“When he dropped out of the competitive scene in the early 70s, he said he “wasn’t interested in fame or money,” and that he wanted to be “just a surfer, not a star.“
Described by some as the inventor of vertical surfing and others as the ultimate soul surfer, Wayne Lynch’s contributions to the evolution of wave riding are hard to deny. He was a teenager during the critical transition from longboards to shortboards in the late 60s and early 70s. The lines he drew on early shortboards were completely new at the time and his influence can still be seen in today’s surfers.
Wayne began surfing at age ten and was something of a child phenomenon in Australia. He won six consecutive Victoria state titles in the juniors division and four straight juniors division Australian national titles. He tried professional surfing for a short time and appeared in some notable surf films along the way, including a breakout performance in the 1969 release Evolution, the 1971 classic Sea of Joy and a 1978 short film by Jack McCoy entitled A Day in the Life of Wayne Lynch.
Like many of the world’s best surfers today, Wayne decided that a career revolving around surf competitions wasn’t for him. When he dropped out of the competitive scene in the early 70s, he said he “wasn’t interested in fame or money,” and that he wanted to be “just a surfer, not a star.”
More recently, Andrew Kidman featured Wayne in his 1996 film Litmus. Andrew says on his website: “Over the years I’ve learnt more about the world and its cultures from Wayne than from anybody. He’s fascinated by all aspects of world culture, from music, to painting, family, ways of living and architecture. He’s happy to share it all. To talk about the problems facing indigenous cultures and the problems indigenous cultures could save the world from experiencing through their knowledge of the earth and their heritage.”
Today, Wayne Lynch still lives in Victoria, Australia with his wife and two kids. He continues to design and build surfboards, recently releasing a line of modern single fins, the templates being based on what he was riding in the seventies.
“I grew up surfing, living and exploring the lush forests, mountains, rivers and rugged coastal cliffs of South Western Victoria, a place of unique beauty. This part of Australia is situated on the edge of the westerly wind belt known as the Roaring Forties, a wind that continually circumnavigates the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean. This wind is capable of producing massive storms and swells. I was fortunate enough to pioneer many of the surf breaks in this area and to build specific equipment to ride the different waves. For me, surfing and designing have always been about exploration and discovery. These days I continue to explore this ocean and its coastlines under sail, which has furthered my respect and appreciation of its uniqueness.”Background Photo: by Scott Winer. Kohl Christensen locks into another one in a seemingly endless week of A-plus surf in Fiji.