Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is one of a series of three islands off the coast of mainland Bali, which is made up from Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Pendina.

Lembongan is truly a great place and is probably still one of the hidden gems in the area. It has natural beauty, is fairly small and you always feel safe.

The decision to go to Lembongan was made due to hearing about the island through a friend at work.

The easiest way to begin the trip to Nusa Lembongan is to land in Bali, then make your way to Sanur. The reason for this is that most of the boats that travel to Lembongan depart from there. We stayed at the Inna Grand in Sanur, which was a short walk to the office of our boat, Sri Rejeki Fast Boat. This was a good choice as they do hotel pick up in Bali then Hotel drop off in Lambongan.

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Getting on the boat is the start of the adventure, put your footwear (shoes, thongs or fliplops) into a crate and watch your bags get stacked onto the top deck of the boat. Getting on and off the boat means your going to get wet, at least to the bottom of your shorts. Entry is via the back of the boats and it’s done on the beach. It’s all pretty smooth and easy, just keep phones and ipods in your backpack.

The trip takes about 25 to 30 minutes depending on the seas and weather but it’s a good run. Getting off the boat is pretty much a reverse procedure, again it’s pretty easy. As previously mentioned your boat ride includes the transfer to your accommodation.

We stayed at the Mahagiri Resort in Lembongan, which is one of the newer hotels on the island. First thing you should do when you get there is hire a scooter. It’s again very easy to do as nearly every place hires scooters. For surfers I recommend getting one with a surfboard rack, it makes life easy. It also gives you the chance to have a look around for food places. Scooters or as we called ours, the mighty hog cost around 700,000 Rupiah a day or $7 AUD. You pay and take the scooter, no forms, no licence but some basic instruction….don’t crash as most Travel Insurance don’t cover Scooters. At first the roads seem chaotic but you quickly learn there is a system and a lack of agro, very pleasent indeed.

There are many food options on the island and I have to say they are all good and cater to everyone, even the gluten free, dairy free and vegans. You will quickly find your favourite. We found The Sampan, Bali Eco Deli (great coffee), Mickey’s Sports Bar, Nyomans Warung (great fish in banana leaf), The Deck Cafe & Bar, Tiki Cafe & Bar and the Thai Pantry which has a VW Kombi as a bar on the deck overlooking Lembongan Harbour.

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Bali Eco Deli with Scooter Parking

As a surfer I was keen to hit the water. The water is clean, clear and warm. During September it is around 27 degrees each day. The best surfing is on the mid to high tide. I thought it might be ok on the low tide but this was a really bad idea. During this session the reef boots I purchased, paid for themselves six times over.

The main breaks are Playgrounds, Lacerations, Shipwrecks and Ceningan Lefts.

Playgrounds is a nice fun wave for beginners to immediate surfers, which breaks left and right. The left seemed to break better for me and it was fun when I hired a mini mal from the guys at Long Sambung Beach (Coconut Bay). They will also help you out with a lift to the breaks but it’s really not required for Playgrounds. A board will cost you around 500,000 to 700,000 rupiah a day. Again this is only $5 to $7 AUD for the day.

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The view of Playgrounds from The Deck Bar & Cafe with Playgrounds on the left and Lacerations on the right.

The next break is Lacerations and I’m glad it never lived up to it’s name. Again good for beginner to intermediate, this wave is a great little right hander and really fun. Between Lacerations and the next break, Shipwrecks is No Mans Land, take note and stay away.

The third break, Shipwrecks is definitely Intermediate to Advanced and although you can paddle out, grab a boat on the way out and paddle in. Shipwrecks really pumps! All the waves have plenty of power in the and the crowds are great during the time I was there anyway.

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Lembongan Harbour

Crossing the Yellow Bridge takes you to the other surf break, Ceningan Lefts, a ripper of a left hander. The Yellow Bridge is the only way to get there and is only wide enough for two scooters or one scooter and a few pedestrians with luggage.

There is a small wave at Tamarind Beach on Lembongan and it looked alright for a beginner on a mal.

One of the big drawcards of Lembongan is the amazing sunsets. Grab a Happy Hour drink and sit back and enjoy.

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Sunset from Mahagiri Resort

You can do as much or as little as you want on Lembongan. Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Paddle Boarding or every other watersport like parasailing, even banana boat rides.

Every eatery has Wi-Fi, you can keep in contact with the outside world and make your friends envious with your Instagram and Facebook posts while having a cool Bintang.

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Bintang by the pool

Speaking of Bintang, the local small shops and the Adi Mart do largies for 350,000 rupiah ($3.50 AUD). Wine is quite expensive as are spirits however if you are going to have a mojito then this is the place to do it, especially at sunset.

Nusa lembongan is an amazing paradise, it’s Bali but not Bali if that makes sense. We had a 10 day stay on Lembongan and many people we met along the way, wished they stayed longer. It’s relaxing and great for everyone from backpackers to 5 Star, singles to families. Just try to stay away from the last two weeks of September, nothing bad will happen then, I just want it all to myself.

Craig Tonks

 

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The Rise and Rise of Macy Callaghan

Upon seeing Macy Callahgan surf for the first time in 2014, it was evident that this young lady was a star on the rise.

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It was immediately apparent that Callaghan feared no one in the water and set about tactically dismantling her opposition bit by bit, and at this point it was easy to be in awe of her natural talent.

Macy comes from a good supportive family, something crucial for an athlete these days, specially in a sport which has consistent travel. To talk to this young woman you find her polite, respectful and well grounded.

Callaghan however does most of her talking in the water, although shouting is probably a more accurate statement.

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The finish of the 2016 WQS Tour, saw her finish just outside the qualification mark for the elite WCT Tour but you can’t help to think this was a good thing.

Another year on the WQS Tour will allow her to refine the skills needed to compete at the elite level. Another year will see her body get stronger and her mental game will go to the next level.

The WCT Tour is a tough place, lose a heat or two and the mind games can easily begin.

2017 has seen Callaghan storming through the early WQS 1000 events with two wins and a second but it is the WQS 6000 events that she will need to make her mark.

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A strong finish at the Anditi Womens Pro in Newcastle was followed by an early exit at the Australian Open of Surfing in Manly.

The early exit at Manly could easily be due to battled fatigue, after grinding out multiple events in a few months.

It’s time the world body of surfing, the WSL give Callaghan a wild card into WCT events. I’m not knocking the likes of Bethany Hamilton getting a wild card or two but it’s time for the WSL to invest in the future, the surfers who are ready and this is Macy to a tee.

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I’m excited to continue following the Callaghan journey, a diamond that has been finely polished and is ready to shine.

Go Pro Hero 4

Go Pro 4 Session

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The Go Pro Hero 4 Session is another leap forward in self capture camera technology. These

days if the subject is moving, then it’s being captured on a Go Pro.

 

The newest in the line, the Hero Session 4 is 50% smaller and much more compact.

 

The biggest feature for surfers, is the fact that the waterproof case is no longer needed,

the floaty backdoor is now a surround, which means it encloses the camera instead of

just sticking to the back of it.

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Another feature that will enhance the user experience is the ball joint that lets you

change the camera around without having to unclip it, which is great for in the water.

 

The battery is now integrated so charging is just done by a USB port and once you

turn the camera on, it’s filming so know more wondering whether you are in

film mode or not.

 

There is some great waves being captured by local surfers and some mind

blowing

stills in the shore breaks around town.

 

So getting technical, the camera shoots a still at 8MP and 1440 @ 30 frames

per second or 1080 @ 60 frames per second.

 

A big congratulations to Go Pro for keeping the mounts the same,

a smart move for many enthusiasts.

 

I’ve been a fan of the Go Pro since day one and can’t see the demand

dropping.

 

This is some serious camera and if you thought the Go Pro range

couldn’t possibly get better, then you’d be wrong. This is a must have

piece of kit.

He’s Back – A Journey Home

Peter Garrett – Tall Trees

 

If you to ask Peter Garrett in your best Queen Elizabeth Voice,

“So exactly where is one Peter”?

 

He would reply, “I’m back”.

 

Firstly this isn’t Midnight Oil and it would be a pointless exercise

if it was.

 

This is Peter Garrett and he’s built to last and born to run.

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be folk, dreamy hippie

music or pure rock?

 

Well from the opening bass line, the song marches along and has a

melodic nature with short guitar burst but you can’t help hear a Martin

Rotsey riff underneath that is evident in the well slotted instrumental.

 

The best part of this song is the lyrics.

 

Like Mohammed Ali’s punching bag, like Rupert Murdoch’s latest

swag he’s back.

 

 

Where the song takes a turn is after he does some desert time to slow

down his then caught a wave to carry him back although to me the word

back could be easily replaced with home.

 

There is a certain power and passion in the last “I’m Back” in the song.

It has some growl to it and you can tell it has meaning, almost showing

a clarity in his mind that he is back where a musician needs to be,

making music.

 

The second song from the album, “Great White Shark” is made from the

bones of an old Oils idea and you get the feeling it has an activist angle

with the lines like, “The great white shark has got no feelings, the dolphin

is different, intentional innocence”.

 

Looking at the culling in Western Australia of Great White Shark, it

shows Garrett is still in touch with what’s going on around him.

 

Garrett heads out on the road with a great band to play live sets and I for

one will be rocking up to Belmont 16 Footers on the 12th August to hear

the album live.

 

Foxtel music channel Music Max will premier the the behind the

scenes doco on July 12th, which show the making of the album and

will contain some ideas on future projects.

The Gunther Rohn Story

The Gunther Rohn Story

 

The term legend gets thrown around easily these days and when it comes to

the surf industry, it’s no different. When it comes to shapers in Australia, the

list of legends who ply their trade in the shaping bay is distinguished but there

is one name that must be near the top.

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Walk into Richards Surf Shop on Hunter Street in Newcastle West in the mid 1980’s

and you would see a row or two of surfboards with the very famous Town & Country

label, which at the time had some of the hottest surfers on the planet riding them.

They were brightly sprayed and many had the signature of a man who quietly went

about his business of building boards that performed well and after still sort after by

collectors to this day.

 

Reading a list of professional surfers, who have ridden the waves with a Gunther Rohn

shaped board under their feet is long and distinguished however it would be easier to

make a list of surfers who haven’t ridden a board shaped by Gunther.

 

I recently made the journey north to meet the man himself and see the skills that have

made him a legend amongst the legends.

 

Watching Gunther in the shaping bay at his home in Ballina is similar to watching a

great artist paint a masterpiece. His hands work a block of foam like an artist, he could

close his eyes and shape a board purely by how his hands feel the foam.

 

Walking into the Ballina show room is a great experience as Gunther can advise you

on a surfboard based on your size and weight.

 

So what happens when you get a chance to jump in the bay with a legend?

 

After selecting a blank and deciding to go for more of a retro board, we headed into

the shaping bay. I went for a retro design as it reminds me of that iconic Town and

Country Surfboard I had from 1984.

 

After taking the skin off the blank drawing out a template and cutting the basic outline,

I am handed the planer and told, “There you go”.

 

Picasso may have just as well handed me a paint brush and asked me to finish my

own portrait.

 

I set about the task of sanding the remainder of the blank and planing out the nose

and tail. Every now and again Gunther would appear and offer a suggestion and once

again leave me to my devices.

 

When you shape as many boards a week as Rohn, there’s not a lot of time for a beginner

doing his best to impress the teacher. He had custom orders to complete and customers

walking through the door.

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One guy who came in wanted a Gunther Rohn shaped board, as in his words, “It was

the best board I ever owned”.

 

After completing Day one and embarking on Day two Rohn took a look at my previous

days work. Hoping to see a nod of approval, it was negated by a simple, “Hmm lets see

if we can fix this”.

 

As with many people learning the art of hand shaping off the blank, I had made some

rookie errors. I had hoped I was a genius in the making and my errors would turn out

to be an industry revolution but it was not to be this time.

 

I had created the flat bottom vee to concave then back to flat bottom vee, which I still

think will one day catch on.

 

Not only did I get the chance to see a industry leading shaper shape, I got schooled on

how to fix problems and create a great board.

 

Gunther would simply run his hands down the foam, then pick up the board and let it

slide through foam encrusted hands, which was enough to identify the smallest bump

and a quick sand of the identified trouble spot and we were on our way.

 

Although a man of few words, when he speaks, people listen. When asked where the

industry is at, his reply is simple as it is informative. “It’s all about money which means

people aren’t riding boards to suit them, they are riding boards the shops need to sell”.

 

Coming to completion would see my blank etched with the words “GR for Craig”. To

Gunther it may have been another board but to me it was a masterpiece.

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(Board on the left shaped at Gunthers)

 

This is the story of one of the gentleman of the surfboard shaping industry.

 

South Africa – The Early Days

 

Gunther started shaping his own boards back in 1972 in his hometown of Cape

Town. A lot of his friends in his surfing group started shaping their own boards.

His peer group of Piers Pittard, Johnny Paarman and Tich Paul were also shaping

and refining their skills.

 

“I remember Paul Joske was over in South Africa at the time surfing and shaping

and he commented on my first shaping attempt saying it wasn’t bad for a first

attempt”.

 

Upon shaping his second board Gunther came crashing back to earth, stating that

the board was an absolute piece of shit.

 

Gunther came over to Australia in August of 1973. This was long before Indonesia

was the top place for Aussie surfers. South Africa was the other ‘go to’ surf destination.

He’d been told so much about the Australian lifestyle and surf. The Unites States was

another option but in South Africa at the time, getting any job at will, was difficult.

In South Africa the black workers did the unqualified work, so for many white South

Africans, had to get more qualified type of work which wasn’t always that easy if you

left a job. Australia was a different prospect during this period as you could do

labouring or similar jobs.

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He decided to start his travels by emigrating to Australia so he paid my own way

and therefore wasn’t obliged to stay if it didn’t work out.

 

Australia – A New Land

 

Arriving in a new country can be a daunting prospect for anyone. A visit to the

McCoy Surfboard Factory in Brookvale paid off. A young Gunther full of confidence

told them he wanted to shape, however Peter Lawrence, who was the head shaper

for McCoys at the time, gave him a shot and told him that there was no way he

could shape, but offered him a job pin lining and finish coating.

 

“This was a punt in itself on his part, but I thank him for placing some trust in me

and I took to it with gusto”.

 

Gunther loved doing multiple pin lines, a design where a few pin lines are placed

and painted next to each other. While there, Gunther started shaping a few of his

own boards and learnt more about the process and skills required. This was a

chance to begin and develop his own iconic style.

 

Rohn had the chance of moving to the Central Coast of New South Wales with

Geoff and his company, McCoy Surfboards, when they decided to move the factory

to Avoca but after having gone to Cactus Beach, located on the edge of the Nullarbor

in South Australia with friends soon after he arrived, he was too keen to travel up

the East Coast of Australia, also to see some South African mates of his who were

in Noosa at the time. With the opportunity to hang there for a while, he declined

the offer to McCoys.

 

After spending three months spending time with his friends from South Africa,

he decided that Noosa was not for him. After all he was still used to the surf of

Cape Town however the waves on the points at Noosa had great shape, and

although he considered the waves good, they were too soft and with Winter having

just arrived, they weren’t getting any decent swells.

 

While Gunther had some good days at Sunshine Beach, his friend Tony Cerff,

who came over on the same ship as Gunther, advised him there was a fairly

rapidly growing surf industry in Byron Bay. Cerff was working for Warren Cornish,

laminating Bob McTavish and Warren Cornish Surfboards, so Gunther headed

south and helped him with the fin and filler coatings.

 

“I remember Michael Petersen also shaped some boards for Warren Cornish but

at the time, I continued to shaping my own but there was some substantial names

in the surf industry there at the time”.

 

After a short while a shaping job came up at SOL Surfboards in Ballina,when a

Californian shaper, by the name of John Scott went back to Santa Cruz. SOL

Surfboards was owned by John “Keggsy” McKeag, a sign writer from Cronulla.

John looked at Gunthers board and figured it looked presentable enough to give

him a job. Once again he also helped finish coat and pin line the boards.

 

Around 1975 a local, by the name of Lindsey Grant, indicated to Gunther, that he

wanted to start making boards. Lindsey knew how to glass boards and ‘Keggsy’

wasn’t keen to continue his operation, so he started up and got Gunther to shape them.

 

“I named the boards ‘Free Flight’ after the company that sponsored me at one stage

back in South Africa. We got a bit of a production line going and the label was

becoming known as a legitimate brand”.

 

As a shaper, Gunther got a decent rhythm going and the boards were looking ok by

his own opinion. Phil Myers was sanding boards and starting to shape his own as

well. By 1978, Rohn started getting itchy feet again, and along with his future wife

Sue and 2 year old daughter Melanie in tow, set off to Bali enroute to England to see

his parents, who had moved from South Africa and ended up in Bournemouth.

Gunther had an idea, which was really a grand plan, the idea to end up in surfing’s

‘Mecca’, Hawaii.

 

While Gunther and his young family were in Bali, the American Quicksilver crew

were also over there. This crew included the legendary Jeff Hakman, surfer and

Co-founder of Quicksilver USA, Bob McKnight and a surfing friend from South

Africa, John Winship, who was living in California. Something that immediately

stuck out for Rohn was the fact they were all surfing McCoys.

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On a day surfing Padang Padang and it was loosely decided between the crew that

Geoff McCoy himself was going to approach Gunther to shape for him in California.

McCoy was at this stage the ‘go to man’ for boards. His designs were the most cutting

edge of the time, and at the infancy of pro surfing, most of professionals wanted to

be on one of his boards.

 

Heading Stateside

 

After seeing his parents in Bournemouth and arriving in California, sure enough

there was a job for on offer at McCoys. The job came just in time,as the Rohn’s were

almost broke. Gunther was working for a McCoy franchisee and shaper, a fellow

by the name of Greg Pautsh.

 

It was approaching Winter and things were a bit slow. The shop had only been

going for a few months, so luckily Gunther also found some extra work, shaping

for Rick James in San Clemente.

 

“Rick was a classic, a really great guy. He also manufactured Herbie Fletcher

surfboards and I got to know Herbie pretty well too and it’s interesting that the

building is now the main Lost showroom”.

 

By the time summer of 1979 was approaching, McCoy’s got really busy so Rohn

stopped working for Rick. This was around the time his own shaping was really

starting to take off.
The goal however was still Hawaii. At the end of August to the beginning of

September, Gunther was off. He was burnt out out and time to start the next

chapter in his life.

 

Hawaii

 

There was no master plan to speak of when Gunther Rohn landed in Hawaii,

he just knew that it was the place he needed to be and that he wanted to continue

shaping. After a while Jack Shipley of Lightning Bolt was good enough to give

him a start and he shaped a few ‘Bolts’ for the shop in Honolulu.

 

An opportunity to ghost a few surfboards for Randi Rarick eventuated. Ghosting

which basically means shaping under someone else’s name, wasn’t easy in those

days, as the boards had to be shaped ‘Rarick’ style off the blank.

 

“I’m stoked to say, he was pleased with my work”.

 

Gunther also worked with Mike McNeil, shaping the boards and then after he

completed the lamination process and they were sanded, Rohn would pin line

and finish coat them. The boards they did were called Star Bolts,with glitter thrown

in the resin pin lined bolts. Many of those boards were for surfers like Rory Russell

and Jackie Dunn, who Gunther stayed next to, when he was living with Mike and

Billena Willis.

 

Surfboards were made in a shed up Pukea Rd, a location that looked straight onto

the legendary surf break, Pipeline. The crew would be working and checking Pipe

and as soon as it came on. Gunther would be able to test some of his designs, as

he was surfing it together with a few of the aficionados of the day like Rory ,Jackie,

Bruce Hansel and Doug ‘the Roach’ Brown before the rest everyone caught on and

got onto it an hour or so later.

 

In what may seem funny for the time, the pipe master Gerry Lopez was somewhere

else for those months. After only four months on the ‘Rock’ that is Hawaii, he felt

that he had enough.

 

“It’s a bit small and closes in on you. There were so many things happening on

the land and I was very close to it. Sue and Mel were back in Australia and I

just wanted to get back”.

 

Gunther made a lot of good friends, absolutely surfed his brains out, sometimes

within an inch of his life and knew someday, he would be back. The time spent

in Hawaii would make Gunther a well rounded surfer and shaper. He got home

on Christmas Eve to a thriving shaping scene.

 

Back to Australia 

 

Back in Australia there was big things happening, an amazing time. Free Flight

was full on into six channel Col Smith boards.

 

“It started soon after I had left Australia. Phil was doing a really good job and

the brand was growing. I did a few flat bottoms but all the shops and public seemed

to want off Free Flight at the time was channels”.

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Paul Neilsen was good enough to give Gunther a job and he started shaping boards

for Brothers Neilsen. Going up to Burleigh Heads for three days at a time meant he

could do a few boards for Burleigh Heads Surf Co. whilst he was there.

 

Back to Byron

 

About a year or so later in 1981, Jet Surfboards started up in Byron Bay. Dennis

Anderson and Peter Dewar were at the helm. It really was a ‘state of the art factory’.

There were a fair few shapers at Jet which included the likes of Tony Cerff, Bruno

Buzzolan and Dennis Anderson himself. Luckily for Gunther he got a job shaping

at Jet too. This was a time where the multi-fin surfboards were becoming popular.

 

Frank Latta entered the picture a bit later to the Jet Surfboards family and made

the Simon Anderson Thrusters. Gunther shaped his own boards and also did

the Nat Young Models.

 

“Now while Nat’s designs looked a bit unrefined,they worked so well! They

were a double concave vee through the bottom and single fin with 2 outrigger

fins. I made myself one and I think to this day, it was one of the best boards I

ever owned. I still use a similar bottom on my wider short boards these days,

but make it a double concave running into a concave vee. The boards are

very fast and have immense drive”.

 

Town & Country

 

By 1983 things started to go a bit pear shaped at Jet Surfboards. Gunther found

himself in limbo for awhile, doing the odd shaping job but this would be the year

Nigel Perrow got the licence for the iconic Town & Country Surf in Australia.

Town & Country, based at Lennox Head on the north coast of New South Wales

was becoming a big label in surfboard manufacturing. Martin Potter was a big

name still associated with Town & Country even to this day, even though he left

3 years later to join Glen Minami at Blue Hawaii. His boards with the green and

yellow sprays were instantly recognisable.

 

“Town & Country’s Hawaiian contingent at the time consisted of legends in the

sport like Dane Kealoha, Larry Bertleman, Louis Ferreira and this was very

powerful crew. Nigel offered me a job. Nigel,Tony Cerff, Nev Hyman and myself

were the shapers. Bruno Buzzolan joined later and remains there to this day”.

 

Before things picked up, Gunther went back to South Africa for 3 months to work

for Lisle Coney at Country Rhythm Surfboards, located at Margate on the South Coast

of Durban. This would be a great opportunity after ten years to see all his old friends.

Along with wife Sue, Mel and new family addition Ollie, Gunther drove down to Cape

Town via great surf stops in East London, which included the odd stay in Jefferies

Bay with friends.

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Country Rhythm at this time, were doing a lot of boards including the Simon Anderson

Thruster. Anderson who visited South Africa to surf the Gunston 500 contest, visited

Country Rhythm for a few days to overseeing things went surfing with Gunther, something

any shaper would dream of.

 

As Gunther remembers, “We got some great waves on the South Coast and I can tell you,

I surfed a lot during that 3 month stint”.

 

When a surfed out Rohn got back to Australia, things at Town & Country were in

full swing. The next 6 years were busy times. Town & Country had an assembled

an incredible team.

 

“Shaping boards for Martin Potter and Kingsley Looker was great opportunity

and experience”.

 

Gunther got David ‘Davo’ Davidson and Rod Kerr on board and in 1985, Nick Wood

and Kingsley Looker had joined his team of riders but the biggest moment was about

to come.

 

“My biggest moment in the industry to that stage, came when Nick Wood won Bells

1986, at the age of 16 on one of my boards. This was a defining moment for me as a

shaper and set me well on the way to shaping a lot of boards for other pro surfers

on the tour.”.

 

Town & Country was riding a wave of success and had surfers like Shaun Munro,

Rod Brimms as well as locals Craig Holley and Steve Smith.

 

Gunther also travelled to France in 1988 to produce Town & Country boards for

Maurice Cole in the Rip Curl factory.

 

”It was a great experience going to Hossegor, France so early in the piece. Great beach

break barrels, uncrowded waves and the area was totally unspoilt compared to today”.

 

Considering himself very fortunate in this regard, Gunther was one of the first shapers

in Hossegor to shape up to 8 boards a day, something that he did  for 3 years and,

through circumstance, in 1991 ended up working for Pukas Surfboards across the

border in the Basque country.

 

“I got to know Miguel Aspiroz and Enigo Letamendia from their trips to Maurice

to get advice on manufacturing, and our relationship remains to this day”.

 

Local Motion

 

In 1992 after nine years at Town & Country, Gunther went out on his own. Carl Birch

of Cheetah swimwear had acquired the licence for Local Motion Surfboards, a brand

which was getting real powerful in the market place, and offered him the opportunity

to make the surfboards or give the brand to Allan Byrne. Gunther had a big decision

to make, either he went out on his own and start his own label or there would be two

new players in the game if he didn’t accept . It was a great opportunity and he appreciated

the offer and accepted it gracefully.

 

 

Sunny Garcia was on board as a Team Rider at Local Motion as well, which was great,

as Gunther had already been working with him at Town & Country, who gave him the

opportunity to go back to Hawaii and shape. He also got to go to Japan, working for CHP

and then exporting boards over there and there were others like Tony Moniz. Gunther had

assembled a very strong team in Australia too, with Shaun Munro sweeping all before

him in junior competitions. Included in this mix was Darren O’Rafferty, Tom Whitaker,

Trent Munro and Lee Winkler. Later he would get Shaun Cansdell, who was touted to

be the next big thing. Gunther was instrumental with Calvin Maeda of Local Motion,

to get John Shimooka on board as a team rider when he made his comeback to competitive

surfing and then qualified for the ASP World Tour.  Vetea ‘Poto’ David also joined the team.

It’s quite astonishing the from 1992 till now Gunther put 8 surfers on the World

Championship Tour, including Jake Patterson.

 

“I recently spoke to Simon Anderson, who is one of my good  friends in the industry

and he didn’t think anyone else in Australia had put that many surfers onto the pro tour”.

 

Gunther continued to go to Hawaii to shape in summers as well as most winters. He’d

make his Local Motion boards and then stay for the Haleiwa contest before heading

back to Australia for the Christmas rush.

 

Sunny and Gunther’s relationship extended past Local Motion with Garcia ending up

surfing for Pukas Surfboards for a long time. In 2000, Garcia became the ASP World

Champion and one can only think that a one Gunther Rohn had a big hand in that.

Gunther in fact stayed in Hawaii after the Pipe Pro that year to celebrate with him

 

nd the people from Pukas, as he worked for them just about every year.

 

With the 2000 Olympics in Australia that year, he figured the Xmas rush wouldn’t be

the same as previous years as some in the industry figured everyone would have spent

their money and sadly this proved to be right.

 

“Local Motion in Hawaii basically dropped the ball, yet I still do the label on

request”.

 

Surfboards shaped with the Gunther Rohn signature are now mainly GR Shapes

and Designs or Gunther Rohn Surfboards, located in Ballina on the North Coast of NSW.

 

Gunther Rohn looks back at his time shaping and can pinpoint some of the biggest

moments in surfing’s history, which you can do this if you were there.

 

“Besides the short board revolution of 1967 and 1968, the biggest design breakthrough

was Simon’s thruster. Like a lot of us, Simon found it hard to surf twin fins.

He took Geoff McCoy’s Lazor Zap and basically put three fins in it and the rest

they say is history. It worked a treat. Lots of speed, drive and very manouvreable.

Everything you’d want in a board. What I liked about it too, was the credit Simon

gave to the people around him who also had input, unlike some others who tended

to take all the credit for themselves”.

 

When asked how he’d like to be remembered when he hangs up the planer, he sums

it up without hesitation, “That I did everything with integrity and honesty”.

 

Q & A with Gunther Rohn

 

Craig Tonks:: What’s the biggest change with shaping since you started and how

do you approach design?

 

Gunther Rohn:: My ideas and concepts come from everything I’ve learnt since I

started shaping surfboards back in 1972. I use the old concepts with the new all the

time depending what I shape. I mix and match. We have a Retro model, like the

Town & Country the author has, and all I change is make the roll through the

bottom a concave Vee to make it faster. I use vees a lot in wider boards. One thing

that will never come back,is the ‘S’ deck. Goes totally against the foil. Totally flawed

in my mind. Heavy vee and low entry like the Tracker model won’t be back either as

I don’t think it actually tracked. Fin systems were a big breakthrough as you can

change fins and get a different feel.

 

CT:: Is there one surfer who could convey the riding aspects of a board to assist design?

 

GR:: Kelly Slater is very good at conveying the riding aspects of a board and so is Shane Wehner.

They understand the different design concepts of a board and what makes a surfboard tick.

Shane helped a lot there, surfing for me for years as a team rider.You can add Matt Griggs

to that list, he could really articulate how a board performed.

 

CT:: Do you have anyone you’d think of as a mentor?

 

GR:: As far as a mentor goes, I’ve got to be honest,but I don’t really have one. I am mainly

self taught. Tony Cerff,who worked with me at Town & Country, then came over to me at

Local Motion, knows a hell of a lot about board design and theory and really knows how to

use a planer, but I never really hung in a shaping bay with anyone for hours on end.

Brian Ingham,whose worked with me for years,and I are a lot rougher with a planer and

we rely a lot more on the surform, but we get the job done. I would have to count Geoff

McCoy as a mentor. He helped me so much in my formative years, giving me the opportunity

and teaching me about his board designs and shaping them. He taught me a hell of a lot, but

after California and the advent of the Lazor Zap in 1980,we went in different directions.

 

CT::How important is junior development to surfing in Australia?

 

GR:: Junior development is of the utmost importance. They are our future professional

surfers to carry the flag. It sounds like we might be lagging, because a year or two ago

Surfing Australia went to Brazil and they were blown away how far ahead Brazil was in

their training methods. This has to be addressed and we need sponsors for a better

junior circuit, so this has to be looked at without further delay, as this is the country’s

professional surfing future at steak. It’s very difficult to get a rating for the WQS tour

these days.

 

CT:: Many collectors are after Gunther Rohn boards from the 80’s, do you have many?

 

GR:: I don’t even have any decent ones, but I’m starting to collect some of my history

now. I sold off way too many to get money for the next board or team board I’d have

to make. I keep a fair few of my own boards these days and have a few old team

boards of Sunny’s and others.

 

Craig Tonks

 

Simon Anderson

Gunta is a great bloke and a valued and highly skilled member of the board making industry in Australia. He has worked with many of the top surfers locally and from around the world and continues to offer custom made quality shapes with a personal touch. He has the ability to produce boards for the individual whether at pro level on down to average ability surfers, from grommets just starting out to older guys at the end of their surfing days who need help in a different way. There is not a lot of board makers with the skill level, experience and knowledge of board performance to cover the broad spectrum of surfer needs in a variety of surf conditions. Gunta is definitely a shaper ranked highly amongst the best in our industry. Gunta is one of my board making heroes.

 

Matt Hoy

Gunta is such a great bloke and makes awesome boards.

 

Phil Myers

Gunther is passionate and hard working, which people really don’t appreciate. Not only that, he is a great shaper.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Platt

Long before Quicksilver and Rip Curl became world famous brands,

Australia had a brand which grew from a kitchen on the Northern Beaches

of Sydney and look set to become one of the early stars of the then fledging

surf industry.

 

Kev 1

 

The Platt name should be a household name in the Australian surf industry

however it’s place has been slightly overlooked as the swells of time have

rolled by.

 

So what went wrong?

 

Kevin Platt was part of the crew who would give us the shortboard we

know today.

 

While history gives much of the credit to Bob McTavish and Nat Young,

the contribution Kevin Platt and his family made to the early Australian

Surf Industry is quite important.

 

Kev 2

 

Kevin “Platty” Platt was a war baby born in 1944. His parents Lance and

Gene were ballroom dancers as a hobby. Kevin was an only child and is

remembered to be close to Lance and Gene.

 

The ball started rolling when Gene Platt started making board shorts

at her Northern Beaches home in Sydney.

 

One has to remember there wasn’t much of a surf industry clothing wise

back then so it wasn’t long before Gene Platt was the go to person for

surfwear.

 

Getting your hands on a pair of Platts Boardshorts was a popular thing

at the time. Kevin attended university for a couple of years but stopped

when board shorts took off.

 

Setting up a surfshop on Pittwater Rd, Dee Why was very pioneering at

the time, with Kevin’s newly shaped boards and Genes clothing, meant

moving out of the kitchen and into the big time.

 

Kev 3
Bob McTavish was one who was close to Kevin, “Platty was quietly spoken 

but with a wicked sense of humor. He loved the Goon Show and was 

always mimicking the characters, a really fun guy to be around”.

Kevin was a brilliant surfer in he Phil Edwards mould and absolutely ripped

in Hawaii in the Winter of 1963. One of the classic movies starring Kevin

was the Bob Evans movie, “Midget goes Hawaii”. This film shows Platty

surfing with his hands low, feet close together and was one of the crew who

was a super clean trimmer.

 

Kevin began a career making surfboards and shaped at Keyos, doing classy

trimming boards just like Midget and Mick Dooley.

 

The lure of Noosa for it’s uncrowded waves and warmer waters meant Kevin

Platt migrated north to Sunshine Coast to shape at Hayden’s then Cords in 1966.

Those close to Platt, figured the move north to Noosa was a chance to cut the

apron string from his mother, Gene

 

It wasn’t long before Kevin Platt was out on his own and making Kevin Platt

Surfboards.

 

Kev 4

 

If you see a board from the period of 1970 to 1974 and you will notice a few

things different to the boards of this era.

 

The boards moved away from the traditional rails which were more 50/50.

The rails on a Kevin Platt Surfboard had a harder bottom edge, the same as

the boards we ride today. Feel the rail of one of Kevin’s early boards and

he was on a track to the future.

 

The decks were flatter and the tails had more volume and resembled a rounded

square. They were truely ahead of their time.

 

Sadly the thought of her only son being so far away meant Gene would soon

sell the surf shop in Dee Why and follow her only son north, buying a house

at Sunshine Beach.

 

Gene and Lance opened a restaurant in North Noosa called “Salt & Pepper”

due to her love of cooking but according to McTavish it was the wrong type

of food for the time.

 

“You have to remember it was Noosa in the late 60’s. Gene was cooking slushy 

food when we were all going Vegie. It didn’t do too well”.

 

Like many surfers of the era, the arrival of drugs contributed to the downfall

of Kevin Platt. This was a time where we lost a generation of great and talented

surfers.

 

It’s no secret that Kevin loved getting high and was always willing to share a pill

or two, the concept of brotherhood flowed strong with Platty but this was a time

when the hippie era was slowly drawing to a close.

 

A friend of Kevins at the time and Noosa local Richard  remembers,

“I was surfing at Noosa when Kevin asked me to come glass for him.

I needed to make a few dollars so thought why not.

I remember one time I was working and Kevin came past and had

a handful of purple pills. He offered me one but it wasn’t my thing”.

 

Even through this time Platty was making some cutting edge surfcraft.

 

Kevin Platt was soon to marry his first wife Suzie as McTavish explains,

 

“Suzie was Noosa’s local beauty and I’m talking the only local beauty. They 

built a house together on the edge of the National Park. The house was 

formerly a sawmill so the rooms were huge”. 

 

Kevin soon sold the house and built another house at Sunshine. It may have

seemed a contradiction but Platty opened a health food store in Noosa and

all the time he was doing the dance with drugs.

 

These were tough times and a divorce from Suzie saw Kevin on the move and

out of Noosa. Kevin later descended into alcoholism and spent most of his time

drinking with his Dad Lance at Cabarita Sports Club. Sadly this saw the money

he had made, disappear into the bottle.

 

Kev 5

 

Rehab would be next in the journey of Kevin Platt but a lapse back to the bottle

saw him slowly dying of alcohol poisoning.

 

McTavish laments,

“After Kevin got re-married I lost contact with him but I heard that he once caught his 

wife cheating so he backed a concrete truck up to the bedroom window and filled it up”. 

 

Sadly for Kevin his Father Lance died then Gene followed. Many who knew her

from the early days were sad that she had became bitter and grumpy. The funerals

were simple and reportedly attend by few, however Gene could easily be remembered

as a pioneer in Australian surfing, much like Isobel Latham.

 

Kev 6

 

Bob McTavish, one who was there with Platty through the early years, through to

the Noosa years sums it all up.

 

Kevin was a kind and intelligent man, experimental in surfboard design and a 

thoughtful person but he had an addictive personality. I feel like he spent his life 

trying to escape Gene. I love and miss him, our good mate Platty”.

 

Writers Note: Many thanks to the great Bob McTavish for his honest

and thoughtful memories of Kevin, Gene and Lance Platt. Thanks to

Richard  for his memories of working with Kevin at Noosa. Kevin doesn’t

receive the credit he deserves for what he and his family contributed

to what would become a multi billion dollar industry. In researching

this article is it clear, if you knew Kevin, you loved him like a brother.

 

 

Midnight Oil – Is It Time??

Midnight Oil have been missing from the musical landscape since 2002. Is the time

right for the Oils to return? Let’s look at the issues.

 

When is the time right to get the band back together? As the Hoodoo Gurus say,

“There’s no time like the right time”.

 

Let me be the first to say that Midnight Oil have nothing to prove. The music

created lives on and always will.

 

Hailing from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, the Oils conquered the world

but would a re formed Oils need to do that? The answer is no.

 

Music

Would the Oils be relevant in 2016? That’s an easy yes. Listen to the back

catalogue. Short Memory, US Forces, Read About It. Well the Russians are in

Syria, the US Forces are still giving the nod and Corporate Greed is greater

than ever.

 

There is still so much going on in the world and even in our own back yard.

I think there is plenty of material but what about the songs.

 

The last song that really stood out for me was Golden Age. Listen to it and

you can hear complexity in the music and

lyrics. I am sure there is a whole file of music ready for lyrics.

 

Have a listen to The Break and it reminds you of Wedding Cake Island

and how much melody Midnight Oil had in their music.

 

Although the public buy less CD’s, many buy music through iTunes or use

online streams such as Spotify.

 

Digital sales are a big part of the landscape these days and doesn’t need

physical sales, solving a problem from the last USA tour where the Oils

music wasn’t available for fans to buy even with sold out concerts.

midnightoil

 

The Oils don’t need a major label but that is said without knowing the current

arrangements and contracts in place.

 

The Oils were the first of the Independent acts. They had their own label in

Powderworks Records which can be used again, so that’s theoretically covered.

 

When it comes to distribution then Reverberation looks like a good avenue if a

major label isn’t the go.

 

As Rob Hirst said about The Break, We can do a tour and be back by bin night”.

 

The Oils can tour at their own pace.Even though venues like Lizottes would be

too small, there is still a range of venues for the Oils to play.

 

When Midnight Oil left the landscape the Day on the Green series of concerts

weren’t as big as they are now. Looking at some of the recent line ups. Hunters &

Collectors, Hoodoo Gurus, Sunnyboys and Cold Chisel. The Sunnyboys were one

of the very unlikely reunions.

 

Would they be as good as they were? Well I would say they would still kick ass.

You can’t expect the Oils of The Antler days. I’m sure most of that crowd would be

in their 50’s or 60’s and am sure they aren’t what they once were.

 

Garrett recently said in an interview that he had picked up the guitar again and

started some writing. This shows the bug is still there so I wish someone would

tell Craig Bloxom from Spy V Spy that.

 

The time is right for Midnight Oil to jump into Moginie’s studio and work on

some tunes.

 

The time is right to do it on their own terms and their won way. But isn’t that

the ways Midnight Oil has always done it?

Oils 78

Crankin Surfboards

Crankin Surfboards

Crankin Surfboards are 100% Australian Made and hand shaped in Newcastle. Due to the low volume of around two boards per month, there is no need to use computer cut blanks.

Made in Australia

Made in Australia

The idea is to create a performance boards that performs well in small surf and the Jaeger model was introduced to fill this need.

Jaeger

The 80’s retro design was inspired by the shaping of Gunther Rohn, whose work in the 80’s with Town & Country inspired Crankin Surf head shaper, Craig Tonks to learn more about surfboard design.

IMG_4088

The concept of Crankin Surf is to create affordable products but using high quality materials. This is achieved by very low profit margins.

Crankin Surf started as a hobby, something to do on days off when there is no surf.

It has evolved into a range of clothing, surfware and surfboards.

“I had ideas of boards I wanted in my mind but no one sold anything like it. So I set about making them. I went and found a shaper, Richard Haynes who had shaped for decades and asked him to teach me to the old school techniques of shaping”.

 Crankin Surf is not Chlli or Lost nor does it want to be. It hopes to find it’s own market of people who want something different.

Surfoplane – An Icon Thrives

Surfoplane

surfoplane-1

 

In 1933 Dr Ernest Smithers invented a product that would not only save countless

lives on the 6th February 1938 in the infamous Black Sunday rescues at Bondi Beach

where over 250 lives were saved but has been under the feet of some of our decorated

surfing world champions.

 

The humble Surfoplane were a staple the beaches around Australia and the world for

over 40 years and with the possibility of the brand disappearing, Land & Sea Sports

stepped in and saved the iconic label.

 

Not only does Land & Sea Sports sell the classic Surfoplane, it has a range of products

under the Surfoplane name which includes Bodyboards, Longboards, Shortboards

and now Skateboards.

 

The best thing about the Longboards and Shortboards is the Low Impact Foam Deck

designed for safety during those learning times. The boards still perform similar to

their fibreglass or epoxy counterparts.

 

The Shortboard comes in a 6”6 Fish and a 6ft Performance Tri-fin which sell for $299 & $249 respectively and the Byron Bay Longboard comes

in 7ft and 8ft for a very reasonable $299 & $349.

Byron Bay Logger 7ft Mustard

 

A great item for when the waves aren’t playing the game, is the range of

Surfoplane Skateboards.

 

The Bondi Cruiser, Coastal Rider and Surf Self Rider all have a classic retro look

with the Bondi and Coastal boards having a bamboo deck with the Self Rider

being made from Canadian Maple.

 

It’s such a credit to see companies keeping our iconic brands alive and while

these may not be for the hardcore surfer, they are loads of Summer fun.

That Shark

We have all seen the footage a thousand times now of the “Fanning Shark” but lets dig a little

deeper and hopefully put it into perspective.

 

Shark

 

What made this different to any other attack?

 

The big difference was it was live on television and streamed live on the World Surf League

(WSL) website. By breaking it down further, the camera was actually on Fanning at the time

the shark arrived on the scene.

 

It could have happened during the first wave Julian Wilson caught or on his paddle back out

but it happened as he was on screen.

 

Any shark experience will shake up anyone, specially those who grew up after the Jaws era,

a film that made some people rethink their love of the ocean.

 

Many surfers have shark stories even me.

 

Surfing with a mate on an unpatrolled beach in Northern NSW, a 6ft shark swam directly

under me and freaked me out and what followed can only be described as a very quick paddle in.

 

Always one to face fears head on we paddled out again the next day and somehow my legrope

came off. The long swim in which seemed to take forever was a good chance to think about

sharks and is probably how my fascination with them began.

 

Becoming a Scuba Diver a few years later gave me the opportunity to get up close and

personal with these majestic creatures.

 

As a avid watcher of shark documentary’s on the Discovery Channel, it’s interesting to

see the behaviour at J Bay.

 

Great Whites are known to attack from underneath at speeds of up to 40km/h with a bit

force of 4,000psi which is massive.

 

During an attack a film covers the eye to protect it from damage. The shark relies on

sensors in it’s nose to guide it.

 

Due to attacking blind, the animal doesn’t know what it has till it grabs it. Due to the

ferocity of the initial attack, most humans die from blood loss and rarely eaten as Hollywood

would have us believe.

 

The Fanning Shark may have been young and taking a bit of a look but happened to get

caught up in Fannings legrope, however try telling Fanning this.

 

Commentator Peter Mel tried to say this but was quickly shutdown.

 

So where to from here for Fanning?

 

The main thing is to clear the head and get back in the water, the quicker the better.

 

The drive home from the airport could be more dangerous but no one can imagine how

shaken up he is, same for Julian Wilson.

 

Wilson was paddling back out when it all unfolded and it is well known now, the thought

processes running through his mind.

 

Were the actions of Wilson brave?

 

Paddling towards an area where an attack could be occurring is brave. It takes much

more than guts. It is a heroic act and should be seen as so.

 

As during last Summer the people of Newcastle have learned that sharks will be more

common as they chase bait closer to shore.

 

The Newcastle shark had it’s own Twitter account (@Newyshark) and recently re-emerged with the appearance of (@j bayshark).

 

The Newy Shark even had it’s own range of clothing, placing some humour into the plight

of the surf starved surfers over Summer.

 

Surfers will always venture out into the water as the chances of an attack are slim at best.

We are luckily not a favoured food of sharks.

 

Whilst the Fanning incident was rare, it is a timely reminder that we share our beloved

ocean with many creatures.

 

We are surfers, we love and protect the ocean but we are small and insignificant in the

scheme of things. This includes protecting the sharks we so often fear.

 

Fanning and Wilson will be back. They will be nervous that first time and probably many

times after that, but be assured that this will not stop them.