Images from a Golden Age of surfing.
Ted Spencer was conflicted about competition but he could be pretty good at it. He won Bells in both 1968 and 1969.
This was shot at Easter in 1971 with the first model of the Nikonos underwater camera that had a fixed 35 mm lens. My experience shooting from the water at Bells is that it tends to make the wave look flat. With that lens you needed to get REALLY close and I think that this picture works because of that.
Ted’s determination and intensity are so apparent… and the real bonus with that lens was that you often got a bit of the landscape included in the background… oh, and everything was super-sharp.
We used this picture on the contents page of Tracks #8 in May 1971, horribly cropped, but it was still quite striking.
A Golden Age, an exhibition of John Witzig’s photographs of the 1960s and ’70s, will open at the Bondi Pavilion Gallery on 11 September and run for two weeks.