The soul and spirit of Australian surfing was on show on the Gold Coast over the weekend with Alby Falzon being elevated into the sport's Hall of Fame at the Australian Surfing Awards.
Legendary surf filmmaker Falzon became the 33rd member respectively of the Hall of Fame which began with the initial induction of Snow McAllister (Deceased) and 4 x World Champion Mark Richards in 1985.
The awards, which were held at the Arts Centre, was organised by Surfing Australia and featured a who's who of the Australian surfing community.
Growing up in the beachside suburb Maroubra in Sydney, Falzon did not begin surfing until age 14, when the family moved to the New South Wales Central Coast. Co-founder of the original Aussie counter-culture surf bible, Tracks, and director of the classic surf film ‘Morning of the Earth’, Falzon continues to live up to his reputation as the spiritual father of the alternative surf lifestyle.
Falzon still lives on an eco-friendly farm he bought in the early 1970s near the NSW mid-north coast, where he cares for and feeds injured wildlife, before loading up his boards and driving to the beach for a surf.
And it seems that the Morning of the Earth lifestyle he so expertly captured in the early 1970s, is still very much a part of the man today. Falzon, who accepted his award by video, said he was very humbled. "Thank you so much for the honour of being inaugurated into Australian surfing's Hall of Fame," he said. "Keep surfing, have a good time and have fun. Bless all of you and thank you so much for this."
Falzon's induction was one of a number of awards that were presented as part of the Australian Surfing Awards.
Two time ASP Men's World Champion Mick Fanning was recognized as the Male Surfer of the Year, four time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore was named Female surfer of the year, with recently crowned ASP World Junior champion Jack Freestone notchied up the Rising Star Award.
Phil Jarratt's 2010 book "Salts and Suits" was named the winner of the Surf Culture Award. The book is a true story of how a group of young beach bums turned their passion for riding big waves into the world's fastest growing leisure industry.
Werri Beach Boardriders (South Coast, NSW) were named Simon Anderson Premier Club of the Year after a stellar run of club results in 2010, while the Pioneer Award was presented to Coastalwatch Research and Development Manager Chris Lane for their groundbreaking wave height and period technology.
The Stan Couper Administration Award was presented to Surfing Western Australia CEO Mark Lane. Lane was nominated for his contribution to the development of surfing for over 20 years and is the current CEO of Surfing Western Australia.
The Peter Troy Lifestyle Award, which recognises an individual who has shown a commitment to the sport of surfing during their lifetime, went to surf historian David "Mex" Sumpter. Surfaid CEO Andrew Judge accepted The ASB Surf Industry Award for their ongoing tsunami efforts. Surfaid have been in the Mentawai Islands for the past 10 years and are committed to remaining in the Mentawai Islands for as long as it takes to assist with Tsunami recovery, to help build community resilience and help establish reliable plans to deal with natural disasters that affect this group of islands.
Jeremy Wilmotte's image of Rhys Bombacci was awarded the Photo of the Year, the Boost Mobile Surf Sho jagged the Surf Event of Year, while Scratching the Surface took out the Surf Movie of the Year.
Surfing Australia Life Membership was also awarded to Gold Coast surfing legend Robert “Bushy” Mitchell, who has contributed a lifetime of service to surfing in Australia.
The 2010 Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame is proudly supported by the Australian Sports Commission, Surfing Australia, Suncorp, Connecting Southern Gold Coast, VB, Coastalwatch, Australian Surf Business Magazine (ASB), TravelSIM and Business GC.
About Hall of Fame:
The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame Inductee were first convened in 1985 by the Australian Surfriders Association (now Surfing Australia) to preserve the history of Australian Surfing and honour its great achievers.
Each year the Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame Inductee are presented to recognize those who have continued to develop surfing in this country. The awards include a number of support categories that recognize the broad spectrum of individuals and organizations who are involved in the industry through events, competition, business, media, photography, movies, clubs, travel, administration or pioneering new initiatives.