When Australian surfer Nat Young won the World Championship at Ocean Beach, San Diego, in 1966, his home break near Sydney would momentarily become the centre of the surfing universe as board design adapted to a more ‘radical’ style of surfing. Ten-year-old Stephen Cooney and his older brother Butch were friends of the Young brothers and would become deeply involved in the shortboard evolution. By the age of 14, Stephen had left school to pursue his love of surfing fulltime, eventually joining Albe Falzon for the filming of the seminal surf film Morning of The Earth. He was only 15-years-old when he became the first known person to surf Uluwatu in Bali.
Stephen’s account of his childhood and life as a grom is in turn both funny and poignant, as he reveals some of his family’s tragedies and struggles. The stories of filming MOTE and those early days at Tracks will surely one day make it to the silver screen. All three acts of Stephen Cooney’s early life will entertain and enlighten you, and serve as a companion piece to other works celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seminal surf film Morning of the Earth.
“… growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, and experiencing the exciting days of shortboard development, then being swept up in the creative approach to surf filmmaking that became the perennial movie Morning of The Earth, and finally, working on a ground-breaking surfing commentary known as Tracks magazine: these were three distinct eras in which I was the grommet …”
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