In the 47 years since the first surfboard was introduced in Australia, surf-riding has become a synonym for love of the water.
LS. Three come in on boards, one catches wave lose others
MS. Two more, they stand one falls other board into air
CU. Factory, man marks pattern on plastic sheet
CU. Man (with glasses)
MCU. Marking pattern
MS. Man removes pattern, lifts board, prepares to saw
CU. Sawing along pattern line
CU. Men, sawing
CU. Man with glasses
MCU. Man sands board with portable sander
MS. Ditto, puts sander down in rack, picks board up, examines, rough shape apparent
MS. Others enter, lays sheet on board
CU. Smoothing sheet of fibreglass
MCU. Young man painting over fibreglass
MCU. Young man working
MS. Polishing surface with cloth, picks up board, examines closely walks to camera and away
LS. Man on board in surf
MS. Another man, passes others
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the 47 years since the first surfboard was introduced in Australia, surf-riding has become a synonym for love of the water. More, it's a hallmark of the Australian outdoors.
In a home workshop in the Sydney suburb of Harbord, the craft of board-making is the speciality of Greg McDonagh and his father Army McDonagh. The boards the McDonaghs make are rather special - they're so light they can be picked up with one hand. And they are made of a foam plastic.
Cutting the pattern on the meet of plastic is a simple job. The McDonaghs use a sew, but a kitchen knife would serve almost as well - the material is so soft. This is a far cry from the first boards which came to Australia from Hawaii, more than forty years ago. The first one was brought here by a men named Patterson, in 1912. It was a solid, heavy, red-wood slab that scarcely anyone could handle. And it indeed it wasn't handled much until two years later, when the now famous Duke Kahanamoku of Hawaii toured the country, and gave exhibitions of surfboard riding. From these primitive beginnings, the sport has risen to become one of Australia's top summer activities. The making of the boards has developed accordingly, and the latest material is plastic foam.
To protect the plastic board and make it highly durable, it is covered with fibreglass. This forms a tough waterproof skin, sealing the plastic's aerated quality.
It's an exhilarating feeling to catch a "boomer"...to feel the salty spray and smell the tang of the surf, as you ride the crest of a wave at may be 30 miles an hour. It's a sport that most people can master with a little time, a few spills - and patience. The lightness of the boards will make them easier to handle in the surf, and less likely to cause injury to bathers. And to the riders themselves they'll mean better chances of catching the weaves. They'll be riding the surf on plastic.