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Early 1960s SW surfing recollections by Mike Bibby

GETTING THERE

In the early 60’s trips down south were mainly limited to weekends and holidays as most of us were either at school or working. As teenagers we were lucky to get a lift with the older Yallingup Board Club (YBC) club members, Col Cordingley (Toyota Corona), Terry James (FJ Holden), Rob Birch (Falcon), Cliff Hills and others. There were no 4WD cars making trips to Rocky Point, Gallows and Guillotine an adventure with the cars having to be pushed over the boggy parts.

Images: 1964 Colin Cordingley’s Toyota Corona bogged on a damp Rocky Point track on d’Espeissis property. Still frame images ex Colin Cordingley Super 8 movie film.

1964 Rocky Point Colin Cordingley Corona collage_photocat

Images: 1964 Rob Birch’s Falcon battling water logged Rocky Point track on d’Espeissis property. Still frame images ex Colin Cordingley Super 8 movie film.

1964 Rocky Point Rob Birch Falcon collage_photocat

The road from Mandurah to Bunbury was then an unsealed track and with no 4wd vehicles most of the crew would go via Pinjarra, often stopping at the Wokelup pub on the way. The sealed Old Coast Road was completed in September 1969.

As more got their driving licences it was easy to get a lift down south, with everyone kicking in for petrol. In 1965 it was the equivalent of 8.5 cents per litre.

Photos: (Left) 1966 Brian Boynes’s Ford Customline ex Qsld with Vance Cox (YBC) on the bonnet. (Right) 1964 Joe Wilson (YBC) with his Woody (Austin or Morris) & Smokey the dog at The Cove Cottesloe. Photos courtesy of Peter Bothwell & Arthur Sherburn.

1960s YBC autos Brian Boynes & Joe Wilson collage_photocat

With very limited weather forecasts most would set off on Friday night regardless of the weather and take pot luck on how the surf would be for the weekend. Bruce King, Peter Mac, Micko Gracie and Bobbo Monkman probably set a record by driving down for 49 continuous weekends in a year (in the early 70s). If the waves were no good, it was always offshore at the pub (-:

SURFING

Images: 1964 Rocky Point. Clockwise from top. Mike Bibby nose ride & head dip, Geoff Berry & Terry James surfing Rocky Point. Still frame images ex Colin Cordingley Super 8 Movie film.

1964 Rocky Point surfing #1 collage_photocat

Images: 1964 Rocky Point. Clockwise from top Mike Bibby, Geoff Berry, Rob Birch & Terry James. Still frame images ex Colin Cordingley Super 8 Movie film.

1964 Rocky Point surfing #2 collage_photocat

Images: 1964 Rocky Point. Clockwise from top. Colin Cordingley & YBC mates, Terry James head dip, Mike Bibby rock hopping (no leg ropes) & bottom turn. Still frame images ex Colin Cordingley Super 8 Movie film.

1964 Rocky Point surfing #4 sucollage_photocat

EXTRA ACTIVITIES

If there was no surf or the sea breeze had come in, Caves House was the focal point for everyone. Until 1970 the drinking age was 21, but with nearest police station in Busselton, it was not enforced unless there was trouble, and even then we had plenty of advance warning of a police visit. Rob Birch recalls one night in the front bar with things getting out of hand, when Bill Copley (the publican) shouted all those who are not 21 – OUT NOW, and the whole bar emptied! Having helpful barmen such as Murray Smith was a bonus to the teenagers.

On very calm days we would go free diving for crays off Yallingup, the catch brought back to the YBC shack and shared with whoever was down for the weekend with the obligatory 5 gallon keg. Peter Willey, then a young and ambitious Fisheries Officer, (and a Yallingup Board Club member) would threaten to book us for catching undersize crays but backed off when the guys turned on him.

Photos: (Left) 1960s John Harbison & Joe Wilson leaving YBC shack at Yalls to go cray fishing. (Right) 1964 Colin Cordingley’s Toyota Corona on Rocky Point track. Photos courtesy of Tina Wilson.

1960s YBC automobiles IMG_001

Crabbing in Geographe Bay around Dunsborough and Quindalup was also on the agenda when the sea breeze came in. No scoop nets or crab nets, just a forked stick to trap the crab on the sand and then pick it up from the rear. Nobody managed to avoid being bitten, but the effort was always worth it.

Another non surfing activity was caving in the limestone caves to the south of the Caves House caravan park. They were unregulated and it was quite daunting to climb down into them with just a torch and no other equipment. A lot of stalactites and stalagmites were souvenired and eventually the caves sealed off.

If it was a hot day on the trip back to Perth, a stop to swim down the irrigation channels outside of Harvey would provide a welcome break (no air con in the cars). We would put our boards in the channel and “surf” down until we came to a gate in the channel and then it was a long walk back to the car.

Great times.
Mike Bibby.

BONUS PICS

Bonus pic #1. 2014 Colin Cordingley Remembrance lunch at Bill Oddy’s pub. L-R Dave Ellis, Mark Paterson, Rex Cordingley, Mike Bibby, Helen Backshell (Colin & Rex’s sister), Bill Oddy, Charles Campbell and Kim Standish. Photo courtesy of Mike Bibby.

2014 Colin Cordingley remembrance lunch IMG_1564

Bonus pic #2. 2015 Tina Wilson holding the late Joe Wilson’s 1960’s Cordingley Surf Team surfboard. Photo courtesy of Jim King.

2015 Joe Wilson YBC Cordingley surfboard - Tina Wilson pic DSC00769

***1960s YBC REUNION/SURFERS GET TOGETHER***
CAVES HOUSE HOTEL 5PM SATURDAY, 19th MARCH 2016

Mike Bibby – It is a year since the hanging of the 60s YBC team photo at Caves House Hotel, Yallingup. Pete Dyson said he wanted to make it an annual get together of all surfers from the 60’s and 70’s, so come to Caves House at around 5pm on Saturday 19th March 2016.