Since day one, the Australian surfboard industry has generated a cast of characters who have nurtured our national obsession with the waves. But out of countless shaping bays and shopfronts, only a select few have had the good fortune - or maybe the self-promotion savvy - to become celebrated as figureheads of this noble trade. The inconvenient truth, though, is that Brookvale hasn’t necessarily been the centre of the universe all these years!
In fact, some of the original “old masters” are still plugging away in locations that haven’t yet become the stuff of legend. Some overdue recognition is finally coming their way and they more than deserve their share of the spotlight.
King Surfboards from Sydney’s Southside. They go back to the late 1950s when a young Graham King started shaping boards in Marrickvillewhile surfing in the Bondi,Maroubra and Central Coast areas. In the mid-60s, Graham saw the potential for manufacturing surf blanks and with the guidance of one his mentors - USA foam manufacturer and exporter Harold Walker –he learnt the ropes of the industry.
He moved King Surfboards to bigger premises in Kirrawee, brought in the raw chemicals and began blowing foam, quietly becoming a big supplier of blanks to the surf industry up and down the coast. In 1972 the factory burnt down, but Graham soldiered on; over 40 years later, his business is still powering.
The King shaping bay is producing quality shortboards and world class longboarddesigns and the factory is pumping out 250 blanks a week, supplying foam to name shapers including Aloha, McCoy, DP Surfboards, PCC Surfboards and DSN Surfboards.A visit to the King Surfboards premises at 577 Princess Hwy, Kirrawee, is a genuine blast of Southside surfing history.