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Tuesday 9 August 2016 | Published in Regional


AUSTRALIA – Australian surfing champion Bernard Farrelly, best known as ‘Midget’ for his slight size, has died aged 71.

Farrelly was born in 1944 in Sydney and learned to surf at age 6.

In 1962, at 18 years old, Farrelly won the Makaha International and was received as a national sports hero when he returned home to Australia.

He won the first official surfing world championship at Sydney’s Manly Beach in 1964, and dominated the sport in Australia as it gained popularity during that decade.

He continued to be one of the best competitive surfers in the world until the end of the 1960s. Farrelly was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.

“Farrelly was arguably the most successful competitor in the world during the 1960s,” his online Hall of Fame entry says.

“Though always dedicated to the sport, he later became embroiled in a series of disagreements with Australian officials and was banned from entering the 1969 Australian title.”

Farrelly also built surf boards, making his first one in 1958 at the age of 14, and later establishing a board business at Brookvale on Sydney’s northern beaches.

He appeared in several surfing movies, and produced two books, A Surfing Life and How to Surf.

Farrelly’s world championship title made him the first Australian face of surfing as he helped launch the International Surfing Federation which ensured the growth of the sport and its championships worldwide.

- PNC sources