Corky Carroll rides into 1970 world event, leaves humbled
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 July, 2012 : - - There seems to be a lot of interest lately in events that took place during the big change in surfing in what is called the shortboard revolution between 1967 and 1972. I keep getting asked about this stuff. So today I'll share a bit of what I remember about one of the bigger events during that period.
The 1970 World titles held in Victoria, Australia was more than less a pivotal turning point in my competitive professional surfing career. I was riding the face of about six or seven years of success and was pretty much at the top of my game as far as competition went. I went to Australia five months early after a great winter season on the North Shore and as the current U.S. Champion.
Originally the contest was supposed to be held on the Central Coast at a spot called "Foresters." It was a powerful reef wave with a good left and I was feeling pretty good about my chances. But, as happened two years before in Puerto Rico, they switched locations and moved it to Bell's Beach in Victoria. A beautiful right-hander.
Nonetheless, I was pumped. I had just won my third International Pro Championship at Steamers Lane in Santa Cruz on very similar right-handers and felt good about surfing at Bell's. The contest started off very badly for me. I got kicked out of the event the day before it began. It's a long story but I will try and make it as short as I can.
About a week before the contest the rest of the U.S team arrived in town and we all went out to dinner at a pub in Torquay. The wife of the owner wasn't all that happy about waiting on a bunch of what she probably viewed as "uppity" Americans. She was grumpy. The guys on the team picked up on it and were a tad rude. Things were said and bla bla bla, and everybody went away none the worse for wear and it was not a big deal.
Until Hevs McClelland, the appointed team manager for the U.S. squad, arrived in town and had lunch there and heard reports of rude surfers from the U.S. and it was "Corky and his lot." I was the only name she knew. Hevs was still angry from me calling him out on not taking care of us in Puerto Rico, so he took it upon himself to boot me out of the event.
Chaos ensued. Our team walked out and some members of other teams did the same to protest our ejection. It was one of the worst and best things to happen to me. Worst because the story never got told correctly back home and it took forever to undo the harm Hevs caused me. Best because I never would have guessed all these guys who were my competitors and had every reason to be happy I was out of the event came to my defense.
I was so humbled by this it completely changed the way I thought about everyone after that. After the protest I was reinstated to compete.
From where I sat the guys to beat were going to be Rolf Aurness, who was peaking at that time and had just blown everybody away in Hawaii that winter, and Nat Young. Nat just because he was so good at that time and was in his home waters. There was a short list behind those guys of which I considered myself a part of, along with Wayne Lynch, Midget Farrely and Peter Drouyn.
Midway through the event the surf went small. Rolf and I had been surfing a beach break a couple of hours to the west called Johanna that seemed to pick up the swell a lot bigger. We suggested they take a look at it, they did, and the remainder of the contest was held there. My bid ended in the semi final when I was sitting on the "needing one more half good ride" to make it through bubble. Didn't get it and wound up equal 7th.
The final had some solid overhead waves and amazing surfing. It was really close between Rolf and Midget. I think the fact that Rolf was slashing these monster bottom turns and spray flying off the lips backside, and that was probably looked at as more progressive surfing, is what won him the championship.
Midget was great but was drawing longer more traditional speed lines. In my eyes, it could have gone either way. But in the end, Rolf deserved the win, as he was probably the best surfer in the world on that day. Plus he was one of my closest pals; we surfed together everyday and went skiing all the time. I really liked and respected him.
That was the peak of Rolf Aurness's surfing career. For me it was a huge attitude adjustment.
Source: Corky's Blog
Author: Corky Carroll / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags, 1970, World Titles, Australia, USA Team, Rolf Aurness, Corky Carroll
Corky's Blog - Surfersvillage