The Australian surfing community gathered in Manly last night to honour North Narrabeen legend Col Smith as he was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.
Smith became the 36th inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Smith was a dominant figure at Sydney’s North Narrabeen during the 1970s and 1980s when the area not only produced some of Australia’s most influential surfers but also ideas that affected the sport on a global scale. Smith’s aggressive goofyfoot vertical attack on the wave was considered quite radical at the time and surfers in the area were in awe of his ability.
‘This is such a fantastic honour; I got a bit teary,’ said Smith. ‘I’m really honoured when you look at the list of other inductees. It’s absolutely phenomenal to be part of it.’
Smith said it was an exciting time for surfing when he was ruling the line-up at North Narrabeen, but it took some time before he was allowed to surf the famous break.
‘You weren’t really allowed to surf there until you were considered good enough and I wasn’t allowed down for ages while growing up. Once you were in there you had to be very aggressive, surf really well and just not back down.
‘I always liked the way Wayne Lynch surfed so I tried to copy it and then I thought I could do better than that. It seemed quite natural to go up a wave and come down on the same track and the more vertical you went the easier it was to go down.’
Smith won an Australian title in 1977, but it was the list of surfers he inspired that reflects Smith’s legacy to Australian surfing. Simon Anderson, inventor of the thruster, grew up watching Smith at North Narrabeen and regarded him as one of the best surfers in the world at the time. Smith was also a respected surfboard shaper creating the Morning Star brand and was creating boards for, and mentoring, a young Tom Carroll, who would take Smith’s vertical top-to-bottom, lip-bashing assault on a wave to the world stage and two World Titles.
Smith’s induction was one of a number of presentations as part of the 2014 Australian Surfing Awards.
Surfing Australia life membership was awarded to Victorian Mal Gregson for his many dedicated years of service to Surfing Australia. Mal was a tireless worker not just for the organisation but for the sport in general in Australia for more than three decades.
Three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning was named Male Surfer of the Year, while ASP Women’s World No 2 Tyler Wright was named Female Surfer of the Year. The Rising Star Award was won by Victoria’s Nikki Van Dijk, who makes her debut this year on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour.
The Waterman of the Year Award was won by Tony ‘Doris’ Eltherington following his miracle rescue of South African surfer Brett Archibald, who had fallen overboard off Indonesia and considered lost at sea.
Eltherington, who pioneered surfing in many parts of Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean and is synonymous with the surf charter industry, also won the Peter Troy Lifestyle Award for the person who has given their life over to surfing and in doing so has enriched the surfing culture around him.
The ASB Surfing Spirit Award for a project or campaign that has given back to surfing through charitable, humanitarian, environmental or philanthropic pursuits was won by National Surfing Reserves for its dedication to recognising iconic surfing sites around Australia.
The Surf Culture Award for a project that captures and explores a quintessential element of Australian surfing culture was won by TC, the autobiography written by two-time World Champion Tom Carroll and his brother Nick.
The Simon Anderson Club Award went to Merewether Surfboard Club following their hugely successful 2013.
Luke Shadbolt’s photo of a surfer’s excitement at an exploding wave in Brazil won the Nikon Surf Photo of the Year and Missing, the film following world champion Mick Fanning, was named Nikon Surf Movie of the Year.
Tasmanian big-wave champion Marti Paradisis was the inaugural winner of the Original Source Intense Surf Challenge ahead of South Australia’s Josiah Schmucker. The six-month-long, digital, interactive big-wave competition garnered a huge following through the site www.intensesurfchallenge.com with more than 120,000 views of contestants’ entries.
Paradisis won $30,000 for his efforts and promptly gave $5,000 to Schmucker, who had already collected $5,000 as runner-up.
‘Marti is an extremely talented surfer and we are delighted to crown him as our Original Source Intense Surf Challenge Champion,’ said Constantine Gendis, managing director PZ Cussons. ‘We believe in celebrating the world’s most intense natural experiences and the response from all the voters shows just how captivating the world of big-wave surfing is. All 15 finalists have a huge amount of skill and we’d like to thank them all for sharing their passion with us over the last six months.’
The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame is proudly supported by the NSW government, through Destination NSW, and is a key event on the NSW Events Calendar.
2014 AUSTRALIAN SURFING AWARDS RECIPIENTS
Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee: Col Smith
Male Surfer of the Year: Mick Fanning
Female Surfer of the Year: Tyler Wright
Surfing Australia Life Membership: Mal Gregson
Rising Star: Nikki Van Dijk
Waterman of the Year: Tony ‘Doris’ Eltherington
ASB Surfing Spirit Award: National Surfing Reserves
Peter Troy Lifestyle Award: Tony ‘Doris’ Eltherington
Surf Culture Award: TC by Tom Carroll and Nick Carroll
Simon Anderson Club Award: Merewether Surfboard Club
Nikon Surf Movie of the Year: Missing
Nikon Surf Photo of the Year: Luke Shadbolt
Original Source Intense Surf Challenge Winner: Marti Paradisis
~ Photos Jake White