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A Farewell to Clubs

Yallingup, W. Australia, 1957. Photo: Brian Cole
Sydney surfers, around 1960
"Service in the Sun" promo film, 1957
Melbourne surfers, 1956

Side-by-side with the regulation 1956 Aussie toothpick board, the balsa chips that Greg Noll and his pals brought to Australia were so small and rounded as to appear toy-like. But on closer look, the imports were almost space-age by comparison. Local boardmakers had no experience with resin and fiberglass, and had shown no interest in balsa—Australian surfcraft was made of framing timber, marine plywood, and varnish—and they were astonished at the Malibu board's strength and lightness. The ne...