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Image 1 for Surfboard library: it started with two girls wanting to surf with no boards

Adriaan van der Wallen centre, with surfers including Blaze Roberts (right) and Josh Leigh (yellow and white board). Photo: James Brickwood

Image 2 for Surfboard library: it started with two girls wanting to surf with no boards

Adriaan’s library has about 50 boards out on loan and another 30 or so at home "looking to get wet". Photo: James Brickwood

Surfboard library: it started with two girls wanting to surf with no boards

29 January 19


Library: noun, a building containing a collections of books, periodicals, sometimes films or music for borrowing by the public.

The concept is pretty familiar. Now surfing has embraced the idea. Don't know which board will suit? Or the size or even if you'll be able to stand up on the thing? With the price of some boards, perhaps better to borrow and return it later. So why not a surfboard library?

Lyrics to the Beach Boys Surfin' USA (you can hum the tune) include the lines: 'We can't wait for June; We'll all be gone for the summer; We're on surfari to stay; Tell the teacher we're surfin'; Surfin' U S A.'

The teacher in this case is Adriaan van der Wallen from Avalon. He knows the kids are surfin' because he loaned them the boards from his not-for-profit, no fee, extensive surfboard library.

Adriaan fixes up unloved boards languishing on nature strips or left out for the garbos and headed for one final unceremonious journey to landfill. He repairs dings, fills cracks and spray paints them with fresh surfy patterns then puts them in the library.

Mr van der Wallen, a sports teacher at Northern Beaches Secondary College, Cromer Campus said it started with two girls wanting to surf but who didn't have boards. "I got two boards for them and then not so long afterwards a bunch of Year 7/ Year 8 kids came up and started asking," he said.

"It started off with the school kids at Cromer campus and then it began to build a little bit. I was finding boards on council clean-up and doing them up or getting boards from garage sales - they were cheap, maybe between $20 and $50.

"It grew again and friends found out what I was doing and they would give me old boards they had lying around the house or in the shed."

Now there about 50 boards out on loan and another 30 or so at home "looking to get wet" in various stages of refurbishment. And it's not just beginners who are availing themselves of the library.

Blaze Roberts, also from Avalon, borrowed a longboard from the library and the won the state titles on it.

"I was out injured and couldn't surf my shortboard for a while so I wanted to start picking up the Mal [Malibu Longboard], I didn't have a Mal so Adriaan lent me one. I started riding that heaps and really enjoyed it and ended up competing in the longboard state titles on his board and winning my divisions, the under 18 girls."

Josh Leigh, 11, another library customer, is at the beginner level. "Adriaan found a board at the front of our house. Dad had a talk with him and that's when we found out he did the surf library. I started with a shortboard but I didn't think that was right. I had a go on my uncle's long board which was really good fun and then Adriaan found me the board I'm on now which is really good."

Mr van der Wallen added: "Sometimes they say they are going on schoolies, to Bali or they are going surfing and ask if they can they take the board.

"I say, sure. Just bring it back back when you are ready."

The good thing is, unlike some lending libraries, there's no fines for late returns.

 - AUTHOR: TIM BARLASS

 - SOURCE: THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

 - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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