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‘Lost And Found – The Missing Ric Chan Archives’ by Jim King

Surf photographer Ric Chan travelled from NZ to the East Coast of Australia in ’68 and then onto WA in ’69 (to cover the first National Surfing Titles held in WA). His photos brilliantly captured Australian surfing history for over a decade until he left for Bali Indonesia in the early ’80s.

Ric continued taking photos in Bali until the early ‘90s when he disappeared off the surfing radar.

Photos: (Left) 1975 Ric with camera equip at Marg River. (Right) 1985 Ric in Kuta Bali. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.

1970-80s Ric Chan WA & Bali collage_photocat

In the early ‘90s tea chests full of Ric’s photo equipment & memorabilia started turning up at his SW friends Graham & Lisa Noakes’ scrap metal yard in Margaret River. There was no note with the consignments & the Noakes’ assumed it was sent by Ric from Bali after his wife Sami died in 1991.

Graham Noakes “Initially we stored Ric’s memorabilia in an old Mitsubishi van stored on the premises. However, during the ‘90s it was discovered that a whipper-snipper had flipped up a stone & broken a window in the van. Rain had got in and a lot of Ric’s negatives, slides, photos, posters and old movie & still cameras were water damaged. So we moved all Ric’s gear upstairs to the loft in our work shed and it sat there until the 2000’s, when a member of Margaret River Board Riders Club borrowed some of Ric’s slides. Then Ric’s photos started appearing on t-shirts and I realised I had a responsibility to look after his belongings. It wasn’t easy to get the slides back. Subsequently Ric gave me Power of Attorney to look after his photographic material.”

In 2013 Margaret River Press were in the process of publishing a book on the history of surfing in the SW and author Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle and I were keen to use Ric‘s photos in the book.

Whilst Graham Noakes had some e-contact with Ric in NZ, I had not heard from him in more than 35 years. It was understood he may have died, but in 2013 with prompting from Dunsborough surfboard craftsman Gary ‘Ric can’t be dead’ Greirson, Graham & I sent emails to Ric on a decade old NZ email contact Graham had for him. To our surprise, Ric answered our emails the next day and said “Hey dudes what’s happening?” He is very much alive and living in NZ with his sons Taron & Tao and family including his dog ‘Fella’.

We asked Ric could we use his pictures in WA surf history books and he was happy for his images to see daylight again.

Subsequently, Ric’s vintage photos were used in the Surfing Down South book (2014) and then later in the Surfing WA Celebrating 50 Years book (2014), both published by Margaret River Press. Ric’s photos have also appeared regularly on SDS web & Facebook sites since early 2014. His images grace the front & back covers of the Surfing Down South book.

Graham & Lisa Noakes are leaving their Scrap Metal Business in Marg’s due to poor health.

Graham Noakes -“During a recent clean-up, Lisa found another album of Ric’s missing slides. So there is more to come!”

Photos: 2014 Graham & Lisa Noakes’ scrap metal business at Marg’s. Photos courtesy of Jim King.
Top: Entrance to scrap metal yard
Middle: (Left) Lisa & Kath King in the yard. (Middle) Graham with a copy of his infamous advert in West Coast Surfer mag.(Right) Loft storage area in work shed.
Bottom: Graham in his office.

2014 MR scrap metal yard 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 2014 Ric’s vintage Pathe & Cine-Kodak movie cameras, still camera & obsolete U-matric analogue video tapes. Photos Jim King.

2014 Cameras MR Salvage Yard collage_photocat

Photos: 2014 Some of Ric’s photographic material recovered from scrap metal yard. Photos Jim King.
Top: (Left) 1980 West Coast Mag first edition poster featuring Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston at Lefthanders and Steve Hannett at South Passage Lancelin. (Right) Boxes & albums of slides & negatives. Bottom:
Bottom: (Left) Newspaper fashion layout sheets. (Right) 1980 West Coast mag poster featuring Paul Cunningham riding a Blaxell at Stricko’s.

2014 Ric Chan photo memorabilia 4 collage_photocat

Photos: 2014 Ric sorting through some of his vintage photographic material with Loz Smith and Jim & Bruce King at Dunsborough. Photos courtesy of Loz Smith & Jim King.

2014 Ric Chan Dunno 7 collage_photocat

In 2014 Ric was invited to WA by Surfing WA to help celebrate their 50 Year Anniversary and promote their Surfing WA Celebrating 50 Years book at an event held at Margaret River. After decades apart it was fun to catch up with Ric again – we even took him on his own book signing tour.

Photos: 2014 Surfing WA 50th Anniversary event at Marg’s. Photos by Loz Smith & Jim King.
Top: (Left) Ric heading to photo-shoot with SW photo-journalist Becky Felstead. (Right) Ric & Contest Marshall Fred Annesley.
Bottom: Ric & former World Surfing Champ Ian Cairns.

2014 MR Ric Chan 6 collage_photocat

Photo: 2014 Surfing WA 50th Anniversary event at Marg’s. Photo courtesy of Loz Smith.
Errol Considine compering the event with 3 times World Surfing Champ Mark Richards (blue t-shirt) and Dave Macaulay (brown shirt) in the background.

2014 MR Surfing WA 50 Years anniversary IMGP4578

Photos: 2014 Surfing WA 50th Anniversary event at Marg’s. Photos courtesy of Loz Smith.
Top: (Left) Errol Considine & Ric Chan on the podium. (Right) Kath & Jim King meeting up with Ric Chan after 35 year’s absence.
Bottom: (Left) Ric, Norm Bateman, George Simpson & Rick Gath. (Right) Ric, Nev Hyman & Fred Annesley.

2014 Surfing WA event social collage_photocat

Photos: 2014 Ric mixing with the natives on SW book signing tour. Photos Jim King
Top: (Left) Ric & Rinso at Yalls. (Right) Chiara & Ric at Shaana Café Yalls.
Middle: (Left) Ric & pioneer surfer statue at Yalls. (Right) Ric & Marina at Cowaramup.
Bottom: (Left) Al Bean & Ric at Dunsborough. (Right) Mark Hills, Dave Ellis & Ric at Dunsborough.

2014 Ric Chan tour collage_photocat