Cosmic Byron Bay 2022
Vissla is pleased to announce the first ever Cosmic Creek Byron Bay!
We couldn't be more stoked to host the first ever Cosmic Creek at Byron Bay + Free Concert during the Byron Bay Surf Festival. Join us for this community event paying homage to a more alternative, experimental era of surfing's history.
Byron Bay Surf Festival Schedule | September 7-11
Wednesday 7 September: Global premiere of George Greenough’s ECHOES film
Thursday 8 September: Global premiere of Californian Jack Coleman’s NATURAL HIGH film
Friday 9 September: Tales From The Tube with Jack McCoy
Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September: Cosmic Creek surfing contest at The Wreck
Saturday 10 September: Cosmic Creek presentation night and Gage Roads’ Forever Frothing Party at The Rails hotel
Saturday 10 September and Sunday 11 September: Wategos Wizards surfing event
The event will feature various age divisions, along with a Pro division, and surfboards to be ridden in the event will be selected through a lottery prior to each heat. Vissla will supply original 70's and 80's Single + Twin Fin options for competitors to choose from: meaning each heat is truly luck of the draw as to which board you will surf.
Cosmic Creek is open to the public and is a true gathering of legends, groms, craftsmen, and storytellers. Over the years, Cosmic has become a soulful, grassroots, eclectic surf gathering; a celebration of heritage; a platform to exchange ideas about surfboards, music and art.
Sign ups for the contest HERE.
Schedule of Cosmic Creek surfing will be:
**FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TH**
Noon – 4pm: Overflow heats and free surf for all competitors on the 24 craft from the 1970s and 80s in preparation for competitive heats the following day. Location is The Wreck.
**SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH**
8:00am – 4pm: All heats and finals for all divisions
5pm – late: Cosmic Creek presentation at The Rails Hotel, along with free live bands including Takaicardia, Le Shiv and The Terrys
COSMIC BYRON | SHAPER PROFILES
To celebrate the first ever Cosmic Creek Byron Bay event coming up in two weeks, our crew took some time to profile some of the legendary shapers of some of the cosmic boards that will be ridden in the event.
01 | TONY CERFF
First off is Tony Cerff, a Durban-born shaper who relocated to Australia in 1971 and immediately fell into the vibrant surfboard shaping community of Sydney’s northern beaches. There he started out blowing blanks and laminating for Midget Farrelly, whose boards he had earlier made under license in South Africa, but the pull of the warmer waters of northern New South Wales saw him relocate to the Byron Bay region. There he found full time work with the iconic Warren Cornish and shaped everything from Aipa stingers to MR twin fins and Michael Peterson models. Then in the mid 1980s he was offered a position with Town & Country shaping alongside Gunther Rohn and Nev Hyman for riders including Martin Potter, Shaun Thomson, Sunny Garcia, Johnny Boy Gomes, Conan Hayes, Andy Irons and Jake Patterson. He rose to the role of head shaper, later joining Gunther Rohn to shape for the Local Motion label, Rawson Hawaiian longboards and his own signature models. His time in the industry has seen him shape under labels including San Juan, Mad Dog, Town & Country, JET, Bare Nature, Local Motion and Mark Richards Surfboards. Tony remains in the Byron region and still shapes the occasional custom surfboard. The Tony Cerff-shaped board being used at Cosmic Creek Byron Bay is a Jett twin fin modelled off early MR boards.
02 | GUNTHER ROHN
Gunther Rohn is the quietly-spoken former South African surfer/shaper who relocated from Capetown to Australia in the early 1970s. He had been influenced in his early shaping years by the boards of travelling surfers and this inspired him to get involved in the experimental years of modern surfboard design. On arrival to Australia he started working for surfboard designer Geoff McCoy and worked alongside shaper Peter Lawrence until the call of the uncrowded lineup around the Lennox Head and Byron area saw him relocate out of Sydney. It was there that he carved out a career as a high-end performance shaper under labels including Town & Country, Local Motion and Timmy Patterson, along with his namesake label GR Surfboards (www.grsurfboards.com) which he continues to operate to this day. Surfers whose careers he helped make include Sunny Garcia, Jake Patterson, Trent Munro, Darren O’Rafferty, Pancho Sullivan, Anthony Walsh and Dion Atkinson, while he has also made craft for everyone from Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Tom Curren through to Martin Pottz, Nicky Wood and Dusty Payne. He continues to work out of a factory at Ballina, just north of Byron Bay, making both stock and custom craft. The Gunther Rohn-shaped board being ridden at Cosmic is a single fin made under his own name around the mid 1970s.
03 | ALLAN BYRNE
Australia has made an industry around foreign surfer/shapers migrating to Australia and ultimately influencing global surfboard design. The late, great Allan Bryne was one such talent. The former New Zealander started shaping in 1969 while visiting Hawaii and continued in New Zealand under ex-pat Aussie shaper Bob Davies. But it was as a surfer he first started to make a name, winning the New Zealand junior title as a 13-year-old and culminating in a runner up finish in the Pipe Masters in what was one of the last great showdowns between a channel bottom single fin and the then brand new three-fin Thruster under the feet of surfer/shaper Simon Anderson. It was during one trip to a world title event in San Diego in the 1970s that he met Hawaiians David Nuuhiwa and Reno Abillira and through those friendships he ended up shaping in San Diego with the progressive Bill Caster. While he learned much about surfboard functionality from those around him, it was two years he spent as a naval cadet and studying hydrodynamics that would lead him down the path of refining and, ultimately, redefining channel bottom surfboards. Al, who relocated to Australia’s Gold Coast to fine tune his shaping, worked with the label Hot Stuff and launched his own brand Byrning Spears. He has shaped for some of surfing’s royalty, including Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Chappy Jennings and Gary Kong Elkerton. He passed away after an accident in Bali in 2013 but his legacy continues through his brother Ian, who with son Jacob operates The House of Byrne (@thehouseofbyrne), and with former business partner Dale Wilson who continues to operate Byrning Spears. The Allan Byrne boards being ridden at Cosmic are a pristine 1980 AI double flyer, swallow tail single fin with a distinctive ACDC spray.
04 | SHANE STEDMAN
Shane Stedman is perhaps one of the ultimate creators and innovators. Born and raised around the wave-rich Crescent Head area on the New South Wales mid north coast and school in production engineering, Shane found himself at the pointy end of Australia’s surfboard shaping revolution through the 1960s and 70s. After honing his shaping skills alongside the likes of Dick Van Straalen and Kevin Brennan he moved to Sydney’s booming shaping community of Brookvale and set up what was affectionately termed The Shane Gang. It was a progressive group of surfers, shapers, designers, and glassers all committed to building a career in the fledgling surf industry. The list of creatives who passed through his factory reads like a who’s who of surfboard building. There was Ted Spencer, Terry Fitzgerald, Simon Anderson, Butch and Steve Cooney, Frank Latta, Richard Harvey, Glyn Ritchie, Chris Young, Richard Kavanagh, David Trealor, Josette Legarde and Jack and Gordon Knight. But to say he was just another shaper is short changing him. He produced perhaps one of the first ‘model’ surfboards with the Standard Shane models, producing more than 200 per week at its peak. You could write a book about Shane and fortunately he did. Grab a copy of The Shane Gang and read up on a life well lived. The Shane Stedman board being ridden at Cosmic Creek Byron Bay is a Shane Standard, one of the 6”4 single fins Shane put into mass production through the 1970s.
05 | DICK VAN STRAALEN
Like many of Australia’s early shapers, Dick Van Straalen gained his first true inspiration in 1956 when the Olympic Games came to Melbourne, Australia. A visiting US lifeguard team attended to compete in a lifesaving carnival and after it they hosted impromptu surfing displays on boards never before seen in Australia. Among those surfing was Greg Noll and their performance was a spark that ignited a surfing inferno that is yet to be extinguished in Australia. Dick Van Straalen, who five years earlier had emigrated to Australia from Holland, was among the inspired spectators and it led him into a lifetime passion of surfboard shaping. He worked with the likes of Bill Wallace, one of the legends of Australian surfboard shaping, and like many from the era the first surfboard he shaped was from EPS foam (which pre-dated PU boards). He has been shaping for more than 60 years, much of that time out of a factory at Burleigh Heads where he can still be found most days. Perhaps best known in more recent years for his long association with surfer Dave Rastovich, Dick is one of the true underground characters of surfing and you would be hard pressed to find two identical boards that he has ever shaped. In fact, don’t tell him what to make for you as he will likely build only what he thinks will work for you. The Dick Van Straalen board being ridden at Cosmic Creek Byron Bay is estimated to be an early 1980s textured deck twin fin in immaculate condition. Dick has also kindly lent Vissla a 1970 down-railer single fin that he believes was among the first boards to ride a tube at Kirra.