I have distinct memories of Nan and Pop’s house, growing up – a very 1950’s styled affair.
She was your typical Grandmother figure, always concerned for your wellbeing and making sure you were fed and dressed well. Pop was a quiet, unobtrusive man who would often be found sitting in the lounge with his TV dinner tray. I remember display-cabinets full of prized china and ornaments that always left me intrigued – encased in such a way, I could only assume they were treasures of a royal scale.
There was nothing to indicate the legacy they had forged in the surf world. I knew little of their business or even what they had done for work, they were just Nan and Pop.
By this time in the story Dad was a lot less involved in shaping and I can only assume Jean and Lance were still oblivious to how they would be remembered, Australian board short pioneers. It just reinforces, that for them – they never set out to make millions or build an empire. They were just supporting their son and his mates, they were just doing what felt practical and what was right in front of them to do.
The unfortunate turn of events in the Platt family story (from my perspective) is that the young, clean cut, full of potential and gifted-to-the-eye-balls; Kevin Platt, just so happened to be born to live through not only the ‘teenage revolution’ and the ‘surfing revolution’ but also the revolution of the 60’s and 70’s that sore drugs burst on to the scene of society in a way it had never done before.
So at the prime of his life, where all things were opening up in front of him, this clean cut hipster lost his way. Lost all direction and spiralled into a life of addiction and abuse. Despite every attempt from his parents to curb these quickly forming addictions, dad ultimately was lost to us all. At times he tried to fight against it, he tried to clean himself up for his kids but it just was never enough to keep him free from hooks that had taken hold.
So as you can see, for me… Kevin’s daughter, I know two extremes of the man, I called Dad. I could sit for hours and look at photos and read articles of him as this surfing icon, to know there was something special about the Platt family but then I was painfully aware that something went horribly wrong and that because of that – I had missed out on so much!
That’s a hard thing to reconcile as a young woman finding her way in the world. In one of my desperate attempts to reconcile it all, I decided to set up a Facebook memorial page for Dad. Before long I was getting contacted from people all over the country, telling me about how much of an impact my Dad, Nan and Pop had. I started hearing these incredibly precious stories of the man my Dad truly was, the gentle poet, the deep thinker, the intellect. I heard how much people had loved being able to call on Jean and Lance to get the “best pair of boardies they had ever owned”. It was just so wonderful to have a space to start collating all these incredible stories and memories.
It’s from that page that the PLATTS story takes a SIGINIFICANT turn of events from not just me but all my brothers and sisters. We were approached by some interested parties in the PLATTS brand. They had grown up with it, had some deep sentimental connections to the legacy that was PLATTS and that were desperate to see it have a new lease of life and ultimately restored to the family.
For my siblings and I, we had often talked about how incredible it would have been to have still had the business in the family, for PLATTS to still be delivering some of the best boarding on the planet.
As discussions with the interested parties continued we all the sensed, this was the start of something pretty special. We also started to feel a very real pull from the surf community for something we all knew ‘PLATTS’ represented – authenticity, grass roots, surfer first quality and we knew… this was the time to bring PLATTS back!
by Rachel Hewitt (nee Platt)