Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surfers in Vietnam during the Vietnam War

Surf City: A perspective of Surfing in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

The countdown is on to muster the nostalgia; we are now just one month away from the opening of the Surf City Exhibition

To capture and present these iconic times, Surf City's curator, Gary Crockett has been publishing some fantastic photos encompassing the era. Of particular interest are images captured during the Vietnam War ['62-'72] while Australian servicemen were taking R&R on 'Vungers' Beach [Vung Tau] in South Vietnam.

A 'friendly' Douglas A-1 Skyraider makes a high-speed, low
pass directly over US servicemen while they enjoy the
waves along Vung Tau Beach, South Vietnam in 1967.
Retired US Army Vietnam veteran Ron Sizemore contributed this amazing photo taken along the 'American stretch' of Back Beach, Vung Tau, and Ron wrote this from his home in the US:

"I took the picture in Dec of 1967 with a Pentax 35mm camera. Here is the story. The plane [I believe a Douglas A-1 Skyraider] had made one pass at that low altitude when I was coming out of the surf. I saw him on his way back toward us and I started running to the Lifeguard tower - because that is where my camera was.

The guy next to me hit the deck [sand] and I stayed on my way. I knew he was going to return for another pass. The second pass was a high one and the third was again low - right on the deck. It was my understanding that we, [the Yanks, Americans] had given the A-1's to the South Vietnamese and it was a friendly South Vietnamese pilot doing the flying. On his last pass he did a `victory roll' that I was unable to capture."
Vungers Beach in South Vietnam; an Australian serviceman on R&R
in Vietnam carries his Australian-made Gordon Woods surfboard
from the surf. Note the
rolled barbed wire lining the beach.

While many young Australians were enjoying the freedom of surfing their local beach at home, our nation had diggers deployed in Vietnam, putting themselves in harm's way to protect and serve our country.

Over 500 Australian servicemen lost their lives in Vietnam, and we had over 3,000 wounded.

We like to thank all those brave young Australian servicemen and women for their service and their sacrifice during the Vietnam Conflict.

We hope that any/all Vietnam veterans will get a chance to visit the Museum of Sydney and view the Exhibition. 

Both Vietnam images above are courtesy of the great Queensland website: Charlie Don't Surf - But Aussies Do'.

The Surf City Exhibition will be on at the Museum of Sydney from September 24th 2011 to March 17th, 2012.

Have a comment or something to add? - Email us at: swapsurf@gmail.com

Question: Which current ASP Head Judge is also a current World Champion surfer? You'd be surprised. The answer here.


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