Possibly the world's first surfing paper, The Surf (later known as The Surf and Suburban News), was established in December 1917 by a group of Bondi surf bathers. Edited and published by Con Drew, the magazine provides fascinating insights into the social life of Bondi's lifesavers at that time.
'The object of The Surf is to champion the interests of the beaches and work steadily for their protection and development.' The magazine made itself available to surfers and the general public to 'ventilate their grievances and defend their rights'. One such grievance was the early closing (6pm) of the Bondi and Coogee surf sheds. On the other hand, 'The Surf does not forget that the surfer is a gay-hearted, care-free child of nature, who enjoys the good things the gods have given him, and it will, therefore, strive to reflect in its pages some of the gladness that dwells in their hearts'. The column 'Surf Shooters and Sirens' was in-house or, rather, on-beach gossip, naming individuals – usually by nickname or first name – and their foibles. The magazine carried news and tips for racing and current theatrical and picture shows, as well as swimming, boxing, and fishing notes. Surf carnivals were covered in reports and snapshots. The covers carried increasingly risque photographs of starlets. Printing and selling well over 6,000 copies by no.11 (9 February), the magazine was complaining of paper shortage, and the price doubled from no.15 (9 March). After the Easter issue (no.20, 13 April), it closed down for the winter season, intending to start up again in September. It didn't.