Surfing legend is honoured
RON ‘Shorty’ Connors was ’no different to the boys and girls of today – he loved his surfing, especially at the Point’.
Those words came from Shorty’s dad Cyril at the opening of the Ron ‘Shorty’ Connors Memorial Stairs at Lennox Point on Saturday.
The stairs’ construction was a collaborative effort by the Department of Lands, Ballina Shire Council and the Lennox National Surfing Reserve Association.
They were named in memory of a legendary surfer (pictured) whose life was cut short by a brain tumour. Shorty, born in 1950, died in 1976.
Cyril told a crowd of about 150: "It is now more than 30 years since he passed away. I feel very proud and honoured that his mates, together with Lennox Head-Ballina (Le-Ba) Boardriders, wish to still remember him by naming this stairway in his memory.
"Shorty got his first surfboard not at a surf shop, but at a sports store where they sold more cricket bats and tennis racquets than surfboards. I think it was paid off on time-payment – there were no credit cards in those days."
Surfing Reserve Association chairman Phil Myers remembered Shorty as being a surfer who everyone aspired to be like.
He said Shorty ‘was the life-blood of surfing around the Ballina-Lennox Head area in the 1960s and 1970s’.
Shorty was born in Lismore on March 4, 1950, and attended school at Marist Brothers in Lismore before moving to Ballina.
Cyril Connors made special mention of the time and effort put into organising the opening by Phil Myers, and thanked the Department of Lands, Ballina Shire Council and council employee James Brideson.
Among the guests attending were other members of Shorty’s family – siblings Greg Connors, Sandra Hancock, Carolyn Ellison, Pamela Aboody and Louise Pursey and their partners, and his wife Debbie (nee Reardon, now Pearce) – as well as Ballina Shire Mayor Phillip Silver and representatives from the Department of Lands Warwick Watkins, Graham Harding and Dave McPherson.
Shorty’s nephew Marcus Aboody, who is a champion surfer with the Le-Ba Boardriders, joined with his grandfather, Cr Silver and Mr Watkins to cut a legrope to officially open the stairs.
The Connors family donated a large framed photo of Shorty, taken at the Point, to Le-Ba and it will be a perpetual trophy.