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70s-80s Ian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell

Cottesloe surfer Ian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell was a talented competition & free surfer in the 70s & 80s. Mitch won four State Titles (Seniors & Masters) and represented WA in National Titles held in Queensland, Sydney, Tassie & WA.

Photo: 1970s Mitch at his home beach Cottesloe. Photo credit Ric Chan

1970s Cottesloe Ian Mitchell - Chan 7

1. West Oz surf.

Images: 1971 Al Fixter & Mitch at Injidup Point courtesy of Country Surf Magazine. Photo credits Rob Farris.

1971 Al Fixter & Ian Mitchell - Country Surf Mag img241a

Photo: 1981 Mitch surfing solid Strickland Bay Rotto on a 6’1″ Star Surfboards Thruster. Photo courtesy of Mitch.

1981 Rotto Strickland Bay Mitch 6'1 Star Thruster - Mitch pic IMG_04a

Photos: 1981 Strickland Bay at Rotto. Photos courtesy of Mitch.
(Top) Cottesloe’s Peter De Bruin on the left. (Bottom) Mitch cuttie on the right.

1981 Rotto Peter De Bruin & Mitch IMG_001

Photo: 1981 Mitch surfing Strickland Bay at Rotto. Photo courtesy Mitch.

1981 Rotto Strickland Bay Mitch - Mitch pic IMG_04

2. Overseas surf travel.

Mitch is well travelled and has surfed most surf spots in OZ as well as a number of Overseas surf locations.

Mitch: “I surfed in Bali in very early 70’s. Probably amongst earliest to do so. Definitely amongst first to surf England, France and Spain in 1973. In recent years I also surfed in the Carribean. Great waves, no people.”

1973 British Surfing Championships.

Mitch competed in the 73 British Surfing Championships. These are his recollections of that event.

A bunch of my friends & I had decided to head off to Europe in 1973 as did a number of surfers from Perth back then. I heard that the British Surfing Championships were going to held at Cornwell not long after our arrival in London and an idea immediately popped into my head. I had a British Passport so I would enter the contest , win it, get in the British team and get a free trip to Peru for the following World Titles….yea I was pretty cocky, I think I learned that from Cairnsy. So I headed off down to Cornwall & entered the contest. Besides a British passport you had to have resided in England for the past 12 months.

The competition was held at Sennen Cove, West Cornwall in pretty reasonable 3-5ft beachies. Those were early days in British surfing so the standard wasn’t that advanced. I consequently won both my heats & the semi final. To be honest it wasn’t that hard. Most of my mates from Cottesloe would have done the same. I was on my way to Peru…..nearly!

The night before the final I was in the local pub talking with some locals. They were wondering how I managed to have  a brand new state of the art 7ft red pintail shaped by Greg Laurenson at Cordingleys and a brand new wettie. I was a bit pissed (I didn’t normally drink) and fessed up to having only recently arrived in England.

The next morning I paddled out for the final. I was surfing a right peak & the other 5 guys were surfing a left about 50 mtrs down the beach. I had caught a couple of waves – feeling pretty happy with myself, when I noticed all the judges had moved down the beach and were sitting in front of the 5 other finalists. The judges weren’t scoring any of my waves.

An English guy I had met & been surfing with – Lord Ted Deerhurst, yes he was an English Lord, was telling the judges every time I took off on a wave, but they just ignored me. My conversation in the pub had got back to the contest officials. No-one said anything to me they just didn’t score any of my rides. Probably not the first time I should have kept my mouth shut!

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Mitch now lives at Yallingup with his wife Jen. When his body is working he still tries to surf.

Refer to Surfing Down South book for more material on Mitch.