Showing posts with label Surf Exhibition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surf Exhibition. Show all posts

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.

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


Friday, August 12, 2011

Exhibition: Legend Bobby Brown - the Edge of Glory

The starlit wave is still, home is the surfer, home from the sea...

Bobby Brown in the North Cronulla
shorebreak in '62. Photo: Bob Weeks 
[Click to enlarge]

After successfully touring the East Coast from the Noosa Festival of Surfing earlier in the year, down to Victoria for the 50th Anniversary of the Bells Beach Easter Pro Surfing event, the exquisitely put together Bobby Brown Exhibition is coming to Bobby Brown's spiritual home in Sydney's South - in the Sutherland Shire.

The Exhibition will be on display in the showroom of Jackson Surfboards in Caringbah for just 10 days. From Saturday September 10th until Sunday September 18th, 2011.

The Exhibition forms part of the Jackson Surfboard’s “living history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of surfing, surfboards and the golden age of Australian beach culture.

I was on the Gold Coast 10 months ago for the opening night of the Bobby Brown Exhibition at the Surf World Gold Coast Surf Museum in November 2010. To view my original report of that launch night and my summary of the exhibition click here.

The Exhibition is meticulously put together by its Gold Coast-based curator, former pro-surfer, Andrew McKinnon. As a 16-year old surfer back in 1970, Andrew was the last winner of the third and final Bobby Brown Memorial Surfing Contest held on the beaches of Cronulla.

Rabbit co-MC'ed the opening
night at Surf World
on the Gold
Coast last November.
Photo: Core
As an extension of all his research into Bobby Brown’s history, and inspired by the depth and expanse of the story, Andrew is currently working on a book that will encapsulate the life and times of Bobby Brown - surfing legend.

If you want have a look at a nice clip of the Exhibition you can see the clip that was posted on the Coastalwatch website by clicking here.

This showcasing at Jacksons will be the last public display of this collective for some time, so if you are from any part of Sydney, or for that matter, anywhere in NSW, you might want to plan a trip to Sydney's South side over this 10-day period to check the exhibition being held in one of the very surf establishments in which Bobby Brown spent the early part of his surfing career.

At the Gold Coast launch, Cronulla
surfing identities, Steve Core [left]
and guest
speaker Gary Birdsall.
Photo: Terry Baker
So mark it in your diary or stick a post-it note on the fridge. On Saturday 10th of September there will be an official launch function, kicking off at 1:00pm ,with a free sausage sizzle. Special guests will be Bobby's brother; John Brown and pioneer surf photographer and publisher of Surfabout Magazine, Jack Eden.

Next year, Jackson Surfboards will celebrate their 55th year in the business and they have been in the same location for the past 48 years. That was long before Mick Fanningg was even born! That's some history in this young sport of ours.

Check on-line at: Jackson Surfboards
or the Jackson Surfboards Facebook site

Or have a look at the Bobby Brown Surfing Legend website.

Check out my new blog on Surf Exhibitions, Forms, Swap meets and dry land surfboards events. Called Swap Surf Click right here to see it.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Report: Bobby Brown's Triumphant Return

The Bobby Brown Exhibition
Reclaiming History

This month, set amongst the objects of our rapture, in the Surf World Museum at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, surfing heirlooms belonging to one of the sport's earliest stars, earmarked the location for the inaugural launch of the Bobby Brown Exhibition.

It was an amazingly refreshing night that signalled to me that a surfing legend of the '60s, Cronulla's Bobby Brown, had made his comeback onto the world class stage.

The four presenters; LtoR - Former '78 World Champion, Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew, Bobby Brown's older brother,
John Brown, curator Andrew 'Andy Mac' McKinnon and surf artist, Garry Birdsall.
Bobby Brown was one of Australia’s leading surfers in the late sixties who tragically lost his life in a bar room incident. The signposts were clear and his career trajectory was obvious – there was a sure bet World Champion in the making. Fame was waiting in the wings. His sudden dispossession has haunted the surfing world for decades.

For the past forty odd years, his death has understandably been a loss far too sensitive to endure for close family and friends to deal with in the public arena. After three consecutive memorial surfing contests in his name, Bobby Brown’s history has been tucked into a self imposed hiatus ever since. For me, the unveiling of Andrew McKinnon’s Bobby Brown Exhibition is somewhat similar to a recording artist whose un-published and largely unknown or unheard work is finally being released to the public – years after his passing.

Recounting the good times, Bobby Brown
mentor and friend, Cronulla surf legend
himself, Garry Birdsall.
As his debut biographical offering, the Bobby Brown Exhibition has been skillfully and meticulously put together by former Gold Coast pro-surfer Andrew ‘Andy Mac’ McKinnon. Back in 1970, as a 16 year old young surfer, Andrew was the last winner of the Bobby Brown Memorial contest held in Cronulla.

Hauntingly, Andrew has had the perpetual trophy in his possession for some forty one years. The trophy, it turns out, was part of the spark that fuelled this fire.

The Exhibition launch night this month was co-hosted by former '78 World Champion, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, Bobby Brown’s older brother, John Brown, former Cronulla surfing legend and surf artist, Garry Birdsall and curator Andrew McKinnon.

The night at the Museum was splashed with an obvious dose of old hometown heroes. A lot of the old '60s Cronulla surfing underbelly were present. Mick Connally, Bob Halliwell, Dave Wilson, Frank Hales, Tommy Shipton, Alan Dorman, Mark Aprilovic. I also spotted a Cronulla surf star from a more modern era; Ross Marshall and the Gold Coast's, Cheyne Horan.

In a day and time in surfing where it appears professionals are filled with gargantuan egos, the presenters clearly illustrated to us that Bobby Brown was a young surfer not only full of natural ability and raw talent, but an abundance of humility and humanity.

Tearfully recounting old anecdotes and memories of times spent in the presence of a young energetic Bobby Brown, our story-tellers and co-presenters; older brother John Brown and surfing mentor Garry Birdsall - swayed the mood of the presentation evening from times of being somber and reflective, to other times to being joyous and rambunctious - somehow finding the delicate blend between humour and heartbreak.

Exhibition creator and curator, Andrew McKinnon
Following John and Garry’s time on the floor with the microphone in hand, a relaxed and very focused curator, Andy Mac delivered to the capacity crowd a stirring and deeply researched Power Point presentation of Bobby Brown's short lived, but highly successful life.

Highlighted with the screening of old Bob Evans rare 16mm footage, found on a rubbish tip, that featured Bobby Brown surfing Angourie with an equally skinny kid called Nat Young. To me, the footage underlined the fact that Bobby Brown was, at the time, the better and more promising surfer by far.

We also were treated to out takes from Paul Witzig’s 16mm movie 'The Hot Generation' of Bobby surfing Tallows at Byron Bay with Bondi's Kevin 'The Head' Brennan.

This uncompromising vision and looking glass into Brown’s surfing and personal life was complied with a startling intimacy. For me, McKinnon's presentation gave the exhibition its real soul.

What differentiates McKinnon from past surf biographers is his conviction that the historical surfing experience should be personal.

The depth of analysis, despite the sadness and the soul-searching that inspired it, of the Bobby Brown Exhibition is reflected as Andrew McKinnon’s best piece of work. Andy Mac has re-invented what a tribute to an outstanding young athlete, in this case a surfer – should be. The envelope is being pushed – in the all right directions.

The winner's names on the Bobby Brown Memorial
perpetual trophy - frozen in time for 41 years;
1968: Midget Farrelly
1969: Frank Latta
1970: Andrew McKinnon
There’s a freshness and innocence about the Bobby Brown Exhibition that makes it larger than the sum of its influences. After viewing it, I am now in two minds; I am not exactly certain if Bobby Brown was a dark horse or a shining light. Perhaps both.

Best go and see it for yourself.

The exhibition is currently at the Surf World Gold Coast Museum and into the new year, then it heads off to the Golden Breed store, Hastings Street, Noosa from March 12-20 for the Noosa Festival of Surfing 2011. Then it travels down South of the border, to Victoria, to the Surf World Torquay Museum during the planned festive celebrations to help commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Rip Curl Bells Beach Easter Classic on April 18-25th, 2011.

It's only fitting that the Bobby Brown Exhibition come home to roost in his old home stomping grounds - where it is certain to draw curious crowds and stir up some old wonderful memories. A venue for the Exhibition in the Cronulla area for sometime during 2011 is currently being negotiated.

Anyone who has any stories or particularly any photos or artifacts to contribute by way of loan to the Exhibition - we would love to hear from you.

Report & photos: Steve Core

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Upcoming: Bobby Brown Exhibition, Gold Coast

Cronulla legend finally recognised;
Bobby Brown Exhibition

A National exhibition celebrating the life of Cronulla surfing legend Bobby Brown will be launched at the opening of the 2010 Kirra Surf Stock Festival on the 11th November, 2010.

Scheduled to tour the Eastern seaboard this Summer, the inaugural launch of the Bobby Brown Exhibition will take place at the Surf World Gold Coast Museum at Currumbin [opposite the famous Currumbin Wildlife Bird Sanctuary].

In a first-of-its-type exhibition, the collection will be dedicated to one of Australia's greatest surfing legends, Robert 'Bobby' Brown. It will be showcasing his significant contribution to the classic sixties era of surfing, forming part of the huge Southside & Cronulla story.

Affectionately known as Brown Bobby, his surfing prowess ranked with the best surfers in the 1960’s such as Midget Farrelly, Nat Young and Peter Drouyn. His short but impressive surfing life was captured in surfing films like Bob Evans' 1963 classic 'The Young Wave Hunters' and Paul Witzig's 1967 groundbreaking movie, 'The Hot Generation'. Clips from both movies will be on media displays in the Exhibition. In addition, featured stories and photos from Bob Evans' Surfing World and Jack Eden’s Surfabout magazine captured during Bobby’s classic era, will also be exhibited.

The Bobby Brown Memorial Contest perpetual trophy has been
proudly in the last winner's hands for the past 40 years. The trophy

was a likeness of Jack Eden's famous photo of Bobby Brown
performing a 'soul arch' bottom turn at Sandon Point, NSW.
He was only 17 years of age when he qualified for the first open men's World Titles in 1964 won by Midget Farrelly at Manly Beach in front of a record crowd of 50,000. That first ever World Title event launched surfing as a sport and the promising career of Bobby Brown who became a perennial open men's finalist in the 1966 Nationals at Coolangatta, Gold Coast and 1967 Nationals at Bells Beach, Victoria.

The Exhibition has been engineered, researched and collated by Gold Coast resident and former pro-surfer Andrew McKinnon, known as 'Andy Mac'. For the last twenty years Andy Mac has been a well known surf reporter for SEA-FM and GOLD-FM, and a local newspaper journalist. Ironically, it was a 16 year old, goofy-footed rookie from the Gold Coast; one Andrew McKinnon, who won the third a final Bobby Brown Memorial Contest in Cronulla in 1970.

With a relentless passion, Andrew has managed to gather a remarkable collection of timeless photos of Brown and others from the 1962-67 era. The Exhibition also includes 16mm movie footage, surfing magazine memorabilia and newspaper clippings detailing Bobby's tragic end. Included too, are original Bobby Brown surfboards and clothing.

The Bobby Brown Exhibition flyer.
[Click to enlarge]
Bobby Brown was destined for surfing greatness and a World Title was just around the corner, when tragically and unexpectedly his life was ended, just two months short of his 21st Birthday. He was fatally struck with a schooner glass over a game of pool at the Taren Point Hotel, in Sydney's South.

"The Bobby Brown story needs to be acknowledged and find its rightful place place in the history of Australian surfing" Andy Mac said. "Bobby loved to surf Currumbin on his early surf safaris to Queensland, I feel honoured and privileged to present this Exhibition at Currumbin, so close to The Alley, a surf spot he loved".

The Bobby Brown Exhibition will be at the Surf World Gold Coast Museum at Currumbin from November 12th and into the new year, then it heads off to the Golden Breed store, Hastings Street, Noosa from March 12-20 for the Noosa Festival of Surfing 2011. Then it travels South down to Kingscliff for the Malfunction Festival held in March 23-27 and finally down South of the border, to Victoria, to the Surf World Torquay Museum during the planned festive celebrations to help commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Rip Curl Bells Beach Easter Classic on April 18-25th, 2011. 

The public are more than welcome to attend the opening night party at Surf World Gold Coast Museum starting at 6:30pm on Thursday 11th November, 2010. A $15.00 admission fee will include live music, light snacks, and a special presentation of Bobby Brown's remarkable life and surfing legacy.

Limited edition framed prints and t-shirts will be on sale in conjunction with the Exhibition. The Currumbin Museum's phone number is 07 5525-6380.

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