WA surfing great Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns back in Perth to launch new book

Ian Cairns during his surfing career doing his famous ‘snap-back’ turn in Hawaii.  Photo: Steve Wilkings.
Ian Cairns during his surfing career doing his famous ‘snap-back’ turn in Hawaii. Photo: Steve Wilkings.

FORMER world champion surfer Ian “Kanga” Cairns is returning to Scarborough for the launch of his biography Kanga.

The WA surfing legend dominated State competitions before shining on the international stage, winning the Smirnoff Pro in 1973 and following it up with several more major titles.

Cairns said surfing had changed so much since his early days in WA.

“The first surf comp I ever did good in was the State schoolboys at Scarborough in 1967,” he said.

“There was a WA Surf Riders Association meeting after the event and I was handed a pamphlet which listed all the previous State champions.

“I looked at that list and thought, ‘Wow! Wouldn’t it be cool to see my name listed on there too’.”

He moved to California after his surfing career ended and became a coach, and also formed the Association of Surfing Professionals (now the World Surf League) in the 1980s.

“When I was growing up in WA there was no such thing as professional surfing,” he said.

“Surfers were largely frowned upon by society, compared to how it has become a multi-billion dollar industry today with Olympic Games recognition.”

Perth author Wayne Murphy wrote Kanga and said there was plenty to write about Cairns.

“Ian has lived such a fascinating, if not controversial, life that has impacted on many people around the world, for better and worse,” he said.

“That’s why I wrote his book.”

The book launches at Oceans 6019 in Scarborough on April 18 from 7pm, with a signing by Cairns.

“I am looking forward to being back in West Australia this week and catching up with old friends, and hopefully catching a few waves too,” Cairns said.

“It’s amazing how popular surfing has become and I am proud of all the pioneering work myself and others have done to get our sport recognized and provide recognition and comfortable lifestyles for many involved in it today.”

MORE: Fremantle food van operator Ben French dies in hospital

MORE: The hidden effect of WA’s drug use uncovered in the home

MORE: Perth Zoo names four-week-old giraffe calf