Monday, June 26, 2006

I guess it all gelled for me around the time I no longer wanted to be in the nippers. This must have been around 1969. We were just coming out of the Tracker period and for a short period of time boards went super short. One of the older boys, in the group of families my parents hung with at Whale Beach made surfboards and I would sometimes ask if I could borrow a board and go for surf. I had my own fibreglass board, but it was a chopped down log that was over 7’ long and very heavy. These short boards were a breath of fresh air. I didn’t want to be in the nippers anymore. I wanted to run up the nth end of the beach and surf the Wedge. In 1969 I was 10 years old. I had been swimming in training squads for a number of years. I could swim from one end of Whale Beach to the other non-stop. I was ready.
In 1971 my family and I moved into our new house on the ridge above the northern end of Whale Beach. Views to Nth Head in the South and to Cape Three Points to the North. And a perfect view of the Wedge. It wasn’t long after moving in I got my first short board. A Shane Standard. This was also the time of my first foray into surfboard making. It was time to chop down my chopped down log. This was turned into something about 4’ long. It was glassed with some glass that I found in a bin after a fire at the small board factory a Palm Beach behind the boatshed. (Midgets or Outer Islands) shed. The glass was black so I did a red tint glass job. I sold this board to friend up the road. This sale financed my next board. And so on. We were a tight group of mates and we all made our own boards. And when we were not riding our own boards, we were riding some old logs, V bottoms and trackers that had been left to rot in the bush near where we use to sit. I made my own boards up until 79 when I went around Aust. When I got back for some reason I started riding logs and V bottoms again. Tried short boards in the late 80’s to no avail. It has been longboards ever since.
In 1999 I joined CCMC . Between the two rounds on club days they ran an old mal heat. I needed an old mal. I bought a Gordon Woods 9’6". It was in terrible condition. It needed to be restored. New stringer, rebuild the nose, pigment job on the bottom and rails, pinlines. The works. I worked out better than I imagined it would. It must have. As I was getting requests from other members as to wether I could restore their logs. Now it is a fulltime job restorations and ding repairs.
Things seem to have a way of going full circle. In 1969 all I wanted was a shorter lighter board. In 1999 all I wanted was a heavy old board, exactly what I was trying to get away from in 69. In 1976 we were stripping and reshaping as many old logs as we could find. Now in 2006 I am rebuilding and trying to preserve as many old logs as I can find.

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