THE ORIG­I­NAL SW CON­TEST RE­PORT FROM THE 1963 IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SURF­ING CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS

Surfing World - - Contents - By Bob Evans SW Founder/edi­tor

our­selves a later heat, but we tipped the surf might build up and told them we’d take our right places. Midget went out in his fa­mil­iar striped board shorts slipped down a cou­ple of waves and then came back to the start to pick up his num­bered sin­glet. I’m not kid­ding but all this hap­pened within one hour of ar­riv­ing in Honolulu. The “champ” was pretty toey. We were a bit whacked af­ter the trip as I said, but the bus­tle to get ready was just about as much as we wanted. There’s no doubt in the wide world that the un­sea­sonal surf­ing con­di­tions threw the strong Cal­i­for­nian con­tin­gent out of gear. Midget woke up straight away and was un­trou­bled in his pad­dle out or on his ride back home.

Dave and I changed into our board shorts and were soon ready for the sec­ond semi-fi­nal for which we were au­to­mat­i­cally el­i­gi­ble. We were then is­sued with our sin­glets and en­tered the wa­ter for the long 600-yard pad­dle to the take off area where red-flags marked the reefs. We didn’t do so well and were elim­i­nated in the semis. Dave rode pretty well I thought and I just thanked Lady Luck.

We were in­vited to stay with Bud Browne and Mike Doyle at Rocky point just near Sunset Beach. Af­ter chew­ing the fat for a cou­ple of hours we were glad to hit the sack. There’s a fab­u­lous body surf right out the front of the house and we had a cou­ple of hours rid­ing some fine waves the next morn­ing. Later in the af­ter­noon we went to Down­town Honolulu and bought our­selves a 1950 Chevro­let sedan for 40 quid! No kid­ding that’s all it cost. Used cars are so cheap in Honolulu. There’s no real market for used cars and it’s too costly to send them back to Amer­ica. Any­how it all suited us very well. We drove out to Makaha af­ter I had re­newed my Amer­i­can Li­cense where the three of us had a cou­ple of hours on the boards in prepa­ra­tion for the next round. The tem­per­a­ture dropped to the low 60’s the fol­low­ing day af­ter a tre­men­dous thun­der­storm dur­ing the night which bashed the surf right against the re­tain­ing wall of the house.

How­ever, the wind sub­sided and the surf evened out to about eight foot waves.

We went out to Makaha pretty early that morn­ing and had quite a yarn with most of the boys. The Cal­i­for­ni­ans were tip­ping Johnny Peck and Chuck Lig­men to fight out the fin­ish but if any­one was to give the Midget a shake I reck­oned it would have been ei­ther Peck or the 1955 world cham­pion, Rab­bit Kekai, who knows ev­ery rip­ple of Makaha – and then some. Midget served no­tice in his semis he was the top threat to the ac­knowl­edged cham­pi­ons. He im­pressed the as­tute watch­ers with his con­trol, his crunch­ing “Ge­orge Moore” style and his great bal­ance. He glided into the fi­nal ten along with 1960 cham­pion Buf­falo Keaulana and Peck, Lig­men and Kekai. There were a cou­ple of new faces in the ‘big ten’ but the hottest op­po­si­tion would come from these four blokes. Midget was the only non-amer­i­can in the fi­nal. The other nine were ei­ther Amer­i­cans or nat­u­ralised Amer­i­cans. I think there were six Amer­i­can Hawai­ians in the fi­nal. The surf was so poor af­ter the semi-fi­nals that of­fi­cials de­cided to post­pone the fi­nals un­til the surf built up a bit. How­ever, af­ter the first day in which there wasn’t a great build up they de­cided to run the cham­pi­onship the fol­low­ing day ir­re­spec­tive of con­di­tions. We drove out to Makaha and nearly died when we saw the surf. The waves were at best no big­ger than 8 feet. We couldn’t have got a bet­ter surf for the Midget if we’d prayed to one of the Hawai­ian Surf Gods. There’s not much punt­ing in Honolulu and there was cer­tainly none that I saw on the cham­pi­onships but af­ter see­ing that surf I reckon Midget’s market came in from about 10 to 1 to 2 to 1. It was a some­what over­cast day but the pub­lic­ity the ti­tles got from the Honolulu press, ra­dio and tele­vi­sion sta­tions ex­cited a big crowd out to Makaha. We dashed back to pick up Midget full of con­fi­dence. We found him sit­ting on the ve­randa look­ing out to sea as if he was in a trance. He was nat­u­rally ner­vous.

The crowd had grown con­sid­er­ably when we ar­rived back and Bud Browne and Mike Doyle ush­ered us into the mar­shalling area where the Midget was given a de­tailed run­down on the fi­nal pro­ce­dure. The fi­nal ten were given their num­bered coloured sin­glets and the judges took up their po­si­tions. The com­peti­tors were in­tro­duced to the crowd with typ­i­cal Amer­i­can gusto and the at­mos­phere was ter­rific when Midget was in­tro­duced from “Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, etc., etc.” This is when the Aussies in the crowd gave out with “Good on you Midget…. You Beauty Aussie… Up Yer Go Matie…” The Yanks prob­a­bly won­dered what the hell they were talk­ing about, but we knew and felt pretty good. From the time Midget rode his first wave we were con­fi­dent he’d make the last three. He was in great form. He was never in any bother at all. As a mat­ter of fact af­ter about his third run Midget had the waves run­ning for him.

These fel­lows go into a lot of depth about most sports but they re­ally “case” a surf in such a cham­pi­onship. De­spite all these com­mend­able aca­demic in­ves­ti­ga­tions Midget summed the surf up in a cou­ple of prac­tice runs. It’s pretty hard for the unini­ti­ated public to fol­low progress in such a ti­tle. No points are an­nounced dur­ing the runs but those in the know had Midget, Peck and Lig­men fig­ured as the three who would fight out the ti­tle. I can’t stress too much the in­cred­i­ble re­spect the Hawai­ians and Amer­i­cans gave these small waves. Maybe they tight­ened up or some­thing but Midget, while he was very calm, made the waves work for him. Midget made the best of the con­di­tions. He moved to within 200 yards of the beach and vig­or­ously hot-dogged ev­ery wave he couldn’t get into. How­ever, there is no doubt Midget would have been a hard man to beat in any con­di­tions.

Af­ter this fi­nal run Midget got a ter­rific hand from the crowd and when one of the Aussies yelled “You can put down your glasses Midget “it con­firmed our hopes that Midget would get the ti­tle. We had to sweat it out for nearly two hours be­fore the judges came to their de­ci­sion. While we were wait­ing Midget went for a surf. In due cer­e­mony “Bernard Midget Far­relly of Syd­ney, Aus­tralia” was an­nounced the world surf­board rid­ing cham­pion. He had made it! Midget went a white colour for a while then broke into a broad grin as he was called up for the pre­sen­ta­tion. He re­ceived his tro­phy and then was gar­landed with a mag­nif­i­cent lei of car­na­tions. (The car­na­tion lei in Honolulu is the most sig­nif­i­cant gar­land you can wear). Other com­peti­tors and hula girls “leid” Midget and at the end he had looked like the win­ner of the Ken­tucky Derby. Midget was in­ter­viewed by the press, ra­dio and tele­vi­sion boys and he kept say­ing “Boy won’t they be pleased back home.”

It cer­tainly wasn’t a night to sleep. The three of us joined up with some Amer­i­cans and Aussie surfers Barry Cardiff and Bob Shep­pard.

We “un­laxed” for about three days af­ter the fi­nal by body rid­ing at Sunset and Ban­zai Beaches. Ban­zai gave us all a de­cent work out as iron­i­cally enough the surf built up to some 14 foot­ers the day af­ter the fi­nals. Ev­ery­one over here is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the progress of Aus­tralian surf­ing. There’s no risk that board rid­ing has brought the Pa­cific “board­ies” closer to­gether. When you read this we will prob­a­bly be in Cal­i­for­nia. I hope the Midget can come with us.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.