The Tide n Turn Fifty Years On

Fifty years on and Tide n Turn Boardriders Club is still going strong and it all began with a group of friends who shared a love of the ocean and surfing. This weekend as the Club celebrates 50 years, Keith Michel, one of the founding members of the Tide n Turn Boardriders Club in the mid 1960’s shares his memories with us.

“It was the best thing we did at that time of our lives. It brought many friendships and we became a large family bonding with our passion for surfing. We had regular meetings every Monday and I still have the minutes and documents from the original meetings. The first official meeting was held on 26th July 1966 but we were mates surfing together before then. I was 15 years old then. There were ten members present at the first meeting at Boyd Rich’s place in Gladstone and it was voted that $2 be the annual membership fee and the colours be royal or navy blue on light blue.

We all came from Gladstone and Tannum Sands was the closest surf beach until someone said ‘there’s a place at Agnes Water’. We used to pool cars and sit in the back of Utes with our boards. There were Mini Coopers, Mini Minors and Mini Mokes that had a shorter lifetime than expected on that road. A few cars rolled on the road during those years. We had to drive through creeks back then and when it rained you had to make sure you judged when to go to Agnes and when to come home or risk camping in your cars on the side of the road. We could always find someone older than 17 years to drive us.

One time we had 13 on board and 13 boards and a mate and I were on top of the vehicle, an old bread bakers van, tightening up the boards while the vehicle was still driving along. I watched the right wheel come off and we had to walk to Agnes from about 10k out. Sometimes we used to drive the cars side by side throwing eggs or anything soft at each other.

It was always a fun trip going home after a weekend surfing and we would sometimes stop on the side of the road to have a game of cards.

Girls were always an important part of the club from the beginning and there were times when members were stood down from the club until they had their own surfboard.

In the early 70’s, the club was run by president Peter Mackenzie and continued on for several years with members such as Brett Long, and the Williams, D’arcy and Realf boys.

Then we had the second generation of surfers, our children joining the club. Sandi and I owned a shack on the beach in the 70’s and early 80’s and our kids along with the other shack owners kids became the new T n T. Neil Mergard was one of the second generation Tide n Turn surfers.”

“I grew up in Agnes Water and with the Tide n Turn Boardriders Club. It was a group of passionate surfers that frequented the area whenever there was a swell. I grew up with the sons of the founders and we were known as the second generation. It was made of a mateship group and then we started going away to competitions against Rainbow Beach and then we got busy and started running the club locally. I am very proud to see the club still going strong 50 years later.”

The club is currently run by dedicated locals who have stepped up as committee members and is now one of Australia’s oldest board riding clubs. The club holds competitions at the end of each month for its members and enjoys fun days in the sunshine and surf. For some years they also took on the role as hosts for the Reef2Beach Longboard Classic with its committee and club members running the three day event. Tide n Turn has been the encouragement for many young grommets as they have begun surfing and the club created the Under 10 Push Off division to accommodate the learners in their monthly competitions. This division has since been adopted by Surfing Queensland for their own competitions.

Local surf shop owner Grom (Wayne MELLICK) says, “It’s a very good milestone for Tide n Turn and the boys are busy organising the celebrations. It’s great for the community to have events like this here in Agnes.”

Aside from competitions Tide n Turn also provides opportunities and support for its members with courses for both Judging and Coaching to further involve them in the surfing world. The club has seven new Level 1 Judges following a course held last month and two club members will participate in the coaching course later this month on the Gold Coast. The club also sponsors its members who decide to take on the challenge of competing on a higher level.

For the June long weekend Tide n Turn has invited the clubs creators, committees and members both past and present to join in the celebration of the 50th birthday. A formal function is to be held on the Saturday night to gather everyone and encourage some reminiscing and storytelling.