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
1. West Oz surf.
Images: 1971 Al Fixter & Mitch at Injidup Point courtesy of Country Surf Magazine. Photo credits Rob Farris.
Photo: 1981 Mitch surfing solid Strickland Bay Rotto on a 6’1″ Star Surfboards Thruster. Photo courtesy of Mitch.
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.
Photo: 1981 Mitch surfing Strickland Bay at Rotto. Photo courtesy Mitch.
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!
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.