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Loz Smith’s recollections of 1985 Yallingup Malibu Surf Classic

The annual Yallingup Malibu Surf Classic (Yal Mal) has been running continuously for 30 years.

SW surf identity Laurance ‘Loz’ Smith and some of his surfing mates created and run the first contest in 1985.

These are Loz’s recollections of the inaugural event held at Yallingup Beach in 1985.

I thought up the idea of a gathering of SW friends to celebrate the long board revival and as a tribute to my SW longboard friend John ‘John Boy’ Malloy. Tom Hoye had shaped a Malibu board for John Boy and I enjoyed watching him surf Yallingup and Injidup Car Park.
Peter ‘Mac’ McDonald, Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson & I met at Bob & Jenny Monkman’s place in Dunsborough for dinner on a Thursday and we talked about the contest and prizes.
I then designed contest posters and a t-shirt and collected contest prizes. I paid Mick Button $350 to make a Santosha longboard to present to the winner. ‘Pants’ (GL Surfboards) shaped a fibreglass version of a mal to scale to present as a perpetual trophy to winners. Pat Leahy (Wetsuits) donated a wettie and Baz Young (Ripcurl) donated 6 pairs of board shorts as prizes.

Photo: 2015 Quindalup Loz Smith with the original Surf Classic t-shirt. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2015 Loz Smith holding original 1985 Yal Mal t-shirt - Loz Smith pic IMGP7116a

The Contest was promoted by poster and word of mouth. The initial contest was postponed when it was discovered it clashed with a couple getting married. It was changed to accommodate the wedding and we missed perfect waves on that occasion.

Legendary NSW surfer Jim Banks) was surfing The Bluff at the time. He got sick and I drove back to Cronulla in NSW with him. I stayed a couple of months with Jim in NSW and there was concern about the future of the contest. But John Boy had spread the word amongst SW & city surfers and it was still on. Then John Boy had to return to home in USA and I took over promotion again.

Unfortunately the surf for the rescheduled contest (after wedding cancellation) was onshore & only 1/2 foot. It was postponed to a later date at a meeting held at Surfside on the Saturday morning.

On the third attempt 100 surfers gathered at Yalls on the Saturday to find atrocious conditions and it was cancelled for the day.
That night a dance was held at Yallingup Hall with music provided by Gina Pannone and Vance & Nance Burrow. The dance finished at midnight and Terry Jacks helped clean up the hall. I crashed 2am at Rob Malcolm’s place on Yallingup hill.

I was woken up approx 6am by Craig Brent-White. The morning was hazy and the ocean & horizon blended into each other. We went down to the beach to ascertain conditions. The swell was a clean 8-10ft & wind offshore. There was a large gathering at the beach. Many crew headed to the public toilets to ease the tension on their tummy…..it was seriously big!

Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison confirmed the contest was on. But no one was keen to go out for first heat.

I wanted the contest to be a success and recoup my expenditure on contest t-shirts. So I grabbed my Jacko single fin longboard souvenired from the Yallingup tip and tied 2 extra rail savers onto my Pipeline leg rope. I entered the ocean near Grannies Pool and paddled wide out into the bay to get in the line-up. Not being a big wave surfer my balls and heart were in a race to get to my throat. After what seemed like an eternity I got out the back to take a rest. I was so far out I had a view of Caves House gardens. After some time I paddled into a smaller swell, my rubbish tip found Jacko surfboard with rolled rails to the tail, refused to hold into the left-hander & I fell down the face with the whole lip going over my head. It was the worst wipe-out I can recall. I retrieved my board and while paddling back out to attempt another wave, to my absolute joy, I witnessed the First Heat descending down the steps at Yalls. I caught another wave with the express intention of getting in.

I cheered the boys as they paddled out. At the top of the steps the judges were at the ready. Harbo told me I was in the next heat.
After regathering my courage, I followed Harbo across the reef for the second heat. I followed him thinking he knew Yalls better than me. We launched off the reef into a maelstrom of white water near The Bubble. Unfortunately I was hit by a mountain of white water and my board struck my funny bone and I lost feeling in my arm. Still managing to follow Harbo, I eventually got out the back and caught a left, I came straight in.

The day went on. Ian ‘Lips’ Mitchell snapped Pat Leahy’s brand new Town & Country mal in half. He got caught inside on the biggest wave of the day, a 10-12ft monster.

Craig ‘Clarrie’ Brent-White snapped Greg Laurenson’s brand new 9’1” hand shaped long board. Craig bought in part of the board and the rest floated out to sea.

Photo: 2014 Quindalup. Craig Brent-White on his 66th birthday with the remnants of Greg Laurenson’s long board snapped at the 85 contest.

2015 Craig Brent-White holding 1985 Yal Mal GL broken mal - Loz Smith pic IMGP7117a

John ‘Headstand’ Clemenger made the final and took out the event after borrowing Dan Darrigan’s 10’6” GL custom single fin longboard. John took off on a 5ft left and did a headstand before returning to his feet and finishing the wave. Conditions turned on-shore during the finals.

Judging was different in this contest. The result was split between the judges and the crowd’s choice. It was a unanimous decision and John ‘Headstand’ Clemenger was judged the winner.

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic finalists: L-R Bob Monkman, Robbo, John Clemenger (kneeling with board), Peter Mac, Ian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, Peter Dyson, Ross Tomsett (the big black dog belonged to Ross & was called Cindy or Bear), Cliff Hills, Gene Hall, Tony Harbison, Keith Campbell & Kevin ‘Twiggy’ Sharland. Photo credit Loz Smith

1985 Yal Mal4 finalists

Afterwards contest presentations were held on the beach. There were many prizes and Robbo won the worst wipe-out award. Later there were festivities and recollections of fear factors at Caves House. While I do have some photos of spectators on the beach, unfortunately I have no photos of contest surfing at the event.

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic presentations on the beach. Brian Cole, Harbo and Cliff Hills can be seen at the back on left. Photo credit Loz Smith.

1985 Yal Mal beach presentation Brian Cole, Harbo, Cliff Hills - Loz Smith pic IMG_02a

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic spectators. L-R Brian Sherrington and Wayne ‘Choco’ Cartledge sitting on wall. Photo credit Loz Smith.

1985 Yal Mal spectators Brian Sherington & Wayne 'Choco' Cartlidge - Loz Smith pic IMG_03a

Photo: 2014 Yallingup Surf Classic presentations at Caves House. Contest winner Justin Redman with the GL perpetual trophy. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2014 Yal Mal Justin Redman - Loz pic IMGP7600a

The 2015 Yallingup Malibu Classic will be contested this coming weekend December 5-6, 2015. Put it on your social calendar!