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1960s SW surf trips – Darryl McGowan

Darryl McGowan toured WA, SA, NSW and Queensland surf spots back in the 1960s & 70s.

In the mid-60s Darryl went on regular SW surf trips with Steve ‘Simmo’ Simpson, Mick ‘Midge’ Semple (City Beach Boys), Ron Waddell, Dig Degelli and a bunch mates from Balga and Inglewood.

Metro photos: Left: 1967 Midge Semple being mischievous at Mandurah. Photo credit Jim King. Right: 1968 Simmo hanging ten at City Beach. Photo credit Trevor Burslem.

1960s Midge & Simmo IMG_001

Darryl: “I would leave work on a Friday night and pick up Simmo & Midge from their homes at City Beach and head off via the infamous Old Coast Road dodging Police harassment and those notorious corrugations. One year we drove down south 35 weekends mostly sleeping on the beach with the jumping ants or sleeping in the car. In the morning it was usually a long walk to the break or push the old FX Holden through sand tracks as we never had 4WD’s.”

Back in the 60s & 70s Floreat surfer Ross Utting surfed a lot with Simmo, Midge & the Waddell’s. He recalls the following anecdotes.

Darryl’s FX Holden

Ross: “Simmo worked with Darryl for a big Transport Company in Subi. They were mechanics. Simmo used to call him Macca. When Macca had finished with the FX Holden Panel Van he sold it to Ron Waddell’s brother Gerard. The FX did many more SW trips with Gerard at the wheel. Being a mechanic, Macca was able to keep the FX going, but when Gerard bought it, a fair bit of help from the likes of Big Eyes (see separate SDS blog) was needed to get to & from the SW. It was a nightmare. Apart from breakdowns, we dropped a king pin on the old Windmills track & a front wheel rolled down the hill. We had to be towed out by a friendly farmer’s tractor. The bloody thing also had a valve radio, which drained the battery if it was operated without the motor running. More help was required when young David Waddell forgot about this triviality.”

Ron Waddell at Margaret’s

Ross: “All the Waddell’s liked big waves particularly Ron & as a result they loved Mainbreak Margaret.
One time in the late 60’s/early 70’s Ron, Gerard & I arrived early at Mainbreak to find a perfect empty line-up, but we knew that the mob would be just behind us.
In those days there were no wooden steps, just a crumbling cliff face with a few solid rocks here & there.
Ron was calling the shots & sent us down the cliff first. When Gerard & I got to the bottom & looked up, Ron had done this massive crap & was spreading it over the most critical rock step.
“That should slow ‘em down a bit “he laughed.
After we had a few waves Ron pointed to the beach & we saw a traffic jam half way down the cliff. Ron thought it was a great joke.”

SW photos #1: Left: 1960s Bunker Bay. Darryl with new Cordingley triple stringer surfboard. Right: 1960s Marg River. Darryl waxing new board at Surfers Point before there was a car park. Photo credits Darryl McGowan.

1960s Darryl McGowan SW compilation IMG_001

SW photos #2: Left: 1960s Cape Naturaliste lighthouse tour. L-R. Ron Waddell, Dig Degelli & unidentified. Photo credit Darryl McGowan. Right: 1969 Ron Waddell surfing the Farm in Bunker Bay. Photo courtesy of WA Surf magazine.

1960s Ron Waddell SW pics IMG_002

SW photos #3: 1960s SW surf trips. Photo credits Darryl McGowan.

Top left: Baked Bean lunch at Bunkers. L-R Dig Degelli, unknowns 2 & Ron Waddell.
Top right: Surf check at Margaret’s car park. L-R Darryl, Ron Waddell on roof, unknown & Dig.
Bottom left: Paddle out at Bunker Bay L-R Ron Waddell & unidentified.
Bottom right: Bush bashing in Holden sedan looking for new surf spots. L-R Darryl & unknowns.

1966 Darryl McGowan IMG_002

Automobile photo: 1970s Darryl’s FX Holden & his sisters waiting at home after a SW surf trip. Photo credit Darryl McGowan

1970s Darryl McGowan sisters & FJ Holden IMG_3879

Darryl McGowan now lives in Coolum Beach, Queensland with his wife Prue (nee Jackson) a Cowaramup girl who attended school at Margaret River.