Review: Swag's back catalogue

freeride76
Reels

How does a man in the fifth decade of life, a lifelong surfer with no experience in the written word, come to write four books in four years?

I'm pondering this mystery riding back from a surf at D'bah with the author of the awesome foursome, Chris 'Swag' Gudenswager. It's not a mystery for long as Swag gives me the origin story, which begins as we round the Jack Evans Boat Harbour, cross Cunningham Park, ride past the pub full of midday drinkers, and put the sex shop in the rear-view mirror. 

I think a little knowledge of the genesis of the books is invaluable before you think about parting with your hard-earned to read what I consider a major achievement in chronicling the rich surf culture of Australia. And when I say surf culture I mean the real one, not the corporately air brushed sterile version we are mostly subjected to and which is used to sell everything from real estate to life insurance to haemorrhoid cream.

Swag found himself in a unique position when exposure to a Swellnet forum topic titled “Where are they now?” triggered all kinds of reactions in him. He was horrified to see pals like Chappy Jennings getting shit thrown on them in the comments, yet he also realised there was a hunger for knowledge about these forgotten characters from surfing's recent and not so recent history.

'Someone needs to shine a light on these characters,' he thought. Not only did Swag live through a particularly vibrant era for surfing characters but his dad Ken Gudenswager and grandad Frank Adler played key roles in establishing the surfboard building industry through QLD and NSW. The number of legendary shapers who got a leg up through Old Man Swag or Big Frank could fill a book - or in this case, four. Swag had access to an unrivalled depth of history and story.

Chappy Jennings (Rob Hutchison)

There's a biblical saying: If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. I couldn't help reflect on it while Swag tuned me up on the impetus and origins of the books which he had within him. There's definitely an evangelical edge about the smooth goofyfoot, an evangelical edge which suffuses every page of his books. A pure love for surfing and the characters who colour it. 

The series starts with 'So, You Wanna Be A Surfer?,' progresses to 'Smooth, Radical: The Keith Paull Story', and finishes with 'Does the Ocean Love You Back, Vol 1 and 2'. Taken together the books are a tonic for a culture that has lost confidence in itself, grown old, weary and cynical at what my friend terms the “pure corporate dusting of the intangible”. Everywhere surfing has been hijacked by spivs, suits, chancers, money men, and carpet-baggers, nowhere more visibly than the WSL. You won't find cynicism here, any more than the kind of self-hating visions of toxic masculinity that Tim Winton characterised in his surfing novel 'Breath'. These are books refreshingly clear of moral judgements in our censorious times.

What you will find is a world lovingly recreated, an enormous vision, like the one famous American chronicler of the south William Faulkner depicted in his fictional rendition of Yoknapatawpha County. In this case Swag's great corpus, which he has rescued from the ravages of time, is not fictional but real, or as real as stories can be when they have been told and retold, and maybe re-shaped along the way. The locus of this world is the Gold Coast in those decades from the 70's onwards and it's a very rich terrain. Still mostly unexplored by the written word.

MP (Jack McCoy)

Swag's dad and grandad strode across that landscape like titans, pioneers of the surf industry when that meant supplying surfboards and employing the people who made them. Swag chose a different line. With the playground of the Gold Coast in front of him this self-confessed Coolangatta surf hustler took the platter nature and fate had placed in front of him and gobbled up every last morsel. The proverbial kid in the lolly shop.

I can't even begin to describe the richness of the stories within. 'Does The Ocean Love You Back?' is pitched as “generational surfing tales of triumph, terror, and camaraderie”. 'So, You Wanna Be A Surfer?' promises stories from those who know what it is like to get the feeling and never lose it! 'Smooth Radical' is a mostly peers-eye view of the pivotal figure who was effortlessly smooth and yet destructively radical; a cautionary tale that illustrates the dark ironies of Australian life in a way that only Henry Lawson could. Any way you slice it what it says on the tin only hints at the riches within.

Guiding you along the journey will be Swag the narrator, who likes to occasionally drift into some purple prose. Forgive Swag his flowery digressions, like Marlow the narrator in Conrad's 'Lord Jim', it's worth getting acquainted with the Swag prose style.

There are fresh takes on old legends, including MP's famous flame-out and his last surf. Classic shots of MP in a suit before the '72 World Titles in San Diego. Rabbit in a death hug with an unknown charger at massive Pipeline. Characters I'd never heard of and couldn't believe I hadn't, like Kim McKenzie, the Australian Champion who surfed against the blokes in her invite to the Smirnoff Pro where she surfed massive Sunset for the first time, then became a shark net contractor and fisho. An amazing life.

Kim McKenzie (Jim Fenwick)

Humility is a common thread for those who have been lucky enough to have spent a life in and around the ocean. Many obstacles and pitfalls are found on the path and Swag does not skirt the darker side of life. Some of the best and most moving tales involve battles with drugs, cancer, sharks, old age itself. I won't spoil endings but have a box of tissues handy when reading the final months and days of Port Lincoln tuna spotter and world traveller Ken 'Kiwi' White as mesothelioma ravaged him and ultimately claimed his life. 

Does The Ocean Love You Back? In the moments after surfing fun head high peaks at D'bah then pedalling back through the mean streets of the 'Gatta, where the glitz and glamour is only skin deep, I could only answer in the affirmative. Life felt about as good as it gets. The answer from the assembled cast of characters in these books is likewise resoundingly positive. Swag finishes Volume 2 with a tale about surfing with ten-year old Duke Worth. On the day I read it I had just surfed fun waves at the local with my ten-year old son. He describes a feeling of rejuvenation and gratitude as, “the old crew in me abandoned ship and the new found energy connected to the feelings of youth which took over and I felt like I was surfing for the first time”.

I found in myself on reading those words, not just a resonance with those sentiments, but a profound feeling of gratitude for Swag himself, for the task of creating something for the culture he loves, the one that spawned the Coolangatta surf hustler who's love for surfing has outshone everything except the sun itself.

I recommend wholeheartedly you get the four books, signed, gift them around, leave one lying around to read on the couch, in the dunny, on a boat trip, or wherever the mood strikes. Get these stories into ya.

// STEVE SHEARER

All four titles are available online at Swag Books

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 12:20pm

Thanks.

I think I’ll do exactly that.

Nice write up

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 12:26pm

Nice
A lot of water under the Bridge

The Outsider is back !

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 12:30pm

hahahah, one off Udo.

I think a little more backstory is in order.

After Swag wrote the first book he reached out to me because a little comment I made on here about him and his Dad had helped him move forwards with the book idea. I was driving buses and stopped to pick up his first book.
Really, really enjoyed it.

it's gone on from there.

One of my fondest memories is visiting the old San Juan shop right in the middle of Johnson st Byron Bay on my first trip there. Blew my tiny grommet mind at the time. The sprays, the vibe, the smell of incense and whatever else was being burned at the time.

it's real shit.

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 4:50pm

Was that the old San Juan shop a few km back from the main street heading towards the Lennox Rd?
I never went in there but I remember driving by and looking in the window and seeing these amazing beautiful boards on display. Just beautiful.
This was in 79 and I was up from Yamba to pick up a new custom Bob MacTavish 5'9" single flyer, belly channel twin fin. A Blue Bird model.
Anyway picked it up and went straight to the pass. Fun three foot, bit messy but fully lining up. Really good actually. Anyway these older locals were out and whinging about the crowd. Must have been twelve guys out there. They were the days.

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 2:59pm

Very evocative FR. Fond memories indeed. Great shop to wander about in, there was almost never anyone front of house they were almost always out back doing what we all did well mid 70’s. Same with Bare Nature, the first shop on the way into town from Broken. The guy would be asleep at the counter by the door and I’m ashamed to say what we would get up to while he was on the nod. Different vibe at Sky as they always seemed way more onto the whole business thing. Still remember those channel bottom Cundith Twinnies as being so far ahead of anything else at the time. Watching GT on them at Broken was just unbelievable. Literally.

bobhawkesurfteam

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 3:13pm

first fibo I ever had was a 5'7" Bare Nature single fin. Passed down from three other surfers before me.
I think a Tony Cerff shape.

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 12:36pm

can't wait to start reading them all. sounds great

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 12:57pm

Great write up.

I reckon I'll have to invest in a set.

I remember the San Juan shop too as a grommie. I felt nervous as hell walking around in there. Way too cool for me.

1173

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 1:02pm

you should try walking into the Byron hipster shops now Zen.
you need to take a mortgage out to buy a block of wax.

the pressure is intense.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 1:07pm

Whilst the other kids were pushing bricks around a work site for work experience I hooked up with a diver / filmmaker / adventurer who took me under his wing and got me my dive ticket whilst I was still underage . Diving with sharks vs getting smoko for gap toothed tradies was a no brainer . He then got me working in his shop which was a collection of some of the coolest shit you’ve ever seen.

During long hours at work ( long for a basically unemployable grommet ) I got to know every inch of that shop including the selection of gorgeous San Juan longboards. You’ve got to understand that to a little pinner grom in those days a longboard was about as cool as having a herpes outbreak on your wedding night , still I really dug those boards and felt a bit proprietorial about them . Zero chance you were going to be testing the glass on the rails if I was around.

Unless you were a hot chick in which case you could’ve just walked out with one without paying and I’d give you a wave and then spend the rest of the day wondering if you would contemplate engaging in coitus with me. Or even just a sly wristy.

Either way I still remember those boards and the pride of place they held in a dive shop.

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 1:27pm

wait---so mals, while maybe uncool, were still being made and ridden in the 70s, early 80s?
i don't remember seeing a single one. but i guess i wasn't even really aware of what a longboard even was.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 1:35pm

very sexy single fin shortboards by the time I got there, just before thrusters.

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 2:28pm

Nice review Stevo, will have a recommendation for the missus next time she asks what I want for Xmas. How was the build quality of the aforementioned San Juan era boards. Killer sprays, and resin work. Beautifully layed up and foiled fins, gloss finishes! Some serious workmanship back in the day!

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 2:20pm

From the late 70's to the end of the 90's I used to gobble up all of those stories about the characters that will no doubt be in his books. Back then it was just Tracks, Surfing World and a few other Oz publications that came and went but they left an indelible impression on my young mind and like most I wanted a piece of that action for myself.

Kongs Island would still be the surf flick I have seen the most times and I've still got my original copy (just hanging in there!)

At the age of 56 I'm just about done with surfing to be honest. Ever growing crowds and the way it's so mainstream now have just about killed the joy for me (not to mention the frustration of skills declining in recent times). Got a new custom a few weeks ago and I'm thinking that may well be the last one in this lifetime. I'll definitely get my hand on these books though because I know they will bring back memories of what got most of us older crew stoked in the first place. The waves, the travel, the adventures, the pure hedonistic shit we were all able to get up to in no small way inspired by the types of characters that will be in these books.

Definitely up the top of my Christmas list! Thanks for the cool review Freeride.

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 6:38am

Guess it depends where you live, same age as you and still enjoy surfing when it’s good, that’s a bigger problem here in Coffs than crowds, finding anything descent half the time.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 4:22pm

Hey ringmaster > don't give up ! > I'm interested to know what your most recent custom is? I think we just need to adjust as we get older...> RR

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 9:51am

G'day R.R. New board is 6'4" x 20" x 2 7/8 swallow tail with plenty of foam under the chest. To put it in perspective I'm 6 foot and clock in at 87kg's Priority for this board was to be a good paddler and be surfed in 2 - 5ft reef waves which pretty much covers most of my surfing where I live on Vicco's surfcoast. Sure, it's not as nimble as my chunky little 6'1" which I've been riding in the same conditions but I have already found I'm catching more waves on it which is no. 1 priority in these crowded times.

I'll be surfing for a while yet cause I'm lucky enough to still be fit and strong with no real body issues but I think we all notice things just don't come as naturally in the surf at this age mainly in the reflex/fast twitch area. I'm also finding surfing aint the priority it once was. Ya know.......drop everything cause it's gunna be good 120km down the coast in the arvo etc etc. These days, if it's not happening within 10 minutes of where I live I'll find something else to do. If I wake up and it's good but really crowded at home, I'll find something else to do. My desire to get on a plane and go to Indo etc. has also waned. Mainly because of crowds but also in part because the type of waves I was comfortable in up until a few years ago is not the case any more.

Happy surfing mate!

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 1:50pm

happy surfing to you too ringmaster! (and thanks for your info. confirming my experiences and a little bit inspiring too!) a happy surf is defined by one well executed turn for me these days...as in if I lower my standards, I raise my satisfaction level..coz 25 year old me was a way more agile surfer, ha!

benjis babe's picture
benjis babe's picture
benjis babe commented Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020 at 6:21am

hey ringmaster, im 52 and a chick and I still paddle over to kongs island. don't let age be an excuse, crowds definitely, but not age

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020 at 11:06am

That's all good and well B.B but did you ever find the magic cream puff tree???

and yeah.....age is just a number which catches up to everybody at some point in life. Some sooner than others.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 2:20pm

I reckon you'll enjoy the read Ringy.

might even light a fire under your arse.

you got a few good years left in you yet.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 2:26pm

Hope so mate.

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 3:09pm

Hey @freerider76 if you're still tuned to this thread..

Can you elaborate a little on your remark, "You won't find cynicism here, any more than the kind of self-hating visions of toxic masculinity that Tim Winton characterised in his surfing novel 'Breath'."

I've generally found I have mixed and polarised reactions to Tim on surfing - to me sometimes his descriptions tap into the deeper recesses of the surfing experience better than anything I've ever read. Plus, the early scenes of the movie where Pikelet and Loonie start surfing were so evocative of the best memories of my early surfing life... however I personally find the weaving in of what I find excessively dark characterisations and material in the later chapters of his books a bit overbearing...

I'm just curious if you were saying your opinion was that Tim's characterisations in Breath overcooked the self-hatred, toxic masculunity and cynicism. Or, if you found them refreshingly honest

Cheers mate - nice write up... I've just added one of his titles to my chrissy list

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 4:04pm

yeah, I found Tim's characterisations in Breath overcooked the self-hatred, toxic masculinity and cynicism.

I agree with you, the early chapters were a delight.

I think the last third of the book was way over-cooked.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 4:55pm

Exactly. I enjoyed the first half of the book. Didn't like the rest.

One thing I've learned as I've gotten older is if you want to keep that stoke that you had when you first started surfing, then you need to hang out with people that are still stoked on surfing. I have a mate who's in his mid 70's now. He's more stoked on surfing than a lot of 15 year olds I know. You can't help but have fun when you go surfing with him.

harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 9:51am

Chappy was in my 3rd year, or was that year 10? class at Seacombe High. He didn't last long. Classic shenanigans up the back of the class. Then it was rumoured he'd escaped to the Gold Coast.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 7:49pm

Fantastic Friday Review freey.

You've inspired me to let the wife know what she is buying me for xmas.
The combo sounded pretty xmassy to me.
Done!

Funny you mention Chappy harry. I had the pic below on the back of my A4 school folder mid 80's, and thought the guy was a little legend.

chappyj
image upload

harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 9:53am

Cool shot!

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 2:17pm

Always had a lot of time for Chappy. To me he’ll always be remembered as the first Adelaide surfer who made a name for himself over on the east coast. He was part of a group of us that grew up catching the train down to Hallets to surf the stormies when the line was first extended. It was further extended down to Christie’s not long after, which opened the mid up to all of us way before we were old enough to drive ourselves. Went to school with the middle brother, but I’d really just like to mention older brother Robert who was easily the best surfer out of all of us. He ripped in the mid ‘70’s. Gday Chap if you’re out there. You put Brighton on the map buddy.

bobhawkesurfteam

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020 at 12:26pm

Didn't realise Chappy was a Brighton lad. 

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:07pm

thats the shot.

not many deeper barrels ridden at Pipe than that.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:24pm

Best surf shot ever ?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:26pm

have to be top 5.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:41pm

Fuck yeah!

That one's burned into my memory banks.

Little legend for sure!

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:42pm

I worked in that sex shop next to the Dolphin for years in my 20's. Even had 'Ol no. 13 Wharf Rd upstairs...used to have some interesting ciggie break convos with the girls out the back. Cooly has sure changed now.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8:51pm

Classic story in Gary Elko's autobiography about the drive from the Nth Shore to Honolulu airport in 82/83 for the flight home with Chappy. They drove there in the car they bought a few months earlier when they arrived.

Dig it up if you can be bothered.

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 10:00pm

My best mate Vince (Terry), caves icon Marty's brother, took Chappy under his wing for a while, when he had some role with punk in the SA surfing assoc thing. So he'd chuck him in the back of the wagon for some surf trips. Marty was wild, wild, wild, a constant worry for his parents, a mega talented surfer, literally surfed like buttons, until he got to caves, and went on his own tangent. Chappy was a little kid, I reckon Marty would have made an impression.

He was a quiet kid. And really, really tiny back then. I still vividly remember Vince sucking us in to taking his car, then forcing us all to surf the fucking trough one day on the mid, Chappy loved the place. We wouldn't get out of the car. People would pull up frothing, as this guy would stand up style through tube after tube. Absolutely ripping. It was obvious that he was really talented even then. We'd piss ourselves, as they'd bolt down the cliff and then get hit by the realisation that it was barely 1 - 2 foot, Chappy made it look like a surf movie. We did one never forgotten trip to dust bowl. Marty wouldn't come in, even when the sea breeze was howling. Chappy got a lift back with City Beach beacher Jewel. Late arvo, no one was left but me, Vince and Marty. Marty had taken the keys down on the beach as he walked it looking for his super bank. And he'd dropped them somewhere.

Jewel lured Chappy to the goldy for exposure, like Bucky (Rob Buckingham) and Noddy (Greg Webb) and Higgins had done. Away he went.

You come from early chapter Les country Free, is any one on this surfing thing here ever going to do anything to honour him, or didn't he have enough 'culture' for this place. Putting foam slippers under grom's like Craike's feet would get him going. You'd do him proud I reckon if you ever got the urge. You'd want to though, or he'd give you a serve down the track.

chin's picture
chin's picture
chin commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 6:25am

Marty huh? Burned into my memory are little clips of paddling back out and watching Marty stick another improbable caves bowl take off. Big feet stuck to the deck of his beat up classic shovel nosed Gravell like suction cups.
Surfing Waitpinga on a good day, still a teenager myself, told some cheeky little midget with a squeaky voice to get off my wave after he dropped in. An older guy chipped me...”hey don’t you know who that is?” Chappy had a little crew of minders to watch over him. In ya dreams wankers.
Good write up SS

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 11:16pm

When I was 16 I bought one of Chappys ex Murray Bourton Pipedreams which still had the Quiksilver logo on it. Thought I was hot stuff.

Tradie mate ran into him years later- could be wrong but he was going quietly about his life on the Goldy gyprocking. Dunno if he still surfs.

Agree with the above- top five surf shot for sure.

1173

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 8:55am

Now now chin! Yeh, you can't talk about 'culture' without bringing up guys like Marty. You'd think so anyway. Better leave that waitpinga bit out of the movie but... wait a minute, it will probably get in, except they'll have him running over you! Yeh, the club /rally thing was huge in that era, frothing, bugs and doors and all that. The beachers were wooing chappy hard, but they were harmless enough when you really got down to it. The chemicals got most of them. It was all about getting to the 'goldy' to 'make it'.

Vince and punk loved the rallies and shit, I hated sitting all day at dribs or day street, all the paperwork and shit, so we saw less and less of each other that way. They were trying to steer Marty in that direction, and he really did surf like buttons back then, but deep down, he just loved waves. Once he saw caves, he was gone. Not even the sarong clad bali babbling, Indonesian specialist beachers could stop him. His mom was devoed. She was an awesome lady, and there was a gang of Vince and Marty's friends from Taperoo area. I met Vince when we started work together. She would send Vince and I over, pleading with us to get 'Martin' back. No hope. In a way the place was the end of him, he always had a wild, wild, out there streak, there's gazillions of stories, and it really came out once he was really out there. One trip he had no front teeth, he told us that whilst on a bender he was experimenting with the new invention, leggies. He'd used an occy strap as a leggie, and was holding it in his teeth. Vince would go beserk at him, to no avail. But he genuinely loved surfing caves, and certainly could. Legend. He's there forever now, etched in stone. At least Chappy lasted a bit longer.

Surfing 'culture's' funny. I mentioned Les, or he wouldn't get a mention in this 'culture'. There's new 'blokes' in town. I wonder how all this internet 'culture' will go down. I already got the inside word that stupe's a blax specialist. Imagine the books!!! Zenny reckons it was easy, blowy and stupe running the show, goofer locked way, way back, clam sending all the touros packin'... Then facto and stones will be reading about stupe's boyz running amock on that island in spain... lock up your daughters, Azza's in town!!! What a fucking story!!!

As for Les... couldn't make the cut apparently, not enough 'culture', new 'blokes' in town, oh well, he just loved the waves anyway.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 12:23pm

There just don't seem to be as many wild characters like that these days, or am I mistaken?
That documentary about the guys who started the G-Land camp and got into drug running and such like was highly entertaining. People like that are so much more interesting than your average corporate CT surfer; even if they had to basically self destruct.

There's something about surfing that attracts odd-ball characters from all walks of life. I can think of thee or four from round here that would make excellent subject matter for a movie or a book. All of them are basically train wrecks.

chin's picture
chin's picture
chin commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 1:08pm

Agree spuddups, the character might be in a lot of people but I think roaming the wilds of remote surf locales without the conforms of mainstream society allows them to thrive.
At the risk of turning this into a Marty thread...
New years eve 1981, Penong town hall, fancy dress, punk theme. My g/friend wearing a giant nappy made from a white towel (not punk but hey) meets Marty her giant nappy twin. Snap!
Gravelle's farm house 1979 ish, big going away party for someone, Marty volunteered to drive off into the paddocks in the dark to get more firewood in his EH Holden alone. Gone a long time but eventually came back with a boot load of mallee roots, had rolled his car and pushed it back on it's feet by himself, no worse for wear.
Punk night. "Sid Lives" on Smiley's arm, Hully encouraging.

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 1:33pm

No risk, Marty wouldn't mind. He loved wreaking havoc when he got a bee in his bonnet. Vince was always getting him out of trouble. Between the two of them, it was almost like one endless story after another.

Classic photo.

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 1:36pm

Plus, you know, despite what they reckon, there was plenty of 'culture' beyond east. It was fun showing them too!

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 4:04pm

Are we one day going to see a truthful book about the 'surfing' industry? The story of drugs, alcohol fraud? The young men and woman used up and spat out? The tale of ruthess multinationals using every possible trick and ploy to sell product? Instead we get to wallow in romantic notions and a convenient take on ancient history. I was there. It wasn't that pretty.

onetimeonly

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 5:13pm

Reality bites.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 6:37pm

there were a lot of sausages gone through the factory , but alcohol fraud?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 2:37pm

Sounds funny till you realise Kuta bars have been guilty of that shit for decades.

boykee's picture
boykee's picture
boykee commented Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 at 7:01pm

I'm surprised none of you dingo's have mentioned that photo of Kim de-jawing that tiger shark.
How good....

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 7:23am

Yeah, good call. That's some real Steve Irwin stuff right there.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 2:10pm

Freeride 76 does well to salute Chris!
........................................................................................................................
Thanks to D-Rex for wise advice...(Below)...Comment Deleted
........................................................................................................................

Oz Surf Sticker collection never really stuck that well, they keep flapping about.

regydogy's picture
regydogy's picture
regydogy commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 8:23am

got the hots for kim mckinze lol

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 9:22am

Might be time to let that one go tbb.

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 at 2:35pm

Yes, great books, and stoked that Kiwi gets a mention, I know he was stoked with that Keith Paul one.

These quotes stand out.

'And when I say surf culture I mean the real one'

Mmmm.

That's always fucking hard. A lot of shit goes on in surfing 'culture'. Always has. So, as trubes demonstrates, fuck, that's hard. Best not to have too much 'culture' trubes. Some would like you to let some of it go. To keep it 'real'.

This, virtual life, is surf 'culture' now. Because surf 'culture' depends where its coming from. Dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, is the 'culture' here in Australia. Charlie Darwin was just the poster boy, the stooge, the front man for the rats. There was another, Traditional Culture, based on the genuine, enshrined, total love of Mother Earth, and complete equality, reciprocity, sharing, with hundreds of encompassed 'Cultures', all expressing the same thing, whilst taking into account local area. So, now that the new 'culture' is in Australia, the one that destroyed and smashed the fuck out of those old ones, surfing is always pressured by, and under pressure from the rats, dog eat dog, survival of the fittest. Aka, 'making a quid, scratchin' out a livin'... in the quest for... a way out... aka, 'livin' the dream'.

So, here we are. Surfin' 2020.

I started surfing over 50 years ago. I lived the dream too. Surfed my guts out. Still planning, staying ready, looking forward to more. The 'culture' I knew and know, had hard and fast rules. Take it to the water. You got a problem, get off the cliff, get inside and take off. Or shut the fuck up. And if you shit your pants when its ten foot and one foot deep, don't go hassling the fuck out of everyone when its two foot dribble. Show some fucking respect.

Then, share some waves, no matter how good you are, or think you are. There's a line, but a complex one. If you are shitting yourself with what's coming, move aside, whoever's next, who really wants it is up. Pulling back, 'scissor handing', in the wrong spot, maybe one benefit of the doubt, but, zero tolerance. See ya, end of the line. Same for getting in the way, whatever the excuse. Wear it, or fuck off. It works really well.

Which leads to this.

'He was horrified to see pals like Chappy Jennings getting shit thrown on them in the comments, yet he also realised there was a hunger for knowledge about these forgotten characters from surfing's recent and not so recent history.'

Horrified?

Not in this 'culture'. Facto put this 'culture' up in another thread.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/2020/11/28/scott-morrison-daggy...

That shit actually works. Donald. Sitting out in the ocean, sick waves, buzzing, watching a guy on a twinny get another bomb from hell, who would have even dreamed that shit could ever be 'real'. Well, it is, and in fucking spades. There's always been heavy shit talked about in surfing. I remember in one of my many talks with clam, talking about this spot below, when he and some mates surfed it with Lynch. How he went on and on about, heavy, how at size, no one really wanted it. Certain death he said. This place. 'Culture'. Prepare to be horrified. And Trumpified. all in one.

https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2019/11/12/watch-laurie-...

Coz its a sell out. Ppppffft. Whatever, what did LT do, draw a map? Or just the 'real', death defying 'reality'.'Culture' ya reckon? You can't blame them, its just trying to 'live the dream'... 'culturally'.

https://www.swellnet.com/news/surfpolitik/2010/02/23/where-blackfellas-m...

'Someone needs to shine a light on these characters'

Fuck yeh.

'https://www.tracksmag.com.au/news/surfer-dies-at-jakes-point-442034'

See ya on the track Les. The 'blokes' are as thick as flies out this way!

Here's some more 'really real' 'culture' too. I knew this guy really well, sort of, almost too well. I did all the designs and logo's for his original bakery, the one in town, for free... again... free. I did study design, and graphics, and I came up with the name 'Coverup', and the logo's, for his other clothing venture. For free. Fucking ironic 'really'. But, still, this guy deserves a mention too. Along with the twinny ledge, he was the real deal, really took it to the peak. I remember one surf with just him, Lez, and me. I remember one bomb. He'd sit and wait, just for that one bomb sometimes. Even Les took a seat to watch. 'That looked just like huge pipe, but thicker aaayee!!!' 'Fuck yeh!!!'

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 9:23am

On behalf of all swellnetonians I extend a warm thank you to the Rose Coloured Glasses Society president for the history lesson, delivered as usual with such humility and compassion.

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 3:38pm

Not on behalf of all at all. This was really how it was. It was the time to be amongst it. It will truly suck to look back at the current times as fondly as we look back at the 70’s and 80’s. There really is something to be rejoiced in 10 people being a crowd back then. You should have been here yesterday...with all due respect :)

bobhawkesurfteam

Sunnysideup's picture
Sunnysideup's picture
Sunnysideup commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 9:41am

Kim McKenzie was on Australian story in 2001. Worth digging up.

Ronson's picture
Ronson's picture
Ronson commented Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 1:47pm

blah

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020 at 12:17pm

Apologies for your apparent confusion, Bob. I was referring to MB, not freeride. The passage in question being 'There was another, Traditional Culture, based on the genuine, enshrined, total love of Mother Earth, and complete equality, reciprocity, sharing, with hundreds of encompassed 'Cultures', all expressing the same thing, whilst taking into account local area.' Pure BS but that's MB for ya.

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team commented Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020 at 11:43am

Sorry buddy my bad. My own rose coloured glasses are way too foggy these days.

bobhawkesurfteam

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac commented Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 10:31am

All 4 arrived in the mail yesterday.
Having a quick flick and read, very happy with the purchase!
Thanks. Great history.

Botak