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Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 in Site news |

Aussies on the North Shore, 1st Time

Bob Cooper was blowing foam for Dale Velzy when The Hawk got a letter from board builder Barry Bennett, in Sydney, Australia. Bennett wanted info about the foam making process. Cooper wanted to checkout Australia, so he went over knowing there would be work for him when he arrived. “He stayed a couple of nights with Bennett before settling into the Manly surf scene in a flat with Mick Dooley and Wheels Williams,” wrote Nat Young. “He had seen Bud Browne‘s movies of local surfers at Manly and thought he knew what to expect, but there was one young surfer around who was head and shoulders above the rest: Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly. Cooper was astounded at his natural ability and go-for-it attitude, and recognized that Midget was already mastering the Californian (Dora and Edwards) style of surfing. Cooper encouraged the young surfer and kept him informed of what was happening in the United States; Midget and his mates even began wearing American-style board shorts and adapting themselves to the American surf image. Cooper also kept pumping Midget on how good the waves were over in the Islands. So, in 1961 Midget and a group of other surfers… Charlie Cardiff, Dave Jackman, Bob Pyke, Owen Pillon, Mike Hickey, Mick McMann, Tank Henry, Gordon Simpson, Nipper Williams and Graham Treloar… booked passages on the Oriana and, for the first time, Australians set out to ride the waves of Hawaii. Bob Evans went along too, to film the action for his first surf movie and to take a few pictures for the first issue of Surfing World.”

“That first year was a barrel of laughs,” continued Young.  “It was whispered by Californians and Hawaiians that in Hawaii in 1961 you could spot the Aussie by his cozzy, and in the ninth international surfing championships at Makaha that was true. Australia didn’t do too well in the contest, but the experience gained from the first year was invaluable.”

Mick Dooley, 64 worlds at Manly, Mick came 5th and 3rd in the Australian. His backhand turn with feet close together, smooth style.

Credit Legendry Surfers, By Malcolm Gault-Williams