At age 15, I got my first surfboard, a Klemm-Bell classic, and I was well and truly hooked on surfing. It was the early 70s when Torquay was abuzz with a burgeoning surf culture. Every Friday night, my mates Steve Ryan and John “Batesy” Whitwell and I, would hitchhike from Cheltenham, down to the Surf Coast Mecca camping under the old kiosk at Torquay Point for the weekend. Simply put, they were gold old times. The best of times.
I eventually moved to Torquay where I lived out the rest of my youth living behind Pat Morgan’s famous surf shop. “Boobs”, just down from Winki and Bells, became my local for the next forty years.
During this time me and the boys were regular visitors to the famed breaks of Cactus on South Australia’s desert coast. As I remember - back in the 70s shark attacks were scaring the daylights out of everyone. I surfed Caves and Castles with some good mates for two weeks, just three of us out, pumping 8-10 ft surf. Then I left to come back to Melbourne and two days later my friend was attacked by a Great White in the same spot. He got 300 stitches and was held together by his wetsuit. He survived and the fishermen caught the shark and presented him with the jaws.
I opened up a couple of surf shops in Williamstown, and worked them for over twenty odd years but sold up 7 years ago to travel the world surfing. Yet I remained passionate about the rag trade and just 2 years ago I hatched a plan to increase the recognition of the grassroots of the surf industry, the “foamies” (surfboard shapers).
The art on the older boards has always interested me. All of the shapers I have met have some great stories to tell and they are real individuals who never sold out to the big corporates. They prefer their own world in order to preserve surf culture and originality. With that in mind, I decided to revisit the good old times and bring all the cool old surf logos back on a range of exclusive t-shirts.
Rare Surf Tees is committed to recreating vintage designs based on the original decals of legendary board builders who were pioneers in our industry. We also showcase famous surf film and photography on our garments.”
While you are checking out our website click on the "Legends" page and read about the history of our surfing pioneers and relive the good old days.
WORDS CONTRIBUTOR: DAVE SWAN.