May 14th 1970 saw the final day of the first World Surfing Titles held in Australia. This was a big event for little Torquay and while the surfing started at Bells in pretty sloppy waves they finished at Johanna in with beautiful conditions. The event was not without its share of controversy and the influx of so many young surfers and officials had quite an impact across the town…no more was this felt than at the Torquay pub- pretty much the only place to eat in town and definitely the only place to drink! The visiting surfers from more tropical climates had trouble coping with Torquay in May when it was cold, bleak windy and wet.
The women’s final was held at Skene’s creek in terrible waves (has there ever been another big contest at Skenes?) And was won by Sharron Weber. The teenage son of a movie star won the men’s event. Rolf Arness was just 18 years old and the son of Hollywood actor James Arness who played Marshall Dillon on ‘Gunsmoke’. Rolf a quietly spoken goofy footer never competed again and chose to live quietly without the distraction and expectations that fame brings