The Legends of 72 Surf Expo to showcase a groundbreaking year in the sport

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A new Legends of Surfing exhibit is set to arrive at the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay in October, as ‘Legends of Surf 72’ takes the community on a nostalgic ride through the tunnel of 1972 and the events that shaped a year decisive in surfing.

Legends of Surf 72 marks the 50th anniversary of Australia’s legendary 1972 team and traces its competitive journey from the World Surfing Championships in October through the big wave season in Hawaii in November and December.

The year 1972 saw the changeover in amateur competitions and the birth of new professional surfing events which paved the way for the professionalism of surfing.

The exhibition will feature a series of images that documented the groundbreaking surfing year of 1972. Photo: STEVE WILKINGS

The significance of the surf team which included 21 surfers is that 14 members of the legendary team have since been inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Awards, a statistic that will likely never be repeated.

Team 72 organizer Andrew McKinnon collaborated with curator Karen Neilsen and fellow Australian team member Rod Brooks to bring this gripping story to life.

“We are really excited to bring this project to the Australian Surfing Museum in October for what will be an amazing way to celebrate and document the big year that 1972 has been in terms of changing the way we all see surfing,” McKinnon said.

“1972 was an incredible year for surfing, a changing of the guard that ushered in a new era of surfers like Simon Anderson, Victorian surfer Gail Couper and Mark Richards who all became world surfing heroes.

“It was the start of a new generation of Aussie surfers who would make their way to professionalism and it’s amazing that thankfully the era has been very well documented with amazing photographs which will be the key point of the exhibition.”

Photos for the exhibit were provided by famous photographers of the time such as Californians Jeff Divine, Steve Wilkings and Drew Kampion, while personal photos of team members Mark Warren, Peter Townend and Anthony Hardwick will be also presented.

Victorian surfer and 5-time Australian surfing champion Gail Couper (right) played an important role in the 1972 surfing year. Photo: SUPPLIED

McKinnon hopes the images will illustrate young Australians in their formative year and how the sophomore year of 1972 established so many successful surfing careers.

“It will be great to share this somewhat hidden era that really paved the way and established professional surfing into what it is today!”

People can attend the exhibition from October 29 at the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay.

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