A Restart for Australia

Midcentury Aussies weren't much concerned with progressing the art. “They ride waves,” a sportswriter wrote in 1949, describing the routine followed by a group of Manly Beach surfers, “play medicine ball on the beach, then return to the clubhouse for a hot shower and a spot of weightlifting.”

By the end of World War II, Australian surfers had been going at it hard for almost 40 years, and the country’s wave-riding population had grown steadily. In 1949, nobody so much as raised an eyebrow after a newsreel claimed that “surfing is Australia’s most popular sport.” Yet surfing here was different than it was in America. Or, put another way, isolated from trends in California and Hawaii, Au...

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