Dale Egan

As is usually the case younger siblings and offspring develop skills fast when they have an older sibling or parent as a role model- but it's not long before they surpass their mentor.
This is never more true than with two brothers.

SW Photo Annual 3: caption opposite the graphic B & W photo of Dale Egan by Bruce Channon. “SW’s direction has always been toward the illustrative rather than the journalistic side of surfing- we feel that an aware person should be able to ponder the subtleties of a given photograph and be inspired”.

Dale began his surfing life in the late 1960’s based around Narrabeen & Warriewood and cruised the northern beaches, between Palm Beach & Long Reef, with older brother Shane.

During his brief time at Narrabeen Boys High School Dale won the NSW State Cadet Title. Wishing to compete in the Nationals he took leave from school and headed across the desert to Margaret River, WA, with fellow Warriewood tube-surfer Wayne Barnes. The trip, via a firing Bells Beach, took three months. As there was no Cadet division Dale, at 14, had to compete in the juniors against a more experienced, elder contingent and bombed out.
Upon return he found himself too far behind at school so relocated to live with his brother Shane, on the Gold Coast.

Narrabeen High later included surfing as a school sport and went on to become a sport focussed school.

From Narrabeen to Coolangatta- one surfing epicentre to another.

Dale eked out a meagre existence making shell & silver jewellery. He became test-pilot and Shane sponsored his boards, designing, shaping & airbrushing them at Keith Paull's, Peter Drouyn's, Burford’s and Hot Stuff. Dale hooked himself up with the Kirra Surfriders Club and competed in the Australian Schoolboys Title, in Queensland, taking out 3rd place behind Steve Jones (1st) and Rabbit Bartholomew (2nd), and beating Russell Lewis (4th). Competing again in the 1976 Byron Bay Pro he placed 2nd.

Another attempt at the ’76 Australian Junior Title was thwarted by misfortune and misinformation. Being hot favourite at the time & surfing for the Queensland team, he set off on another road marathon from Coolangatta to Melbourne where the title was to be held on the Mornington Peninsula. The drive with Shane & girlfriend Chrissie Charlton in their old Ford Falcon and co-passenger Rabbit, went about as smoothly as expected with a broken windscreen, radiator & head-gasket problems and finally a cracked head. Rabbit abandoned ship in Sydney finding a better transport option- the Egan brothers & Chrissie pushed on in the Falcon still committed to arrive on the starting date of the comp. Although arriving on the date they had been given Dale found his heat had already been run the day before. The next morning they broke camp and left a cold, miserably wet & windy Victoria behind them and headed back up the road to Queensland- scoring an empty & perfect Green Island on the way.
Inspired by Wayne Lynch & Gerry Lopez, Dale is a smooth stylist with a repertoire of critically committed turns and a special focus on being pitted- though he possessed neither the character traits of “Mohammad” Bugs nor the loud salesmanship of PT. Moreover Dale was somewhat quiet and unassuming on land and let his surfing speak for itself- which in fact it did, inspiring the next batch of champions- the likes of Derek Hynd and World Title holders Tom Carroll & Damien Hardman.

 

At a pivotal point in his competitive career (not that there was a career to be made in surfing at that time), Dale, at the grand age of 17 and already disillusioned by the contest scene, opted out. As many of his purist mentors did around the turn of the decade, Dale chose the path of the soul surfer.

Today even a "soul" surfer can make a very lucrative, commercial career.

Dale moved back to the north side of Sydney and in ‘79 took a trip around Europe, surfing the Cornwall Coast, France, Spain & Portugal and returned via Bali, having discovered the British punk scene first-hand. In Bali he met up again with Shane & Chrissie and Queensland goofy, Andrew McKinnon. The points were still uncrowded and only a handful of Balinese groms surfed the beach-breaks.

After a brief stint trying his hand at airbrushing surfboards in Geraldton, WA, he again returned to Sydney and in the early 80’s, with then partner, Leanne, opened up his visionary, retro furniture shop, "Lunar Tec" in fashionable downtown Darlinghurst- all the while living a stone’s throw from the waves of Mona Vale. Specialising in restored 50's designer furniture & bric-a-brac they made more money from renting to TV and movie sets than selling the stuff outright. They featured on the cover of Interior Architecture & Design magazine. Genuine pioneers in the field it wasn't long before others followed until finally new reproductions became available on the market.
During his time collecting bits and pieces from classic design to the banal, Dale has amassed and sold and amassed again some amazing surf collectors’ items and memorabilia.

Whether taking his urban savvy to the suburbs or vice versa Dale lives in detail, not opulence.
What have George Greenough & Bob McTavish and Harry Bertoia & Charles Eames in common?
They are all world renowned designers of fluid and function forms and Dale appreciates & collects it all.


Around '93-94, in the face of an onslaught of Boogie-boarders at his home break of Mona Vale, Dale cut the fins on his surfboard down to bare base stumps. He was able to spin and slide his board at will while maintaining control of his tuberiding and usual face manoeuvres- thus showing the Boogas it could all be done standing up. The cut-down fin stubs he christened “Nar-Fin”, borrowed from a Monty Python skit, allowed the control while retaining as much of the new found frictionless drifting as possible.
Best mate Derek Hynd, enthralled by this concept, took it one step further and ground his own fins completely off- then preceded adding design elements in an effort to retain some directional memory in the board. In 2007 the King Island project opened up the possibilities to the world with the surf documentary “Musica Surfica”.

ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT