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TROY, Peter Hemsworth, OAM (1938-2008)

TROY, Peter Hemsworth OAM (1938-2008)

Peter Troy

Peter Troy

Peter Troy (1st VIII, 1957).

Peter Troy (1st VIII, 1957).

Peter Troy, legendary surf administrator and adventurer, established the Bells Beach Surfing Carnival in 1962 which, in 1973, became internationally known as the Rip Curl Pro. His contribution over sixty years in enabling surfing to become a mainstream sport has been enormous.

His founding relationship with the surfing industry and, particularly Torquay, was recognised through his induction into the surfing Hall of Fame, fittingly at Surfworld Museum, Torquay, a museum he strongly supported. He proudly claimed to have been one of the first two surfers to surf Bells Beach near Torquay. In 2007, Peter was further recognized when he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) ‘for service to surfing, particularly as a contributor to the establishment of the sport and as an historian, and to the surf lifesaving movement’ .

The son of C H Troy, Peter went to Hamilton State School followed by attendance at the Geelong College from 1949 to 1957. He was about eleven years old and living in Gilbert St, Torquay when he started at the College. He excelled at sport - tennis, football and rowing. In 1954 he was first recorded playing football in the Under 16A Football Team, rapidly gaining a position in the 1st Football XVIIIs of 1956 and 1957, for which he earned School Football Colours.

Sports associated with water however were his particular interest and he first rowed in the 6th VIII of 1953 and then swam in the School sports of 1956 and 1957 to gain House Colours. As part of the Morrison House rowing crew he was to outclass the other crews in House rowing in 1957. Of more enduring fame, he was, as part of the 1st VIII, to row in the victorious 1957 Head of the River crew. This victory coming on top of that of 1956 was to signal the College’s dominance of rowing under Coach, Albert Bell, during the late 1950s.

Future Olympic rower and College rowing coach, David Ramage, was also a member of the 1957 Crew. Pegasus in 1957 in describing the results of the swimming sports affectionately described Peter as ‘renowned as a surf board champion, does very little flat water swimming but managed to 'bash' his way into prominence in the school sports’ . His ‘bashing’ was consistent with him coming 2nd in the 50m freestyle and 3rd in both the Open 200m and 100m freestyle swimming. Pegasus, that year, also claimed his nickname as 'boy' and that his ambition was to become 'browner'. Peter was also a member of the College Cadet Corps in 1955 and 1956 and a Cadet Under-Officer in charge of the Cadet Specialists of 1957 as well as being a Knowle House monitor.

While still a student he competed in the Olympic Surf Lifesaving Carnival at Torquay in 1956 followed by the first Annual Bell’s Carnival which he helped organise with Vic Tantau. In 1963, he entered the then unofficial world championship contest at Makaha. Peter was believed to have pioneered and popularized surfing in South America, first surfing in Peru in 1963. He then followed an adventurously pioneering path surfing all over the world and in the 1960s helped produce surfing films such as Hot Generation; Evolution and Sea Joy.

Over the years his participation in surfing included competitions, board manufacturing, clothing, retail surf shops, magazines and from 1982, involvement with the Australian Surfriders Association and Surfing Australia as an historian. In recent times he was inducted into Brazil’s Surfing Hall of Fame. As a surfing ambassador, and for his work of historical recording he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in the year 2000. For about the last thirty years he lived in Queensland.

In recognition of his achievement, Peter Hemsworth Troy OAM, was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery at Geelong College on 27 October 2018.

Sources: Pegasus June 1957 pp 38, 39, 42; Ad Astra June, 1987; Ad Astra No 112 June 2007 p 29; Geelong Advertiser 16 April 2002; Surf Coast Times 7 October 2008; Surf Coast Echo 9 October 2008.
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