Bobby Aitken, pictured here on Hastings St in 1967, has ridden the wave of Noosa's surf culture.
Bobby Aitken, pictured here on Hastings St in 1967, has ridden the wave of Noosa's surf culture.

Bobby's Noosa: a secluded surfer's paradise

BOBBY Aitken remembers when Noosa was the kind of place you could leave your car unlocked and have no fear.

Originally from Brisbane, Bobby first surfed First Point in 1962, on a trip with a surfer mate's dad who was in the transport business.

"He said, 'I'll take you up there and you can surf with my son - it's beautiful but there's no crowd'," Bobby recalled.

"It was beautiful, nobody around."

Compared to Bobby's local haunt, Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, Noosa's beaches were pristine.

Within a few months he'd packed up and moved north to Hastings St, where he worked as a cook and lived in the old Beach House.

Bobby made ends meet with hard labour, he ran caravan parks, operated dredges, fished on the reef for a month at a time, and renovated houses.

"You had to do whatever was around," he recalled. "Before I was married I'd do anything or everything for money."

He often slept in Noosa Woods in his car, joined around the campfire by the ranger at the time, Barry Woodly - "a lovely bloke".

Through the 1960s and into the '70s, Bobby recalls the surfing scene lost its innocence as narcotics and LSD joined marijuana and alcohol as the party drugs of choice.

"As the '60s wore on, more people came from Sydney and drugs started to get bad," he said.

"They came down from Bali."

The days where a person's valuables were safe in their car were numbered, he said.

"It got pretty nasty," he said. "People started breaking into cars; lots of undesirables came up."

In 1967 Bobby wrote a controversial expose of the Noosa party lifestyle - 'Surf, Sand, Sex and Drugs'.

It was published in the tabloid magazine Pix.

Writing the article was his way of trying to stop the place being "ruined by thieves" and "undesirables".

"A lot of my friends are gone... from drugs. LSD, heroin," he said.

His article caused an uproar at the time, with local councillors and businesspeople fuming over the damage they believed it did to the area's reputation.

"People howled at me for it, but they were all a bunch of wowsers," he said.

Tourism only increased after the article was published, he said.

Bobby is 73 and still surfs Noosa's beaches.

"I still go out but I pick my spots," he said.

"I won't go out in the big crowds, people are too nasty."


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