Search the Collection
Advanced Search

View of the shore from double surf ski AIRES

Date: 1950
Overall: 202 x 252 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jack Mervin O'Brien Estate
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00039915

User Terms

    This photograph was taken by Jack O'Brien from his double surf ski ARIES during his record-setting voyage from Wollongong to Sydney in 1950. It was taken 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) off Stanwell Park looking north. O'Brien described in newspaper interviews how 15ft waves threatened to swamp and overturn his surf ski. He wore lumber jacket and cardigan and swimming shorts to keep warm during the voyage.
    SignificanceThis photograph relates to John 'Jack' O'Brien, who pioneered endurance surf ski paddling in Australia and completed ten endurance trips from 1940 to 1962 between Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle. In his double surf ski ARIES, O'Brien set two Australian records - paddling from Wollongong to Sydney in 1950, and from Sydney to Newcastle in 1952.
    HistoryJohn 'Jack' O'Brien, former Queenscliff lifesaver and professional boxer, was a pioneer of endurance solo paddling using single and double surf skis. Over the course of ten trips from 1940 to 1962 he attempted or set non-stop paddling records on ocean trips between Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle. His training regime included cycling 48 km a day, following a strict vegetarian diet and 24 hour endurance paddling sessions.

    Being tied to his craft in rough seas, navigating by day and night and avoiding hazards such as reefs, rocks and sharks were all part of the challenge. In 1952 he claimed a world record for the greatest distance for non-stop ocean paddling in a 24 hour period, paddling 128km in 22 hours between Watson's Bay and Newcastle. Although his claims were contested in the media and subsequently bettered by others, he is remembered for pushing the boundaries of ocean paddling on surf skis.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: View of the shore from double surf ski AIRES

    Assigned title: Photograph view to shore from double ski AIRES

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.