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Surfoplane surf mat 1930s

Date: 1930s
Overall: 860 x 575 x 15 mm
Medium: Rubber
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Surf mat
Object No: 00026676

User Terms

    This Australian designed and manufactured beach craft became the dominant prone surf craft used on Australian beaches from the 1930s to the 1960s and was enjoyed by people of all ages. It allowed children to gain surf experience before advancing to surfboards. The craft was also widely used in New Zealand , Hawaii, California, South Aftrica and England.
    SignificanceThis material is representative of Australian surfboard design and surfing memorabila in Australia in the 1960s and 1960s. This was a period when the professional surfing ciruit was in its infancy and surfers such as Midget Farrelly and George Greenough were consolidating their reputations as significantt board designers.
    HistoryThe Surfoplane was invented by Dr Ernest Smithers, of Bronte, Sydney in 1933. After eight years in development it wnt into mass production and became extremely popular with people of all ages.The Surfoplane could be hired b by the half hour on Sydney beaches such as Bondi. In 1933 Stan Macdonald resigned from his position as Chief Beach inspector at Bondi beach and took up the Surfoplane and deckchair franchise.

    Manly Surf Life Saving Club used the Surfoplane for rescues during the 1938-9 season and an event for Surfoplane riding was included in the 1938 Australian Surf titles. In 1940 Surfoplane Pty Ltd produced only black and yellow models in a response to increasing patent infringements.

    In the 1940s Olympic swimmer and industrialist Sir Frank Beaurepaire's rubber company acquired the manufacturing rights and marketed the Surfoplane under the Advanx brand. There were three models, the Elite (5ft), Standard (4 ft) and small (3ft). Colourws other than black were alos available. They sold to the public from the factory at Neild Avenue, Rushcutters bay for 8 pounds ($16). The company also offered repairs and a compressed air service.

    By the 1960s the design was available from other companies such as Clarke Rubber. The Surfoplane was superseded in the 1970s by the Coolite, Zippy boarsd anf the more light weight canvas mat. In the 1980s the dominant prone board was the Morey Boogie board.

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