Flight of the Larrikin

Surfer-rocker fight, Sydney, 1963. Photo: Bob Weeks
Bondi Beach, 1962. Photo: Bob Weeks
Sydney surf stomp, 1964. Photo: Ern McQuillan
Bob Pike (left) and Dave Jackman, Dee Why, 1963. Photo: Ron Perrott
Aussie surfers with okinuee boards, 1957

During the second half of the boom, Australia put surfing on a developmental fast track that made the rest of the world look slow and pokey by comparison. It was a remarkable turnaround. As late as 1960, Aussie boardriders were still well off the pace being set in California and Hawaii. Four short years later, Sydney hosted the first World Surfing Championships, and local surfers were very much on equal footing against a small but talent-loaded international field. Better than equal, in fact....

Things peaked with a Sunday afternoon biffo pitting a detachment of rockers against a combined force of surfies and clubbies. Fighting commenced, and after the local surf club captain had a tooth knocked out, lifeguards and surfers joined together to chase the rockers across the beach. Problem solved.