Torquay’s Olympic Connection

Torquay is the home of Surfing in Australia and has a special Olympic connection. As part of the Melbourne Olympics, an International Surf Carnival was staged at Torquay Surf Beach in early December 1956. Local lifesavers were joined by visitors from California, Hawaii, Ceylon South Africa and New Zealand for a demonstration events.

Special trains left from Flinders Street and entry to the carnival was 5/-. There was high excitement as the famed Duke Kahanamoku had arrived in Melbourne for the Opening ceremony.

The life savers showed their rescue methods and there were boat races but the real show-stopper was provided by a group of American lifeguards who actually stood up on their boards.   One evening as the events were winding down, American Greg Noll is said to have paddled out to the point with a group of his mates on with their shorter lighter boards people came rushing back to the beach saying “ the yanks are surfing , you oughta see the yanks”   …..Surfing had reached Australia.

Those yanks left most of their equipment for the locals when the carnival was over….and the rest is local surfing history.

Today we hear Surfing will feature at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo maybe some of the descendants of those who were at Torquay beach in 1956 will bring a gold medal back home to Torquay.

It would be a great conclusion to a great story .

Torquay Olympics, Surfing, History

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