Bondi’s Story as Told by One of its OwnBondi Beach isn’t the biggest beach in the world, nor is she the most beautiful; the surfing conditions are generally pretty average (despite the occasional epic session) and the nor’east winds can be a real pest in summer.
Bondi’s premier attraction has always been its people and the stories that surround them.
There is a long list of heroes and icons who have contributed to the making of the Bondi legend. These men and women will finally be acknowledged in a new documentary, Bondi Forever.
Made by a third generation Bondi boy, Terry Jenkings, Bondi Forever is an accumulation of interviews that combine to tell the Bondi story.
In the documentary you can expect to see sporting champions such as Surfing Hall of Fame members Cheyne Horan and Pauline Menczer, as well as some of the characters who made Bondi what it is today – including rock fishing veteran, the late Neil Hill, who sadly passed away in October.
Mr Jenkings told The Beast that after years of seeing documentaries about Bondi being made by non-locals, he decided it was time for the people who actually call it home to tell the Bondi story.
Mr Jenkings hopes Bondi Forever will help future generations understand where they came from and how Bondi evolved.
He explained that although the perception may have changed in recent years, at its heart Bondi is
a surfing beach, and its history relates to surfing and surf lifesaving culture.
“When you come back to basics, it is a surfing beach and it’s the surfers, the lifesavers and the icebergs who have made Bondi famous,” he said. “People should never forget that.”
Like a child actor thrust into the tumultuous world of celerity, Bondi was always bound to change.
What then does Terry – a third generation Bondi boy; a man who’s had more morning swims at Bondi than grassy knoll regulars have had cold acai bowls – think of today’s Bondi?
“As time has gone by I have seen the emphasis move more away from the beach as such and more to a sort of social scene,” he said.
“Bondi has always been evolving, and I think that’s probably a healthy thing because everything has to grow, but the foundation of Bondi is respect for the beach and the preservation of this foundation is very important.”
But Mr Jenkings is not one to lament change; rather, he implores others to put down their smart-phones for a second and discover the real Bondi.
“I see people coming from places throughout the world and all they want to do is take a photo with Bondi in the background, but I do believe that they are missing the real Bondi,” he said.
“When you get to understand Bondi, you realise that the spirit is camaraderie and a desire to look after each other and embrace what Bondi has to offer.
“This is far more attractive than taking a selfie photograph with a wave breaking in the background.
“I would just say to anyone who is coming to Bondi: don’t come for the day, come here for a year and you’ll see that this is not just a beach, this is a way of life, and you can’t photograph that.”
Bondi Forever has already screened in 55 countries throughout Asia and Mr Jenkings said the response has been extremely positive.
By the time this edition of The Beast goes to print, Bondi Forever will have already premiered in Australia on the National Geographic documentary channel. Repeats will be screened on Tuesday, November 20 at 9.30pm, Tuesday, November 27 at 3.30pm and Thursday, November 29 at 8.30pm, with further dates in December yet to be confirmed.