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Wayne Vinten

"To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually counted them. I’ve never actually got them in a room and counted them. For a couple of reasons—one, I don’t really want to know, and two, if my wife ever found out..."

A Few Of My Favourite Things follows five individuals and the personal anecdotes behind their wonderful collections. With each telling, the knick-knacks and memorabilia are brought to life with many a laugh to be had. It’s true what they say—one person’s rubbish may be another’s treasure.Wayne Vinten is your local surfer who’s always in for a good laugh. He shares the story of growing up surfing the waves in Falcon Bay, and then accumulating well over 500 surfboards—and counting!

Click play to hear Wayne’s story, or read a written version below.Hi there, I’m Wayne and I work in advertising. I’ve been working in advertising for most of my life. I started when I was a kid at school, because I was always interested in drawing packages and package design. Then one day, I found out that I could go to art school, and I did an art scholarship. Then I found out that there’s actually a career in drawing and coming up with ideas, and I started working in advertising. And I’ve been doing that ever since—probably because there’s not many other things I could do!

Wayne Vinten gazing at his collection of surfing paraphernalia

I don’t throw anything out. Anybody that knows me knows that I don’t throw anything out. If I throw something out, it’s either rubbish, like real rubbish, or it’s just something that I really, really cannot find a use for. I love keeping stuff—I hate throwing things out—because eventually I’ll find a use for it. I love when someone says, ‘Oh do you have that?’ and I’m able to answer that question ‘Yes.’ A great example of that, is when my neighbours’ young daughter splashed some pink nail polish on a very expensive couch. And they said, ‘Oh if only we had some acetone,’ and I rushed out of the room, into my garage, which—to anybody who knows me who’s been in my garage—it’s pretty hard to navigate. And I came back within minutes with some acetate. And from that point on, anytime someone’s looking for something, it’s always next to the acetate.

Yeah, I like collecting stuff, the things I collect of course—surfboards, skate boards and old music—I love the old way of doing things. I’m a fan of new digital technology and the new way of working with things, but I guess there’s a—it’s a bit like, you usually find most men as they get older, they wear clothes from the era that they were most happy with, or they felt most comfortable with. And I guess I like collecting stuff that was sort of from my childhood days, hanging down in Falcon Bay and surfing—first starting to surf and learning to surf, you know?

To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually counted them. I’ve never actually got them in a room and counted them. For a couple of reasons—one, I don’t really want to know, and two, if my wife ever found out…

So when people say, ‘How many boards have you got?’ I always say, ‘Not enough.’ Because it doesn’t matter how many you have, for me, it’s not enough.

So, my first board I ever had, you know—of course you move on—at that stage, you don’t have any money, you had to sell your board to get to the next board and then you get to the next one. I’ve only sold three of my boards, of the many that I’ve had, and I guess part of my collecting story is try’n’ to find those boards, because I regret—well not really regret, I’m disappointed—that I, at that point in my life, I had to move them on. It’s a journey to try and find them again. And it doesn’t really matter if I do find them or don’t find them, but, it’s just fun and if it does come off then, fantastic. But on the way I’ve found many other boards that probably have a similar story where someone’s thrown them out or they’re discarded and people don’t want them anymore, and I still see, even if they’re a bit beaten up, there’s still a story behind each of those boards. There’s still a story behind where they were surfed, how they were surfed, who surfed it. The idea of the boards having their own life-story is quite interesting to me.

Photo of surfboards stacked on top of one another

I know the guy that—one board in particular—that, my dad worked with at an oil refinery. One of the young guys he used to mentor started a surf brand, a very famous surf brand—Cordingley. He didn’t start it, but he managed the Cordingley shop. So, my dad managed to sort of go back to him—he was very grateful that my dad helped him as a young man—so I got this fantastic board, and I remember I used to keep it on my bed and I’d just stare at it. I actually got it for Christmas one year. And I surfed it for many years and then the time would come for me to move. ‘Cause the times change, ’cause the boards change, and there was a transition from single fins to twin fins, to thrusters, et cetera. So, this board, I sort of sold to a friend at school and I sold it for eighty-five dollars, and I sold it to this guy called Ross and I’m sure he had a good time.

And then, many, many, many years later when I was sort of collecting things, I called him up and said, ‘Whatever happened to that board?’ and he said, ‘I can’t remember.’ So, it wasn’t a distinctive story of, ‘I threw it away, I lost it, it’s gone, it went to the rubbish tip.’ Instead, it was, ‘I can’t remember, and I don’t know where it went.’ So I hope one day I’m going to walk into a garage—‘cause I do a lot of garage sales and auctions and, you know verge pick-ups and those sort of things. If I’m driving along, and it’s a verge throw-out and you see a bashed up old board on the side, I’ll always grab it because you never know, it might be worth nothing or you might just look at it and there’s still a history about that board. You’re constantly looking for that sort of thing.

Just one day I might walk in and there’ll be a six-eight, Cordingley pinto with a brown fin, orange rails, orange bottom, with a round Cordingley logo that was designed by a guy called Gary Speak. You never know, one day I might walk in and find it.

Out of the three boards that I sold, there was one board that I had—the first board that I bought in a little shop in Mandurah that I surfed—and it was this little tiny board and it had a single fin, it was purple. It had a—it’s called a spoon—sort of thing, really small, really hard to ride. And then I remember, I moved onto another board, and I used to ride this big Malibu, that was under the house that we used to rent from a family friend, and it was big and heavy and clunky, and we used to surf that on small days, just learning how to surf. And I guess that was a board, that big old board—was one of the boards that I went, ‘Oh, I really like these old Malibu boards.’

Photo of Wayne Vinten's extensive and colourful surfboard collection in his garage

And it wasn’t until I was sort of in my late-twenties that I started to think about those boards and started to collect old boards. At that point, I was just collecting boards of my era. And then I started to get some older boards, so, it wasn’t the board that started the collection, but it got me thinking about old boards. At that point, when the shortboard revolution came along and everyone in the late sixties was sort of chopping their old Malibu’s down and creating new boards, and then that’s when I stepped in. In the early seventies, when I had just started surfing, I was at that sort of shortboard side, but I still liked surfing longer boards. And as I got older, I think I was in my mid-thirties, where I got my first mid-range board which was over you know, seven-six, and I went you know, ‘Oh, okay I get it. That’s how we used to do it when we were kids. So much easier to paddle and you get more waves!’

I’ve collected—boards come up that are owned by ex-world champions, so they’re signed and they become a collectible. So I got a few of them. One board that I just happened to pick up one time was surfed by a very famous, well, now a very famous surfer—but at that time he wasn’t very famous. I just sort of kept it and I went, ‘Oh, I’ll just keep this board because it’s a very cool board.’ And then you know, later on, as he became more famous, the board became more famous. And it was the board of a guy called Mark Occhilupo. It’s a funny board and I’ve surfed it quite a few times, and people say, ‘Oh, he’s really famous!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, is he?’

Old photo of Wayne Vinten and his friends holding surfboards in Falcon Bay

From left to right: Wayne Vinten, Bret Sowden, Craig Tilley and Chris Wright. Image courtesy of Wayne Vinten.

But you know, there’re Kelly Slaters and Mark Richards but I do have a board from a guy—his name is Dale Velzy—and he was one of the first guys in America that promoted the surf teams and the surf shops. He’s a really cool guy and had hot rods and this big moustache and was just one of those really cool guys. Especially when I was young, you’d read about him and surf breaks were named after him—Velzy Land. There were all these great things about him. Then one day, I just happened—through a family connection out of America— I just happened to get a board from him, that was a complete fluke. And when I found out—I didn’t know what sort of board it was—and when I found out it was one from him, it was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s amazing!’ But you know, he’s probably the most famous board that I’ve got, from someone who is well known. But yeah, I’ve got a lot of signed boards that are very special.

The whole thing about surfing is, you know, in Western Australia, in the metro region, whenever there’s surf, you gotta make sure that you can make time to—because it’s not an everyday thing. You know, you’re driven by wind, you’re driven by swell, you’re driven by the conditions. Every time you go out for a surf there’s always—the waves are different. It’s not like somewhere you go every time and it’ll be exactly the same. Every time you go out, the conditions change. There’ll always be a different way of surfing, there’ll always be a different number of people—every day is different.

I love the old stories—the origins of surfing. It was purely based on having fun.

So anything that’s based around surfing and for me—my original first experience with surfing—was on holidays and we used to come down in Falcon from when I was a little kid, and I’d go down to the beach and see these young kids and other guys surfing and I went, ‘I wanna do that.’

And once you ride your first wave, you’re hooked. Forty plus years later, I’m still paddling it out and saying, ‘Let’s give it a go!’

Photo of surfware and knick-knacks displayed on a garage wallCopyright © 2019 Wayne Vinten

This story and corresponding images have been licensed to the Centre for Stories by the Storyteller. For reproduction and distribution of this story/image please contact the Centre for Stories.

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