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Unvarnished wooden surfboard

Date: 1920s
Dimensions:
Overall: 80 x 2640 x 500 mm, 29.7 kg
Medium: Wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from L Notting
Object Name: Surfboard
Object No: 00000716

User Terms

    Description
    This 'Alaia' style of solid board was the first type seen on Australian beaches, and was reminiscent of the Hawaiian boards introduced by Duke Kahanamoku in 1914 at Freshwater beach. These hardwood boards were stable and heavy, with rounded rails and a squared tail. This unvarnished surfboard was made during the 1920s. The original owner, Fred Notting, was the New South Wales surfboard champion of 1944 and 1945.
    SignificanceThe influence of Hawaiian surfboard designs on Australian board making was felt up until the 1950s. This surfboard is representative of the solid hardwood designs common on Australian beaches between World War I and World War II.
    HistoryThough 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.

    Wooden boards were usually covered in layers of varnish, oil or shellac to prevent the board from becoming waterlogged. They were finless until the early 1950s, and often featured a brass or copper band or sheet fitted to the nose to prevent the wood from splitting. Redwood was recognised as being tough and durable, though much lighter boards in balsa and plywood were also popular.

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