Backward Glance: Pa and Ma Bendall – Celebrating Sunshine Coast Surfing heritage
  • Wednesday 23 March 2016

Easter weekend marks the 42nd anniversary of the Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial surfing contest held at Moffat Beach, hosted by WindanSea Surf Club on the Sunshine Coast. 

Just who were these remarkable surfing icons known as Pa and Ma? 

They lived and surfed here while travelling up and down the east coast of Australia on surfing safari in their well-equipped Commer van during the 1960 and 1970s period. 

Their influence on beach culture throughout Australia and the surfing industry during the formative years of surfboard riding was significant. 

The fact that they were older when surfing was so young and how they embraced the culture is well documented in the records of Australian surfing history. 

Pa Bendall formed the first invitation only surfing fraternity in Australia known as the Moffateers in 1966. 

Pa and Ma Bendall were in their 50s when they started to surf during the early 1960s which was unheard of at that time. 

Their residence, Harmony Lodge, was located right across the road from Bulcock Beach where Ma owned and managed Harmony Flats, adjacent to their residence Harmony Lodge.

Both Pa and Ma were amateur film makers and in 1964 the Bendalls produced the surfing film titled Never Too Old. 

This film was shown at picture theatres in Australia featuring with some of the early renowned surfing films being shown at the movies such as Endless Summer and the Hot Generation. 

Pa and Ma recognised it was a special time and documented much of what they did through film and the written word. 

They were loved by the surfing fraternity and their boards, with the wording “Ma and Pa”, are on display at the Australian accredited surfing museum situated at Torquay in Victoria. 

A documentary film produced by Sunshine Coast Council titled, Ma and Pa Bendall: Making Waves premiered at the Sunshine Coast Event Centre in 2008 and is available at Sunshine Coast Libraries. 

The park overlooking their favourite surf break at Moffat Beach is named in honour of these now passed popular surfing identities.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image captions:
Hero image: Ma and Pa with their signature Woosleys surf boards, Caloundra, ca 1965.

Carousel images:
Image 1: Harmony Lodge, Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, ca 2003.

Image 2: Moffateers new member invitation letter from the organisations President, Ben ‘Pa’ Bendall, 1966.

Image 3: Charles (Pa) Bendall of Caloundra ready to depart for a surfing safari, ca 1969.