Watch: Gripping Stuff
In 1984, three surfers from Dee Why, Bill McCausland, Graeme Bennett, and Gary Mountford, started a company to make surf hardware. Their first product was the Rocket Block, basically a block of plastic you stuck to the tail of your board to secure your back foot. Sales were modest, the trio kept their day jobs.
In 1985, however, they struck gold with Gorilla Grip.
Traction pads already existed, however, what was on the market were simply colourful versions of skateboard grip tape - brutal on exposed skin. Yet the Dee Why trio stumbled onto foamed plastic and customised it for surfboard traction pads.
Gorilla Grip is an almost perfect product: It's self-explanatory, effective, cheap, long-lasting, and the colour schemes matched the era. Coupled with aggresive marketing, it set McCausland, Bennett, and Mountford - by then trading as Surf Hardware International - on an upwards trajectory that would ultimately lead to Fin Control Systems and a sugar daddy sale to Macquarie Bank.
But I'm getting ahead of the story...
In the 80s, surf companies began rolling out content marketing long before the term had been coined. Surf movies bankrolled by the companies, featuring their sponsored riders. In '87, Tim Bonython made 'Surf Into Summer' for Billabong, then 'Strike Force' for Piping Hot, and in '89 Surf Hardware roped him in to make 'Gripping Stuff'.
In total, Tim made three Gripping Stuff films before striking out on his own.
Tim is now digitising some of those films for free viewing. Make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel to stay up to date.