Popular Capel brothers Steve ‘The King of Capel’ and Garry ‘Wings’ Rice have lived in the South West and surfed local waves for over 3 decades.
Sadly Steve (age 60) passed away unexpectedly on 23 June 2014. At the time, he was surfing beautiful clean waves with Garry and mates at his favourite surf break.
“Steve Rice was an absolute legend, a great surfboard maker and a top bloke” Mark Hills, Yahoo Surfboards.
2012 Steve Rice with his Sealines surfboard, unidentified & Glen Mowday – Photo credit Jim King
Many people don’t know Steve’s background. He was born in Kogarah, Sydney in 1954 and started surfing (age 12) with Garry. Their early surfing years were spent in and around the Cronulla area. They later becoming regulars at ‘The Point’ at Cronulla.
In 1976 Steve & Garry set off with a couple of mates on a surfing/working journey through Mauritius, Madagascar, Africa, Europe, UK and Canada.
On his return to OZ in 1978, Steve joined Garry and new found mates at a surfer’s farmhouse at Australind, near Bunbury. This was a benchmark year for quality surf in WA and within months the brothers had cemented life-long friendships.
Steve and Garry were invited to join the small but productive team at Peter Mercer Surfboards in nearby Capel. Under the tutorage of Peter Mercer and Alf Jeffries the brothers learnt the fine art of surfboard construction.
After several fun years in the South West, Steve worked for a while at Cordingley Surfboards in Perth before heading back East to Crescent Head to work at Seaduce Surfboards in Kempsey for his mentor Alf Jeffries. Bro’ Garry headed off to the US.
2010 Steve tucked in at his favourite surf break – Photo courtesy of Bruce King.
In 1982 the brothers re-united and headed back to the West and settled in Capel, approx. 55km north of Yallingup. In mid-1983 the brothers opened their own surf board workshop Sealines Fibreglass in Capel. This was a dream come true for Steve and he managed to keep living the dream to the end.
A few years after settling in Capel the boys married local girls and had 2 daughters each. The two Rice families maintained a very close relationship and the brothers (known to some as the ‘Rice Bubble’ bros) continued to surf and party together.
Steve was a former member and Club President of Indiana Board Riders in Bunbury. He also notched up 18 years voluntary service with the Capel Bush Fire Brigade.
Many thanks to Garry ‘Wings’ Rice for providing Steve’s background material.
Photos (top left) 2009 Steve ‘selfie’ in his surfboard showroom – Photo credit Garry Rice, (top right) 1972 Peter Mercer Surfboards logo – Image courtesy of Grant Mooney surfboard collection. (bottom left) Sealines surfboard logo – Image credit Garry Rice. (bottom right) The ‘Rice Bubble’ bros and mates at the beach – Photo credit Bruce King.