In a nutshell...

Words and Pictures is exactly that. Words in the form of a story and Pictures that either back up the story or form the basis of the story.
I love old surfboards, preferably single fins from the late 60's and early 70's, so many of the stories are based around these.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Bistro and Grover

In 2002 I started studying teaching and quickly made a good friend in the course who i spent most of my time with at uni. His name was Cameron and he worked fitting trucks with new tyres outside of uni. He knew of my love for old surfboards although he didn't know much about surfboards himself at the time. 
One day he arrived at uni telling me he had picked up a couple of old boards for me. Naturally I was stoked. I wanted to know all about them but he could only say that one was missing a fin and the other was really long with a fin like a shark tooth. He said he found them at a truck depot or something on the Central Coast when he went there to fit new tyres on some trucks. There was a ramp or something going into the shed and they were both under the ramp. He asked if he could have them and the guy said they could.
Apparently they had been used as signs or something at some stage as one had "Pipeline Bistro" written on it and the other "Kahuna".
Cameron lived about 50mins drive from me so I trekked out there one night to pick up the boards and he, his wife Amy and I enjoyed a meal of Apricot Chicken whilst there.
After dinner we went out to the shed and I was blown away. One of the boards was an old longboard from the early to mid 60's which has had the nose modified on a little (maybe a snap that had been fixed) and an old fin that has had the back cut out a little (hence the "shark tooth" shape). The other board was an old 7'8" Grove transitional surfboard from about late '68 early '69. It had a yellow deck with orangy-red rails and bottom and was in fantastic condition apart from the missing fin.
I was stoked and couldn't thank Cameron enough. Shortly after I had a fin-box put into the Grove and started riding it regularly when the waves were small. The Pipeline Bistro, or Bistro for short, was fun to ride but hummed from the fin really loudly on waves and sometimes you could even feel the vibrations through the board.
The Bistro was often pronounced Beast-row mainly due to my friend Russell (mentioned in an earlier post) and his American accent.

Bistro, Gordon, Grove, me

My nephew Jacob after i pushed him into his first ever wave on the Bistro.

Bistro, Gordon, Grove, Trent (my brother)

riding the Bistro on some little ones in 04-05?

Monday, January 24, 2011


My brother, Trent, works for himself now but about 6 years ago he was working for an air conditioning company and was often moving around Newcastle and the Hunter on different jobs.
One day, he started telling me about this board he found underneath Charlestown Library. He said it was a Bob Brown board, which immediately interested him as his first old single was a Bob Brown (see first post). He also added that the board was short and wide.
He had to keep going back to work on the system under the library for a while and he started to find out where the board came from by asking one of the librarians. It turned out to be an old display that had been forgotten about and the librarian said she would find out whether he could have it.
This board became quite an interesting topic between Trent and I and he started taking photos of it to show me. One day I received an email under the subject heading: The Charlestown Library Secret Weapon
Each of the attached photos were named CLSW1, CLSW2 etc.
In the end he got the board and when I saw it in the flesh (or fibreglass) I could see it was an old 70's kneeboard. I tried to surf it one day but it slid out a lot. It has spent the last few years standing in the corner of my classroom and has been used for several demonstrations with my Yr3 students.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Tragedy to Friendship

One morning in May of 2002 I was surfing at Delicate, behind Crescent Head, when I was introduced to an American guy named Russell. He surfed well and was really friendly and we shared good conversation between waves. At the time I was riding the 5'9 Shane s-deck I have mentioned in a previous post and Russell was intrigued and was asking a few questions about it. I gave him a go while I sat on his thruster for a while and he seemed to enjoy it. On one wave however, he got a little careless and was sharing the wave with another American, who was a friend of his, and they collided. The massive brown fin was dislodged from the bottom of my board along with a large section of foam. The board also washed ashore as it didn't have accommodation for a legrope at the time. I was shattered. 
I had gotten this board from my friend Andrew as boards have often been given, swapped and sold between the 2 of us. It was one of the last boards I bought from him before he moved 8 hours south from Newcastle to the Bermagui region just 6 months earlier.
Russell was incredibly apologetic. He couldn't apologise enough and was wanting to pay to fix it and I could tell he felt awful. I tried to tell him it was ok even though I was grieving heavily inside.
I ran back to my van and got a pair of goggles and swam around for ages underwater looking in the sand for it but was never able to find it.
I don't know if he felt obliged to or what but Russell spent the rest of the day hanging around talking with me and after that trip we spent a lot of time together surfing and hanging out. We went on surf trips together and surfed a lot of good waves around Newcastle also. He flew back to Florida a couple of months after we met but he has returned several times since and we always enjoy the time we get to hang out together. Just last summer we were able to hang out while our wives met for the first time and they sat on the beach as Russell and I bodysurfed and shared a board in some little windswell waves.
Within a couple of months of losing the brown fin I had a local shaper/glasser repair the hole and install a finbox. The next year (2003) Russell returned and we took a trip down to visit Andrew for a few days and I rode the Shane out on a little peak at Camel Rock.
It felt fantastic and I even let Russell have another go...
riding the Shane at Wallaga Lake Entrance - 2005

My wife Anna and Russ's wife Brianna - Jan 2010

Russ hitting me for some reason 2 months after wrecking my board...
  Russell and Brianna now live in northern San Diego and Russell is a film maker which often has him travelling the world for work. He makes a lot of documentaries for charities and non-profit organisations and I'm really proud of him for the work that he does. He's also done a lot of work with surf companies like Reef etc. His website is linked on the side - The Wuss Productions. Check it out and see what he has been up to.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Friends

When I was in high school I skated a lot and had heaps of friends who shared these experiences. One good friend, Nick, was a really coordinated guy with great balance on a skateboard. I was really just a cruiser. I loved skating hills and going fast through turns and carves. Nick was really good with the flips and gaps and stairs and slides and stuff.
Anyway, Nick sometimes came along surfing with us and had a go but it was something he somehow couldn't get the hang of ( maybe he has recently, I'm not sure...).
I was always riding old single fins and he had one at home so he used to bring it along. The board was long and yellow with a tiny little blue fin. It had coloured paint dribbled all over the bottom of it. At the time I thought it was so narrow and didn't think much about it. I'm pretty sure his dad found it laying on the beach at Stockton years ago after it washed up. He then gave it to Nick.
So years went by and I stopped skating (still have a couple of old cruisers though) and never really saw much of the guys I spent time with in high school. 
One day I was invited to meet up with a group of guys at a cafe as an old friend was back to visit from overseas. Nick was there and we talked a lot. He reminded me of the old yellow board and told me I could have it if I wanted. I was stoked and met up with him the next week.
The board turned out to be a Peter Glasson 8ft gun with a tiny swallow tail and that tiny blue (non-original) fin which is timber and split.
I am really wrapped with the board and although I've had it a while now, it still needs the paint removed from the bottom and the fin replaced and a few dings repaired (the usual nose and tail stuff).
I am sure that it would be great to take on some big walls when the swell is up so I'll have to work on getting it ready for one of those sessions...


Monday, January 10, 2011


From time to time a classic board turns up with what seems to be a minor issue - it has no fin.
It's hard to find original fins from the late 60's and early 70's so I decided to try and make some myself. It takes time though and sanding fins is a huge pain. Cutting them out without mass production gear isn't exactly my idea of fun either.
Anyway, having old boards around means we have loads of fin templates also so I have traced as many as I have interest in and made copies of a few. There are still some awaiting the sanding process though and I just hope they turn out ok.
waiting for the sander

fin panel after a few cutouts


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Happy Trade

Looking back there have been many boards I have swapped or given away that I have later regretted at one point or another.
In either 2001 or early 2002 my friend Andrew and I went to a recycling centre. It was one of those rare occasions when you find a real gem. We discovered a Shane surfboard that day with lovely colouring and a great shape. I'm not sure how it happened but somehow we didn't need to argue about who was getting the board or even flip a coin (as we had done before - for another Shane actually...). It ended up being me who bought it for $40.
The shape was basically a White Kite style which Ted Spencer designed, although it wasn't marked with the White Kite logo. It was 6'8" and had a greenish blue deck with a brown bottom and orange rails. It had a Waveset finbox with a broken Waveset fin

The 6'8 Shane with a 6'3 Egan of similar shape

  Andrew had a board at home that he had shaped and glassed himself based on the transitional period which he had actually glassed a Waveset fin into. I am still amazed to think that we went to his place where he sanded his board back around the fin and then cut it out of the board he had made to try it out. We then fixed the fin into the Shane board. It fitted perfectly. The fin was only on loan though as around this time Andrew had also attained a G&S transitional board, without a fin, from a friend who had found it washed up on the beach or something (i think it was Stratt). How many friends do you have who would cut their board up to get a fin out for you to try?
I surfed the board a few times and struggled due to the super wide tail and the soft edges. I kept sliding out. At the time this was not the right board for me. 
A couple of years later I was planning a trip to California to visit some friends that I had made and was also hoping to visit some more friends on the East Coast of the US (though i never made it that far). I was going for 3 months and had heard that CA had some great waves and so I was trying to find suitable boards with removable fins to ride whilst there. 
Andrew had picked up an old blue Southern Comfort single fin with a finbox that was 6'9" with a rounded pintail and I had ridden it once before in some solid swell at Newcastle Beach and found it went well. I thought this would be perfect for bigger swells in California and also here in Newcastle so I spoke to Andrew to see if he was interested in a swap. He is a great friend of mine and seeing as he didn't really ride the board that much he agreed to swap and left the board with me even though we hadn't decided on a suitable board for him.
The blue board in the centre and the 5'9 Shane on the right
By this time Andrew had moved to the South Coast and I only got to visit him about once a year and he came back up about once every 3 or 4 months. I decided that the Shane board would be a good trade on my part and was pretty convinced Andrew would feel the same way.
My next visit to Andrew was in about August 2003 with another good friend, an American named Russell. We got some fun waves and enjoyed hanging out and Andrew's wife Jen cooked some amazing meals for us. They are such a hospitable family. One night I pulled out the Shane and gave it to Andrew. I believe we had already mentioned this as the trade in electronic conversation (emails) but it was great to see how stoked he was. He even tried it out at Camel Rock the following morning while I rode a 5'9" Shane s-deck (which I bought from Andrew funnily enough).
Anyway, a few months later I flew to California and rode the blue board on some amazing waves at Sunset Cliffs, Blacks Beach and some places that will remain unnamed on the Central Coast north of San Luis Obispo during the North American winter. I was very happy with how that board went in solid waves.
It was great to make a swap that leaves everyone happy and I continue to ride the blue board on bigger days at local breaks.   

the blue board at Treachery

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It'll do

In about 98 or 99 I had a short stint where longboards were a major interest of mine. Up until that time I had just been riding old singles of various shapes and sizes from about 1970-1978 period.
As I have such a passion for old boards I was looking for an old longboard from the mid-60's, mainly around 64 or 65.
Somehow it filtered through my extended family and I discovered that my uncle, in the suburbs of Sydney, used to surf and still had his old board under the house. I didn't even know he had surfed! 
Anyway, i made a trip to Sydney to visit my Nan and to head around and see Uncle John, who had said I could have the board providing I didn't sell it or get rid of it apart from returning it to him.
When I arrived he was waiting out the front with the board. It wasn't at all what i was expecting. I had been thinking of a mid-60's longboard and what i found myself collecting that day was a classic late 60's Dale Pintail 7'10" transitional board complete with the original Safeset fin. Of course I didn't know all the details of this find right then, but having known of the green Gordon Woods (see first post) and that this was a similar period, I was stoked. To top it off, my brother Trent and I had been watching "The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun" a lot around that time. I couldn't wait to ride it.
The Dale quickly became a favourite of ours and I still talk to Uncle John about it whenever we see each other. It rides like a dream and is still to this day one of my all time favourites.

translucent red safe set fin

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a pleasant surprise

Years ago i picked up this board from a guy in Sydney. I thought it seemed ok and I could fix it up and ride it. After i brought it home to the shed I was a little less interested in the actual shape and put it into the back section of the shed so it wouldn't stop me from accessing more appealing boards in the meantime. The paint job that someone had given the deck was a bit of a deterrant also.

Sometime in 2009 i was talking to my friend Andrew about an old Wallace surfboard that he had been given. When he received it the board was covered in black paint. he set to work sanding it off to discover that it was not only a Wallace S-deck, but it also had a beautiful marble bottom resin swirl underneath. My brother now has that board, but that's another story...

After hearing the Wallace story again I started to feel a bit bummed about how over all these years of searching for old boards I had never had such an experience. Eventually I remembered the old painted board I had. I ran out to the shed to have another look and grabbed the sander. I immediately went for the section on the deck about a foot and a half back from the nose as this is where most decals can be found. To my surprise there was something there. It turned out to have a logo that said "Maui Model - by Greek".

Having an interest in old boards and surfing history I recognised the name. It came as quite a surprise as the Greek was a shaper and board manufacturer from the East Coast of the USA, largely popular in the 60's, and the board is here on the East Coast of Australia. It was a model that had gone through quite a few changes over the years also, with mine being a fairly late version.

Unfortunately I haven't finished repairing it and haven't taken any more recent photos than those of 2009.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Like a new beginning...

When I was about 12 my brother (5 years older than I am) borrowed a surf movie from Video Ezy. It was called Morning of the Earth and we watched it over and over. The style that the surfers displayed fascinated us and we loved the look of their boards and the lines they drew.
Trent (my brother) attained a permanent copy of the movie and we often watched it. it was the old version that had not had all the scenes cut, like the naked family hanging on the beach with a green twin fin.
My brother had needed to borrow a board at some stage around this time and borrowed an old green Gordon Woods tracker and fell in love with it. He had to return it but always remembered it.
Sometime in about 92-93, Trent was away on a surf trip with our friend Frank when he spotted an old single fin surfboard for sale at a service station. It was a 7'6" Bob Brown with yellow bottom and rails and a white deck. He felt compelled to buy it and he did. That was the beginning of our love for riding old boards.
Trent rode the Bob Brown often and soon it was all he rode. I loved it although I couldn't get it away from him to ride it.
Trent was an electrician at the time and he returned home from work one day, when I was 14, with an old beaten up board that had Kennedy written on it. The Kennedy was about 7'2" and had a pintail with a single set of flyers and plenty of volume. Trent had been working at a work-site when he spotted this board laying in a dam. Apparently the guys had been throwing rocks at it for entertainment which led to multiple injuries in the bottom of the board. When Trent asked if he could buy it they laughed at him and told him he could have it. He brought it home and we started fixing it up. 
I'd like to say we made it look really nice but the truth is we just patched it up to get it back in the water.
I rode the Kennedy for a few years consistently after that, only stopping to ride another old single or other we picked up along the way.
This is really my introductory post to inform you of where things started. I've loved riding old boards ever since then and have picked up some interesting ones in the time that has passed. I am looking forward to sharing interesting stories relating to old boards - how we got them, where we took them, what has happened to them or with them, etc.
My hope is that someone finds this interesting.

On an old Wakefield at Stocko

The Bob Brown on the right (photo taken early '96)