How a big island at the bottom of the world became the greatest surfing nation on earth. In 100 years, surfing in Australia has morphed from exotic Pacific Island curio to regimented training for life savers, from counter culture revolution to respectable mainstream sport. Along the way, it has shaped our coastal migrations, spawned vast business empires and design innovations, produced sports stars and spectacular casualties in equal measure, helped the beach overtake the bush as our national, natural habitat of choice.
No other sport has been through such profound cultural shifts or had such farreaching influence on our national identity. The story of Australian surfing is largely one of schisms - between freedom seeking beach-goers and censorial puritans, between the quasi-militaristic regiments and volunteerism of surf life savers and the selfish pleasure-seeking pursuits of board riders, the generational and attitudinal gulf between longboarders and shortboarders, professionals and so-called soul surfers, territorial tensions between locals and tourists.