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Australian single fin balsa and fiberglass surfboard

Date: c 1958
Dimensions:
Overall: 2860 x 545 mm, 10.1 kg
Display dimensions: 2800 x 545 x 202 mm
Medium: Balsa wood, resin, wax
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Surfboard
Object No: 00009214
Place Manufactured:Waverly

User Terms

    Description
    Manufactured by Wallace Surfboards, this single fin balsa and fiberglass board features the maker's sticker and a painted figure of a girl carrying a surfboard, under which the words 'Gidget' have been painted in black and white.
    SignificanceThis board exemplifies the development of new surfboard designs in the 1950s. It was used by Jan Baikovas at Cronulla and some of the Northern Beaches, including Whale beach.
    HistoryThe board was purchased for Jan Baikovas by her father in 1958, when she was 16. Living in Blakehurst, NSW, Jan visited Sydney's beaches as a young teenager, borrowing solid wood boards from friends she had made through working at St George County Council. The balsa board was specifically made for her so that it would be lighter and easier to ride and carry. A family friend from Kogarah, Rollo Smith, painted the Gidget logo on the board, as she was the only girl surfing at the time.

    Though Australia was first introduced to surfing in the late 19th century by traders and travellers who had passed through Hawaii, the surfing demonstration of Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku at Freshwater Beach in 1914 was a significant moment in Australia's surfing history. Solid hardwood planks were common on Australian beaches between World War I and World War II, and pre-dated the Australian surfing boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Designs were often similar to the Duke's 1914 board, which was shaped from sugar pine purchased from Hudson's Timber Mill in Sydney, and incorporated many of the standard Hawaiian design characteristics.

    The end of World War II opened up new possibilities in surfboard design. Many new materials had become available through advances in technology during the war. As a result, fiberglass coated Malibus were developed in the late 1950s. These allowed surfers a greater range of maneuvers than early wooden boards. The 1950s also saw experimentation in surfboard design, with additions such as a fin aiding maneuverability and stability. The Malibu shape was introduced to Australia in 1956 when a group of Californian lifeguards brought with them new Malibu boards made by Joe Quigg and the Velzy-Jacobs duo. Australians began experimenting with balsa, foam and fiberglass designs, and eventually the Malibu went into mass-production.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Australian single fin balsa and fiberglass surfboard

    Primary title: SINGLE FIN SURFBOARD WITH LOGO ON THE NOSE FEATURING A FEMALE FIGURE WITH A BLACK AND WHITE SURFBOARD WITH `GIDGET' WRITTEN BENEATH

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