Brennan, Kevin


Australian teenage surfing genius from Bondi Beach; the 15-year-old winner of both the juniors and men's divisions of the 1965 New South Wales State Titles. "Known as 'The Head,' due to his disproportionately  large noggin," Aussie surf writer Wayne Golding noted in 2010, "he was a prodigy who could surf the pants off riders twice his size and double his age."

Brennan stood 4' 9" and weighed 94 pounds when he entered the 1965 NSW state titles, and on his way to a double victory beat the cream of Australian surfing, including Midget Farrelly and Nat Young. Brennan also rode beautifully at Noosa and Burleigh in Paul Witzig's 1967 surf film Hot Generation, snap-turning where other riders maintained trim, and tucking his small frame into the tube almost at will. The section in Hot Generation featuring Brennan and smooth-as-silk regularfooter Bobby Brown, riding alone in sparkling blue waves at Tallows, has become a touchstone for Aussie surfers of a certain age.

Early adulthood found Brennan addicted to heroin and petty crime, and he died in 1975 of an overdose in a King's Cross nightclub. He was 24. Australia's Surfing Life magazine in 1992 named Brennan as one of the country's "Fifty Most Influential Surfers"; a surf art show was held in Brennan's honor at the Bondi Pavilion in October 1997.