Legendary Gold Coast surf photographer – Mal Sutherland
Mal Sutherland has lived on the Gold Coast for the majority of his life and attended Coolangatta State School from 1945 – 53. He started surfing on rubber surf mats, known then as surfer-o-planes, when he was six years old. He then graduated to 16 foot longboards when he was 13 and was one of the first surfers in Queensland to get a Malibu, later owning one of the first foam boards seen in the state.
In those early days Mal travelled up and down the East Coast searching for waves and getting to know the up and comers in the industry.
“It has been estimated that there were no more than 1,500 boardriders on the East Coast of Australia in the late 1950s,” said Mal. “I was lucky enough to meet people who became movers and shakers in the industry, and when they wanted something done in Queensland, they contacted me. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time – that’s why I had the opportunity to do all the things I’ve done.”
It also led to Mal’s lifelong passion for his famed surf photography, picking up his first camera at Christmas in 1960. When the first surf magazines came out, Mal was on the masthead of Surfabout Magazine as the Queensland correspondent.
“Surfing only became semi-professional in 1972 and really professional in 1977 – so in the early days, I was just following the locals around, taking photos of people enjoying themselves in the sport.”
Mal was one of the original steering crew and chairman who founded the Surf World Gold Coast, the city’s first surf museum located in Currumbin.
His work is proudly exhibited in the HarroArt Gallery on Currumbin Beach front, on corner of Pacific Parade and Murraba Street. His featured work includes nostalgic imagery from the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s shot on the Gold Coast, up to Noosa and south to Byron Bay.