Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Stoked" by Bob McTavish.

Ever wondered what surfing was like in the early 60's?

This insightful autobiography tells the personal story behind this visionary designer, larrakin and national icon.

‘Bob McTavish - Stoked!’ takes you back to a simpler, more innocent time when it seemed that anything was possible.

Reading his story, you will frequently find yourself amazed at the lifestyle of a young surfer in the sixties. From stowing away on a boat to Hawaii to eating spiders, it is a witty, human story written with a wry smile that will be enjoyed by people of all ages - surfers or not.

I surfed the east coast from 1964 and am still surfing today, Bob McTavish was a hero to us young surfers then. If you ran into him on the northern beaches of Sydney or any beach on the coast he always took the time to say "Gidday" and if the waves weren't up a talk about surfboard design could be on the cards.

No doubt most surfers from that era that traveled the coast whenever we could would have a McTavish Story. His ability on a surfboard was legendary but he wasn't really interested in competitions. Bob was more about making a better surfboard and surviving as the original "surf bum".

Bob would do practically anything for a feed. There was no dole in those days and most of us who traveled up or down the coast looking for waves had jobs so most trips we would eave Sydney Friday afternoon after work and drive all night to where we figured a wave would be depending on weather conditions. After surfing all weekend we would set off home Sunday night getting into Sydney Monday morning for work.

Around 1967 there were a glut of laboring type jobs available in Sydney. If you traveled to work on the train through the then light industrial suburbs of Sydney many factories backed onto the rail lines around St Peters, Redfern, Tempe etc. The back of these factory walls had huge signs offering employment!

The surf up the North Coast got a little more crowded as we worked for a month and saved every cent and buggared up (or down) the coast for as long as the money held out. I could live on $1.00 a day for food and slept in the back of an old panelvan. Petrol was a little extra but was pretty cheap in those days and three or four guys would always throw in some coin.

When the money ran out it was back to Sydney, go for a train ride to find another job and work for another month while staying a mum and dad's place in preparation for the next trip. This book will tell you the stories a lot more eloquently then I can. I borrowed a copy from my local library.

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