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Australia’s first world surfing champion, Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly, dies aged 71

Former champ: Midget Farrelly, pictured in 1986. Photo: Lorrie GrahamAustralia’s first world champion surfer, Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly, has passed away at the age of 71.
Nanjing Night Net

Inducted into the Australia Sports Hall of Fame in 1985, Farrelly was crowned world champion in 1963, winning the very first official championship in Manly.

Described by the Encyclopaedia of Surfing as being “from 1962 to 1970 he was arguably the best competitive surfer in the world,” Midget, who stood at just 170cm and 66kg was an integral part of the sport for most of his life.

At the age of just 17, Farrelly became the leader of the Dee Why Surfing Fraternity in 1960 – the club is still active today.

He appeared in several surfing movies, and produced two books – A Surfing Life and How to Surf.

Farrelly’s world championship made him the first Australian face of surfing.

Damien Murphy, who interviewed Farrelly in 2012, lauded his success as the catalyst that launched a million surfboards, created a surfing equipment and clothing industry and resulted in the multibillion-dollar coastline development south from Noosa Heads in Queensland to Lorne on Victoria’s west coast.

Farrelly described his win to Murphy in typical underwhelming fashion.

“They gave me the trophy. I remember an Australian couple in the Makaha crowd saying, ‘Good on you,’ and Ron Church taking that photo of me with the trophy on the Keyo board I’d shaped for Hawaii,” Farrelly recalls in his Brookvale surfboard factory. “I got into my car – you could buy a bomb for $50 without windows, $100 with windows – and drove back to the north shore to tell the other blokes I’d won. They probably had some beer.” Local Legend Bernard “Midget” Farrelly passed today. Thanks for all you did for surfing mate https://t.co/e6u9FnG35Rpic.twitter南京夜网/mgOBLo4ISo— The Surf Nomad (@thesurfnomad) August 7, 2016

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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