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Early Surfing


1926  - Legend had it that 'Sprint' Walker was the first guy to surf Portsea sometime this year. He carried a wooden board off the steamer and walked to the back beach. Whether it was a left or a right he surfed remains unrecorded.

Ted Bainbridge thinks that something big must have happened at Portsea that year as he remembers seeing Portsea featured in a 'Bays and Beaches' historical film. Tony Olsson described the ride in his contribution to Jack Pollard's 'The Surfrider Book' (K. G. Murray Publishing, 1963). Tony's piece was called 'Cold Weather Surfing' (Chapter 11) and Ted received this book for Christmas 1966.  You can read more about this book at SURFRESEARCH

Jack Pollard was a well known sporting journalist who died in 2002, aged 75. He wrote 87 sporting books, mostly about cricket and football. Tony Olsson owned and managed the Melbourne Surf Shop for many years.

1949 - Portsea Surf Lifesaving Club formed. This seems to indicate that there were already enough people having a dip in the waves there to justify a rescue patrol. How many were surfing by this stage.

1950 - Legendary surfer Terry Fitzgerald lives in Frankston for two of his first couple of years before leaving the Hoax Coast and heading to surfing stardom (Source: Surfermag) It is therefore hard to claim him as a true East Coaster!

1955 - Point Leo Surf Lifesaving Club formed after a public meeting at Progress Hall in Shoreham. Once again, this seems to indicate that prior to 1960 there was swimming (surfing?) in the Point Leo area.

1959 - Jack Finlay's father 'bought him a purple and and black sixteen foot plywood surfboard known as a "toothpick"' which Jack surfed at Portsea. Jack's family lived at Sorrento at the time and according to the story related in Fiona Capp's book That Oceanic Feeling  Jack went on to a lifetime's involvement in surfing, ending up running the Surf Museum in Torquay.

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