Good Reading : January 2004
Asurfing museum may seem an unusual place to find a good book, but for anyone with a love of the sport, Legends Longboards at Sapphire, nine kilometres north of Coffs Harbour, is the place to go. Purpose built in the style of a fabulous south sea island longhouse, it’s a fascinating place to visit, whether you are into wave riding or pre- fer reading by the pool! Proprietor Scott Dillon is grinning as he walks around his amazing collec- tion of surfing paraphernalia. Surfboards of all vintages, shapes and sizes jostle with an amazing variety of magazines and books, while newspaper cuttings and posters dating from the last six decades and beyond, adorn every possible surface. ‘I just love showing people around here,’ admits Scott, with a twinkle in his eye. ‘We get visitors of all ages and back- grounds and it doesn’t seem to matter if they are into surfing or not because we have a great deal of Australian beach culture memorabilia. It’s an educational experience and a march back in time,’ he says. Scott is a pioneer big-wave surfer and surfboard manufacturer who first became hooked on wave riding in the 1950s. ‘Back then all surfboards were longboards,’ he recalls, and he’s lost none of his enthusiasm or ability.The museum sells a huge range if books on surfing, with Scott himself appearing in many of the titles dealing with the his - tory of the sport! The opening of the museum in 2001 saw Nat Young do the honours with local band, Mal and the Longboarders, providing the toe-tapping entertainment. ‘I started building boards in Bondi in the ’50s. After founding one of Australia’s most popular and respected brands of board, Scott proves he has not lost his touch by still regularly surfing the Maldives and Indonesia during Australia’s winter, when his mate Kane manages the museum during these quieter months. Shoplifters beware! Outside the ocean, Scott’s ability with the gloves saw him take three state boxing titles and he narrowly missed selection to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. ‘Word of mouth is our strongest marketing tool,’ says Scott. ‘Many people come in on the recom- mendation of a friend.’ He’s delighted that it attracts numerous visitors from all over Australia and the globe who pop in to pick up a surfing book or magazine and have a chat with the legend himself. ‘We get lots of older folk coming in and saying, I remember riding a surf-a-plane at Bondi,’ says Scott with a laugh. ‘It is just wonderful hearing people share their memories of going to the beach because it’s such a vital part of Australian culture and it’s marvellous that we have such a huge range of people through – many of whom are dragged here by their surf mad kids or partner, but they also become fascinated with the displays,’ he says. In search of a good book on surf- ing? Catch up with a Legend! (fullybooked) 54 (GoodReading) safari Legends Surf Museum 3/18 Gaudrons Road Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 Ph: 02 6653 6536 www.surfingaustralia.com.au/ org.asp?oid=2440 Open: Monday to Sunday. 10.00am – 4.00pm surfing The surf’s always up at the Legends Longboard Museum as Alison Aprhys discovered.