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Tributes flow for Midget Farrally

8 August 2016

AOC: In a week when surfing was accepted as an Olympic sport, Australia lost a legend of the sport, Bernard “Midget” Farrelly.

Farrelly from Sydney’s northern beaches, was a true pioneer of the sport winning surfing’s first ever World Championship at Manly Beach in 1964.

He started surfing at the age of six, riding an 18 foot board and was idolised by young surfers throughout the world.  He featured in over a dozen surfing movies.

Farrelly played a key role in the development of surfing around the globe. He was behind the formation of the Australian Surfriders Association and launched the International Surfing Federation.

Half a century later and the sport he helped mould was recognised by the International Olympic Committee with surfing to debut on the Olympic Program at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The President of the Palm Beach Surf Club, Shane Oxenham paid the following tribute “with his example as a blonde youthful leader of his generation he brought such joy to so many as he led surfing from a fringe twilight zone to the wonderful healthy sport is it today, worldwide.

He was the first non-Hawaiian winner of the most prestigious Makaha International Surf Title, and then the first World Surfing Champion, and subsequently, runner-up twice more. He took these titles most proudly, and modestly”.

The President of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, said “every young Australian of that era enjoyed the skill of Midget Farrelly. He did things on a surf board that no-one had ever seen before.

The surfers who compete in Tokyo in 2020 owe him a great deal”  

Midget Farrelly was 71.

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