August 14 - 20, 2016: Issue 276

Bernard Farrelly - A Community Tribute

Bernard Farrelly – A Tribute

Reams have been written this week about a gentleman with backbone, a backbone that would only bend when he was surfing, skateboarding, sweeping a surfboat, windsurfing, paddleboarding, surf-ski racing but perhaps not so much when he was hang-gliding.

Why known for backbone?: when smoking marijuana smoking became synonymous with surfing by 1969, a sport which is about immersing yourself in pure elements by being a pure element yourself, he spoke out:

Does the beach take dope, do the waves take dope, do the sea gulls take dope?” Mr. Farrelly wrote  “Man, if you’re part of that scene, you won’t, either.

He wasn't alone in this stance. It was preceded in 1964 by a belief that the emerging 'surfie' loafers would be replaced or that surfing itself would return to those who were about surfing, as stated in a Four Corners interview, and echoed by his fellow purists that same year. 

Why backbone II: when grubby fingers started infiltrating a sport dedicated to and founded in altruism, he stood up against this too:

Midget Farrelly created Surfblanks Australia in order to break a local monopoly that was strangling the surfboard industry by offering unlimited credit (on blanks and materials) while at the same time competing against its customers by retailing finished surfboards at wholesale prices.

Midget's first passion was surfboard making (from age 14) but he recognised the reality of having to become a foam maker in 1968 as he watched long established brands go out of the industry with huge blank and material bills they could not support.

Surfboard makers are creative people. Their product is more like art than consumer product. They inspire other surfers with new design, shape and colour. Their joy comes from what they make with their hands. Being business minded is near to last on their priority list.

To this day Midget encourages shapers/makers to avoid debt (blanks and materials), look at their bottom line and be profitable so that they might stay in the industry they love.”

Retrieved from: www.surfblanksaustralia.com/about-us/our-business/why

Above: Midget at Palm Beach SLSC Fundraiser, January 2016.

While high praise for his prowess in all these sports he loved has filled columns for decades, he was a family man first and foremost, husband to a gentlewoman for over 60 years, hero to three girls, grandfather to six and a brother to a sister too. 

It is these people who have lost their darling. 

Top surfer married

SYDNEY, Sunday (AUP). - Australian surfing champion Bernard (Midget) Farrelly, and the girl he married yesterday in a quiet beach-side wedding, have left on a two-week honeymoon to Queensland. His bride was formerly Beverly Carter, 20, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs John Carter, of Avalon. Top surfer married (1966, March 14 - Monday). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105891533 

N.B.: ‘Beverlie’, is the way the lady spells her name.

Right: Always side by side - here on the sand at 2012 Sir Adrian Curlewis Twilight Carnival

Mr. Farrelly didn’t like or trust the media, small snippets, tiny glimpses in are all that were offered since he was put offside by those who perpetuated a means to their own ends many decades ago. 

Mr. Farrelly loved community though, he stood up for Barrenjoey among the rest of us, stood up when surfing right up until taking off for other waves, stood up among the boaties on beaches when battling that horrendous scourge so many families battle against privately for years, like the rest of us. 

He stood up and still stands tall.

Among all the ‘published’ voices heard this week it is a few Tributes from his community, those he stood among, placed on record here. There are thousands offering condolences and memories both locally and from communities around Australia connected to ours through his love for surfing and surf life saving sports. These make it clear this community has lost a treasured member, a southern version of their own North Star. 

We’re enraged off the damned c has taken another, weep for his family and wish to give them peace, space and time to heal in even while wanting to hold them closer, and bloody annoyed again in knowing we won’t see his waves in boat or on board this Summer, in between taking it easy on our shores.

Dee Why Surfing Fraternity, where Mr. Farrelly was first president in 1961, also the year he was the junior champion of Sydney's surfriders and already shaping boards and probably at work when this photo shoot took place, held a paddle out in memory of Midget which took place on Saturday August 13, 2016. 

"There are really no words to describe how amazing this moment was. With just over 120 people in a circle sharing some amazing words of a true champion/gentlemen of our sport and our club!

Thank you to everyone who attended. Midget will forever be remembered and his legacy will live on through our club! "- Dee Why Surfing Fraternity

"Great to be a part of Midgets farewell at Dee Why today, big thank you to the Dee Why Surfing Fraternity for hosting us. Massive props to Nick Carroll whose words today were magic and made it clear that Midget Farrelly is Australia's answer to Duke Kahanamoku and quite possibly the most accomplished waterman of all.  He had mastered so many different types of ocean craft and been dedicated to the sea for such a long time that he is quite simply the king of our tribe. Thank you Midget, you are my inspiration." - Barton Lynch

These proponents of early surfing first appear in The Australian Women's Weekly in Spring 1961 in a series of photographs taken by Ron Perrott and explained by Kerry Yates, who would go on to write more on the subjects, in a Feature called 'Down the Mine':


Bernard "The Midget" Farrelly doing a perfect "quasimoto." 

Ron Perrott, of Harbord, took the pictures on this page and the one at the foot of the opposite page.  "DOWN THE MINE" ON SURFBOARDS (1961, September 20). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), , p. 4 (Teenagers' Weekly). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47249167

N.B.: Please visit the Dee Why Surfing Fraternity’s History page – wonderful insights here: www.dysf.com.au/1960.

This would be Mr. Farrelly (kneeling in center) and some of those mentioned in the above  Dee Why Surfing Fraternity History:

THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY Presents Teenagers WEEKLY

August 22, 1962 - Supplement to The Australian Women s Weekly - Not to be sold separately

AUSTRALIAN WINS INTERNATIONAL SURFBOARD CHAMPIONSHIP IN PERU -story page 3 Teenagers' (1962, August 22). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), , p. 1 (Teenagers Weekly). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41860039 


Our cover boys are some of the surfboard riders who competed at Narrabeen, one of Sydney's northern beaches, during the rally organised by the South Pacific Surf Riders Club last season. No title (1962, August 22). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), , p. 3 (Teenagers Weekly). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41860059 

From that  'Australian Wins International Championship in Peru' story on page 3. 

International surf champ By Kerry Yates

Photo: BOB PIKE riding one of the great Hawaiian waves during last summer's international championships. Photo: Below, holding the bronze seagull trophy he won in the Peruvian Championship while John Severson is presented with his cup for second place.

Wherever the surf is running best - anywhere on the coast between Surfers' Paradise, Queensland, and Torquay, Victoria - there you'll find Bob Pike. Enjoying the sun, sand, and salty spray, he's also training hard, for in a few months he plans to be off again to South America to defend his title of Surfboard Riding Champion of Peru.

BOB, now 22, won the championship last March in competition with the best from Hawaii, California, France, and Peru, and he made such a hit with the people of Lima that they asked him to come back next March - all expenses paid. An old boy of The King's School, Sydney, Bob's home is at Manly, just north of Sydney Heads.

The first Australian to win a surf championship overseas, he was a member of the 20 strong Australian team which competed in the International Surfing Championships at Makaha Beach, Hawaii, last summer. Because he injured a leg he had to drop out before the finals. Several members of the team qualified, but had to return home before the finals, delayed by lack of a suitable surf, were held.

Bob, however, got a lucky break soon after the Hawaiian championships were over. John Severson, a champion Californian rider who was visiting Hawaii for the surfing titles, offered Bob a trip to Peru.

The editor of the American magazine "The Surfer," John won all the board-riding events in last year's Peruvian championships and, before he left, the organisers asked him to arrange for Australian, Hawaiian, and Californian riders to compete in their 1962 championships. John chose Bob and a Sydney friend, Mike Hickey, of Bilgola (another northern Sydney beach), to represent Australia....

It was all a great surprise to Bob, "I didn't even know they surfed in Peru, but what a way to find out!" he said....

For winning the international exhibition board-riding event, Bob was awarded a bronze carving of two seagulls mounted on a marble base. The trophy weighs 36lb. and is valued at £150. Bob said that all the visiting surfers received "royal" treatment.

Servants employed by the Waikiki Surf Club took charge of their surfboards, rubbed them down with paraffin wax, carried them to the water's edge, and even waited to carry them back after Bob and the other boys had finishing riding....

After leaving school at 15, Bob did a two-year course at Sydney Technical College to become a qualified woolclasser. He worked in shearing sheds in N.S.W. and Queensland to save the £600 for the trip to Hawaii. During that time he visited every surf beach in the eastern States.

"Fairy Bower, about a mile off Manly Beach, is THE spot in Australia when the waves are on," he says. "The surf in Hawaii, however, is even better-just like I'd always imagined. But it is very different from ours.

"Waikiki Beach is similar to many Australian beaches-and not so good. But for the keen surfboard rider other Hawaiian beaches have the perfect waves. These beaches - Makaha, Sunset, Alamoana, and the Banzai Pipe-line - have the best surf in the world.

"'The waves, building up to heights of 15 to 25ft. and then dumping on the shore, are very exciting to ride. And the greatest thrill of all is the Banzai Pipeline. This is an area where the waves, often reaching 25ft., curl over at the top to form a 'pipe' before dumping on a rocky shelf of jagged coral.

"And this was the place that put me out of the Hawaiian championships. I lost my board going down the Pipeline, but got out of it with a few scratches and an injured leg. My board, however, was wrecked. All the front was bashed in and the fin was snapped off." International surf champ (1962, August 22). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), , p. 3 (Teenagers Weekly). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41860055 

Who was among the '20 Australians' who went to Makaha the summer before?:

Bernard Farrelly, 16 of Narrabeen, is known as “The Midget." A surfboard builder by trade, Bernard was the junior champion of Sydney's surfboard riders this year. Surfboard team to race in Hawaii. (1961, December 6). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 46 Supplement: Teenagers' Weekly. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51392771 

And who went back to Makaha at the end of 1962-beginning of 1963 and....

SURFBOARD WIN TO AUSTRALIAN
HONOLULU, Wednesday (A.A.P.-Reuter)
Australian surfer, Bernard Farrelly of Sydney won the world surfboard riding title to-day. He captured the championship from nine of the most experienced surfers in the world at the end of an exciting international tournament at the famed Makaha Beach in Hawaii.
Experts who watched the final said Farrelly won because the conditions suited him better than the other finalists, who were all from Hawaii or California.
The finalists had to wait two days until tournament officials decided the waves were good enough to make surfing possible.
Farrelly showed remarkable control in his series of rides, building up his points tally, based on the length of ride and form displayed in catching a wave. SURFBOARD WIN TO AUSTRALIAN (1963, January 3 - Thursday). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 20. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104254829

A little over a year later Bernard Farrelly was integral in launching Manly onto the world surfing stage. Towards the end of Summer, 1964, talk of a World Championship to be held in Sydney begins to be discussed, at first slating the equally worlds famous Bondi as the venue – and then, due to board confiscations, the place to be, and which continues to host one of the best and biggest surfing contests in the world, becomes Manly:

Finally, Bill, don't go down the mine over there at Hawaii, especially those along Makaha Beach. Leave that to 'Midge' Farrelly and his boys. You'll get your chance at Bondi in May at the World Surfboard Championships. Cec. Milgate is going to hack out a nice big gidyea board for you with built in toe holes where the knot holes use to be. Cheers. JOE A Western Herald Feature (1964, February 7). Western Herald (Bourke, NSW : 1887 - 1970), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141979457 

WORLD SURF HUB LIKELY FOR MANLY
Manly Beach now appears certain to be the site for the World Surfboard Titles to be held next May.
This follows the move by Waverley Council in confiscating boards at Bondi Beach. The organisers of the competition, the Australian Surfriders Association and Ampol, had previously been trying to decide between Manly and Bondi. They are certain of success owing to the fact that the recent winner of the Makaha titles, Joey Babell, and Australia's 'Midget' Farrelly will be competing. Many other leading overseas surfers are also eager to compete. Ampol are sponsoring a leading surfer from Hawaii and the mainland of the U.S. To supplement this, riders from New Zealand, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom and probably Peru are making their way to Australia for the big occasion. Peruvian riders will, however, be tempted to come here because an Australian, Bob Pike, has won the Peruvian titles for the last three years. The visitors will be arriving in Australia when we are well into winter, the season when our surf is at its peak. The overseas experts will not, however, get a 'rails run' to the final as there are many Australian champions who are practising very hard and showing good form. The Australian who could topple the stars is comparatively unknown Rob Lane. Last year Lane was third in the Australian Championships although he had not been riding consistently for nearly 18 months due to his schooling and a very promising football career. He heard about the chance of a sponsored trip and decided to give it a go. He practised for a week before the titles and finished third. He He has been riding every day since and has improved out of sight. 
Leading American boardrider, John Severson, who was out here three years ago saw Lane in his peak and said he was the best rider in Australia. ....
The State titles will be held at a Sydney beach yet to be decided on March 7 and 8. Other states will also tend representatives and the Australian Championships will be held concurrently with the world championships. An executive officer of the association, Mr. Bob Evans, himself a great board rider, summed up the championships by saying: 'This is the greatest thing to happen to Australian surfboard riding and it should result in the sport raising to - even greater heights than it is now.' WORLD SURF TITLES LIKELY FOR MANLY (1964, March 4). The Biz (Fairfield, NSW : 1928 - 1972), , p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189520205 

In February 1964 this little announcement appears ‘out the back of Bourke’ again, literally, confirms the real dates for this first official' World Championship 

WORLD SURFBOARD TITLES 
Overseas surfing internists have 'hailed with delight' Australia's decision to stage the World Surfboard Titles next May.
The Titles, conducted by the Australian Surfriders Association and sponsored by Ampol will be held in Sydney on May 16. Mr, Bob Evans, Executive Officer of the Association, who returned recently from Hawaii said, that surfers, in Hawaii and on the United States mainland were most enthusiastic. 'They see this event as a great boost to the rapidly growing sport of board riding.” he said. “Joey Cabell, who won the International Championship at Makaha this year will air most certainly represent Hawaii,' said Mr. Evans: 'Joey, who took the championship from Australia's Midget Farrelly was born in Hawaii and has lived there all his life except for the past 18 months. WORLD SURFBOARD TITLES (1964, February 14). Western Herald (Bourke, NSW : 1887 - 1970), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141979732 

Midget won, and kept on winning, and kept on building a business, starting to make surfboards out of the Gonsalves boatshed at Palm Beach in 1965, getting married in 1966, having a family, promoting good health, writing books, appearing in movies and documentaries, starting Surf Blanks in 1968, as well as branching out and introducing other aspects associated with surf sport.

Bernard Farrelly penned an essay on the Gow-Gonsalves boatshed for Pacific Long Boarder  in 2012 of 1700 words, which over 12 pages, in PLB Volume 15 number 1. They have made this available again this week - you can read it in full here

Advertising (1964, September 23). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131750463

Call of the surf... at Griffith

Sydney surfies Paul Heimburger and Dewey Tracey, both 16, "wiping out" during a land surfing contest at the Griffith shopping centre.
According to a group of Sydney surf fans in Canberra the Griffith shopping centre is the best "surf beach" in the A.C.T. Others are Red Hill, Turner Primary School, and Roger's Corner.
But in this case they are surfing on dry land with Midge Farrelly boards — a small plank with roller skate wheels.
The boys maintained that everything in surfing could be duplicated with the little boards except "walking the plank" — the board was too short for this.
"Hanging five" and "pull outs" were easy, they said, and "wipe outs" were common when the wheels hit a crack or the surfer hit a rubbish tin. Call of the surf... at Griffith (1964, October 15). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131754719 

Midget Farrelly (left) with his skate team, who used to set up demonstrations in the car parks of major shopping centres around Sydney's Northern Beaches . Photographer unknown.

        

Skateboard, 'Midget Farrelly' Competition MkII, wood/metal/rubber, Surf Skate Manufacturing Co, Australia, 1963-1965
The skateboard has significance in its design and predates the flexible polyurethane wheels introduced in the 1970s. One of the makers, an engineering student named Michael Roberts, developed the castings and wheels. It was fabricated at a small factory at Narrabeen. It carries cultural meanings in the way its brand name (Midget Farrelly) gives it associations with surfing. Although skateboards were more closely related to roller skates than to surfboards, they were promoted and represented in songs (eg. Jan and Dean's 'Sidewalk Surfing') and as a way of surfing on dry land. This gave them respectability among boys and adolescents aspiring to the surf scene during the 1960s when the skateboard craze hit Australia.
Skateboard, varnished timber board elongated oval shape bevelled underneath at edge, pair of rubber wheels at each end, black on front, red on back, front truck is a converted half roller skate, another truck was purpose made, in front of the rear truck is attachment for another truck with wheel assembly missing. Cartoon style face has been scored onto top face.
Marks. Impressed into top face within oval 'Midget Farrelly/DESIGN/SURF SKATE MFG.CO.', under oval 'COMPETITION MKII'. Part of the Powerhouse musueum Collection Read more: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=126305#ixzz4HEiBArh9 
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial

Publishers' '65 awards
FIFTEEN books, out of a total 109 entries by 16 publishers, won awards in the Australian Book Publishers' Association design competition for the best Australian publications of 1965.
The judges of the competition, Typographers Muriel Muriel Eyre and Arthur Stokes, and the headmaster of Melbourne Grammar School. Mr B. W. Hone, praised the great improvement in design and printing of technical and school hooks. No award was made in the poetry section.
Award-winning hooks, with summaries of the judges' comments, are as follows: 
ALFRED DEAKIN — A Biography, by J. A. I .a Nauze (Melbourne University Press). "Restrained and full of dignity, a most satisfying production in every way." …
THIS SURFING LIFE, by Farrelly and McGregor (Rigby Ltd). "Well chosen format … attractive, good printing and binding." Publishers' '65 awards (1966, April 14).The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128653236 

The Midget Farrelly Surf Show — a bright new series of 10 films on surfing, starts on ABCTV on Friday, January 6 at 6.25pm. The films cover the story of surfing from the 1964 World Surfing Championships and  ...No title (1967, January 2). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106955148

6.25 (Channel 3) THE MIDGET FARRELLY SHOW FRIDAY (1968, January 8). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), , p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106985795 


At Palm Beach - November, 2015

Surf Life Saving Remembers A Legend

By Surf Life Saving NSW, August 12th, 2016

The sad passing of Midget Farrelly was a shock for many people in the surf community.

Best known as Australia’s first World Champion surfer in the 60s, Midget was a true waterman and was also an accomplished surfboat sweep and proud surf lifesaver.

Midget had been a member of Freshwater SLSC for a short time as a youngster, however his passion for surfboats only began when he was in his 50s, an age when many people start retiring from the rigours of sweeping such large, heavy craft.

He bought his own boats and turned novice rowers into skilled boat crews at Palm Beach, Whale Beach and Freshwater. Unlike most sweeps he focused on developing a crew’s surf skills not just their rowing ability. Midget’s crews were trained to ‘surf’ the boat not simply row it.

Fellow surfboat sweep and close friend Kim Marsh says Midget gave his crews a life perspective that was beyond coaching.

“Midget was an amazing soul – sometimes more like a poet than a sports star. I think of Midget’s brilliance in terms of a great artist, composer, author or playwright. There were many more layers to him than just a surfboard champion,” said Kim Marsh. “Only a few weeks ago Midget was talking to a friend about the grace of a surfboat on a wave at daybreak.”

Palm Beach SLSC’s current Club Captain Alex Tyrrell rowed with Midget between 2008 and 2011 and says one of his biggest contributions was to encourage young people and particularly girls to get involved in surfboat rowing.

“He gave us an opportunity to learn how to handle the surf in any conditions, and he was such a competent and confident sweep that we were rarely afraid, rather just maintained a healthy respect for the ocean,” recalled Alex Tyrrell.

“I’ll remember Midget as the man with a boyish love for any surf activity - outside of surfing and surfboats he was also pretty amazing at windsurfing, kite-surfing, SUPing and his car was always filled with wetsuits and equipment. He was the only guy I know who at 65, was still getting around on a skateboard… And killing it I might add!” she said.

Alex describes a one-in-10-year swell which would throw up a fantastic long wave on the back side of Barrenjoey headland. One day in 2009 the planets aligned and Alex recalls them catching an incredible wave for more than a kilometre across Pittwater.

“In a huge swell at a Freshie carnival we cracked a wave about three strokes out of the turning buoy in a race and he got up on the chocks and started bellowing out his version of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” at the top of his lungs. His unbridled pleasure at catching a big wave, no matter what the craft, will be the thing that sticks in my mind about Midget Farrelly,” she said.

Alex Tyrrell says Midget will be greatly missed, but not forgotten by the members of Palm Beach SLSC.

“My heart goes out to Beverlie, the love of his life, who he could never stop talking about and who brightened up every day for him. Bev and his family were so dear to him, and we send all our love and support to them.

“We will all think of him every time there’s a bit of a wave on, and I know he’ll be watching over our special part of the world for years to come.”

Mahalo nona hali'a aloha. (Hawaiian for “Thanks for the memories”)


Photo: Bernard "Midget" Farrelly (R) with good friend Matt Giblin (Palm Beach). 


Sweeping Whale Beach SLSC at Warriewood in 2014.


BERNARD "MIDGET" FARRELLY COMMEMORATED AT THE 2016 AUSTRALIAN SURF FESTIVAL.‏

ARRAWARRA HEADLAND, COFFS HARBOUR, Monday, August 8, 2016:  by Surfing NSW

Longboard competitors at the 2016 Australian Surf Festival celebrated the life of iconic surfer and former World Champion Bernard “Midget” Farrelly who passed away on Sunday, 7th August. 

Crowned World Champion in 1964, Farrelly won the very first official championship in Manly. Farrelly was also inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.

Over 70 Australian Longboard Title competitors and staff – many who had met and surfed with Farrelly – gathered on the shores of Arrawarra Headland to commemorate his life.  

Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said: “Bernard “Midget” Farrelly was one of the true icons and legends of the sport globally. He was the first Aussie World Champion and the first surfer in this country to truly become a household name and surfing identity among the broader population. He was instrumental in the development of the sport and Surfing Australia in its early days and has absolutely left an amazing legacy. We pass on our condolences to the Farrelly family.” 

Farrelly friend and Surfing NSW Director Harry Hodge shared the same sentiments: “Midget had a significant influence on so many aspects of surfing; whether it was shaping, competing or travelling and he was never one to search for accolades for his contribution to the sport. He was a devout family man that has left the sport with an incredible legacy. He will be missed.”


Kamikazee Corner - Avalon/Bilgola

August 8, 2016



Love it, Saw 2 boards outside homes paying respect as well todayMark Verrills

Yes I was thrilled to see that tribute to Midget this morning at kamikaze corner thanks so much to the very kind amazing person how had a kind heart to do that - Yes my darling RIPBeverlie Farrelly 

Australian Surf Festival competitors gathered at Arrawarra Headland to celebrate the life of Bernard "Midget" Farrelly. Photo by  Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW - August 8, 2016
Hall Of Fame Date Inducted: 10 Dec 1985
Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly - Surfing
Bernard Farrelly's name became synonymous with board surfing throughout Australia when he won the very first official world championship at Manly in 1964. 

Born in Sydney, Farrelly had his first surf experiences at North Bondi beach in the early '50s. This was the heart of old-style Australian beach culture; the realm of the volunteer lifesaver "surf clubs", where the country's few surfers would leave their big wooden boards overnight because they were too heavy to carry home on cars or bikes.

Quickly nicknamed 'Midget' for his slight build among the big men of the beaches, a barely teenage Farrelly saw California's Greg Noll surfing Sydney waves during Da Bull's lifeguard-sponsored visit in 1956, and realised that you could 'corner' on waves. (The Americans gave many demonstrations at Melbourne beaches during that Olympic year and subsequently launched the surf boom.) By 1961, the Malibu-style lightweight boards were being churned out and Farrelly was the Australian surfing champion. In 1962, he went to Hawaii and won the Makaha International championship in 6-foot surf, using a quick, light-footed surfing style, surprising the Hawaiians and Americans by becoming the first 'outsider' to win the event. 

By 1964 the International Surfing Federation had pulled together the world's surfing nations to stage a first-ever World Surfing Championships. The venue was Manly Beach on Sydney's north side. At the time, Australia was hardly the epicentre of surfing but 60,000 people lined the Manly shores to watch Farrelly take the men's crown ahead of surfers such as Joey Cabell and Mike Doyle. Prior to the championship, Farrelly had won the Australian title. A sensational stylist, Farrelly was considered unbeatable at his peak in medium surfs but could match the world's best in any conditions. 

Farrelly was arguably the most successful competitor in the world during the 60s, he won the Australian title again in 1965, finished sixth at the 1966 world championships, and lost on a countback to Fred Hemmings in the 1968 world championship at Puerto Rico to be placed 2nd. In 1966 he also won the Peruvian International Small Waves competition and in 1968 won the Bobby Brown Memorial. 

Though always dedicated to the sport, he later became embroiled in a series of disagreements with Australian officials and was banned from entering the 1969 Australian title. He finished second at the 1970 world championships. 

He set his own path through the '70s and much of the '80s, building a successful blank-making and chemicals business (Surfblanks), getting into alternative sports (he once broke his ankle hang gliding and is a highly skilled sailboarder), keeping a low personal profile, yet always being in the water on the bigger days at North Avalon and other breaks near his Palm Beach home. He learned to shape surfboards and produced two books - 'A Surfing Life' and 'How to Surf '. 

His public profile remained very low until, inspired by some of the new generation of Australian pro surfers, he began appearing at events and surfing in the legends displays that accompanied some Aussie pro events in the late '80s. At the 1999 Noosa (Queensland) Surfing Festival, he re-won his 1964 crown in a replay of that event's final heat.

Retrieved from Sport Australia Hall of Fame: www.sahof.org.au/hall-of-fame/member-profile
Farrelly was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in California in July 2007.
Midget Farrelly at Palm Beach, 1964 – photo by by John Witzig, reproduced with permission of the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. 
Midget with his Whale Beach SLSC Boat Crews at the February 2016, Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Competition at Palm Beach.