From the Archives: Three World Surf Titles To Australia

Winners Midget Farrelly and Phyllis O'Donnell with their trophies.

First published in the Sydney Morning Herald on May 18, 1964 Australian competitors won every title in the world and Australian surfboard championships held at Manly yesterday. A crowd, estimated at 60,000, saw 19-year-old Bernard ("Midget") Farrelly of French's Forest win the world title against surfboard riders from all over the world. The event was recognised by competing countries as being the first official world surfboard title.

Farrelly also won the Australian senior men's title with a performance which the judges assessed as being nearly perfect. He scored 132 points out of a possible 150. The seven judges awarded points on what they considered to be the three best rides of each rider. Points were awarded for control of the board and the wave rather than for "stunt" riding. Smooth Run "Won Title" Farrelly said afterwards that a remarkably smooth run, which he began as the pistol signalled the end of the final and which won a spontaneous burst of applause from the huge crowd, probably won him the title.

Two Americans, Mike Doyle of Long Beach, California, and Joey Cabell of Newport Beach, California, were second and third. Phyllis O'Donnell of Banora Point, near Tweed Heads, also triumphed over international competition in winning the Australian women's open title. She entered as a representative of Kirra surf club, Queensland. Robert Conneely of South Bondi won the Australian junior men's championship. The two-day event attracted 200 entries, including some from England, France, America, South Africa. Peru, New Zealand, and Hawaii.

Beaten At Hawaii

Farrelly won an unofficial world title at Hawaii early last year. But five months ago in the same event he finished well down the list of international competitors. Cabell won that event. Manly police said yesterday that traffic had been the heaviest in the area for several years. Many cars had been forced to park a mile from the beach.

Near Perfect Rides By Surf Champion

Winner Phyllis O'Donnell with Linda Benson 2nd, (left),  and Heather Nicholson 3rd, (right)

Winner Phyllis O'Donnell with Linda Benson 2nd, (left), and Heather Nicholson 3rd, (right)CREDIT:R.L.SEWART

Two almost perfect rides yesterday won Sydney surfer Bernard "Midget" Farrelly the world surfboard riding championships at Manly in a hard-fought final.

Farrelly's tight functional surfing hard-up against the curl and his smooth drop and turns almost scored him maximum points in two rides. Farrelly caught the lust wave of the final and gave a grand exhibition on the small wave right from the start. The finishing gun was fired before he reached the beach.

He was given a tremendous ovation for his riding on this wave, which probably won him the title. Judges from the United States, N.S.W. and other States placed Farrelly first from Californian champion surfer Mike Doyle.

Current Makaha international champion Joey Cabell from California, placed third.

Yesterday. surfing conditions at Manly were ideal for competition. The waves varied from two to five feet during the day, changing a little as the wind moved to a north-west onshore breeze in the mid-afternoon. The break was about 150 yards from the beach, with good walls left and right tor about 100ft.

Spectators pictured on the final day of the 1964 World Surfboard Championships at Manly Beach

Spectators pictured on the final day of the 1964 World Surfboard Championships at Manly Beach CREDIT:STAFF

Secret Vote For Second

After the senior final judges' scorecards had Cabell and Doyle tying for second place, but a secret vole by judges gave the runner-up position to Doyle. The world championship preliminary heats were held a crowd of about 15,000 people.

Queensland woman champion Phyllis O’Donell upset calculations when she beat Californian champion Linda Benson in the women's final. The championships were organised by the Australian Surfriders' Association and sponsored by Ampol Petroleum Limited.

Representatives of Australian, American, British, French, Peruvian and New Zealand surf riding associations met last night to form the International Federation of Surfriders. They agreed that the next world surfriders' championship should he held at Lima. Peru, in February next year.
Spectators pictured on the final day of the 1964 World Surfboard Championships at Manly Beach.

Spectators pictured on the final day of the 1964 World Surfboard Championships at Manly Beach. CREDIT:STAFF

Results Of Finals
Scores in the finals were:

World title: Bernard Farrelly (Dee Why), 132. 1; Mike Doyle (Long Beach, Calif.). 126 plus. 2; Joey Cabell (Newport Beach, Calif.J. 126. 3.

Australian senior men's c'ship: Bernard Farrelly (Dee Why), 132. 1; Bobby Brown (Cronulla), 120. 2; Mick Dooley (Manly). 118 ½. 3

Australian women's c'ship: Phyllis  O'Donnell (Kirra, Q'ld). 90 ¼. 1: Linda Benson (Encinitas, Calif.), 89 . 2; Heather Nicholson (Coff’s Harbour), 69. 3.

Australian junior men's c'ship: Robert Conneely (South Bondi), 92. 1; Robert Young Collaroy), 87 ½. 2; Wayne Cowper (Maroubra). 80 ¼. 3.

The World Surf League recognises Phyllis O'Donnell as the first Women's World Surfing Champion for her win in the 1964 Australian Women's Championship.


Sydney Morning Herald

Staff writer
May 17, 2019

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