Surfer and board shaper deeply missed by mate
IT is with great sadness that I am writing a eulogy for Allan Byrne, affectionately known as AB.
He was an incredibly well liked, much respected surfer, shaper, family man, good guy and inspirational to all of us.
AB was in Bali for the Rip Curl Padang Padang Cup, a speciality invitational event held at Bali's much revered Pipeline and a wave that suited AB's style and surfboard design.
He was a sponsor of the event and supplied his much sought after channel bottom designs as prizes.
AB was riding his bike to Uluwatu on Saturday morning where he unfortunately crashed.
When taken to hospital at first he joked that he was ok with a broken arm but then lapsed into a coma of which he never recovered, he passed away on Thursday.
His wife Jayne and son Jamie, Matt and Michael and brother Ian flew over to be with him.
I'd been in Bali and was told last Saturday night by my son Blake that AB was in hospital. The day (Tuesday) before we left, My Balinese friend OE helped me buy some flowers which we left with the nurses at the ICU unit for the Family.
Allan Byrne was born in New Zealand and was a multi-National NZ Junior and Open men's champion throughout the 1960's.
I first met AB in Hawaii in 1969 when we both frothing young juniors and immediately knew he would be one of the best surfers in the world.
He told me how he'd joined the NZ Air Force and became a helicopter pilot flying the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
He moved to the Gold Coast in the late seventies and joined Paul Hallas of Hot Stuff Surfboards as the head shaper to make the high performance channel bottom boards shaping for well-known riders like Rabbit Bartholomew, Gary Elkerton, Chappy Jennings, Daryl Parkinson to name a few of the many talented surfers from all over the world who loved his boards.
In Hawaii he was especially popular with highly respected big wave surfer and North Shore lifeguard Darrick Doerner and many of the guys on the North Shore.
In the nineties, he created his own surfboard label Byrning Spears based at Currumbin and lived at Tugun.
I competed against AB in the 80's during the Stubbies Classic at Burleigh Heads and had the privilege to join him again for a heat in the Stubbies reunion in 2007; both times he kicked my arse.
He was one of the World's best goofy foots (right foot forward like me) and had made the finals of the prestigious Pipeline Masters in 1981.
About four years ago AB suffered a heart attack but recovered to go back to Hawaii and join his Hawaiian bra's 'to go surf'.
Shortly after that I witnessed AB join Dave Macdonald (another super talented goofy foot from Currumbin) both fearlessly towing into double overhead surf at the Alley.
Just before I left for Bali, I saw AB for the last time heading out to the line-up at Currumbin and called out, "Hey AB!" and he turned around and shot me that cheeky confident grin!
We will all miss him dearly and the International Surfing World has lost a great pioneer and legend of the Sport and a master craftsman. RIP AB, everyone loves u mate! Our condolences to AB's family.
RIP Allan Byrne 1950 - 2013