1968-1974 [text version]

1968-1974: THE NEW WAVE
In 1973 the voting age dropped to 18, giving Australian kids a more powerful voice. National service ended, along with decades of conservative government. The following year, as surfing brushed off its antisocial image and the smoky haze of counterculture cleared, Sydney staged its first ‘big money’ contest: the 2SM/Coca-Cola Surfabout.

In the next few years a new era of professionalism unfolded, with sponsorships, a fledgling surf ware industry and the development of a world pro tour. It was also the beginning of hardcore surfing. Thanks to a skateboard revival, ‘lay-back’ cutbacks and explosive backhand re-entries were carving up Sydney waves. And girls on the beach began to question their exclusion from the surf. Then along came the three-finned ‘thruster’…

Surfboards, Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross

Wesley Stacey, 1970–71
Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive. © Wesley Stacey

Brad Mayes, Bondi.
John Witzig, c1968.
Courtesy and © John Witzig


Kids on Manly boardwalk
Kenneth Clifford, 1960
Courtesy Dale Egan. © Beverley Clifford

Point Land. Dale Egan with Shane Egan airbrush board at Snapper Rocks
Shane Egan, 1973
Courtesy and © Shane Egan

Short John wetsuit
Sea Bee, c1970s
Mick Mock Collection

Desert boots
Mick Mock Collection

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