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1970s Craig Howe NW surf pioneer **Updated 21 & 25 January 2016**

**Update 21 Jan 2016** Added Craig’s account of how he & Charlie Konstantinidis discovered Gnaraloo surf break in 1975.

**Update 25 January 2016**Added photo of Lynette, Anastasia and Charlie Konstantinidis with Ualay the dog.

Craig Howe & his elder brother Alan grew up surfing coolites and surfboards at City Beach & Floreat groynes in the late 60s & early 70s.

Stewart Bettenay recalls: “Craig Howe’s dad Allen ‘Bubs’ Howe was my first footy coach at City Beach. He was a great guy & very, very funny. Craig didn’t play footy and went surfing instead which created a lot of humour at training.

Kevin Merifield told me Bub’s was a very good league football player at Subiaco in the late 50’s and a comedian. Kev reckons Craig Howe is a good surfer and an interesting character too. He always calls in to see him when in Kalbarri.

The Howe’s are a great part of City Beach history”.

Photos: (Left) 1969 Craig with new twin fin at his City Beach home. (Right) 1970 Craig surfing Floreat groyne. Photos courtesy of Craig Howe.

1969-70 Craig Howe twinfin & Floreat Groyne collage_photocat

Talented goofy footer Craig left City Beach in the early 70s and moved to the North West coast to follow his surfing dreams.

Photos: (Left) 1972 Craig leaving City Beach for the NW. (Right) 1973 Craig with Bob Gairdner at West Coast Surfboards. Photos courtesy of Craig Howe.

1970s Craig Howe metro 2 collage_photocat

Craig has lived in Kalbarri and surfed Jakes Point since the early 70s. He has also surfed many other breaks in the region including the Abrolhos Islands and Gnaraloo.

Images: (Left) 1975 Ron Moss & Craig with Kalbarri snapper. (Right) 2003 Craig & Alan Howe article in Kalbarri newspaper. Images courtesy of Ron Moss & Kalbarri Newspaper.

1975 & 2003 Craig & Alan Howe Kalbarri collage_photocat

Photo: 1980 Craig surfing Jakes Point at Kalbarri. Photo credit Craig Howe.

1980 Craig Howe Jakes Pt Kalbarri #2

Photo: 1980 Craig surfing Jakes Point at Kalbarri. Photo credit Craig Howe.

1980 Craig Howe Jakes Pt Kalbarri #1

*** update 21 Jan 2016***

This is Craig’s account of how he & Charlie Konstantinidis discovered Gnaraloo surf break in 1975.

Charlie Konstantinidis, Lynette and their child Anastasia, Lynette’s younger sister Susie and I travelled up from Kalbarri in Charlies VW Kombi van to search for waves north of Carnarvon. There was also a dog in the Kombi on the trip from Kalbarri, Charlie’s dog named Ualay (pronounced YOU-LAY).

This surf adventure was planted into my brain, by a man named “John Julian” who was the top salesman at Faull’s Land Rover dealers just passed the subway in Subiaco. John Julian sold me that Land Rover you see in SDS blog photo. John Julian was the man that told me about waves north of Carnarvon. He saw waves there while on one of this missions to test drive Land Rovers. His mission was to test drive Land Rovers by driving around the coast of Australia. This was way before Toyota 4WD arrive in Australia. John Julian is the man that told me about waves north of Carnarvon.

We drove the Kombi down many tracks that ran off to the west of the main Gnaraloo road, to look for waves and we did get bogged a few times. Eventually we got to the Gnaraloo station home stead, where we asked for permission to camp the night somewhere on the coast. A station worker (who was the first really live cowboy I had ever met) said we could camp, but if we have a camp fire to be very careful and don’t knock down any fences. It’s was then that I asked this station worker “if he had ever seen other surfers in the area” his reply to me was “no”. He had never seen anyone surfing at Gnaraloo, only fisherman that explore for good fishing spots.

We set up a camp down close to the beach. In the SDS blog photo of Charlie and baby Anastasia and myself sitting on that sand hill, we were naked in that photo (it was the hippy thing in the 70s), it was then I said to Charlie “look down there Charlie, looks like a left hander.” The next morning we drove back south and turned the Kombi down this fence line track and drove to the coast. There it was, this long left hander, we were very excited even though it was only small and we paddled out and surfed this new wave on our single fin surfboards.

“We were the first surfers to surf Tombstones & Gnaraloo, Charlie and myself”.

I never named the Gnaraloo break Tombstones, I did name it Tablet Reef because of the tablet rock that sits on the shore in front of the take-off area, it reminded me of the biblical days when man wrote on rocks…

Dappa (David Plaisted made “SUNRISE SURFBOARDS” in the SW) got up to Gnaraloo station about 1 year after us. Dappa was the first to surf the break named “Turtles” but after the Gnaraloo station owner found out Dappa was growing pot on the station, he got told to leave. So Dappa left Gnaraloo, but he did name the Turtles break.

It was a few weeks or months after the Gnaraloo adventure that I went down south to enter a surf comp and while there I told Craig Bettenay, George Simpson and Tom Hoye that I had surfed this wave on Gnaraloo station. Wish I never had told them, but I was young and silly.

That was also the time I decided that surf comps were not for me as I did not like being told when I could surf and how long you were allowed to stay in the surf. Free surfing up in the warm water at Kalbarri was far better and more fun.

*** update 25 Jan 2016***

Photo: 1976 Konstantinidis family cooling off down south after Gnaraloo adventure. L-R Lynette, Anastasia and Charlie Konstantinidis with Ualay the dog. Photo courtesy of Craig Blume.

1976 SW Lynette Anastaisa Ualay (dog) and Charlie Konstantinidis

In 2001 Australia’s Surfing Life magazine credited Craig with being the first to surf Gnaraloo waves in 1975.

Image: 2001 Extract from Surfing Life article. Image courtesy of Surfing Life Magazine.

1975 Craig Howe Desert Pioneer Surfing Life 2001

Photo: 1975 Empty Tombstones line-up at Gnaraloo. Photo courtesy of Craig Howe.

1975 Tombstones at Gnaraloo lineup - Craig Howe

Photo: 2011 Board Club reunion held at City Beach. L-R Norm Kitson, Craig Blume, Craig Henfry, Chris Warrener, Craig Howe & Craig Bettenay. Photo courtesy of Bruce King.

2011 CBSR Reunion - Bruce King 177

In recent years Craig has been surfing uncrowded waves in the Philippines.

  • Johnny Day.

    That would be Charlie Konstantinidis and his one year old daughter Anastasia (born Jan 1974) with Craig in the picture.Charlies wife Lynette was also with them.They went up there to look for waves after a guy named Dappa who had been working on the station called in to Kalbarri on his way back down south and mentioned to Howie that there were better waves than Kalbarri up there.They went up in Charlies old blue Kombi and spent a lot of time digging themselves out of some horrendous bogs.They found the waves but it was small at the time.

    • Jim King

      Hi Johnny.

      Thanks for your feedback on Howie’s SDS Blog.
      Can I add your comment onto SDS Facebook page, so Craig can see it in the Philippines?
      Cheers

      Jim