SURFING nicknames have been synonymous with the beach culture since Hawaii's Duke Kahanamoku - "The Duke" - arrived in Australia in 1915.

Our first world champions Bernard "Midget" Farrelly and Robert "Nat" Young were nicknamed early owing to their size.

Nat was originally called "Gnat" as in a winged insect.

He outgrew the nickname, the G was dropped turning into Nat and leading to the saying, "Nat's Nat and that's that!"

 

Former world champion surfer Nat Young riding in Sydney in 1975.
Former world champion surfer Nat Young riding in Sydney in 1975.

 

American surfers didn't ­really follow the Australian trend, although there was the Malibu legend Miki "Da Cat" Dora referring to his catlike grace on a longboard and his alley-cat lifestyle after hours.

In the '70s, surfing nicknames took an abbreviated form such as Hawaii's Barry Kanaiaupuni known as "BK" or Gold Coast shaper Dick Van Straalen known as "DVS".

The initial nicknames suited the original Cooly Kids, Michael "MP" Peterson and Peter "PT" Townend, while Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew was given his nickname from his early bucked teeth and he ran like a rabbit in the school playground.

Michael Peterson had many nicknames.

"The Monk" (long hair and quiet nature), Reggie the Veggie, The Wizard for his surfing magic but MP is the main one that triggered an annual event, the MP Classic on the Gold Coast.

Wayne
Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew rides a perfect Burleigh wave in the mid-1970s.

North End's Tony Eltherington was called "Doris" as in his early days he resembled Hollywood's Doris Day with his blond hair.

In the '80s, a whole new generation of Gold Coast surfers emerged like James "Chappy" or "the General" Jennings and Jason "China" O'Connor.

Snapper's Glen "Rocky" Rawlings' nickname is taken from the movie of the same name and Dean "Dingo" Morrison was the start of the new '90s Cooly kids.

There are so many more nicknames in surfing, including the surf breaks TOS (The Other Side), The Rocky at Burleigh, the Alley at Currumbin shortened from Shark Alley and now the Snapper "Super Bank".

The Burleigh Boardriders Club are renowned for their nicknames.

Their coaches are Jay "Bottle" Thompson, who is also known as Botts, and Kyle "Dvex" Robinson taken from the Happy Days' chef Al Delvecchio.

There's former club presidents, Ashley "Champ" Humphreys (because he's the Champ) and Jye "Fabs" Brazenas for his Brazilian resemblance to Fabio Gouveia.

Current president James Lewis is known as "Bowie" as he has a green eye and a brown eye like the late singer David Bowie.

Peter “Dooley” Harris loves his Burleigh barrels – his nickname came from ‘60s surfing legend Mick Dooley. Picture: ANGELA COLLINS
Peter “Dooley” Harris loves his Burleigh barrels – his nickname came from ‘60s surfing legend Mick Dooley. Picture: ANGELA COLLINS

The 1980 Burleigh Heads Stubbies contest winner and new patron of Surfworld surf museum, Peter Harris, was nicknamed "Dooley" as he surfed knock-kneed like '60s legend Mick Dooley.

His older brother Glen is called "Rowdy" because he is so quiet but it's their younger brother Dwayne who holds the record for the most nicknames such as "Coney the ball bearing", "Ernie Wollie", "Chicken with Lips" but the one that sticks is "The Sheriff."

Nicknames can be crude and somewhat offensive but they are part of surfing folklore. A proud tradition which the boardriders wear like a badge of honour that reflect the inclusive club mateship spirit. Yew!


A profitable partnership

A profitable partnership

East Ballina Lions and Ballina Fair partner to support farmers

Keeping the heart beating

Keeping the heart beating

Bike ride to raise AED awareness

Skatefest going ahead

Skatefest going ahead

Fair Go Skatefest to run again this year

Local Partners