WAVES of memories are guaranteed to wash through the North Haven Bowling Club at the North Haven Boardriders’ 100 Years of Surfing dinner on November 3.
Described as a “Black Tie (If you’ve got one) Surfing Event”, the evening is being held to celebrate the Camden Haven and Hastings Valley’s rich surfing history and record of producing surfing champions, organiser Helen Cross Glover said.
Helen and her team have assembled a huge array of photographs and memorabilia of surfing events and personalities from the area - dating right back to 1912 when, she says, Port Macquarie man Harry McLaren made Australia’s first surf ski or hollow surf board.
After trying unsuccessfully to shoot the breakers at Town Beach in a “duck canoe” Harry, after watching dolphins in the water, modified his punt, fitting “round tails” to the front and rear.
He propelled it with butter paddles, which were tied to his wrists and to the side of the modified canoe so he could get back on after mishaps.
The “board” was so successful he made five more of them and one of them - belonging to one of the night’s MCs Ian Bell - will be on display at the dinner.
A second Harry McLaren board has also survived and is used as an honour board in Port Macquarie’s Flynns Beach surf club, Helen says.
The local surf history pre-dates even that milestone, Helen says, with a Port Macquarie “surf society” - a forerunner to the surf lifesavers - holding demonstration days on Town Beach in 1909.
And that was just the beginning.
The Hastings Valley and Camden Haven have produced a long string of junior, senior, men and women surfing champions in the last 100 years, she says.
The area has eight active surfboard clubs, all different and all contributing to the area’s surfing prowess.
We also stage some of the country’s most successful and long running surf competitions, she says, such as the Mal De Mer Muster, which attracts Malibu riders from around Australia, and the Blind Rock Memorial event, which has run since 1981.
The North Haven Boardriders dinner will feature old super 8 film footage, photos, artifacts, speakers and 60 picture boards, and deal with each decade of the century of local surfing history.
During the evening the local “top 20 surfers of all time” will be announced, as well as the “club of the century” and the “surfer of the century” - who will be someone who has been a high quality surfer, a good ambassador for the sport and someone who has had great input into surfing in the district.
Organisers are planning to compile a book containing the history collected for the 100 years of surfing dinner.
The event is scheduled to run from 6.30pm to midnight on Saturday, November 3, at the North Haven Bowling Club and tickets cost $40. To book tickets contact Roz Chalker on 6559 9008 or Helen Cross Glover on 6559 7143.