1972: the year surfing changed forever


31 January, 2012 2:30PM AEST

1972: the year surfing changed forever

By Candice Marshall & ABC Gold Coast Breakfast

A group of local old-time board riders remember surfing before it was a competitive sport, when ‘soul surfing’ and leisure dominated surf culture.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1972 World Surfing Titles in San Diego, California.


The Sons of Beaches ’72 exhibition shines a light on this seminal period in Australian surfing history, giving audiences an insight into the epic year that was 1972.

Before names like Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, and Dean Morrison dominated the Gold Coast surfing landscape, there were the legendary original ‘Coolangatta Kids’.

The exhibition follows the ‘Coolie Kids’ journey from Australian surf breaks to the World Surfing Titles and the highs, lows, waves, and parties along the way.

It also examines the controversy that occurred out of the water and the culture shift driven by social change and youth revolution.

The exhibition includes memorabilia from the era including a collection of surf magazine and newspaper articles, original photographs, competition posters, as well as surfboard displays demonstrating the evolution of the shape of both boards and fins

Local film maker Glenn Blight has also produced a documentary featuring original unseen footage from the 1972 World Titles, as well as super 8mm film footage of the original Coolangatta Kids surfing at local breaks.

“The corner stone of the whole exhibition is the documentary on the 1972 World Titles.” Glenn says.

“There’s some great stories, it’s basically the tribe talking, it’s not a fancy/merchandising-style film, it’s a proper documentary on the 1972 World Titles… and the tribe speaks, they tell you the whole story.”

The documentary has sparked many memories for Surf Journalist and ‘local legend’ Andrew McKinnon


“This was the birth of professional surfing, there’s no doubt about that, but…”


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