Everyone recognizes the scene… the Saturday morning surf check… done with optimism even in the face of the pretty certain knowledge that there’s very little swell.

I started to build an odd little house just a few hundred metres down the road from this spot in late 1972. I’d often wander up the road with a cup of tea in hand. Most of these guys had grown up in the towns of Yamba and Maclean. They were the ‘locals’ who I got to know as I hung around long enough to get bits of building sort-of livable. They were my visitors, and sometimes, my helpers.

Surfing can be a frustrating pursuit. You arrive early hoping that the swell has come up (it hasn’t), search for any sign that it might (there aren’t any), have a bit of a chat and drift off to whatever else the day has to offer.


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.