RIP Russell Hughes a Pro surfer from the 1960/70 ! 8th June 2011

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Russell Hughes '67 Qld State Open Men’s Champion at Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast. Pic: Eddie Sawden One  of Australia’s all time surfing greats from the 60’s and 70’s, Russell Hughes passed away in Quebec, Canada on 26th of May 2011 after a long fight with bowel cancer.
 Originally from Brisbane Queensland, Russell began his surfing career with the Surfers Paradise Surf Lifesaving Club in the early sixties. He left home at 14 years of age and headed for Sydney knocking on Bob McTavish’s door at the home of Paul Witzig announcing, “Hi I’m Russell Hughes and I’m here to surf!”
It wasn’t long before Russell took off to Noosa with McTavish surfing the uncrowded perfect waves of the Noosa points where his surfing really took off.  “They called me the Mayor of Noosa,” recalls Bob “but Russell was the King of First Point!”
By 1966 Russell hit the big time placing third in the Australian Titles Open Men’s final at Coolangatta, behind Bob in second, and Nat Young the unanimous winner. It was the start of a whole new era of progressive surfing from traditional to modern manoeurves.
In 1967, Russell created a huge upset by defeating local Gold Coast hero Peter Drouyn at Burleigh Point for the Queensland Open Men’s State Title, (Eddie Sawden photo attached of Russell with the winning trophy at Burleigh, Gold Coast, Queensland).
Later that year he claimed his biggest win in the prestigious Newcastle Mattara Open final.
According to Midget Farrelly, “Russell was a real chance to take the 1968 World Title at Puerto Rico.” Russell placed third, behind Midget in second, and Hawaii’s Fred Hemmings deemed the winner.  “He was so smooth and stylish in the big waves of Rincon, Puerto Rico,” said Nat Young, who placed fourth, and was a very close friend of Russell’s.  Both lived in Byron Bay and regularly surfed Broken Head and Lennox Point during Alby Falzons “Morning of the Earth” movie and the early seventies period.
Hughes faded from competition and enjoyed cult hero status as a stylish soul surfer largely underground and avoiding the spotlight.  Above all he loved surfing perfect uncrowded waves with his friends and adapted naturally from the longboard to shortboard transition.                                                                                                                                                         With his beautiful French Canadian Partner Monique, he returned to Australia momentarily living at Margaret River in West Australia, surfing with old mates Robert Conneeley and John Adrian who organised a Legends Event that Russell won!
In the 90’s Russell and I (bigjim) surf  Byron Bay and Belongil beach . He was a cool guy and talk alot about the old days . He told me he was the first person to surf airport lefts in Bali . He change his name to Russell Hughes, as his brother was a knock about and keep using his name to the police . Here show me old photos, of himself riding 20 foot Margret River WA Australia . Around 2004 or 2005 was the last time I seen Russell........ There are many more storys that will stay a secret. But remember us old surfers were the first to visit these islands and surf hard,party hard. Then take all the party goodies back home for the rest of the world to try . Now the party is over and we live the simple life . Thanks Russell for the fun waves and great times .     R.I.P. Russell