Longboard Reunion A Proud MomentTwenty years after 18 people turned up to the Bondi Longboard Club’s inaugural meeting at North Bondi RSL in 1995, past and present members came together for a reunion weekend.
Held on the weekend of March 22-23, Bondi Longboard Club members flew in from overseas and across Australia for the long-awaited reunion.
“I did notice during the competition that there were all these clusters of people who were catching up, and it was a proud moment,” Club President Paul Armstrong said.
“You could see them reigniting their friendships. They’re all in different areas, and some are overseas and interstate. They all came together.
“There were locals, there were people from interstate, there were people from North and South Coast NSW, there were people from Queensland, there was a guy from Victoria and there were people from overseas who came straight from Vietnam.”
The reunion kicked off on the Friday night at the North Bondi Golf Club, before competition started shortly after dawn on the Saturday morning.
Rob Norman, the winner of the junior perpetual trophy in 1995, won the men’s open event, pipping Waverley lifeguard Anthony Carroll. Claire Bunting won the ladies’ open final, while President Armstrong himself took out the men’s over 56 event.
“That’s what I was hoping for and I was really chuffed that I got it,” Mr Armstrong said. “There are some pretty strong surfers in all of these age groups. Some of these guys are very good surfers and they’ve kept it up for 30, 40 or 50 years.”
Dennis Lindsay, an old friend and fellow Bondi surfer, was honoured at the reunion with a paddle out, where his ashes were scattered out to sea. A commemorative ring of surfers paddled out past the break and waited for Dennis’ son Bobby and his uncle to bring out his ashes.
“One of the guys who dropped his ashes was his best mate, Dave Byron,” Mr Armstrong said. “It was around about lunch time on the Sunday during the competition. It was very emotional, because a lot of the guys there knew Dennis really well and grew up with him.”
Mr Armstrong said the reunion might encourage some familiar old faces return to the club more often.
“It reignites some of them and they come back after a bit of a break,” he said. “They think ‘Hang on, this was my therapy 20 years ago – I might come back’.
“Slowly I think longboarding is getting bigger and bigger. It is popular. A lot of kids are coming and saying ‘I want to get back into the roots of surfing’, rather than the rip and tear approach that they’ve got now on short boards.”
Bondi has a proud history in the longboard arena, and it is something the club hopes to preserve well into the future.
“Bondi was one of the first places they surfed on longboards, before even Bronte and Tamarama,” Mr Armstrong said. “Bondi was a really big scene where there were so many of the young surfers of the day.”