PRO surfing legend Ian "Kanga" Cairns will be at the Beach Hotel at Merewether on Wednesday night as part of an east coast promotional tour for his two-volume autobiography, Kanga: the trials and tribulations of Ian Cairns.
A contemporary of Newcastle surfing hero Mark Richards, Cairns's power surfing won him seven majors on the then-fledgling world tour.
An intensely competitive sportsperson, Cairns played an instrumental role in the growth of pro surfing to become the global industry it is today.
Along the way, Cairns formed the controversial "Bronzed Aussies" surf team with Mark Warren and Peter Townend before moving in 1978 to the United States, where he still lives, at Laguna Beach, California.
He and Townend were the leading figures behind the creation in 1983 of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), which became the World Surf League (WSL) in 2015.
Moving into coaching after his retirement from the world circuit, Cairns coached various American surfers and helped the USA team to three world titles, much to the chagrin of his former colleagues back in Australia.
More recently, he has been coaching stand-up paddle boarders, and is the US consultant to a Perth-based company, Smart Marine Systems, that is building various pieces of shark-detecting equipment, including a floating shark detector called Clever Buoy.
"I've surfed in sharky areas my whole life, I actually love that feeling of going into the wilderness where it's dangerous," Cairns told the Sun-Herald last year. "I just don't want my kids to get eaten."
Cairns said last week that he was keen to reconnect with friends from Newcastle.
"Newcastle's produced some champion surfers over the years, from the great Mark Richards and Redhead's Col Smith in my era, then Nicky Wood, Matt Hoy and Luke Egan," Cairns said.
"Now Merewether are the national board club champions and there are new faces like Ryan Callinan, who is doing Newcastle proud and making his presence felt on the World Championship Tour."
Cairns said he was keen to "talk story" at Wednesday night's event, and to answer any questions people had about surfing issues.
Always an outspoken individual, Cairns can be expected to hold forth on a range of surfing topics, including his move to America.
As he told Surfing World in late 2017: "The reaction to the Bronzed Aussies in Australia pissed me off.
"The Bronzed Aussies was a brand and we used a surf team to promote it. It's what all surf companies do. We got shitcanned for it in Australia, but when we got to America people embraced it.
"People ask me now why I live in America and there you have it right there. It was the catalyst for me to move to California. We thought that's where the future was."
Entry is free and the doors open at 6pm, for a 6.30pm start.
Kanga's east coast book-signing tour started last week on the Gold Coast, with Newcastle one of more than a dozen stops before the roadshow winds up at Victoria's Bells Beach for the Rip Curl over Easter.
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