Back of the Ferry loves a good beer launch and no-one does it better than the Northern Beaches newest brewery – SurfCraft Brewing Co. Great beer, great people, great tunes and you come away more educated and enlightened about the history of Australian surfing. In August, Bennett Surfboards and the Bennett family were celebrated with Pintail Lager. On Sunday it was Denny Keogh and what become Keyo Surfboards that was celebrated with Vee Bottom Session Ale.
It wasn’t until I’d a little research that I realised how lucky I was to hear Denny Keogh speak. This bloke starting shaping boards in 1957 – 1957! So much surfing history runs through this bloke and his factory. He shaped the board Midget Farrelly rode to win the inaugural world surfing championships at Manly in 1964. The Vee Bottom surfboard that contributed to the evolution of the short board were shaped at the Keyo factory in 1967 by Bob McTavish. That was a partnership that flourished in the late 60s. It was terrific hearing how Denny and Bob McTavish shaped one of the first Vee Bottoms and immediately glassed it and rode it the next day at Dee Why. (You should leave a board to harden over 10 days, but they were so keen to see it worked). 55 years later, you could hear the amazement in Denny’s as he described how well the Vee Bottom went that day – and how he was on to something.
Keyo Boards gave way to Hobie Cats in the 70s, but the brand has been revived under Denny’s son-in-law and you can buy a Keyo Board and merch online or in Kincumber.
The beer brewed at Dad & Dave’s Brewing is another terrific beer. Vee Bottom Session Ale has a solid malt backbone and nice subtle bitterness from a relatively new hop – NZH – 102. Plenty of flavour in a mid-strength beer. A couple of beer novices joined us on the day and they were they were pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t know I liked beer”. As always, goes great off the tap.
SurfCraft’s last launch heaved. Nice crowd at this one, but the weather kept some of punters away. These launches aren’t to be missed if you like good beer mixed in with a slab of surfing history and the opportunity to rub shoulders with surfing royalty. Plus the merch is good – but who doesn’t make XL shirts! We’ll give plenty of notice when the next one comes up. Nice work, Nathan.