…And the winner is
Last Friday night the Land & Sea Brewery hosted a fundraiser for the Noosa World Surfing Reserve, with an enthusiastic crowd rocking to the sounds of the Sandflys, while viewing Albe Falzon’s classic remastered Morning Of The Earth movie induced many an old surfer to reminisce about the heydays of the ‘70s. The vibe was all peace and love. Everyone held their breath at the end of the evening as the Fuyu Surfboard raffle was drawn, but there could only be one winner.
Steve Rice has never even won a chook raffle, but now he is the proud owner of the 10’ Jax model Fuyu log. He was disbelieving but stoked, and shaper Paul Winter was glad it went to a local bloke with an interesting surfing background.
Steve grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney, where as a kid he would wag school and go surfing at every opportunity. Narrabeen local Jimmy Walsh took the grommet under his wing, encouraging Steve to join the circuit in the early years of professional surfing. Steve recalls contests in the early ‘70s such as the Newcastle Pro and the 4IP Radio comp at Burleigh Heads. There were no sponsors and you had to find your own way there, staying in crappy accommodation or sleeping on the beach.
Although he didn’t often make it to the finals, Steve would do well in the heats, winning once against Dane Kealoha in an early round. When possible, he would attend international comps at famous breaks like Hossegor. In later years, Steve was actively involved with the ASP and the Sydney and Macquarie Uni Surfing Associations.
Steve was a diehard short boarder, but there was a longboard comp he really wanted to enter. The rules required a 9’ board, but these were impossible to find at short notice. A mate reckoned he could make one of Steve’s 8-footers regulation size by fibreglassing an extension onto the nose. Steve entered the comp but was eliminated in the first round and in the process had ruined a perfectly good board.
Steve counts himself lucky as he recalls surfing with mates back in the day at relatively unknown breaks such as Point Plommer and Angourie, and he regularly enjoyed waves with surfing greats Mark Warren and Rabbit Bartholomew.
Steve recalls a big 15-foot day at Long Reef. While surfing out at the third or fourth bommie, his board hit a rock, he wiped out, retrieved his board and continued surfing. It wasn’t until he returned to the beach that he noticed the imprint of a shark bite on the board, complete with a couple of imbedded teeth.
Steve has no aspirations to take his new Fuyu out in surf like that, but is looking forward to trying it out on the points as soon as the northerlies relent and the swell returns.