My daughter Lia in 1976 playing in the storm blown foam in front of the Redhead Shark Tower. This photo also appears on the ABC Website – You know you grew up in Newcastle when…see http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2010/02/22/2826363.htm
Col Smith, Redhead, close up and having way too much fun, what a grin!
Col Smith close up Redhead 1979
Col Smith again getting tubed at Redhead in 1979
Mick Carr on a hollow Redhead Little Beach right in 1979
Paul Smith Redhead Little Beach 1979
Philip Woodward Redhead 1979
Peter Kuba on a Redhead Shark Tower left 1979.
Chas Woodward at Redhead1979
Kenny Stanton well covered up Redhead 1979
Redhead Little Beach in 1983 on a cold winters afternoon. A surfer on a nice wave, framed by the cliff and the shark tower rocks. Redhead Beach 1983
Redhead Shark Tower, this time covered in foam during the June 2007 storm. Lots of people were out and about as the ship Pascha Bulka had grounded at Nobbys and also the power was out for 3 days so there was nothing to do at home.
Redhead Beach Ghost 1983 . I took the photo of my wife Sandy with the cameras flash and left the button down and she walked out of the photo.
Sandy the ghost 1983 Redhead Beach
Redhead Surf Club March Past Team around 1978. A great bunch of blokes who put a lot of time and training into what they do. Redhead March Past team around 1978
Redhead Swamp before the drought and the digging out of the Third Creek. We used to paddle tin canoes made from roofing sheets and wooden boxes with road tar to seal them, from the second creek up into the swamp when we were kids.
Redhead Swamp 1975
Mick Carr surfing on a nice left from behind the Redhead Shark Tower 1977
Ronnie Rudder drops around to show off another new board, but this one has a history. A shaped blank has been stored in the rafters of Forster Board maker Bobby Brown’s shed for 10 years. This 9?6? Noserider was shaped by the then 72 year old Floyd Smith from American Gordon & Smith Surfboards fame. Given to Ronnie by Bobby, faithfully cleaned and glassed at Pacific Dreams by Roy and the boys, this old classic beauty eventually has come to life. Ron & Crow & Floyd Smith Noserider.
Surfers have been into music since the start of surfing, in the beginning surf music was a bit corny but always fun.
1968, a typical surf on a summer Saturday morning at Redhead, the flags were up already but no one was in the water yet (hard to imagine these days). Two young long haired surfers sneak into the surf club (it’s ok they were members but they were sneaking). They set up a portable tape player in front of the PA mike, switch on the PA and the tape player and then grab their boards and paddle out fast.
The lag on the tape leader allows them to get out and then we hear the crackling and over the air waves comes Jimi Hendrix – Third Stone from the Sun. The music sort of rumbles and growls then squeals and sets into an awsome rythm. We take off and surf a wave to the new sound. Hendrix growls, You will never hear surf music again. Soon enough the funbusters discover what’s happened and the music is switched off.
When we return to shore and its…. ””Crow …..you cant play that kinda shit over the PA!!!”
Well I guess I like shit music.
Anyway, we all like different music and I would like to list some of my favourites in the hope someone else likes it.
Jimi Hendrix – Are you experienced – the first record that hit me, the times were changing and this was a big change, no soppy verses and structured choruses – just whatever Jimi felt like. Other Hendrix favoutites are Axis Bold as Love and Band of Gypsys.
A couple of years later a work mate loans me the 3 first Mothers of Invention albums, I listen, hear some weird stuff but some good stuff. In 1970 I go and buy the album Frank Zappa – Hot Rats and now have another favourite guitar player. Captain Beefeart’s growling vocals and Zappa’s Wah-Wah together on Willie the Pimp, awsome. Zappa has some 60 albums out and there is something incredible in all of them. My favourite now is Joe’s Garage, the song Watermelon in Easter Hay is Joe’s last imaginery guitar solo before music is made illegal. However Zappa’s a little bizzare for most people and I am sure I couldn’t paddle out with him playing on the PA, so I have to imagine it too.
Captain Beefheart was Zappa’s school mate and then formed his own band Captain Beefheart & the Magic band, his first album Safe As Milk has a young Ry Cooder on slide guitar, favourite song Sure’Nuff and Yes I Do. Other notable Beefheart albums are Trout Mask Replica, Clear Spot and Doc at The Radar Station. Growling blues boogie and meshing electric guitars. Not for the faint hearted.
Dr John, The Night Tripper – New Orleans Voodoo Swamp Funk, the album Gris-Gris is scarily awsome. The good doctor has appeared on most big names albums as a session pianist and has many fine albums.
After a re-listen I am back into the Gratefull Dead, the hippy tie-die head band. Listen to American Beauty the song Ripple is beautiful.
After James Brown (try – its too funky in here) came Funkadelic/Parliament – the same band but just add more players. For fun, some great funky rythm’s and guitar and Zappaesque humour leader George Clinton (Brother Bill) is the new hip hop guys hero. Try Parliament Tear the Roof off – which inspired Talking heads Burning down the House after watching them. Also try Funkadelic Music for your Mother and Standing on the Verge of Getting it on.
Took me a long time but I did it and never looked back.- Listen to Miles Davis best intro is the album In a Silent Way.
Carlos Santana’s Greatest hits and Carlos with John Mclaughlin – Love Devotion Surrender is music at its sweetest.
Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa had the same guitar hero – Johnny Guitar Watson, try Funk beyond the call of Duty or his 1959 song – 3 hours past midnight.
Around the mid seventies there was 2 great surfing Col Smith’s, the other from Narabeen, both powerfull goofy footers and both shaped surfboards and won contests.
Redhead’s Col Smith was an Australian Champion and also placed in 3 contests in Hawaii.
These photos around 1976 shows the boards he took to Hawaii and shows the distinctive channel bottom, Col riding Pipeline on the board shown here is in the surf movie Fantasea. These boards were made by Shane and were shaped by Jim Pollard who invented the channel bottom.
Surfings early days.
Hawaiians rode waves on wooden hand carved boards, royalty standing up on 16 foot Olo’s and commoners on shorter Alaia boards mostly ridden prone. Peruvians rode waves in when out catching fish on boards made from bundles of reeds tied up.
Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku delivered surfing to the rest of the world in the early 1930’s, visiting many countires demostrating his surfing skills on a hand carved 10 foot solid wooden finless surfboard. Duke demonstrated the way of the aloha lifestyle and the rest of the world caught on. His famous quote – “out of the water I am nothing”.
Around 1935, Tom Blake, Duke’s good friend and fellow swimmer, drilled holes through one of his heavy redwood boards and covered it with a wood veneer, making it a lot lighter and managable. Blake then made a hollow chambered board, put a fin on it and then patented the model and had it produced by the L.A. Ladder Company and others. This lighter more manouverable board won races, was used as the standard surf rescue board and then developed into a better wave riding board. Tom also wrote the surfers bible Hawaiian Surfriders 1935. Tom worshiped at the church of the open sky and his theory was nature=god.
Around the early 1950’s Californians Joe Quigg, Bob Simmons and Matt Kivlin developed the balsa and fibreglass Malibu Chip and then Dale Velzy starts manufacturing surfboards on a large scale.
Around 1955 the polyurethane foam board was developed and surfing grew like wild fire. In 1963 Midget Farelly wins the prestigeous Makaha championship and then the 1964 World Championships in Manly with style.
At the same time the surf culture grows with Phil Edwards showing style and manouvers and Miki Dora showing us surfing style with attitude. Dora summed up his feelings here – ” I drop in, set the thing up and behind me, all this stuff goes over my back: The screaming parents, teachers, police, priests, politicians – They’re all going over the falls head first … and when it starts to close out, I pull out the back , pick up another wave and do the same goddamn thing”
In 1967 Bob McTavish with Nat Young and George Greenough push surfing into the more serious involvment way of surfing by shortening and thinning and lightening boards with V in the bottom and so they now turn faster. Dick Brewer with team rider Gerry Lopez refine the shorter boards and prove they go in Hawaii’s powerful waves when Brewer narrowed the width of the tail.
From there we got into smaller and lighter boards, all sorts of shapes and settle on the Simon Anderson Tri Fin as the most popular. Four time world chamion Mark Richards rode a combination of board types with success in competitions and his twin fin is still popular.
These days the old and the new co-exist (well almost) with the theory of ride what you like or horses for courses and its common for surfers to have several types of surfing equipment.
My own involvement in surfing started in 1964 as a 14 year old, some of my mates started getting boards and I was surfing with a surf-o-plane. I was lucky to live across the road from the beach. I came home from school one day and my Mum had just returned from walking the dog on the beach and said there was a board washed up down at the second creek. I rushed down and pushed the finless dinged up balsa pig into a few foamies and got hooked and went home and patched it up.
My first surfing lesson:
I never hesitate to pass this lesson on to new starters.
I paddled out into the lineup with the local Redhead mob and straddled my board eagerly waiting my first wave.
A loud voice boomed out at me – “Crow…. F%#@ Off down there…” and I saw a finger pointing away from the rest of the pack towards the deserted southern part of the beach. I stayed away until I could handle the board and its a pity that learners don’t get this same kind of expert advice these days.
Within weeks I had pestered my parents with promises of doing well at school and as an early birthday and christmas presents, into buying me a new board. (I just went to school to draw waves in my books and my birthday and christmas were still 6 and 8 months away respectivly)
I then got to order a 9’3″ Custom Warren Johnson – and it was awsome. No one these days seems to remember Warren’s board shop near Hamilton one of the older Redhead crew put me onto him and I still think this one was great and wish I still had it.
Crow’s first 2 boards 1964
We could’nt wait to get pictures of ourselves surfing, Peter Kuba paddles out with a box browie camera in a plastic bag in his teeth and takes my photo. I am unsure how the camera survived from the look of the wave coming at him. I was wearing the state of the art wet suit of the time, a sleaveless singlet of 5mm hard neopreme rubber that rasped your arm pitts off and you had to put a T shirt under it or risk sawing your arms of as you paddled.
Camping and surfing at Seal Rocks 1964
Crow & R4 Green Knob 1967 Photos by Alan Swadling
Around late 1968 boards started getting shorter . Here Marty and I pose for a shot with our new boards before heading away to try them. Marty had a 7ft10 inch black railed Gordon Woods Pintail and I had an 8ft red railed Sam Egan Tracker with a clear plastic movable fin.
In the 80’s Mals and windsurfing added variety to surfing. Here is my stuff from my garage back then.