Windandsea: Legacy of the original boardriding club honoured
SURF SCENE with Andy Mac
BOARDRIDING clubs have long been the backbone of Australian surfing and nowhere else are they more concentrated than on the Gold Coast.
With eight active clubs along the coast from Duranbah to Mermaid Beach, an exhibition showcasing the local history of the famous Windansea Surf Club will be on display at Surf World in Currumbin this Friday.
First founded in 1962 in San Diego, California, the club set out to be the best in the world and membership were initially by invitation only.
An invite into the club was considered an extremely prestigious honour.
Initially dominating the Californian surf scene, high egos and other competitiveness among members eventually lead to the club's downfall, but its legacy inspired other prominent clubs to follow its winning example.
In late 1963 when the Californian club was celebrating its first anniversary, three Australian surfers from Bondi, Max Bowman, Denis Linsay and Dave Spencer, were asked if they would like to form an Australian branch.
Max Bowman was later elected the first Australian president of the club and created branches from Sydney to the Gold Coast.
In 1965, the Gold Coast branch elected its first president, Phil Waller.
That year, the team dominated the state titles at Rainbow Bay with Bob McTavish winning the opens and Peter Drouyn the juniors.
Drouyn would win consecutive National Juniors titles in 1965-66.
At the start of the shortboard revolution in 1967, the Californian team made its first historic visit to Australia.
By then, Australian surfers were on shorter boards than America.
In 1969, the Gold Coast Club hosted Queensland's first professional competition known as the "Manufacturers Challenge” and invited recognised Australian board labels and their surf teams to compete.
Gold Coast Windansea member Peter Drouyn won the final and first prize, a brand new motorbike.
By 1970, the Gold Coast was established as the official headquarters for Windansea with their own clubhouse built at Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise.
Arguably by then, Windansea Gold Coast was the most dominant boardriding club with Peter Drouyn winning the Australian Open title in 1970, followed by Paul Neilsen in 1971.
But by 1975, the club had largely faded and given way to clubs including Manly Pacific and later, North End.
Despite not being as big as it used to be, the club's legacy lives on with a branch on the Sunshine Coast which has 95 members, with many of the juniors competing in world recognised events.
This Friday night, Surf World at Currumbin will showcase the club's history with guest speakers and former members including world champion Wayne "Rabbit” Bartholomew, Keren Neilsen and Lawrie Jarmin, who will speak about the club's legacy with a slideshow and film.
The exhibition will begin at 6pm and cost $10 for admission, with a barbecue also being fired up.