Bob’s Swell: Bob Bitchin' Bevern, LA Bob – A Tribute from those who loved him
'Possibly the one and only time he drank a beer.' :) -The Barrenjoey 2002 - Robert Bevern (Rob) - Bob with son Rob
On Tuesday August 21st Avalon Beach the family of Bob Bervern, residents and many from further afield lost a father, brother, father-in-law, a poppy, an uncle, a mentor, a colleague, a surfing buddy and great friend.
Today, Father’s Day, the community’s thoughts are with those he loved as a dad and who loved their patriarch.
To many here he was the last soul surfer in this area – one who held onto those values others surrender to buy houses and embroil themselves in mortgages and cars and all those accoutrements that may make you look rich but don’t necessarily make you feel rich – especially when you find out one of the original definitions for ‘rich’ was ‘deep’, and to this can be added ‘liberal, generous, infinite’.
“He was the last soul surfer here. All the others have gone north, to small coastal towns where those values are still in place.” One peer said.
He was the last soul surfer here.
On Wednesday 29th of August 2018 a Service and Celebration of Bob’s life was held.
All through Wednesday night you could hear the loud boom of waves meeting the beach and rock face walls at north and south Avalon. It’s that clear marker of when the ocean has something to say in a more verbose standard.
To many of us, she is our mother – that ocean. Her lines of poetry are a truer voice and keener spirit that echo and reflect the green and blue lines of hills that meet them so it is only natural that we wish to meet, join with and ride such flows.
The soul surfers are those who perch waiting for more lines…and if there aren’t any, they go to work – they plant, they work with their hands, they work with their heads. They work hard, or at least Bob did, when there was work to be done – when there were waves, that was what there was here to be done.
Immersion, a dwelling with.
The moon shone on, with the last of winter’s last glow. Ever speaking even when millpond and tendril breeze, the ocean surged in to embrace the South Av. Bay and fell back, fell away;
Go out and ride the break
Catch Bob’s swell – catch one of those waves.
We live in an aquatic community. We were distressed beyond words the day we lost Bob; those who brought him in were his friends, those working for over 40 minutes to revive him knew him.
We were appalled at how Bob was discussed within an hour by those who didn’t know him, labelled, used – not even named correctly. Photographs of the people trying to save him splashed all over the place.
But not one of the boards he shaped in sight... see, it's all false when you glance and think you know - you get it wrong, and do wrong as a result. For example; 'Bitchin'; Old school for really good or enjoyable.
Since when did respect for family knowing first become superseded by the rush to sell ‘exclusive news’ – since when did community become superseded by the hunger to sell something else on a page – something Bob Bitchin’ Bevern would definitely not want nor ‘use’.
Bob Bevern of Bitchin' Concrete, location Avalon Beach headland. Cutting with a 20 inch Red Rocket Titanium Blade.
Bitchin' board photo by Amanda Berrell
His family here quickly claimed him back and waited for his blood family to arrive. They spoke of parties once held at Mona Vale, spoke of trips overseas surfing, they spoke of how he rode the waves here. They gathered on his headland, around a fire, above his break.
A Tribute page was set up to make a record of the real story – in threads perhaps, but therein, along with other tributes spoken that same bad day, lives the truer story – for that is the record his family and his friends have made – and it is their voices Bob would want heard - and even here this is only a few threads of a life bursting with spirit in every second:
A sad day today. Rest In Peace Bob. Very mellow surf out LA this arvo with locals and warm hearted conversation around the fire.
Adriaan van der Wallen
A legend In his own right, we will all miss you so much, you were the “cool” dad for all the boys in their younger days, and you were the first point of call if they ever needed an understanding adult, there will never be another person like you, one of a kind forever in our hearts.
Jodie Morris Hellmich
Last night the car park was over flowing
This page has been set up on behalf of Bob’s family for everyone to come together to share photos, stories and tributes for Bob.
He was a son, a brother, a father and father-in-law, a poppy, an uncle, a mentor, a colleague, a surfing buddy and a dear dear friend to so so many.
The impact he has had on so many people is overwhelming and his character and the way he chose to live life is truly special.
I pissed you off occasionally, you pissed me off more than occasionally.
But there we things we NEVER argued about. Chocolate, Red Wine and Books. And most importantly, the love for your Son and Granddaughters
It was the perfect equation.
I selfishly want you back and I miss you so very much but I know you’ll continue with your travels and make a massive mess of someone else’s kitchen.
Love you Dad xxx
From all of us at Pittwater Plumbing thanks mate it’s been a privilege to have worked and spent time with you our dear friend you will be sadly missed.
First off all I wanna say I hope all of Bobby’s family are doing as good as you could be in this situation. My thoughts have been with you..
Last Tuesday we lost an absolute straight up, old-school, no bullshit legend. I’ve been surfing the reef for 17 years now, And Bob has been part of my daily routine for almost all of this time..
One of the first time I was taken out la when I was 10 years old I saw Bobby get a proper bomb. I was scared sh*tless. After a while he asked me how old I was and I told him.. the next set that came through he started yelling at me to have a go. So I did.. I got absolutely flogged.
It was this moment we became mates..
We shared to same love for remote travel through Indo and of course L.A...
Can’t count the amount of times he gave me sh*t, it was almost every time I saw him. I loved it, because in this day and age everybody is looking for compliments. but not with Bobby. I found it really grounding and truly Australian the way he was..
After having an amazing session with heaps of tubes I would walk up to the headland to get changed and walk over to Bobby’s van with a huge smile on my face.. he would then turn to me and say " oh were you out there mate? " quickly deflating my head and shutting me down.. we would both laugh...
On Wednesday I leave for Indonesia and was looking into cancelling my trip. Then I thought what would Bobby say..
It was this moment when I realised he would want me to go. I can just imagine him saying.
"Don’t be a bloody idiot mate, go get some huge barrels for me"
So I’m going to..
I feel terrible about it and I wanted to express my deepest and most heartfelt love to Bob’s family.
The boys and I will take it on board to uphold the localism of your reef. It is the end of an era. But you won’t ever be forgotten.
You will forever be part of L.A. and will always hold first priority.
Gonna miss the underside of your left rail mate...
I love you Bobby
Long live the King Of Little Avalon
Hughy Morris, thank you for the lovely words. It’s already been said but Dad would definitely want you to go and have fun instead of hanging here and being sad. In saying that, one of his nephews is currently in Indo as he also had a trip booked and is also hopefully living it up. I hope it’s a good trip and the swell is pumping. Rob
Bob was one of those people who you could instantly tell had a good heart. Whenever I rocked up to the car park, he was always there, as if he was permanently attached to the ocean. He never failed to make us laugh and always congratulated me whenever I dropped in on Dad. We chatted about remote travel destinations and made plans for me to drop out of school (the ‘nunnery’ as he liked to call it) and go live in Lombok to surf. When Dad, Andy and Bob went there a few years back, I remember the intense jealousy I experienced as I heard all about the magical waves Bob was showing them.
For me, LA used to be a daunting place. The water always seemed alive with an energy that was unknown to me. The first time I went out, Bob was right there, telling me where I should sit, the line up points and to use Dad as an example of what not to do when surfing. Of course, I was scared shitless and after jumping off the rocks, I immediately wanted to paddle straight to the beach. Yet, over the years, Bob helped me overcome these fears, making LA one of the few surfing spots I truly felt at home with.
Having known Bob for all my life, it’s difficult to understand that someone so kind and loving could leave our Earth. It still feels surreal to me that Bob isn’t here anymore, however his presence in the water will never leave. Every time we paddle out to LA, we’ll still remember Bobby and his everlasting connection to the ocean.
Remembering Bitchin Bob Bevern.
So many adventures, so many stories, so many waves, so much fun. Love always, Cap
This was on the ferry from Bali to Lombok with brother Dave in 1983. I think it was Bob’s first trip to Lombok. Heaps of laughs.
Being "Dad" was such a high priority for him and he definitely did a great job!! (Rob in policeman uniform)
Note the BITCHEN logo. My first custom board, 1982 I think. And I loved it! Thanks Bob
You were so proud of your Son on our wedding day!! Best Dad speech ever. And gosh you made us laugh.
One of his most important loves. Spending time with his girls
Bob was getting to know my 2 granddaughters too. 2 and 3 years old and even when he wasn't here visiting, when they came to visit me they would look outside into the great outdoors and say 'Bob'. Talk me into putting their gumboots on then walk around the bush garden looking for him.
That smile. That laugh. Those cheeky tales. The love he had for his family. They are how I will remember Bob. A surfing gentleman
Mum and I sharing memories of Bob tonight. We were looking through photos and came across this single fin comp poster and found this beautiful photo of Bob enjoying his precision surf, friends, and family.
Love you Bob and Beverns. Xxx
On behalf of the elders of LA we express our sorrow in the loss of one of our brothers . The banter and collusion to make sure us oldies can still catch waves of choice and surf well enough to secure the respect of younger ones will be sorely missed .
Mate we met with the alpha vs alpha collision and turned it into a close friendship. Our surfs were full of laughter and of encouragement. (Me:
assisting u in recovery from your operations and u
insisting I keep being an arsehole to others whom felt the need to try and dominate a place we called home)
Most of all I will miss our discussions whereas you’d turn into my therapist of life
We had many waves , many barrels and most of all many laughs , I will endeavour to keep surfing the place we called home and strive to do u proud using all your previous words of encouragement and direction
The loss of u has brought the surfers of LA closer then they’ve ever been and your loss encourages us to make sure we look after each other and don’t take the ocean for granted
Because as we know now more than ever:
“The ocean can give but also painfully take away “
Love u man, always in my heart
My sincere condolences to the Bevern family and everyone else close to Bob.
I did not know Bob well but my memories of him span some three decades.
He was with us on surf trips and bucks weekends up and down the coast many times over the years.
(or we were with him)
Us younger crew would turn up scratching our heads and kicking dirt. Then Bob turns up,
He's got a 30 x30 ft tarp, ropes ,shackles, pegs, everything you need. He's got a chainsaw and used to bring a couple of old concrete cutting blades to be used as hot plates….bang…campsite sorted.....
Lots of laughs, only good memories. VALE Bob.
Bitchin ' On Tour'
Tony Arrowsmith photos:
Thought I’d share...
Bob would always make me so happy as to how much support he’d have for me. A genuine support and belief in me which was so bloody cool, and I really appreciated.
I’ll truly miss sharing stories with you in the car park Bob.
Thank you for being a top bloke and a genuine inspirational toob lord!!
He’s a vid of Bob from a couple of weeks ago.
We’ve always stuck with him for work because he was always there. Twenty plus years of funding surfing
I’d call him and ask if he was in the country first . If he wasn’t we would try and schedule the job for when he was back or if he was local so that he could get his surf in first in the morning.We looked after him because his gear was getting heavy , when he’d turn up my sons were always sent to get his gear and bring it to where he was to work , then once Bob had done his thing they would take it all back to the van again. We have the gear to drill and cut concrete but I loved catching up with Bob had having a chat so I’d always ring him .
He was always a reasonable man that when he gave us invoices I always used to write on them “pay Bob now” . After a while my office girl would see them and just pay because it was Bob . In this vid we were having a bit of fun to put it up on the FB page as the job was a bit of a bugger
I lived with Bob for a year or so, in Darley Road, Mona Vale 21yrs ago. This was my favourite song from his own collection.
Pavlov's Dog - Julia
Nice Song. I was lucky to know bob for quite some time and always admired his dedication to live his life his way which was committed n pretty hardcore…but whether we were having a conversation in Oz, Hawaii or Bali, he would always say something that revealed a sensitive side to him and made me realize there was more to the man than the exterior…this song is another glimpse of the man…thanx annette...miss u bob
It was almost 20 years ago that Bob showed me the best way to negotiate the rocks at LA with a bulky water housing. Over the years he helped my son, his friends, and countless other groms learn how to surf that tricky wave. Your generosity of spirit was appreciated by many. Rest In Peace Bob. I will miss our chats ... and you will be greatly missed by the Avalon surf community.
Party 50 Darley street, Mona Vale - Eru Pa collection
That was the first party we held. Martin Pell did the artwork and Neil Berrell drove us up and down Pittwater Rd until we handed about 500 of them out. Thankfully it was well before social media.
He definitely knew how to throw a party that’s for sure! I Remember the epic times at Darley Street! Real sorry for your loss mate, my sincere condolences to you and your fam.
Those Darley street parties.... still to this date the best!
Jodie Morris Hellmich
Nothing like them! Thanks Bob for hosting some great ones for us!
Ha! This brings back a great laugh. At BL's Blast Off 2 years ago - all hot young surfers, ex world champs, and generally rich surfing types, all wearing brand names and expensive pretentious shit... and Bob's holding court - wearing this tattered old hivis shirt. The most authentic bloke there... Loved that about him!
Feeding Bob’s feathery friends
BE LIKE BOB
I would like to share some memories of our mate Bob on this beautiful tribute page.
Maybe the best is when he was helping close mates John and Belinda McGroder prepare the Barrenjoey for her new sea life in the islands off Sumatra.
The old girl was on the hardstand at the Newport wharf, near the pub, and Bob greeted me with the biggest grin. He had a grinder in his hand and was covered in rust, dust, paint and primer – and he was happy as a pig rolling in it.
I was overwhelmed just looking at the task ahead of them - preparing her for such a long sea voyage and her new life as a charter boat in the Mentawai Islands - but looking at the twinkle of Bob’s eyes, he could surely see only barrels with Bucket at The Office. Bob was thriving on the hard yakka, and was most happy because he was able to help out his mates with his vast practical skills.
The boys invited me to come on that first trip north, where they planned to stop in Bali to finish the outfitting and timberwork. Unfortunately I could not go – held back mainly for practical considerations as most likely I wouldn’t have a job to come back to.
But life has a way of not running to scripts, and the first time I ever stood on the deck of the Barrenjoey was after boarding her in the darkness of the night off Nias after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. With SurfAid teams, she was a key delivery agent for medical staff and humanitarian aid in remote villages only accessible by boat. The Barrenjoey has been involved in every earthquake emergency in those islands ever since – giving back to those beautiful local people who exist with so little.
The Indonesians loved Bob because they clearly felt his spirit of generosity, kindness and good humour – one of the Lombok crew called him Uncle Bob in his tribute.
As clear from all the wonderful eulogies to Bob since his untimely passing earlier this week, he was a great mentor to our young, including my own kids.
Bob loved his Barrenjoey trips but The Office got him one time when they pulled up to an empty, roaring lineup and John advised him to take out a bigger board. But Bob was already overboard, frothing. First bomb set he went down the mine and cut his foot so badly that it was the end of his trip. We caught up in the old Batang Arau (the Bat and Arrow) in Padang and drained a bottle of vodka. I’m sure we solved the meaning of life that night, which we promptly forgot the next morning.
But Bob really already had it down. He walked gently on the earth – in many ways he lived like a monk (and yes, some of them drink and smoke too). He greeted the sun every morning from his million-dollar perch above LA, and he danced to the rhythms of the ocean and the ebb and flow of the tides. And that pristine barrelling wave.
The clear message from the way Bob lived his life of simplicity is that we have all we need, we don’t need anything more, but we just need to be present, and not to worry about what tomorrow may bring but to fully embrace each day as it comes and enjoy the moment.
We all love you Bob; you may not physically be with us any more but you are most surely there in spirit. May God bless you ol’ mate and thank you for a gentle life very well lived.
We are having a hard/sad time here trying our best to keep the stoke alive for our guests. We miss our Uncle Bob dearly. We cannot make it back for the service...but are taking his boards that he left here surfing and will do a tribute to him in the Mentawai Islands with our Barrenjoey crew that he loved so much...
I was on da Barrenjoey with Johnny McD.,Bitchin' Bob, Dave, Pete 2003.What a great gang and unreal trip! Surfed with Bob at Bombie too...spirit never dies matey! Bichin' lives!
Bob’s Paddle Out - Those who had to attend school and could not attend Bob's Service and Celebration, along with his older mates, gave Bob the traditional surfer's tribute
Photos by Justin Duggan
Family and Friends.
On behalf of the Bevern Family, I would to invite everyone to join us for a Paddle Out in memory of Bob at 3.30pm Friday 31 August at Little Avalon.
Rest In Peace Bob, gone but not forgotten, soul surfing Little Avalon for eternity
And afterwards – a surf – on Bob’s Wave
This wave had my name on it so I went it riding a board shaped by Bob that I had never ridden before but it felt good and I could easily get used to it so much fun and love in the water today
Old mates: Peter Roberts, Michael Nothcote and David Perry
Photo by Sean Pilkington (another mate!)
In the past week I have witnessed an amazing group of people share their grief for Bob.
Hugs tears cheers laughter more hugs
Looking over the headland on Friday seeing the circle form of surfers unite, hold hands and honor their mate , it was an incredible spectacle of kinship,love and fellowship.
One of the most memorable and moving moments of my life.
I felt grateful and proud that my husband is part of this special group.
LA is not just a surf spot ,a reef ,a headland.
It is in my mind and heart a sacred place.
It holds a place of unity, of security a place where these guys can share their lives with each.
In a world where one to one relationships consist of texts, small msgs, and two minute conversations these guys have a place to hang , to really connect to form life long friendships.
They are blessed.
Bobs soul lives on amongst them
photo by Amanda Berrell
What a beautiful day!!
It was party wave central out there today
It’s crazy to see how much of an impact Bobby really had on people!!
The love within that circle was amazing and nature was definitely on our side today.
The sun came out, whales were jumping, wind turned offshore and LA had some fun waves, if you could get them!
I know Bobby would have probably hated all this fuss but it really was the farewell he deserved
On behalf of the family, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the love and support you have given to all of us since last Tuesday.
It’s been truely amazing and overwhelming to see the influence dad had on so many people.
Thank you and love to you all. X