Phillip Island Boardriders was established in 1963 and lays claim to the oldest continuous running club in Australia.
From its conception most of the clubs members were from Melbourne, 120 kilometres away. As the membership grew these surfers migrated closer to the beach and now 90% of all members live on the island. We have three generations of club members surfing in club contests at present, with the oldest competing member being 67 years-of-age. In the early days after contests, beers were held at a place called Bottle Neck Beach. Our largest drinking session post contest involved 220 slabs [cases] on a long weekend in January in the late 1970s.
Over the years the board club has run formal balls having bands like Daddy Cool, Little River Band, Sky Hooks (Shirley was a member), Austin Tayshus and Kids In The Kitchen play live. The end result of these fundraisers allowed the club to build its very own clubrooms, which was finalized in 1993. As the club grew, so did the surfing divisions – now catering for A and B Grade, Senior Men’s, Master’s, Senior Master’s, Grand Master’s, Legends 50-to-55, Grand Pubah’s (55 and over), Cadets, Junior men’s and women’s, Malibu’s, Women’s and Senior Women’s. Super Grommets are 6-to 12-years of age, which brings the club membership to 180 (surfing and social). Over the years the club has made do with trailers, small caravans to big caravans to now a Toyota Hilux van to carry our contest equipment. It takes two days to run one contest, splitting the super grommets to a safer beach on the island with their parents. At contests end on a Sunday night its back to clubhouse for presentations, beers and to watch the contest on the 3m x 3m video screen (super-groms love it). The club has 12 life members and five Hall Of Fame members consisting of Mal Gregson, John Mason, Garry (Dozza) Dorrington, Steve Smart, Vaughn Platt.
In the early 90’s the club had its own computer judging system devised by Ian Pewtress (the only other computer system was used by the ASP for WCT events). Surfing Australia went onto use our computer system – which has become mainstream. The club has had two surfers make it onto the World Championship Tour, being Glyndon Ringrose and Nikki Van Dijk. Simon McShane also won the ACC in the 90’s. Over the years the club has run professional competitions, the first of which was way back in 1969. That event offered 100 dollars in prize money (and was backed up in 1970 with $200). Through the 1970’s and into the early 80’s we ran the Alan Oke Memorial, an event that, in 1976, boasted the highest prize money of any event in the world. Some winners of the event being Ian Cairns, Wayne Lynch, Glen Winton, Col Smith and Ian Cochrane. Through the late 80’s the club ran the WQS (World Qualifying Series) events and the Australian Championship Circuit (ACC) events through to the late 90’s. In the mid 90’s club legend Mal Gregson received the Duke Kahanamoku award and Craig Clark received a similar award in the late 90’s from Surfing Australia. In 1999 the club received the Hall Of Fame premier club award. In 2004 the club also received the Hall Of Fame innovation award for their super grommet program. Surfers that came through the program include Ry Craike, Luke and Brent Dorrington, Shaun Stevic and Brendon Leckie. In 2000 the club had four members (Mal Gregson, Craig Clark, Paul Cochrane and Ian (Teddy) Pewtress) receive Australian sports medals for their contribution to surfing. The awards had the Queen’s seal and were presented to the recipients by Prime Minister John Howard. The Phillip Island Boardriders Club continues to encourage and nurture the sport that we all love, surfing.