Australian surfing champion Bernard Farrelly, best known as ‘Midget’ for his slight size, has died aged 71.
Farrelly won the first official surfing world championship at Sydney’s Manly Beach in 1964, and dominated the sport as it gained popularity during that decade.
His achievements included:
Being the first Australian to win a major surfing title in the 1963 Hawaiian championships
Winning the 1965 Australian surfing title
Sixth place at the 1966 world championship
Winning the 1966 Peruvian International Small Waves competition
Winning the 1968 Bobby Brown memorial
Second place at the 1968 world championship
Farrelly was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.
“Farrelly was arguably the most successful competitor in the world during the ’60s,” 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.
Australian surfer Tom Carroll has paid tribute to the sport’s pioneer.
“One of the beautiful things I remember that I took from him was that he listened and watched his sister who was a dancer, a ballerina and he brought that to his surfing,” Carroll said.
“I just loved the way he surfed and it was really nice catching up with him.”
Credit: ABC News