New Turning Point for surfer Rusty

SURF LEGEND: Rusty Miller and Tricia Shantz with their new book at Byron Bay’s Main Beach.
SURF LEGEND: Rusty Miller and Tricia Shantz with their new book at Byron Bay’s Main Beach. Gary Chigwidden

LOCAL surfing legend Rusty Miller surely has created a first with his new book, Turning Point.

With the sub-title, Surf Portraits and Stories from Bells to Byron 1970-71, the book features about 60 images in its pages and not one of them shows any surfing action.

The only real surfing shot is on the cover and the surfer in that photo is only part of the background with the main focus on people watching from the point at Lennox Head.

"That's the only actual surfing shot," said Rusty, the 1965 US Surfing Champion who came to Australia in 1970 and stayed.

"It was all about the people. So it's very different in that way."

The "people" were all photographed by Rusty in 1970 and 1971 and formed the basis for exhibitions at Manly and Byron Bay in the last two years.

After someone at one of the exhibitions suggested the photos would "make a good book", he and his wife, Tricia Shantz, thought it a good idea as well.

They spent a couple of very wet winters at their Coorabell home going through hundreds of photos to select suitable images and also began the task of identifying people in the photos.

Some of them, famous Australian surfing faces, some of them not, they obviously knew, but there were others they didn't know.

With the help of friends in the surfing world and after numerous local and international phone calls and emails, they were able to identify some of the people.

Once contacted, the people in the photos were asked to recall their memories of that moment and those memories formed the basis of the stories accompanying their photos.

Rusty believes the images and the stories in the book capture the atmosphere of those days.

Turning Point, designed by John Witzig, is available for $40 at Driftlab and Mary Ryan's.

Topics:  surfing

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