July/August 2016

Early morning paddle out at sunrise Redhead Beach 30/06/2016

Redhead beach early surfer 30-08-16

Redhead beach early surfer 30-08-16

The memory of the event below was inspired by Gaye Sheathers book Rock This City

The Beauty of the Star

Around 1979 The Star Hotel in Newcastle had live local bands on every night, no cover charge, you just walked in and tried to get a beer. The place would be packed and getting near the bar was hopeless, sympathetic punters who already had a beer would pass your money up and pass your beer down but never move from their coveted position for several reasons. Firstly they could get beer, secondly the bands played behind the bar so they had the best vantage point and thirdly there was no dance floor so girls danced on the bar. It was all happening then until some bean counters had it shut down.

Local band Rimshot had a gig on a quieter Monday night and to attract a crowd they had an idea, a dance contest with a surfboard prize for the “best” dancer. A real surfboard made by the bands guitarist. There was a good crowd and a few tidy dancers in bikinis up on the bar keen to win the prize.

The band were ready for the last set and the girls ready for a dance off and in the door walks a dude and on his arm a pretty brunette in a trench coat. He was definitely a dude as he had a stingy brim derby hat on and a double breasted knee length coat and wore a grin like the cat on the mushroom with the hookah in Alice in Wonderland. (that … was a kids book??) He pops her up on the bar, as you do, and she drops the trench coat and whoaaa ikarumba, ruby red lipstick, knee high boots, short shorts and a see through blouse tied up in a knot.

And the band starts playing probably the most appropriate song for the occasion – an extended version of The Doors Roadhouse Blues. The other girls are dancing up a storm but this beauty had it in the bag. Every time the guitarist hit the whammy bar she would shimmy from head to toe, needless to say the whammy bar got a fair workout and she won the dude a new surfboard, but I don’t think he surfed or cared that he didn’t.

This kinda night don’t happen much now but it did then.

Rimshot 1979 Marks Point Hall

Rimshot 1979 Marks Point Hall

Another great local Newcastle band Pamdemonia 1979

Pamdemonia 1979

Pamdemonia 1979

I love the Surfer magazine Extra pages, January 1990 shows a Mal rider called Sasquatch which can only be Steve Irwin in a confontation with a crocodile. Photo taken by Martin Tullemans.

Steve Irwin Jan 1990 Surfer Extra

Steve Irwin Jan 1990 Surfer Extra

There’s a book just out that is great reading – a must for all Newcastle Live music fans  with photos of bands and venues, it captures what a great era we were lucky to have taken in and listened to so many great bands.

Rock This City – Live Music in Newcastle, 1970’s – 1980’s

by Gaye Sheather published by Hunter Press.

Rock this city book by Gaye Sheather

Rock this city book by Gaye Sheather

My 2 best rock moments I can remember were at a Zappa concert (of course) at the Sydney Horden Pavillion 1976. Waiting for the band to come on the house lights dimmed and the band were tuning up and doing a sound check. The guy in the seat next to me turns to me pie eyed and says ” F@#$ there good!!!” I wondered how good he would think they were when they started playing. Moments later Sal Marquez the trumpet player was confidently strutting along the edge of the stage a drink in one hand and trumpet in the other casting an eye over the audience. Someone yells out “you betta be able to play that thing!” Sal takes a calm sip from the plastic cup, leans over backwards his head almost touches the floor and raises up slowly bringing the trumpet to his lips leans into the mike and let rip with a huge burp which fills the room. Of course he could play that thing!

Bright Green Water. Redhead duck pond 3/8/2016

Green Water Redhead duck pond 03-08-16

Green Water Redhead duck pond 03-08-16

Redhead Beach surfer in a chunky swell 31/7/2016

dhead kneeboarder 31-07-16

Redhead Beach surfer 31-07-16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11/7/16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11-07-16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11-07-16

Lake Macquarie surfer Terry with the surfing legend Donald Takayama in Hawaii back in 2011. Donald, who has since passed away was a great surfer, a USA champion several times, one of the best surfboard makers and from all accounts the nicest of blokes you would meet. Terry was lucky to meet up with Donald staying at the same hotel in Hawaii and got to surf with him and share his quiver of longboards and ride some waves with Donald and his Hawiian mates.

Terry and Donald Takayama

Terry and Donald Takayama

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Channel Bottom Surfboards

Surfboards with channels on the bottom (just one channel and more of a concave) were probably first made in the 1950’s by Bob Simmons and Dale Velvy and then again in the 1960’s by Greg Noll, but they first became popluar after Redhead’s Col Smith rode them in Hawaii in 1977. The idea was they moved the water out the back of the board faster and also gave more control with the extra edges.

The first modern channel bottom boards were designed and made by Jim Pollard for Shane Surfboards in 1976. Jim had Newcastle boys Col Smith and Steve Butterworth riding quivers of his rounded 6 channel boards, the first lot Col used at Bells beach with some success.

1976 Jim Pollard rolled channel bottom surfboard used by Col Smith at Bells Beach

Jim Pollard channel bottom 1976

Jim Pollard channel bottom 1976

Col Smith then took a quiver of Jim Pollard’s boards to Hawaii in 1977 and impressed the world with his surfing on them and then they became popular.

Col with Jim Pollard’s boards the night before Col was bound for Hawaii in 1977

Col Smith Hawaii Boards 1977

Col Smith Hawaii Boards 1977

Col riding Pipeline on Jim Pollard Channel Board 1977

Col Smith Tracks Poster 1977

Col Smith Tracks Poster 1977

Col Smith and Jim Pollard celebrate Col’s success riding Jim’s Channel Boards in Hawaii

Col Smithand Jim Pollard

Col Smithand Jim Pollard

Col returned from Hawaii and started working at Redhead with Martin Littlewood now Delta Designs Margaret River and started making boards with 6 channels with harder edges, Martin’s idea was from the Clinker Hulls of wooden boats and how stable they were in the water. Col then worked for a few other manufacturers such as Sam Egan and Free Flight’s Phil Myers and also shaped boards himself at his home.

Col Smith in his shaping bay at Redhead 1979

Col Smith shaping channel boards 1979

Col Smith shaping channel boards 1979

A Martin Littlewood Delta Designs 6 channel around 1981. Note the outside channels are longer

Delta Design Channel 1980

Delta Design Channel 1981

Lots of other shapers then were making boards with channels, notably Alan Bryne who spent a lot of time surfing with Col Smith. Around 1984 Col visited Martin Littlewood in Margaret River and they designed asymetric channel boards based on the windsurfers Martin was making.

Col Smith Asymetric at Margaret River

Col Smith Asymetric at Margaret River

Also noteworthy that around the early 1970’s the Campbell brothers introduced double concaves with three fins on their Bonzer model, the outside fins being a shallow wide base keel design which helped channel water out the back. Around 1981 Simon Anderson developed the Tri fin using 3 fins of similar size. SInce then most boards made have 3 fins and double concaves, but some guys still ride the channel bottom designs.

Col Steve and Al and their contribution to good surfing are now sadly missed, Martin Littlewood and Phil Myers are still making channel bottom boards.