Europe, dominant trips to Hawaii, and he became the first surfer to ride Supertubes at Jeffreys Bay, all while chasing contest dreams.

In fact, it was today 50 years ago that Keith Paull won the Australian Open surfing title, finally splitting the Nat/Midget duopoly. Being such an auspicious date, Swag has today decided to launch presales for Smooth/Radical: The Keith Paull Story.

While writing Smooth/Radical, Swag interviewed many of Keith Paull's peers including Nat, Wayne Lynch, Jack McCoy, Albe Falzon, Bob Mac, and he also spoke to the surfers Paull directly influenced such as Rabbit and Peter Townend. 

At 440 pages long, 35 chapters, with 170 photos, Swag expands far beyond the notion of Keith Paull as victim to show a life in full - albeit a life cut short.

Visit Swag Books to order your copy. Smooth/Radical: The Keith Paull Story will be released in August


Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 1:45pm

Fabulous cover.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 2:44pm

Isn't it?

You've probably already seen this pic of Keith, hey Gra. Clearly an influence on the cover and arguably - at least when Steve Core is the person doing the arguing - the first artwork of it's kind on a surfboard.

Eat ya heart out Ozzie Wright!

PeteH's picture
PeteH's picture
PeteH commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 5:06pm

I reckon it was Keith Paull who had Harmony surfboards back in the 70's. My old man had one which I later stole from him and it was a great board. Would like to read the story and yes, an awesome cover!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 5:17pm

Yep, you're right Pete, that was Keith's label. MP also banged out a few, and Gil Glover of Hot Stuff got his start there too.

Swag might be able to correct me if I'm wrong.

PeteH's picture
PeteH's picture
PeteH commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 5:51pm

Thanks Stunet for confirming that, it was a long time ago!

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 28 May 2018 at 6:07pm

My only memory of him is at the Pa Bendall. In retrospect it was probably sad but at the time we were all just weirded out and kept away. It was the same year MP had that board with the multiple flyers or whatever. A bumper mushroom crop was the joke of the day.....not so funny now.

Clive Rodell's picture
Clive Rodell's picture
Clive Rodell commented Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 5:57am

I didn't realise Chris had become an Author.. Always a Larrikin.
I remember asking him the time at D'Bah one day, because it was a pre work surf. Of course he lied, got me out of the water early, I didn't check the real time until I was changed... he got me! lol
If he's carried that into his books, they could be an amusing read! :)

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at 8:04pm

I remember surfing Lennox point in the late 70's & Keith rocked up in his Hare Krishna garb & ripped up the point face paint & all! A real individual!

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