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The home of 1960s surfing culture in Australia

Frank Pithers

Frank Pithers surfing photography



Frank PIthers surfing photograph

In Frank Pithers own words;

During the five years I spent on the road shooting pictures for Tracks Magazine I was privileged to witness really fantastic surfing by some of the worlds greatest surfers. Most of my time was spent travelling the Australian coastline and living out of a VW Kombi in the company of top surfers, our only mission was to get the best waves we could find, surf the shit out of them and get as many shots as possible for the next issue of the magazine. In the late 1960’s early 1970’s most of the time we would find the point breaks almost deserted. As a photographer to get great waves with a few of Australia’s best surfers in the water, was a real treat… It made my job pretty easy, I didn’t have to look hard to find great moves in the water, the blokes were pulling off amazing stuff. When you have great surfers in the water riding beautiful waves, the rhythm of the surfing tends to build in intensity, the guys seem to feed off each other and what they are doing on the waves. At the peak of these sessions some truly amazing surfing would take place. It was great fun and a real privilege to be able to catch some of those sessions on film. I remember one trip to Angourie, I was travelling with the great John Otton and the equally amazing Simon Anderson, we stayed at David ‘baddy’ Treloar and Brad Maye’s house-come factory. They were living at Angourie and making Wilderness surfboards at the time. During the next four days we had fantastic surf every day with virtually no one else in the water, the level of surfing was just mind blowing. All the guys had very different styles but all were extremely creative, such a joy to shoot. As a surf photographer, I don’t think it gets any better. There were a lot of real characters around in the 1970’s, loads of experimentation in board design and some very different approaches to riding waves. It was the beginning of the pro-era, but surfing hadn’t been formalised yet, it was still a little wild and crazy. I spent a week enjoying the hospitality of the Brothers Neilsen in 1972. Everyday involved and early rise and straight to Burleigh where the boys would surf all morning, home for lunch and the mid day movie. If the waves were still good they would go back to the beach, if not, into the factory to make boards. They lived the total surfing lifestyle. It was a great job for a young guy and I had some of the best times of my life working at Tracks and Surfing World magazines. I hope you enjoy this little blast from the past.

Frank Pithers and his dog