I’m kidding. Sort of. It wasn’t Greg Noll alone who convinced Australian surfers to quit riding for Queen and clubhouse in 1956, and just do it for their own selfish enjoyment. No, peel it back further and I think what this great protean moment in surf history comes down to is how you look while carrying your craft across the beach. It’s like the way teenaged boys used to pick up guitars, to get into bands, to get onstage, to get chicks. The young male brain. Unformed in many ways, but smart enough, cunning enough, to understand what draws the female eye. So look below. Put yourself in the beanie-covered mind of an Sydney beach clubbie. There’s your mates over there, grimacing manfully toward the shorebreak, each one yoked to his club ski like he’d committed a crime against the shire. And now here comes the Yanks, relaxed, crooked little half smiles, holding those new boards like pool cues.
Surprising, really, that Aussie surf life saving clubs lasted beyond 1957.