In May 1969 the Nation’s best surfers competed in the Australian Surfing Championships held in WA.
These were the first Oz Titles held in WA and the first opportunity for WA surfers to see World Surfing Champion Nat Young and the cream of OZ surfers competing in metro & SW waves. Prior to that time, WA surfer’s exposure to the top OZ surfers was mainly through surf magazines and surf movies.
Like a lot of other WA surfers, young Scarborough surfer Gavin McCaughey followed the contest from Scarborough to Margaret River & then Yallingup in the South West.
These are Gavin’s photos and comments on some of the Eastern States surfers competing in the ’69 Oz Titles at Marg’s.
Gavin – World Champion Nat Young (NSW) broke his big wave surfboard in the solid waves at Marg’s Main Break. Nat changed to his other surfboard and went onto win the Open Men’s division.
Photo: 1969 World Champion Nat Young leaving the surf with broken surfboard at Marg’s. Gavin McCaughey pic.
Gavin – In this photo NSW team mates Nat Young & Ted Spencer are repairing Nat’s replacement surfboard on the beach at Marg’s. In the background watching the process are L-R WA representative Kevin Ager, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn, unidentified, WASRA President Ronald ‘Doc’ Naylor (striped shirts were his signature) and a couple of unidentified eastern states surfers.
Kevin Ager – I do have a clear memory of the event surrounding this photo which Nat alludes to in his autobiog. “Nat’s Nat and that’s that” but it (my memory) is not as dramatic as Nat’s narrative. Talk about authors licence, but it does make for a good read!
In fact what Nat had done, prior to Gavin’s pic, was extend the hard edge further into the softer leading main rail section, as the board had little grip in the more powerful waves. Remember it was a Dewie Webber 7ft something, quite full Californian influenced design. Nat was struggling for drive and speed compared to Drouyn and Richard Harvey in the early heats when it was pumping.
After the bog mix gelled he placed it under a car exhaust to promote a quick cure. Unfortunately the mix had been over-primed and the heat of the exhaust made the bog mix ignite, badly burning the board.
The photo actually captures Nat and good mate Ted repairing the damaged section.
As mentioned before, Nats version is more sinister rather than hilarious, which it was during the rescue amid too many trying to help.
Photo: 1969 Nat Young, unidentified & Ted Spencer repairing Nat’s burnt surfboard at Marg’s. Gavin McCaughey pic.
Gavin – This pic shows the back of Paul Witzig (NSW surf journalist/photographer) whilst he checked out Marg’s main break.
Photo: 1969 Paul Witzig heading out for a surf at Marg’s. Gavin McCaughey pic.
Gavin – This pic shows Peter Drouyn (Qsld) with the surfing priest (whose name escapes me) at Marg’s. Peter finished 2nd to Nat in the Open division.
Photo: 1969 Surfing priest & Peter Drouyn chatting in Marg’s car park. Gavin McCaughey pic.
Gavin – Wayne Lynch from Vic was one of the best junior surfer in World at that time and went on to win the Junior Title.
Photo: 1969 Wayne Lynch in the car park at Marg’s. Gavin McCaughey pic.
The 69 Oz Surf Titles exposed the quality of SW waves to the world and many national & international surfers followed thereafter.
Coming soon Ric Chan’s coverage of the 1969 Australian Surfing Titles in WA.