West Perth surfer Alex ’Zac’ Kochanowitsch purchased his first surfboard in 1962 and won WA’s first State Open Men’s Surfing Title in 1964.
1962 Zac’s first board
In 1962 Zac purchased his first fiberglass board from King & Cole Surfboards in Wembley. The 9ft Malibu board cost £28 pounds and was his pride & joy. (The surfboard would be worth a lot more at auction these days). Zac chained the surfboard to stumps under the City Beach Tea Rooms and hitch-hiked or caught the bus to the beach.
Photos: 1962 The Kochanowitsch brothers with their Malibu surfboards. (left) Zac age 17 with his new King & Cole Surfboard and (right) Len with his surfboard – manufacturer unknown. Photos courtesy of Ernie Potter.
1962 Zac’s first SW trip.
Zac recalls his first trip Down South was quite by accident.
“In the summer of ’62, I travelled to Avalon (near Mandurah) with my mates John McGuire and Boz Cummins in John’s mum’s new Morris Minor 1000. When we got there the surf was too small so John said “bugger this we are going to Gallows”. John immediately dismantled the car’s speedometer cable as he was told to go no further than Avalon and his dad always took a speedo reading to check how far we travelled that day. To save time we headed off down the Old Coast Road on a rough dirt track between Lake Preston Road House and Australind. Finally we found our way to The Gallows. To our surprise we were the only ones there, it was an offshore wind and a perfect head high wave. We surfed for 2 hours then John said “we have to go home now as I have to have the car home before 6pm”. So we headed home to wash the car & reconnect the speedo and pretend Avalon was as far as we went.”
By the next year (1963) Zac was spending most weekends down south surfing big well shaped waves.
Photo: 1964 Zac surfing Margaret River on his ‘rising sun’ design surfboard. Photo credit Eddie Potter.
1964 Zac’s first surf Title
WA’s inaugural State Surfing Title were held in solid wave conditions at Yallingup in 1964.
Contest winners: Open: Zac Kochanowitsch, Bob Keenan, Tony Harbison. Juniors: Barry King, Richard White, Brian Boynes. Womens: Jenny Shackley, 3rd Teena Christon age 14 (Womens event held Cowaramup Bay).
Photo: Contest winners L-R Barry King (Juniors) and Zac (Open). Both surfers were from the City Beach Surf Riders Club. Photo credit WA Newspapers.
WA State Champions Zac, Barry King & Jenny Shackley went on to represent Australia at the first World Surfing Titles held at Manly NSW in May 1964.
Photo: 1964 Logo on Zac’s Australian Surf Team jacket. Photo credit Zac Kochanowitsch.