Legends of the Surf

The Gold Coast in the ‘70s was a wave of long-haired boys, homemade surfboards and endless summers. Recently 7NEWS took us back to those days with their Gold Coast Uncovered series… with thousands of films from the era seen for the first time in high definition.

Those times have reminded us that learning to surf and ride the waves has been a rite of passage for generations that grew up on the coast. There’s no denying the surf culture is strong, and tightly woven into the history of this part of Queensland… and there are a few people to thank for keeping it alive.

Michael Peterson, known as MP and the ‘King of Kirra’, was unquestionably the greatest surfer in Australia of his time. In 1977 he took out the inaugural Stubbies Surf Classic at Burleigh… and can now be remembered in bronze and granite at Kirra Beach and in a mural at Burleigh Pavilion.

That mural, in fact, was the inspiration for a recent exhibition curated by local artist Emily Rose Hastie, called Legends of the Surf. It’s made up of fifteen portraits featuring such legends, one of which is Andrew McKinnon, better known as Andy Mac. He surfed with MP back in the day… and along with Adam Yates from Surfing Queensland, he’s passionate about keeping the legacy anything but below water.

Another prominent face you’ll find in Legends of the Surf is 1978 World Champ, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew. You simply can’t talk about Gold Coast surfing legends without his mention… he’s been an inspiration and even a father figure to plenty of up-and-comers! Check out the video above to hear about his contribution to surfing… which is unsurpassed by any other.

You can also celebrate surfing as it makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo… we’ll be cheering on Julian Wilson, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Owen Wright as they represent Australia. The Olympics are, of course, live and free on the Seven Network.

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