Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly Dies, Aged 71
RIP, Australia’s first World Champ.
Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly, Australia’s first World Champion, has died at the age of 71.
Midget won the world title in 1963, and was inducted into the Australia Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. To say he was an important figure in our sport would be a gross understatement – indeed, he was widely regarded as the the world’s best competitive surfer between 1962 and 1970.
“He was a beautiful wave-rider, controlled and polished but with a dynamic be-bopping flair,” wrote Encyclopedia of Surfing editor, Matt Warshaw. “By the time he won the 1962 Makaha International, at age 18, Midget was style icon in Australia; by the time he won the 1964 World Championships — the first event of its kind — he was the sport’s apex high-performer. An entire nation of surfers followed Farrelly’s lead. He had his own newspaper column. He starred in every Aussie surf film, and racked up cover shots by the half-dozen. World-champ-in-the-making Nat Young copied Midget the way Midget copied Phil, and Bob McTavish was greatly influenced by Midget as well—as a surfer, but even more as a boardmaker — and the fact that Farrelly doesn’t get more credit for the shortboard revolution is the biggest of the many injustices he suffered over the decades.”
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