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The Prot-Craft surf ski remains in good condition, and shows the basic arrangement of these early surf craft.

Prot-Craft Surf Ski

Vessel Number: HV000193
Date: 1947
Previous Owner: Will Sooter ,
Vessel type: The Surf Ski
Vessel Dimensions: 3.51 m x 0.61 m (11.5 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
The PROT-CRAFT surf ski is an example of the 1940s style of ski, and a typical product of a small sized manufacturing business, common in this period.
DescriptionProt-Craft was established by Wally Prott and his father when Wally returned from service after World War II. They established a small marine centre at rented premises on 65 Parramatta Rd, Five Dock, NSW and in later years purchased their own building at 8 Parramatta Rd, Croydon. Many people set up businesses of this type in this period, and some such as Prot-Craft traded for many years.

Prot-Craft ceased production in 1970 after almost 25 years in the marine market, building small craft and retailing marine and water sport accessories. They made surf craft, surf boards, canoes, runabouts and a range of local and European sailing dinghy classes such as the Moth, Northbridge Senior (NS 14), VJ, VS, OK Dinghy and Sabot. All the craft were wooden construction and Prot-Craft supplied a dinghy completely rigged and ready to sail.

They advertised their products in the marine section of The Sydney Morning Herald, and also sold them through outlets such as Nock& Kirbys or Anthony Horderns. One notable customer was 'Gelignite' Jack Murray. Prot-Craft were sold throughout Australia and also to places abroad such as Florida, Hawaii, Vietnam, Madagascar and South Africa.

Their surf craft ranged from the wide 11ft 6 in model # 328 (which is represented by this example), rescue skis and a narrow 18 foot by 18 in wide competition design that was used by the Surf Life Saving Association. They were built in plywood and had leather or canvas foot straps screwed to the deck, and a simple breakwater or coaming forward of the seating position. This example has had a fibreglass cloth added around the exterior at some unknown date which has helped it to survive almost 60 years since it was built at Five Dock. The ski carries an original builder’s plate from that period, screwed to the deck.

The shape is very simple and typical of the period for a recreational ski. In plan view the bow is wide and rounded and tapers aft to a fine point, while viewed side on it rounds up at the stem with a long flat run aft. A fixed skeg at the stern helps the paddler to control the ski. The deck is broken into two sections by a small bulkhead. It is convex or rounded upwards on the foredeck then concave aft of the bulkhead for the seating position and aft deck. It has a wave breaking coaming on the foredeck and the only thing missing from the original craft as sold in the 1940s is the foot straps. It remains in fair condition and has a story to tell one day, explaining how it ended up in San Diego California.
Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Current status:not on display
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:paddle
Hull material and construction:wood/fibreglass
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Related materials:interviews
Related materials:photos
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:other

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