Barry McGuigan better known as Magoo.
It was 1963 at the Makaha contest (I will never live that down) Aub Laidlaw was a dedicated council employee but had difficulty accepting Bluey Mayes and his breakaway “Cornel Wilde” modern surfies up at the north end of Bondi. I started surfing “toothpicks” at Nth Bondi in 1942 on a 14footer made by Roy Ferguson. I started my interest in yoga after reading a book at Ross Kelly”s place and could see the common sense of the science, which has helped me to keep the interest in surfing. Who discovered Green Island I’m not sure. It may have been Bluey on one of his south coast surfing trips…During the early fifties – between the toothpicks and the balsa boards – a group of us took up spearfishing, complete slaughter it was, starting at South Head and working our way back to Nth Bondi filling up the boat with jewies, groupers , morwong and lobster and selling the lot to the chinese resturants in Dickson St. In 1953 Scott Dillion & myself went for our overseas trip, stopping off at Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to spear fish, then on to England where we bought an old London taxi , flew it across the English Channel and toured around Europe for 9 wks , a real eye opener as it was just after WW2. Back to England, worked for a few weeks then shipped off to Toronto Canada, where we worked as butchers and salesmen. Scotty got a special license to drive a brand new ford ranch wagon across America to Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. He was told only 2 people were to go and limit on the speed and a specified route.
As it happened it ended up six people, all our gear and the speed limit and route were forgotten. We finished up in California well behind delivery time. Saw our first balsa board at Hermosa Beach, it was 12foot long with huge flutes on the bottom. We finally arrived in Vancouver where the oil & tyres were changed and the car was put in the showroom and sold as a new car.
A few added words from an old mate, John ‘Red Ted’ Sullivan :
Barry qualified for the Makaha contest as the Tasmanian Champion. On one of his last visits to Hawaii the lifeguards at Pipeline told Barry & John (Wheels) Williams (a former Sth Bondi, originally Byron Bay, surfer, who is now a tennis coach in Hawaii) that they were too old. Barry was one of Roma Blair’s first yoga students and used to amaze all the young blokes when he stood on his head with feet in a full lotus position for about an hour at a time.
Barry and his wife Debbie live at Norah Head where he is an active member of the Central Coast Malibu Boardriders Club. The annual Magoo Charity Classic raises money for cancer charities. At age 73 Barry is considered a veteran but would dispute that term. He had a long career in the NSW Fire Brigade finishing as Station Officer at Bondi. Along with Ross Kelly, Barry Ross, Dennis Collette and Bluey Mayes, he was one of the founding members of the South Bondi Surfboard Riders Club which congregated in an old boatshed (the polio pit) next to where Bluey’s ashes are interred. He was also a member of the WindanSea Surf Club (the Australian branch was formed by Dennis Lindsay, Dave Spencer and Max Bowman).