Hard to believe this head has authored some 25 critically acclaimed books

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Over the past fifty years, surfboard riding in Australia has moved from the rebel fringe to the sporting mainstream, producing some of the greatest champions the world has seen, while maintaining an edgy cool. For the first time this book tells the complete story, not just of the half‐century of organised surfing, but of the years of adventure and experimentation that preceded it.

The Queensland launch of Noosa author Phil Jarratt’s book, SURFING AUSTRALIA, a definitive history of Australian surfing will be at Surf World Gold Coast, on November 30.   Phil will be ably backed up by a panel of pivotal players in the development of the sport from its amateur status to the professional organization Surfing Australia is today.  Hosted by ‘Bushy’ Mitchell with special guests Paul Neilson, Alan Atkins and Rod Brooks, the event is sure to be a fun night with Phil and the panel members recounting past experiences.

According to Jarratt, the author of more than a dozen books documenting surfing’s development as a sport, lifestyle and industry, there could be no more fitting place for the Queensland launch than Surf World Gold Coast. There is so much history there, I get goose bumps every time I visit.”

Surfing Australia, a whopping coffee table book illustrated with more than 150 photographs and with forewords by multiple world champion surfers Layne Beachley and Mark Richards, provides the first ever detailed account of the sport’s pioneering years, from the repeal of the surf bathing prohibition, through the first attempts at standing on surfboards, to Duke’s demonstrations during the Great War, then on through the paddleboard years to the introduction of the Malibu performance surfboard in 1956. The book then recounts the years of the surfing boom and the development of competitive boardriding leading to Australia’s dominance in the professional era.

Says Jarratt: “I developed this history in conjunction with the governing body of the sport, Surfing Australia, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, but when I started to write it I realized I had to explain why a bunch of free spirits who rode the waves had felt the need to get organized, and that meant going right back to the introduction of the surfboard.”

The author says that while his book details the incredible careers of champions from Midget Farrelly (1964) to Stephanie Gilmore (2012), it also covers the grass roots of the sport, telling the story of how champion clubs developed from car pools, and inter-club meets often ended in brawls on the beach. “Surfing Australia is doing a great job of working in the corporate world to take our sport mainstream, and possibly to the Olympics, but I didn’t want to sanitize the colourful aspects that have helped create the culture, and to their credit, Surfing Australia didn’t want to do that either.”

Jarratt said that he wanted to make the book accessible to ordinary surfers like himself (he once made the final of a NSW schoolboy’s event), and to this end one of the appendices of the book is the most comprehensive compendium of Australian contest results ever compiled. “But I never found that schoolboy’s result with my name in it,” said the author. 
Phil Jarratt has worked in surf publishing and the surf industry for almost 40 years. He has been the editor of Tracks Magazine and Australian Surfers Journal and has contributed to most of the world’s leading surf publications.

His books on surfing include The Wave Game (1977), Mr. Sunset (1997), The Mountain & the Wave (2006), For The Love (with Kelly Slater, 2008), Salts & Suits (2010) and Australia’s Hottest 100 Surfing Legends (2011). He has been the recipient of Surfing Australia’s Surf Culture Award three times, and Salts & Suits was shortlisted for the 2010 Blake Dawson Business Literature prize. He is currently working on a “creative history” of Duke Kahanamoku’s 1914-15 tour of Australia.  Phil lives in Noosa with wife Jackie and their extended family and surfs every day there are waves.  

Phil Jarratt is available for interview. Phone 0400 118045 

SURF WORLD GOLD COAST LAUNCH, FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30 FROM 6.30PM – Entry $10.00 – Drinks and BBQ also available.

Surfing Australia Book Tour
Phil Jarratt will be doing a presentation on Australian surfing history and signing books at these locations:

Dymock’s Books, Warringah Mall, Brookvale, Thursday 22 Nov, 7-8pm
Unleash Books, Westfield Miranda, Saturday 24 Nov, 11am-12pm
Bookoccino, Avalon Beach, Wednesday 5 Dec, 6-8pm

MacLean’s Books, Hamilton, Friday 23 Nov, 6-8pm (with Mark Richards)

Surf World Gold Coast, Currumbin, Friday 30 Nov (with Rod Brooks, Alan Atkins and Paul Neilsen)
Annie’s Books on Peregian, Peregian Beach, Thursday 13 Dec, 6-8pm

Peninsula Surf Centre, Mornington, Thursday 6 Dec, 5.30-7pm
Surf World Museum, Torquay, Friday 7 Dec, 6-8pm
Lorne Beach Books, Lorne, Saturday 8 Dec 5.30-7.30pm


Jarratt is, at times, both a thorough researcher and a brilliant storyteller, threading a narrative that goes way beyond the stereotypical understanding of surfing as a fringe culture and deftly portraying it as a fundamental part of Australia's history without resorting to hyperbole or rhetoric. No Australian surf journalist could have done it better. His coverage of surfing's most dramatic period - the drug-addled late 1960s to early '80s - is unrivalled because he was there, and he tells it with unadulterated candour.

- Wish Magazine (The Australian), November 2012


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