By Terry “Tappa” Teece
Burleigh Heads, Burleigh, The Point, are just a few of the names when mentioning the famed right hand point of Burleigh Heads. The world famous break has hosted and produced some of the world’s best surfers, and some of the best tubes ridden by those who crave the waves.
In actual fact, Burleigh’s real name is Jellurgal, as given by the indigenous people of the area. Jellurgal is the native word for honey, and anyone who has had a barrel at Burleigh Point could definitely tell you how sweet it is. It is not a wave for the inexperienced, and is both difficult to surf, and get out to the break off the rocks when it is pumping.
Surfers often say Burleigh has a barrel rather than a tube, as often the powerful waves at Burleigh are wider than they are high, and many a surfer has come to grief, not only on the shell covered rocks, (I have many “Burleigh Tattoo’s from them) but also with boards broken into many pieces from the thick and thumping waves. In fact in the days before leg-ropes, everybody could tell who the Burleigh surfers were by their dinged up surfboards, from those immovable basalt boulders that line the headland.
The local boardriders club is the Burleigh Boardriders, and they now have their clubhouse where the restaurant and pool complex is. Burleigh Boardriders were established in 1965, and have a proud history, with a squad of 40 grommets who train every week, and hope to one day get on the world tour and emulate the feats of other club members like Peter Harris (World Tour Surfer and 1980 Stubbies Classic Winner), Jay “Bottle” Thompson (World Championship Tour surfer 2009-2011), and Thomas Woods (2011 ASP Australasia Junior Champion). Today it is still a back-up venue for the Quiksilver Pro, and the venue for the Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic held in January every year, when thousands line the headland to watch competitors surf single fin surfboards more than 30 years old.
The pool complex has many special memories for me, some fun going swimming in the pool and others … well let’s just say swimming training with Mr Brough was not one of my favourites. My Mum and Dad, Peter and Shirley Teece used to stay at the guest houses at Burleigh when they were “courting”; driving up from Yamba in Northern NSW in 1958. They often used to visit the pool at Burleigh, and the attractions of the Gold Coast. They had to get 2 guesthouse rooms, as not being married they were not allowed to share a room.
Burleigh Heads, as well as arguably one of the best waves on the planet, it also home to Australia’s smallest National park, and one of the best views on the Gold Coast. Nothing is better than sitting on the grass of Burleigh Headland after a long surf and watching the sun set into the mountains, as the last waves of the day are ridden into the orange glow.