Island surfer on a roll

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Andrea Coleman, who lives in the southern California coastal town of San Clemente, ordered the 12-ft long, 8-ft high image online earlier this summer.

The image, which shows Jersey’s two-time European surfing champion Gordon Burgis looking out to sea from Angourie on the east coast of Australia, was taken by Aussie photographer Bob Weeks in 1965.

Mrs Coleman (45), who is a photographic contributor and writer for Pacific Longboarder Magazine, says that although she has never met Mr Burgis, she discovered the photograph thanks to her Facebook friendship with Mr Weeks’ wife, Dianne.

‘Dianne became a fan of my work. She also told me that her husband is very much into surf photography and that he took a great many surfing images in the Sixties.

‘I went on, an Australian website that uses photographs from the Sixties and turns them into images on wallpaper, and spotted one of Bob’s photographs that I really liked, so I ordered it.

‘Then Dianne and Bob sent me an email with lots of information about the picture – including that it was Gordon Burgis from the British Isles in the photo.’

Mrs Coleman, who grew up in Australia and surfs with her husband Tony and their three teenage boys along the Californian coast, says the picture appealed to her because it is a throwback to a golden age of surfing.

‘I just love it. There’s an empty line-up of waves and Gordon is standing there with his longboard sizing it up. Today you wouldn’t ever see an empty line-up – it’s a classic scene.’

She says the wallpaper has attracted plenty of positive comments.

‘My friends have all said “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing”,’ she added.

Mr Burgis, who lives in St Peter, admitted he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ when he found out from his long-time friend in Australia, Mr Weeks, that his image was standing 8-ft high on a lounge wall in California. ‘To hear that she decided to display that photograph in such a way in her home is wonderful,’ he said.

‘It also says a lot for the quality of the photographs that Bob took – it has been blown up into a big image and still retains its quality.’

Mr Burgis vividly recalls the day in 1965 when the photograph was taken.

‘The photo brought back wonderful memories of probably the most memorable five days of surfing in my life, riding those incredible waves in perfect conditions.

‘That day at Angourie the waves were ten to12 feet and I was waiting for the resin to dry after repairing my board.

‘My friend Barry Jenkins later almost lost his life after getting caught by a rip tide. Fortunately, a group of dolphins circled Barry to protect him – there were a lot of sharks in the area – and then we pulled him safely onto the beach.’

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