During the Heats Manly 1964

First World Surfboard Riding Titles, Manly, Australia 1964
by Garry Birdsall

Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia, staged the world's first surfboard riding championship. Sponsored by Ampol Petroleum and organised by Manly Council, it was a huge success. The world's best surfers gathered on the beach drawing large crowds for the heats and an estimated 60,000 people turned out to watch the finals.

I was lucky enough to have competed in this memorable event, where I shared waves and made lifelong friendships with surfing greats from all over the globe. Since that event 40 years ago, surfing has continued to break down language, race and religious barriers and to bond surfing mates together in a passion for the ocean and riding waves.

My painting During The Heats was inspired by my recollections of the world surfing titles of 40 years ago, 16th and 17th May 1964.