The summer of 1963-64, 50 years ago, was the summer of surf music in Australia. Sixteen Australian recordings with a surfing theme hit the charts, with The Atlantics’ ‘Bombora’ and ‘Hangin’ Five’ by the Delltones reaching No. 1 on the Sydney charts between August 1963 and April 1964. Another Atlantics instrumental, ‘The Crusher’, and Little Pattie’s ‘He’s My Blond Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy’ got to No. 2 while the other 12 made it into the Top 40 for at least a week or two. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, The Surfaris and other American musicians joined them in the charts, but Australian surf music captured the public’s imagination in equal measure.
Four of the five most popular tracks in 1963 were surf instrumentals, two Australian and two from the US with the fifth being a song from The Delltones. A year later ten of the top 12 songs were from the Beatles and surf music was an almost forgotten footnote of Australian popular music.