Pioneering Australian Surf Industry icon Barry Bennett will be inducted into the hall of fame at the Australian Surfing Awards this Thursday, 3rd March in Manly.
Bennett will become the 38th inductee into the Hall of Fame, not just for his pioneer work as surfboard manufacturer and shaper but for the guidance he provided to many of the country’s leading shapers and surfers.
Born in 1931, Barry started building plywood and balsa surfboards and skis in the 1950s at Waverly in the eastern suburbs of Sydney which quickly became a full-time job. He formed Bennett Surfboards in 1960 and opened a factory dedicated to the manufacture of surfboards and blanks in Brookvale.
During this time a steady stream of surfers who were to become some of Australia’s best surfboard craftsmen were also cutting their teeth in the Bennett factory in Brookvale. Bob McTavish, Geoff McCoy, Nat Young and Midget Farrelly were among many who spent time in the factory honing their skills.
“Barry was the first entrepreneur,” McTavish told journalist Nick Carroll in an interview. “He saw it was better to have a small piece of every surfboard made in Australia than to make a small number of surfboards and barely survive. He was a very simple guy. He wasn’t hoodwinked by the hype – he liked measureable things.”
Other awards to be presented at the prestigious awards night includes the Male Surfer of the Year, the Female Surfer of the Year, Rising Star Award, Milwaukee Waterman of the Year, ASB Surfing Spirit Award, Peter Troy Lifestyle Award, Surf Culture Award and the Simon Anderson Club Award.
The Milwaukee Waterman of the Year winner will receive $2,000 and a Milwaukee tool pack valued at $1,500.
Operated with the support of Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s Tourism and major events agency, the Australian Surfing Awards is renowned for recognising the best in surfing talent.
The judging panel included 11 members of the surfing community including competitor, industry and media representatives.
2016 Australian Surfing Awards – Finalists
Male Surfer of the Year: Owen Wright, Julian Wilson, Mick Fanning
Female Surfer of the Year: Sally Fitzgibbons, Felicity Palmateer, Tyler Wright
Rising Star Award: Isabella Nichols, Jack Robinson, Russel Bierke
Milwaukee Waterman of the Year Award: Mark Mathews, Jamie Mitchell, Mick Corbett
Australian Surf Business Surfing Spirit Award: Andrew McKinnon, OneWave, Waves for Water
Peter Troy Lifestyle Award: Andrew McKinnon, Bruce Channon, Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart
Surf Culture Award: Becoming Westerly, Duke’s Day, White Horses Magazine
Simon Anderson Club Award: Burleigh Heads Boardriders Club, Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club, Culburra Beach Boardriders Club
Nikon Surf Movie of the Year: ASMF Rough Cuts, Cluster, Nix Nic Noley