Smith won an Australian title in 1977 & inspired a generation
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 February, 2014 - Manly - The Australian surfing community gathered in Manly to honour North Narrabeen legend Col Smith as he was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. Smith became the 36th inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Smith was a dominant figure at Sydney’s North Narrabeen during the 1970s and 1980s when the area not only produced some of Australia’s most influential surfers but also ideas that impacted the sport on a global scale. Smith’s aggressive, goofyfoot vertical attack on the wave was considered quite radical at the time and surfers in the area were in awe of his ability.
“This is such a fantastic honour, I got a bit teary,” Smith said. “I’m really honoured when you look at the list of other inductees. It’s absolutely phenomenal to be part of it.”
Smith said it was an exciting time for surfing when he was ruling the line-up at North Narrabeen, but it took some time before he was allowed to surf the famous break.
“You weren’t really allowed to surf there until you were considered good enough and I wasn’t allowed down for ages while growing up. Once you were in there you had to be very aggressive, surf really well and just not back down.
“I always liked the way Wayne Lynch surfed so I tried to copy it and then I thought I could do better than that. It seemed quite natural to go up a wave and come down on the same track and the more vertical you went the easier it was to go down.”
Smith won an Australian title in 1977, but it was the list of surfers he inspired that reflects Smith’s legacy to Australian surfing. Simon Anderson, inventor of the thruster, grew up watching Smith at North Narrabeen and regarded him as one of the best surfers in the world at the time.
Smith was also a respected surfboard shaper creating the Morning Star brand and was creating boards for and mentoring a young Tom Carroll, who would take Smith’s vertical top-to-bottom, lip bashing assault on a wave to the world stage and two World Titles.
Smith’s induction was one of a number of presentations as part of the 2014 Australian Surfing Awards.