Australian legend Barry "Magoo" McGuigan passes away at 85

November 19, 2014 | Surfing
Barry 'Magoo' McGuigan: surfing till 85 | Photo: Surfing NSW/Renee Miller

The world's oldest competitive surfer has passed away at 85. Australian veteran surfer Barry "Magoo" McGuigan is a Bondi Beach legend.

Barry McGuigan truly loved surfing. "Magoo" was born in Sydney in 1929. In the early days, he tried bodysurfing, then and started surfing around 1944, in Bondi Beach and Tamarama. In those days, we would have the waves just for himself.

"There were no tutors. We just watched other surfers and tried to copy what we had observed," Barry once told, as he got inspired by the legendary Jack "Bluey" Mayes.

"It was a challenge just to stand up and keep you balance on hollow 15 foot toothpicks that weighed about 40 pounds with a bung hole to release the water and metal grip at the tail."

Throughout his life, he worked as a butcher, and then enjoyed a 32-year career as a fireman. In 1999, the Central Coast Malibu Boardriders Club put up the Magoo Classic, a longboarding competition featuring more than 150 of the best riders in Australia. The event raised funds for cancer research.

Barry "Magoo" McGuigan spent his last years fighting against Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and catching waves in the Soldier's Beach area, on the Central Coast.

The Bondi Beach legend never gave up on surfing and yoga. The iconic surfing veteran kept competing, and 2014 was no exception. "Magoo" will forever be remembered as one the first Australians to ride Makaha, in Hawaii.

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