Bombora is an aboriginal word for a wave that breaks outside the normal surf line.
Written and performed by The Atlantics, it also happens to be the title of the first Australian surf instrumental to go number one on the charts back in 1963.
For decades, it has always been at the top of my favourite surf instrumentals. Little did I realise that one day I would count the writers of that classic (Jim Skiathitis and Peter Hood) as friends.
My “Bombora” started life back in 2003 when I jumped out the top-floor window of a 30 year advertising career and wondered where I would land.
Bombora seemed like a great name for a smaller, informal, eclectic company where I could try various things. One of those was music.
The plan was vague. But the intention was to do things that surprised and that people didn’t expect.
I have always had an intense love of music, all sorts. And in the back of my mind for years had been the idea of doing some interesting, unusual recording projects. Even if no one else liked (or bought) them, at least I'd have fun doing them.
The first Bombora project was as far from the beach as you could imagine.
Together with good mate John Schumann we worked on a project called “Lawson”. John and I selected a handful of Henry Lawson poems, John put music to them and we recorded them with an amazing “vagabond crew” of Australian artists including Rob Hirst, the Pigram Brothers, Russell Morris, Mike Rudd, Shane and Marcia Howard and Broderick Smith.
I also got to meet and work with Lawson producer Kerryn Tolhurst and engineer Mick Wordley - two outstanding talents and darn good guys. Over the years, we have worked together on several wonderful projects.
There was probably an inevitability that a label called Bombora would find its way to the beach and the thunder and twang of surf music. It didn’t take long.
Kerryn and I started talking about recapturing, recreating, re-recording fifty years of Australian surf music with the original artists. We both shared a passion for the music and a respect for the artists that had created it.
Some months later, Kerryn, Mick and I packed our board-shorts and old LPs and headed to the historic Frehswater Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney’s north shore to record “Delightful Rain: A celebration of Australian surf music”.
For two weeks in May 2006, some of Australia's finest surf musicians gathered to record material old and new and to celebrate the journey of Australian surf music over almost 50 years. We went back to its origins - a surf club on a beach. You can hear the history in the sound.
The Atlantics, Richard Clapton, Rob Hirst and The Angry Tradesmen, Tamam Shud, GANGgajang, Celibate Rifles, Les Green of The Denvermen, Pete Howe, Dan Rumour & The Drift, Andrew Kidman and Beau Young. What a line-up. And what a wonderful 14 days. And nights.
In October 2006, the limited edition CD/DVD "Delightful Rain" was released to wide acclaim and healthy sales. The hour long documentary DVD of the recording was also screened several times on television adding to its notoriety.
Almost a decade later, the CD and the DVD stand the test of time.
"Delightful Rain" and meeting people in and around surf music and surfing has been the major inspiration for establishing this site - www.bombora.net.au
I discovered there was a lot of surf music tragics out there just like me. And in addition, I not only had a theme song, but now I had my very own recording of "Bombora". It doesn't get much better than that.
Since then, “Delightful Rain” seems to ripple through all of our projects in one way or another.
And somewhere in all of that over the years, I have had a great deal of help from and laughs with Chris Moss.
As I look back on the Bombora years, it has been a lot of fun and I love the music we have made. However, we are far from finished. There is plenty more to come – as long as the musicians keep recording it and people keep buying it, we’ll keep releasing it.
So there you have it. The story of Bombora – until now.
Stay tuned and let’s see how it all develops.
And remember, keep smiling – it gives the wrinkles purpose.
Bombora Big Kahuna
IN STOCK NOW If you are interested in buying a copy, send an email to email@example.com We'll make it happen.
The illustrated encyclopedia of Australian surf music, by surf music historian and guru Stephen McParland
“This is an awesome piece of work – the 50 year history of Australian surf music – by a totally delightful but crazy guy. You owe it to him to have a look at this book.”
David Minear, Bombora’s Big Kahuna.
“Anything you want to know about Australian surf music – no, make that anything there is to know about Australian surf music – can be found within the plentiful pages of this quite amazing digital encyclopaedia.”
Pacific Longboarder Magazine