In the beginning was the word and the word was the beginning… but when was the beginning? Certainly for surfing at Alex it was long before us, even before ‘Slug’ Kelk and gangly young McLardy dragged their dunggas down to The Korner to be parked in the dunes for the weekend, before the Wilkes generation, before O’Connor’s cutting up of the Headland, before Granddad down from Kin Kin hired out the big redwood on Maroochy Beach around the end of WW1, even before our South Sea Islander mates Great-Grandparents came down to surf Alex from Buderim, even before The Dreaming, when the turtles ruled…
Our ‘Mal’ Chapter began when Rooster dropped off the “Headland” keys to Seaweed in ’75 and the “yuk, yuk, yuk gone surfing” sign came down (for a while – the Peacocks & I hated the torture of it at our bus stop - we had to go to school! Darrell!) and the doors opened (at least on Sat morning). On the tank-stand lived two critical characters in our story: Mighty Mal & Ron. Both about 9’6’’; Ron was about a 1962 “RON”; and Mighty was of course a “Hayden” about 1965-66: No one really owned them, we never really knew where they had come from: they were just part of the Simpson’s “Blue Waters” establishment.
The late ‘70s was a heady swooping twin time of VERY short boards and HIGH performance surfing. We were very conscious of The Korner’s place in surfing innovation: HK & modern materials, GG’s visits, MacT… and now Jim Pollard channel’ing the shop floor and Pascoe/Hopper racking it up; BUT unlike Byron’s consistency which had embraced some of our North Coast talent we had to somehow quiver our way through the vagaries of Sunshine Coast swell. You rarely saw some of the older guys anymore (Barry Bluff, Terry McLardy, Bruce McK; or HK & Johnny Walker snow’erly experimenting with skis; or Les & Doggitt doing their thing with thicker boards; or ‘Bali’ Bob L. with his modern long boards… or Mungo just playing his guitar): the too short boards just didn’t float. - by Desmondo Nicholson.
Bob McTavish Interview.
October 1995 Alex Mal Club Newsletter by Noel Woods.
Our own very special Interview of the Month by Noel Woods, talking to surfing legend, Bob McTavish.
Noel - Congratulations on your team riders success in the National Longboard Titles with 1st and 2nd in the 9ft Open. Do Ray (Gleave) and Jason (Blewitt) give you much feedback on board design or do they listen to your ideas?
Bob - Both guys are very fussy. Each board I make them has
some new feature they have requested, all I do is make sure the lines are correct. When some feature is proven, we incorporate it into their model, so the customer wins.
Noel - Since the 60's you have always pushed board design hard towards progressive shapes. Are we going to see any changes in the 90's or just fine tuning?
Bob - The first five years of the 90's has seen the development of many features in longboards - hips in the tail, tri-plane rockers, trim channels, forward mounted fins, stabilizing bevels up front, better nose concaves and rails, double concaves in the tail. That's a lot of development! The boards I'm shaping now are nothing like what I did through the 70's and 80's (basically just recycled 60's stuff). The second five years of the 90's will no doubt see more real change - not just refinement. For example - big wave longboards, barrel-riding longboards, probably a revolutionary trimming board to go faster in a straight line than anything before. Also some young guys are demanding better floaters and lip bashing characteristics that could demand development there.
Noel - Longboarding is making a huge resurgence worldwide. Good or bad and why?
Bob - Great! Firstly, time pressures of modern life limits most of us to scheduled recreation times - you've gotta surf whatever's there when you roll up to the beach. Longboards allow that. Two, the family can surf small funky waves with you. Three, longboarding has always been a legitimate part of surfing. Small zippy waves just suit longboards better than short. It never died out in my mind. My wife and I surfed more alone at Ti-Tree in the 70's than the 60's! No one wanted small perfection on short boards, they preferred bigger onshore slop at Sunshine Beach!
Noel - I noticed an ad recently with Gaz riding a soft MAC-T. Tell us a more.
Bob - The MAC-T is my solution to several problems: 1.finally an entry level safe board 2.cleaner on the environment 3.cheaper 4.how many shapes are left in my 51 year old arms?
Noel - The classic 60's photos of you at an empty National Park at Noosa has always made me wonder about the era. Was it really the good old days?
Bob - Life is only as good as your view of it! Surroundings help, that's for sure! Yes, the Sunshine Coast was paradise in the 60's. And our attitude was good - we were fully appreciating it - not blind to it. We knew it was paradise surfing the Bluff, Moffat's, Currimundi, Main Beach, Johnson's. National Park and Ti-Tree by ourselves, just a half a dozen guys on the whole coast, week days anyway. We were very fussy, travelling daily to hit the best! We had the maturity of Bob Cooper and his American friends who'd visit, to fill out our knowledge envelope.
We worked at Hayden's, fully tuning our hot trimming 9'3" boards. It was the hottest act in Australia, tucked away in the rurals. It lead to the development of the short board, the world wide revolution of 67,68.
Yes, it was the good old days.
Today the Alexandra Headland Malibu Club is a vibrant family orientated club that supports and promotes the love of longboarding. Surfing members range from 7yo to 70yo and club competitions are held the last Sunday of the month at the Bluff or beach depending on conditions. The club organises four main events during the year.
The Alexandra Headland Winter Longboard Classic over the June long weekend. This comp is a three day multi-divisional family event (divisions from under 16 to over 65) combined with evening events creating a long weekend of fun and surfing. The quality of the surfing is always excellent with this year’s (2014) Open Winner none other than ex World Champ, Josh Constable.
The Jack Boast Memorial Junior Longboard Competition – in memory of Jack Boast who as club President actively promoted junior development - is a one day comp all about the Juniors, and is the only exclusively Junior longboard comp that we know of.
The Old Mal Rally is a celebration of the true roots of modern surfing and the boards they rode. This comp is all about having fun and does not take itself seriously; it usually includes some sort of hilarious shenanigans especially at the evening presentations.
The Annual Presentation and Christmas Party – usually an outdoor event to celebrate another successful club year, award trophies, applaud personal achievements and indulge in general club bonding over food and a hit of cricket.
The club has an active website The Alexandra Headland Malibu Club, a Facebook page and an open Facebook group.
All funds raised will be donated to The Alexandra Headland Malibu Club, which will assist for the purchase of a Defibrillator Machine. The cost is approximately $1,800. Defibrillation is a procedure used to treat life threatening conditions that affect the rhythm of the heart such as cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. The procedure involves the delivery of an electric shock to the heart which causes depolarisation of the heart muscles and re-establishes normal conduction of the heart’s electrical impulse. This therapeutic shock could trigger ventricular fibrillation, while the delivery of large electrical charges could reverse the fibrillation. Being prepared for any unfortunate situation is vital to any club. Your contribution small or large, will make a real difference. Thank you!