As compiled by during 2021 by Formation and Life Members— George Kennedy
in collaboration with John Young
The Very Beginning
Layback Longboarders Club (LBL) was formed by George Kennedy, John Young and Peter Wearing on Sunday 1st March 1992, 7:00am at Bellambi Pointbreak car park adjacent to the swimming pools. Seventeen surfers had a short meeting and organized our first ever point score and history was made.
George and John aged 17 at The Farm summer 1967/68 in board shorts made by our girlfriends as surf companies did not exist back then. Board sizes had only just started to get smaller as seen with John’s new “Patrick” surfboard.
Going back a few years John Young and I have been best mates since we were in our teens. We had been surfing in Bali at Uluwatu in really heavy surf on our short boards and were both really struggling in the huge surf but after a few hours finally got it together. It made us realise we were struggling a bit on short boards and not long after we arrived home, Youngie went and saw Mick Carabine who talked him into ordering an 8ft Mal to see how it fitted. Youngie loved it and surfed it a few times before pushing it over to me for a go, well it was one of those moments in life that you never forget. It fitted like a glove, it was perfect. My 20 years short board career was over from that point on and I was back into longboards that I hadn’t surfed since about 1967, when I was 17.
George at Seal Rocks and a couple of my home made boards. A twinny and a single fin about 1969.
Note: Thrusters hadn’t been invented then and twin fins were the new thing.
John and his first car early morning surf down the coast 1968.
John at The Farm with our son’s Lincoln Y and Rob K during DV8’s State Titles about 1990.
In about 1987 Youngie and I joined the DV8’s down at Shellharbour and really enjoyed the whole board club thing and how it helped improve our surfing. We made a lot of good friends and had raging good times at major contests and presentations after the contests at the Bowlo club…. Aaaaah the stories!
I was driving to Sydney everyday working fulltime and doing huge hours and the extra travel to Shellharbour at weekends was getting to me, so I thought Wollongong’s a pretty large place so why couldn’t we have our own longboard club in the Gong?
Well I tossed the idea around for about a year with Youngie whilst we would be driving together down the coast to compete at some ungodly hour until finally we decided “Stuff it! Let’s give it a go!”
I think it was the next weekend we were surfing at Bellambi and talking to this guy we’d seen there in the water a few times before and we ran the idea past him just to see his reaction. “Hell Yeah!” I think he said without hesitation. His name was Peter Wearing and he was, as it turned out, a member of Bellambi Surf Club and the Bellambi Bluebottles winter swimming group.
The three of us had a little meeting in the carpark and exchanged names and phone numbers and decided on a plan to ask as many people we could find surfing Mals if they would like to become members of this no-name board club.
Peter printed off flyers to hand out, we placed them under wiper blades on cars at several beaches, taped them to light poles and distributed them to local board shops. We had settled on the date 1st March 1992, about four weeks away for the formation and first ever point score. This gave us time to build up numbers and figure out how to run a contest without a timer and hooter (we used a watch and whistle), no contest shirts (we organized coloured singlets of our own). We drew up judges sheets, tally and running point score sheets and had them printed ready to go.
We were fully organized and the numbers were building up. We were starting to get a really good vibe and we were pumped as the excitement continued to build and build.
More to come….