The Swell of '83

I've had this tee shirt for 10 years+ and I love it. It was a gift from Uncle Keith and I even brought it with me from Australia to California, back from whence it came. It commemorates the celebrated swell of 1983 that hit the Californian coast creating great waves and much havoc. I love the little guy surfing in the drawing and the collapsing pier and auto parts store.
I recently found an article on the above mentioned swell that I have reproduced below with pic of my beloved Swami's. I can tell its only a matter of weeks till I get like that again.

The winter of 1983 will be a season by which others, years from now will be compared. The yardstick that most people measure past winter surf by is 1969. lf you were fortunate to be surfing then, you may remember some major differences. Swell, and wind direction were the two most important factors. ln 1969, most of the cleaner swells arrived from the northwest. This year (1983), the southwest. The reason 1969 is so fondly recalled, is the amount of surf spots that are set up to handle a northwest movement. One of the most important elements affecting Southern California surf, is the direction from which the swell originates. Geographical position determines which areas will receive the correct angle and shape. Most of the Santa Barbara area, some of the Ventura Oxnard spots, and all of Palos Verdes turn on with a northwest push. This was the case in 1969 and the early 1970s. Fortunately, our southwest swells were large enough this winter to drive into all spots, no matter which direction they faced. Westerly set-up breaks like Topanga, Swami's and Big Rock, received heaps of attention. Had most of this past winter, January through March, been under normal, medium sized conditions, swells from the southwest would not have had a favorable season for spots that need a bit of size to produce. La Jolla Cove, Lunada Bay, Redondo Breakwater, Ventura Overhead and El Capitan are some examples, Wind direction, while favorable for most of our Iarge winter swells of the past, was very much a changeable factor this year. The new year awoke, yawned and seemed at ease during the week of Jan 8th, as the southland enjoyed 80 degree, Santa Ana type conditions. Some weak two to four ft. trimmers offered a cool-off , but in no way
were any of us prepared for such a drastic change that was to follow. Up until the second week of January, our climate had been cruising, and then, with our guard down, it just exploded. ln the final two weeks, five major low pressure storms rammed into California. This action continued through March 5th before subsiding.
It would pick up again in an off-and-on pattern, but not with the same velocity. The typical behavior had a domino effect, with one mid-Pacific storm following another. Satellite weather photos proved the present and predicted the future. Nothing was to be spared in its path, pity the homeless and unprotected, advance and attack. You name it, the West Coast got it. No mercy.
With a combination of king tides up to seven ft., gusty southerly winds, (westerly in March), a full moon, high waves and rain, the beast attacked the coast. lt continued to ravage it until its appetite was appeased. Finally, in mid- March, apparently satisfied there was nothing left to prove, it lurked off to hibernate until next winter. After 2/z
months, the drying out and rebuilding period began. Evaluating the damage, the box score favored mother nature.

Beachfront damage of over 3,600 homes and around 750 businesses, State Parks, recreation facilities, parking lots, lifeguard headquarters and towers, were rn need of much repair. Sand erosion, due to the sea engulfing the beaches, spilled onto the boardwalks (strand), and in some cases the street. PCH through Huntington was closed for nearly a month, because storms had pushed sand onto the roadway. Each year, winter storms take away sand, and summer's wave action brings it back. With sand costing $7.70 a cubic yard, trying to replace the vast amounts eroded by the storm, would not be possible. Fortunately, summer is not far off, and maybe June will signal the beginning of our coast to widen out again.

Piers: ln the South Bay, the concrete supported piers in Hermosa and Manhattan survived, along with the Redondo horseshoe pier, which has a deep water defense. But when support pilings weakened and gave way, extensive damage was the tally at Pt. Arena, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Venice, Palos Verdes, Seal Beach, Balboa, Huntington, Newport, San Clemente, and Ocean Beach. These long standing landmarks were among those hardest hit. Oil drilling platforms and derricks were not spared. Breakwaters: High combers also punched gaps in the breakwaters at Redondo and San Pedro, near Cabrillo Beach causing $4.5 million in damage.

These rock walls were built to protect boating and shipping. With boats sinking or being damaged inside these exposed harbors, and others in Santa Barbara and Ventura closed because of sand built up around the entrance, priority aid was requested. Only two or three miles of the once heavily traveled 19 mile beach bike path in the South Bay, was left intact. Portions of the rebuilt pathway will have to be relocated further from the shoreline. Sea life: Even permanent guests of the ocean were forced to evacuate, as more than 130 seals and other sea mammals were deposited on the beaches.
Fortunately, a large percentage of whales had already migrated into protected waters south, avoiding a
possible detour. From Eureka to Baja, rain was responsible for flash flood alerts. Coastal flooding due to runoff water from canyons and broken drainage systems would undercut pavement, causing roads to sink or wash out.
Just when you think nature has reached its limit, you find out just how stubborn these storms can be. Enough was not enough. Way above normal precipitation, 23" to date, compared to 8.56" last season, caused hill sliding and evacuation and overflowing of some dams and reservoirs. Touching all bases, the storm caused a temporary loss of electrical power in many areas
and let you know who the boss was, by sending a tornado to sweep through three miles of South Central Los Angeles.
Rain, floods and surf damage from the worst series of storms in nearly 20 years caused $523.6 million in property
damage to California from January 21 st until March 11. About 500 homes were completely lost, out of 8,382 damaged.
Financial losses to agriculture have been $21 3.8 million, with thousands of acres underwater. lt's no wonder, sections from Los Angeles to San Diego were considered disaster areas. lf there is an explanation for all of this, Douglas lnman, Director of Scripps institute Center for Coastal Studies tries to.
He noted that the globe has experienced weather patterns of a stable or calm period, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. He and his colleagues have passed warnings on to government off icials, developers, and property owners, that since 1976 the 'stable' period is over. "The coast is in trouble, it's just a matter of time." ln some areas of the coastline that had taken up to 30 years to reinforce, the storm had the nerve to wash it away in one day. Every once in a while, something or someone will happen along, and have such an impact that any past or present

Surfin USA

Since moving to California I've spent a lot of time listening to the Beach Boys as I drive around checking out the surf. The song Sunfin USA, written by Brian Wilson and released in 1963, makes numerous references to Californian breaks that would have been surfed by Wilson's friends and band mates who would have told him the names of spots as he himself did not surf. I get a huge buzz, seeing for the first time, the freeway turn off signs to beaches mentioned in the song I've been singing since I was 10 years old.
But, by 1963 none of the beach boys had been to Australia so it got me thinking, where did the reference to Australia's Narrabeen come from?

North Narrabeen

Narrabeen 1962

The lyrics go-
You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar (been there)
Ventura County line (yep)
Santa Cruz and Trestles (cold and crowded)
Australia's Narrabeen (that's odd, thats not in the USA)
All over Manhattan (what!?)
And down Doheny Way (nice place)

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
We're on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we're surfin'
Surfin' U. S. A.

Haggerties and Swami's (my local)
Pacific Palisades (good set up but $$$$)
San Onofre and Sunset (nice place for the family)
Redondo Beach L. A. (ummm, so so waves)
All over La Jolla (heaps of good reef breaks)
And Wa'imea Bay. (well, thats not in California but it is in the USA)

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S. A.

I can imagine a teenage Brian Wilson driving around in 1962 as the song started to form in his head and simply running out of surf spots for the lyrics. So he pulled his car over to a news stand and picked up a copy of Surfer, Surfing Illustrated or Surfing magazine and seeing a feature article on Australia with Narrabeen being mentioned.
So that means we could find the actual article that inspired the lyric if we were to comb the less than 24 issues of Surfer and Surfing from 1962 because Surfing didn't go monthly till 1979.

So I need you to go to the garage, pull out the boxes and look for a mention of Narrabeen in any 1961, 62 or 63 U.S surfing mags.

The next question is what the hell does he mean "All over Manhattan"? Waves in NYC? What am I missing here?

80's Blaster by Peter Schroff for Echo Beach exhibition

Circa 80's Blaster surfboard shaped by Peter Schroff.
Board being shaped for the Quiksilver Echo Beach Book launch in New York City, June 1, 2011.

Shot and Edited by Nik Martinez

Songs From The Ether

Andrew Kidman & Spunk presents "Songs From The Ether"

Songs From The Ether is a live music and surf film experience curated by Andrew Kidman. It features live music from his band The Windy Hills teamed with projections from his latest film ‘Lost In The Ether’ and the new film from Patrick Trefz’z: ‘Idiosyncrasies’.

Following on from the success of Last Hope in the live format – the production travelling across the world and drawing large crowds at the Powerhouse in Brisbane, The Perth International Arts Festival and New York’s Surf Fim Festival - Kidman and his band The Windy Hills have reconvened to create a similar experience for his new film.

The Windy Hills (featuring Kidman, Joe Jones, Paul Brewer and Jay Kruegner) formed originally as The Brown Birds From Windy Hills, with soundtracking these films in a live setting their uniting passion. Following a string of Kidman’s solo albums, the band’s first record Three Sails To The Wind was released in 2007 before Kidman’s recent filmic project the Last Hope took flight. In January of this year they released the album Friend From Another Star (the single “She was a girl” could be a flipside to Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side said the Sydney Morning Herald). And “Friend From Another Star will no doubt win scores of friends in 2011 with its eerie, yet euphoric sound that’s bound to stand up to repeat listens. In a nutter, this is spinifex surf music at its optimum and most pure level played out by a band who knows how to get into the zone, ‘Road Block’ being arguably one of the first grand Oz tracks of the new decade” - Nick Argyriou, Rhythms Magazine

Kidman’s own home, nestled on a rural property on the North Coast of NSW, would provide a backdrop for the conception of their second album. Recorded in a small studio in nearby Mullumbimby, Friend from Another Star is more muscular & varied – some songs wilder, some cleaner, some soft with acoustics and warm with Americana. While not directly inspired by the ocean, it possesses a similar fluidity and escapist quality that echo the band’s shared passion and connection with the sea.

Call it a surf night, a music improv night… call it what you will, Songs From The Ether shows the ocean and surfing in a mesmerising light, with live soundscapes and visuals to disappear to. Kidman & band will tour the production across Australia’s east coast this June & July.

JUNE, 2011

Wednesday 1st – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla
Tickets from venue website | | Ph 02 9544 3844

Thursday 2nd – The Heritage Hotel, Thirroul
Tickets from venue website | | Ph 02 4284 5884

Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th, The Boatshed, Manly
Tickets from Heritage Surf Shop| | Ph 02 9977 7623

Sunday 5th, The Vanguard, Newtown
Tickets from venue website | | Ph 02 9550 3666

JULY, 2011
Friday 1st, The Buddah Bar, Byron Bay
Tickets from the band’s website

Saturday 2nd, The Coolangatta Hotel, Surfers Paradise
Tickets from venue website | | Ph 07 55 896 888

Friday 8th, The Noosa Surf Club, Noosa
Tickets from Solace Surf, Noosa | Ph 07 54470 2606

Saturday 16th, The Powerhouse Museum, Brisbane
Tickets from band’s website |

G&S Zapper

I am pleased to share with you my 6'0" G&S Zapper, shaper unknown.
The G&S Zapper design was clearly inspired by Geoff McCoy's 80's Laser Zap needle nosed, fat bum concept that was, in my books, at the pinnacle of the late 70's early 80's innovation period surfboard design movement.
In the photo above you can just see a G&S Zapper behind the 1982 Mayor of San Diego's elbow with Laser Zap style checker board spray.

I loved this board as soon as I saw it at Surfboard polooza at Kris's house because of its rare 3 fin Star fin set up, its double hip swallow tail bottom end and its small wave outline that it looks like it would be a tonne of fun to ride.

Four fin Zapper.

"I am not a surfboard collector"- Donavon Frankenreiter Part 2

"I'm not a surfboard collector. All the boards I have, I ride. There's dirty wax on all of them. I ding 'em up, have all my friends ride them. I've never priced out any of the boards, either. I love to look at boards and wonder what they ride like. I don't know, I guess I'm just addicted to the ride."

"I am not a surfboard collector"- Donavon Frankenreiter Part 1

photos by Grant Ellis

World's most famous obscure surfboards 4- Square tail single fin with tiger spray Part 3

We continue our search for the true history and current whereabouts of the square tail single fin with tiger spray that featured in the classic 1981 Australian coming of age/surf movie Puberty Blues directed by Bruce Beresford. Starring Nell Schofield. I present to you an ad from Emerald surfboards Cronulla featuring a strikingly similar Tiger spray board. Closer inspection will reveal that the board in the ad is a rounded pin tail twin fin and is missing the bold red keyline around the tail.
The search goes on.

with thanks to Andrew, Steve Core & Cronulla surf museum's Chris Stroh.

World's most famous obscure surfboards 4- Square tail single fin with tiger spray Part 1

World's most famous obscure surfboards 4- Square tail single fin with tiger spray Part 2

the Surf TRIP

"the Surf TRIP" a grass roots swap meet gathering celebrating surfboards past, present and future
11th June 2011 at the Green Point Gallery at 2pm.

$5 For a spot on the grass to display your wares.
BAND & SURF MOVIE in the Gallery that evening.
AT GREEN POINT GALLERY, 105 Green Point Drive, Green Point, NSW 2428.
p: (02) 6557 5444 more info call Gav 0427 592 093.
Galleri will be playing their progressive-­‐surf-­‐folk-­‐rock
& Andrew Kidman's "Lost In the Ether" will be playing
check out the trailer on
• Bring along any surf related gear you want to trade, swap, sell and grab a space. $5 for a space
• First in best dressed. Era not important, though pre 90's is always cheered!!
• This is a not-for-profit get together, organised to encourage a friendly gathering of like-minded individuals.
• Charges are to cover the costs incurred in organising the gettogether.
• Any money remaining after expenses will be donated to the Pacific Palms

the Surf TRIP on Facebook


Authentic Hawaiian or U.S built Lightning Bolt single fins from the 70's are a rare find where I'm from. I can remember only seeing 2 in the last 10 years in Sydney.
But its a different story in California. I felt like Al Pachino in Scarface when I was at the Oceanside swap. It was a huge over indulgence to be surrounded by so many Bolts all in the one place. I felt like collecting them up into one pile and just rubbing my face in them like Scarface does with that huge pile of Peruvian marching powder.


But it seems everyone in California has a pretty serious Bolt collection going on. As well as twins my friend has a healthy stash of 70's Bolt singles as well.


I know nearly nothing about this board and for the first time I don't want to know.
I simply want to sit back and and admire its simple beauty without becoming clouded by the history and politics of its life story.
The clean lines of the single fin shilouette. The bold, fun use of early 80's color. The handsome use of the pin line. The blue accents on the rails. The gloss finish. The semi translucent fin with rice paper decal inlay. A fine example of applied art meets scultpure. Rip and Tear indeed.

ad from Surfer 1982