First Memories and Impressions by Dags

Posted: June 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

 Before the Yanks brought out their balsa  boards in ’56 , there was only  the long racing boards,at about l6ft. in length. Mostly ridden by Clubbies (SLSC) and the boards were kept at the board shed. Made of ply,with flat top and round bottom,blunt nose and long tapered tail. Some called them “cigar” boards. You had to be a strong bloke just to get them to the water.Every beach had their share of guys  who could make them slide.

      At Cronulla, while still at school, I remember being out body surfing and having to dodge school buds Gordon Opperman and Bruce Morris on the big beasts. A little later I joined the club and could share the magic that these guys were into.  Alan and Keith Brown had boards at the club and gave me access.They were easy enough to paddle and get on  a wave but a lot more practice to stand up. It was a great feeling sliding toward the beach, and sound of the water drumming against the board. Similar sound to chop lapping against a row boat when your old man took you fishing as a kid.
                 At Cronulla we were blessed with “THE POINT” so the more experienced surfers could catch monster waves on monster boards and the king of the days was called “Monster” i.e. Keith Suann. I was told the Keith would take off on the biggest wave,turn backwards and wave to the boys. Impressive.
                 Another day, when the swell was really big, I was at the George Bass Memorial in Port Hacking,(just around from “Sandshoes”. These Heroes of the early days were catching big green swells and sliding  1 to 2 K’s up river. John  Yabsley was always there.
                 I did not get to join them at the Point in those days, because I was one of  “the forunate sons’ , who was onthe beach at Cronulla in ’56, and a new life started!   Written by Ray “Dags” Greenaway. Picture above of Dags Cronulla Point ’62

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