Tathra’s rich George Bass history

TATHRA is one of only two surf clubs to be represented in each George Bass Surfboat Marathon.

The inaugural marathon was held in 1975, with Tathra and Moruya the only clubs to be represented in each competition since.

The 2013/14 event is supported by the Royal Australian Navy.

Navy representative Commander Rod Harrod said both clubs deserved to be acknowledged for their commitment.

“Tathra has been represented every single time,” he said.

“Moruya is the only other club to do so – it’s very impressive.”

The George Bass Surfboat Marathon has a lot to thank Tathra for its origins.

The brainchild for the event was then Tathra Surf Life Saving Club president and Bega District News editor Curly Annabel.

“Curly thought to have an event was that different for surfboat rowers,” Commander Harrod said.

“It was invented for the South Coast, covering from Batemans Bay to Eden over seven days around the new year period.”

The marathon is named after British naval surgeon Commander George Bass, who explored parts of Australia in the late 1700s.

Commander Bass approached the Governor of NSW and said he would explore the coast south of Sydney, Commander Harrod said.

Armed with a crew, Commander Bass sailed to Cape Howe, the farthest point of south-eastern Australia.

Commander Bass’ other discoveries included the Bass Strait and the Kiama Blowhole.

Commander Harrod said it was fitting the marathon be named after Commander Bass.

“He discovered the South Coast, plus the boat Bass had was the closest thing to a surfboat,” he said.

“I don’t think Bass gets sufficient credit for what he did.

“The George Bass marathon is the longest, toughest event of this nature in the world.

“The name sticks and competitors refer to it as The Bass.”

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