THE Palm Beach Boardriders, better known as the 'Palmy Army' will celebrate their 40th anniversary tomorrow night at Elevations.
The boardriders clubs in Australia are a proud tradition that stitch together the surfing community along Australia's surf coast.
But nowhere is it more intense than from Northern NSW to the Tweed Coast/Gold Coast/North Stradbroke and the Sunshine Coast.
In that 300km stretch, there are 17 clubs who represent the grassroots of surfing, catering for groms to grand masters in an environment which is as much about camaraderie as it is about competition.
All the top Gold Coast and Tweed pros credit their clubs for their development like Parko, Dean, Kersey (Snapper), Fanning (Kirra), Munro (Alley) Bottle (Burleigh), Durbo (Point Lookout) and the list goes on.
“We haven't had the champions like Snapper and Kirra,” said Glen Elliot, a guiding father of Palm Beach who holds the most open club championships at seven. “But we're had our share of unbelievable surfers and we have that type of respect that when you draw a Palm Beach competitor, you have good reason to worry!”
Elliot is one of the success stories of Palmy, now the Surfing Australia Judging Manager and ASP Australasia Head Judge.
He was a mere grommet when the club was founded and sanctioned by the ASAQ (now Surfing Queensland) in 1968.
Affectionately known as 'El Roy', he has seen the ups and downs and enjoyed all the good times.
“All clubs go through the up and down cycles,” Elliot said.
“Palmy's hit bottom and lost it's identity, but now it's back big time with the new president James Brydon and the boys have been 'frothin' in some of the best surf held in club rounds so far this year!”
Palm Beach is the 'character' club of the Coast with their insignia being the chaotic vulture taken from the KAOS Vulture in the TV show 'Get Smart'.
Their beach head has been religiously 25th Avenue and when GCCC talked of building an artificial reef there in 2004, the 'Palmy Army' was incensed with the idea and feverishly opposed it and successfully had the project squashed.
The other major achievement for the 'Palmy Army' is their very own sports club at the All Stars, Mallawa Drive, Palm Beach which has been renovated and ready for the 40th club presentations at the end of the year.
Third generation Gold Coaster, Dru Adler, a world-rated aerial surfer, has been the club champion for the last three years but according to Elliot will face some tough competition in '09 from the rising talents who take their competition very seriously but “not taking the fun out of it!”
It will be a massive reunion, tomorrow night from 6pm with live music from the Gas Band, their very own super-talented comedian surfer, Steve Alison, plus Lindsay Webb and the unveiling of the honour board showcasing Presidents, Secretary's, Treasurers and Club Champions since 1968 until the present.
For more info, call Jenny McDougal on 0437 648 278.