John Arnold like many of the early pioneer surfers started in lifesaving.

He won numerous state titles on surf skis in the mid 50’s before latching onto the surfing craze after the 56 Olympics when US surfers introduced the malibu surfboards to Australia.He was an early member of the South Coast Surfchasers

that included the likes of John Brown, Jimmy Miller, Ron Sutton, George Wortman, etc.These guys were amongst the first to surf a lot of the breaks that we take for granted around South Australia today. Around 1960 John set of through Asia, Japan, Hawaii and the USA making heaps of contacts along the way which when he returned to Australia aided him in setting up John Arnold surf shop in Gawler Place in the Centre of Adelaide around 1962. Within the next few years he was building surfboards, making surf movies, manufacturing wetsuits and by the late sixties had the top young surfer in the world Wayne Lynch riding for for him.

During the seventies John also manufactured wetsuits under the Oneill label

and introduced Golden Breed to Australia.This was all prior to brands such as Quiksilver, Billabong and Ripcurl, making John the first major surf entrepreneur

in Australia. Unfortunately by the end of the seventies this major surf enterprise had hit legal and finacial problems and Golden Breed ended its operations in South Australia.

Shapers of John Arnold surfboards in South Australia


Barry Young

Bill Johnston

Sig (Ziggy) Kwiatkowski

Wayne Dale

Greg Webb

Ian Hendy Pooley

Wayne Lynch

During the mid sixties most of the boards were shaped by Ziggy.

Late sixties early seventies Wayne Dale was the main shaper

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John Arnold Surfboards

Factory shop at Somerton

Late 60's