Sunday, March 17, 2013
Tasmanian surfing history on display
The collection of boards shows the evolution of surfing. Small, home made boards from the 1920s were taken to beach parties and picnics and ridden prone, straight to shore. Tasmania's attraction for modern day surfers from around the world is shown through longboards used to surf some of the world's biggest waves.
Many early boards were homemade, in backyards or even near the beach itself, but the exhibition shows how commercial interests were quick to catch on to Tasmanian's enthusiasm for surfing with timber companies in Hobart and Launceston producing boards from the 1920s onwards.
Materials, too, have changed. the simple sheets of wood with, perhaps, a steamed nose and battens for stength of the early belly boards were replaced in the 1950s by the 'Okinui' style boards of shaped wood on which the surfer could stand, introducing the shapes and styles of boards and surfing we recognise today.
In the sixties and seventies the mood was for modern, man-made materials and the exhibition includes boards made from polystyrene and fibreglass form Tasmanian firms such as Turn, Tern, Fresh Juice, Milch, Osprey and Stranger. A return to traditional materials is shown by examples of hollow-framed timber boards made in the last few years and including traditional Tasmanian boat building timbers, such has King Billy pine and Celery Top pine.
As boards and the sstyle of surfing changed, so did the culture around it. The beach shack culture of picnics and days on the beach for families and groups of friends of both sexes for the relatively well off of the 1920s developed after the war with the emergence of the competitative, disciplined, exclusively male Surf Lifesaving clubs. By the sixties, surfing was appealing to a younger generation rebelling against the discipline and conformity of the post war years and these young surfers sought out new beaches and breaks, often driving for hours or trekking through the bush for miles in search of breaks that would be nicknamed - Fluffies, Horries Flobnobs, Rubbish Dump - to preserve the secrecy of their location."