Legend: This historic photo shows Bobby Brown in 1963 as a talented 16-year-old.
Legend: This historic photo shows Bobby Brown in 1963 as a talented 16-year-old. Bob Weeks

Surf exhibition to honour Bobby

THERE have been many talented surfers from Cronulla and the southside beaches of Sydney, including former ASP World champion Mark “Occy” Occhilupo.

But the history is not complete without acknowledgement of Cronulla’s first surfing hero, Bobby Brown.

The Gold Coast Surf World Surf Museum at Currumbin will kick off the Bobby Brown Exhibition next Thursday, hosted by local surf reporter Andrew McKinnon.

“Bobby Brown was my all-time-hero growing up and you couldn’t help being inspired by his contest results, style and cool demeanour,” McKinnon said.

“While I never met Bobby, I watched him surf in the 1966 national finals at Coolangatta and have felt a strong affinity with his legendary spirit.

Close Cronulla mate Brian “Chubby” Kirkham also has fond memories of the young genius.

“He was super radical for the day, sometimes riding shorter boards than the normal equipment,” he recalled.

“And he broke his nine foot Jackson Surfboard in half at Cronulla Point one morning but reshaped the tail, whacked on the same fin creating a shorter board than the original and was then pulling off full rail carving turns.”

Bobby Brown was way ahead of his time but was sadly struck down in his prime, dying at only 20 years of age in August 1967 as a result of a glassing attack in a Sydney pub over a game of pool.

Bobby was planning to marry his childhood sweetheart, Lorraine McIntyre, at the end of the year and go to Hawaii for their honeymoon.

The opening party for Bobby’s Exhibition will be well attended by Bobby’s family including elder brother John who has written a special poem for presentation.

Other legendary surfers invited to the event include surfing pioneer and artist Gary Birdsall who has painted a portrait of his old mate for the Exhibition.

Champion Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew will help McKinnon MC the night with the exhibition on show at Gold Coast Surf World until January 2011.

For more information on the event go to www.bobbybrownsurfinglegend.com

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