Bobby Brown heads to Bells Beach Surf Festival

April 18, 2011

Image of Bobby Brown surfing at Bells Beach 1967

We’re excited to announce The Bobby Brown Exhibition “Celebrating a Surfing Legend” is now heading to the Bells Beach Surf Festival as part of the legendary contest’s 50th Anniversary, and will be on display at Surf World Torquay.

It is entirely fitting that the exhibition is on show during the 50th anniversary of the event as it was Bobby’s last competition and final appearance in 1967, where he placed 4th in the open men’s Australian National Titles behind Nat Young (1st), Midget Farrelly (2nd) Peter Drouyn (3rd), with Ted Spencer and Keith Paul coming in 5th and 6th respectively.

“Bobby’s board that year with the white slipcheck patch on the nose deck was an immediate eye grabber, and we all rushed off to our surf shops to cover our noses like Bobby’s board!” said Victorian surfing historian Bob Smith.

The 1967 Nationals

The 1967 Bells Beach National finals were a significant event, with the showdown between Nat Young and Midget Farrelly, both World Champions, and also in the board design stakes with Nat on his World Championship model influenced by Bob McTavish, and Midget on his high performance stringerless design. It was a titanic struggle between both the arch rivals, with Nat eventually dominating on the final day. It was Peter Drouyn’s first year in the opens, placing a credible third and then Bobby, Ted and Keith dueling it out for the minor places.

The ’67 titles signalled the end of the 9ft longboard era, as the following year Keith Paul won the Australian titles on an 8ft board. 1967 also saw the emergence of Victoria’s kid genius junior Wayne Lynch, who at 14 years of age took the National Junior title from Kevin Parkinson, Butch Cooney and David Trelor.

Bobby & Lorraine

Bobby and his fiancé Lorraine McIntyre who were planning to marry at the end of 1967 and go to Hawaii for their honeymoon drove down to Bells in his work ute. “Bobby was into the basic things in life and we camped up on the Bells hill sleeping under the canopy with a lot of blankets to keep us warm from the Victorian cold nights!” said Lorraine.

Midget Farrelly, who was greatly admired by Bobby Brown, said if Bobby had lived he would have always been a contender for the number one position in Australian surfing. “How ever you look at it – Bobby was going to be there with Nat, Ted, Russell, Drouyn, Keith and Frank Latta! These guys were finalists throughout the 60’s – he would (always) have been one of them!” said Midget.

Bobby Brown was tragically killed over a game of pool in August 1967. His assailant was later acquitted of a manslaughter charge citing accidental death.

Bells Beach

One of Bells’ greatest success stories is Simon Anderson, who won his first Australian junior title there in 1971, and 10 years later in 1981 again rode to victory in epic surf, this time on his then revolutionary 3 fin thruster.
Simon will help launch the official opening night at Surf World Torquay on Tuesday 19th of April from 6.30pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Bobby’s older brother John Brown will also attend the launch handing out his special Freedom poems dedicated to his late and great brother.

The Bobby Brown Celebrating a Surfing Legend Exhibition will be at Surf World Torquay from Easter until July 2011.

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