(In fact, the day he does so, Bells Beach is ten foot and near perfect. Two Torquay locals, Charlie Bartlett and Brian Singer, surf their brains out before going home to watch the other momentous event on black and white TV.)
In Australia, surfing is at a curious stage of its development. The “short board revolution” of 1967 has created a frenzy of experimentation in surfboard design and surfing technique.
In the cool climate of Victoria, sanity prevails in design and technique, if not in the temperaments of the surfers. The cold, always a great leveller, has created a hardy breed of surfer who has no time for the hoopla and hype of the glitter beach capitals of the world. And by 1969 these like-minded souls have begun to gravitate towards the equally no-frills seaside town of Torquay, just a couple of kilometres away from Bells Beach, home of some of the most challenging waves in Australia.