Sandy Beach HQ History

Sandy Beach HQ was the first professional School to teach both Windsurfing & Stand up Paddling in Victoria, having started up in 1979.

It’s owner, Mike Meyers, also established both Windsurfing Victoria & Kiteboarding Victoria, the peak bodies for these sports in this state. Not only is SBHQ Victoria’s premier Kiteboarding & SUP  School, but it’s also a thriving kiosk right on the beach at Sandringham.

What follows is a short trailer of a DVD dedicated to the history of the Sandy Beach HQ location, called Shore Stories – Tales of a Kiosk …, followed by an interview of SBHQ’s founder, Mike, by Steven Coward, President of Windsurfing Victoria.  In the interview, Mike reflects on the sport’s history over the last 35 years.

SC: You’ve pretty much been in the sport from the very beginning Mike, when was that?
MM: I bought my first windsurfer one design is 1979 and was instantly hooked. I was
never off it! I had to teach myself back then, as there were no schools and only a
handful of pioneers on the water. You know, teak booms and mast bases.
SC: How did you come to get into the industry?
MM: I was then sailing with a mate, Mick Mannix and we were both working for large
multi national companies, in our 30”s and casting our eyes around for fresh
opportunities. We’d both had enough of the inanity of corporate life. My background
was in marketing and it wasn’t hard to see that this captivating new sport had terrific
potential.
So Mick and I opened up Melbourne’s first school, Sandy Sailboards on
Sandringham Beach in the summer of 1979. We ran it on weekends and after work. It
must have looked pretty weird because we’d duck into a toilet block on the cliff top,
slip out of our suits into boardies and head down into the harbour. I’m pretty sure my
first student knew about as much as me, but I did always like a chat!
SC: How did SHQ get started?
MM: It was 1983. Mick had the opportunity to buy Mordy Surf and not long after I was
approached to buy a wonderful, 100 year old, boat shed on Sandy Beach. It was
owned by a couple of Australia’s great characters, Unc and Hank. They ran it as a
boat hire business, terrific blokes and absolute originals. The original business was
called Sailboard Headquarters, which people shortened to SHQ. We mainly did
lessons and second hand gear but taught thousands of secondary school kids, as we
still do, as well as guys like you. Was it me Steve that taught you all you know!!
SC: Most of our long-term windsurfers knew Unc; he sure was a legend!
MM: Yes, you could fill a book with “Unc stories“, there are just so many of them. As I
often say, were Henry Lawson alive in Unc’s time he surely would have penned a
yarn or two about him. Who, for instance, could forget the season’s opening night at
Elwood one year? There were 250 there, everyone was in terrific spirits and we put
on a fashion parade. A few stunners hit the catwalk first, and then came Unc at 75 or
so in what could only be called “a hairy bikini“. I mean the man was living, hairy proof
of evolution!
The key point here {apart from the hilarity} was that he saw himself helping out the
sport. The truly wonderful thing though is that both he and Hank became great mates
of mine. Unc died a few years back and now resides in the harbour, while Hank is
retired and comes down to The Shed, as we call it, every single day for a coffee and
a chat. Just how lucky was I? If anyone is interested in those early days and the
history of The Shed and its characters, there’s a documentary produced by Colin
McPherson called Shore Stories. http://www.shorestories.com.

 

SANDY BEACH KIOSK HISTORIC PICTURE GALLERY

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