Surfboard with a secret on display
THIS is a story about a surfboard.
Considering it is 40 years old, the board is in good nick, apart from the yellowing that comes with age.
Its distinctive feature is a large blue lightning bolt on the top deck that is the trademark of Hawaiian great Gerry Lopez - one of the most revered surfers ever.
The board, on show at the Surfing the Decades exhibition in Caloundra, is a part of local surfing folklore.
It also holds a secret or two.
Lopez was invited to surf in the inaugural Pa Bendall Memorial surfing contest in 1974.
The event boasted a then huge first-prize cheque of $1500 and Australia's best surfers came to town.
The contest was due to be held in Caloundra over the Australia Day long weekend, but Cyclone Wanda decided to obliterate south-east Queensland and the contest was delayed a week.
During this time, the contestants who weren't stuck in floodwaters, Lopez included, surfed massive cyclone-whipped swells at Noosa.
It is also believed that Lopez found the time to shape himself the now-famous board. This is the belief of exhibition co-organiser Gary O'Donnell, who was 16 at the time and remembers surfing with the legend himself at Kings Beach in the aftermath of Wanda as though it was yesterday.
"It was definitely shaped here because it has a red cedar stringer," Gary said.
"They were used in Australia only and mostly in Queensland and NSW where the tree grew in abundance."
However, the current owner of the board tells a different story.
Mick Vaisnys, of Currimundi, who has loaned several boards for the exhibition, bought the board from a guy who said he bought it off "the Hawaiians" after the contest.
"They told him that it was one Gerry brought to Australia with him," Mick recalled.
Who the Hawaiians are is in itself a mystery as, according to all media reports, Lopez was the only international at the event.
The fact remains that Lopez shaped the board and it was here with him when he graced us with his presence in '74.
If anybody knows where Lopez might have shaped the board then Gary would love to hear from them on 0417 677 775.
The Surfing the Decades exhibition features an extraordinary range of unique and classic surfboards and memorabilia spanning the history of surfing in the Caloundra area.
It opened at The Events Centre, Caloundra, yesterday and will continue until February 5.