Yallingup water man Rich Myers started his water adventures in Southern California in the 60s. From there he surfed, sailed & fished the seven seas until he moved to Yallingup in 1990s.
Rich lives, works, surfs, dives and fishes in the SW. He continues to have hilarious encounters with land & marine animals and is still accident prone!
This is the third part of Rich’s Surf-Travel-Misadventures Trilogy.
Click on this link to view Part 1. California – Mexico – Hawaii (late 1960s-79)
Click on this link to view Part 2. California –Fiji – Mexico – Hawaii – Cook Islands – South Africa. (1980-89)
Part 3. Yallingup WA (1990-present).
In 1987-88 I met Yallingup’s Jos Farrell (Jim & Amanda Farrell’s daughter) and SW surfer/windsurfer David Sheen at a windsurfing event in Maui Hawaii & they told me about Yallingup WA.
I later teamed up with Jos in Bali and we had a son Reif.
I didn’t know there was surf in the SW when I first visited from Hawaii in 1990. I came with Jos as it was her home. It was a bonus that there were good waves in the SW.
In 1992 our relationship broke up and I moved from the States to Yallingup to be with my son Reif for a while. I travelled back and forth from Hawaii until 1995 when I sold my rental house in Maui and settled in Yallingup WA.
Photo: 1992 Rich and son Reif with a friendly roo at the Banamah Wildlife Park Dunsborough. Rich Myers pic.
In 1992 I met my partner Anne at her workplace in the Doctors surgery at Dunsborough.
I was always getting cuts and scratches from work and was stoked that stitches were cheap in WA compared to the USA. Anne was hot looking but I thought she was a Doctor’s wife…I later found out she wasn’t! My estranged wife Jos and her mother Mandy thought Anne liked me and told me to ask her out. Mandy (my mother-in-law) ironed my shirt so I would look good on my first date with Anne. Afterwards Anne told me she liked me because I always paid my medical bills. Ha!
Anne had 4 kids from previous marriages (Chad, Keaton, Dan & Sinead) and then we had Ry and with my son Reif, we had 6 kids in a matter of a year. An instant ‘Brady Bunch Down Under’.
Poor Anne had 6 kids plus me = 7 kids……luckily all the kids surfed!
I realised my wild times were over and I’ve tried to be a responsible father. Anne & I have been together for over 20 years.
Photos: 1990s (Left) Rich & Anne at Ry’s birthday party (Right) Ry’s first surf lesson. Rich Myer pics.
I work as a carpenter/builder with surfer Bevan Carr. Bevan is married to former full-time pro surfer Melanie Redman Carr.
I’m not a silver spooner and have worked since I was age 12, my parents didn’t support me. I learnt my trade from the best builder John Narby and did my carpentry apprenticeship in America. I always knew I would need a job once my single lifestyle finished. I work hard and play hard, it is a good balanced lifestyle & I enjoy the creativity and independence of my job.
I’m just a carpenter and not materialistic, but I was born with the name Rich and I will die Rich. Ha!
Anne & I have built two houses in the SW. In 1999 we built our first house at Dunsborough. Then in the early 2000s we bought a bushland block on a hill at Yallingup and built our second house.
We now live in our Yallingup house with our kids Ry and Sinead.
Photos: Rich & Anne’s SW houses. .
Top: 1999 (Left) Rich & Anne’s first house they built Dunsborough. (Right) Rich and his dog ‘Bat’ in Dunsborough. Photos Rich Myers.
Bottom: Early 2000s Yallingup house with Rich’s ‘Man Shed’ on the right. Photo Jim King
I have been involved in a number of serious work related accidents & tend to be accident-prone.
I fell from a roof while doing a roof restoration job and luckily landed on my head. I cracked my eye socket,temple bone and skull from forehead to neck and had a HUGE headache. The Doctor said “I was like Humpty Dumpty and cracked like an egg”. Afterwards I had a form of amnesia & lost my ability to use adjectives and adverbs – I couldn’t described things! When I was playing Scrabble for coins my mates took advantage of me because I couldn’t remember words! Thoseunscrupulous bastards Ha ha!
On another occasion, I was working on a hot tin roof and became dehydrated. I lost 7 litres of fluid and spent two days in hospital on a saline drip. I lost a lot of weight & looked like a holocaust victim.
The funny part is I have lived through many serious accidents. I’ve been lucky and I’m grateful for being alive.
My first surf in the SW was at Bears with Injidup’s Ken Eichenberg (ex US) and Yallingup’s Steve Russo. The wind was offshore and while Steve Russo hassled in the line-up, I slipped under the radar and got heaps of waves. It was great that it turned out the SW had good surf and I met my partner Anne.
Photos: Early 2000s Rich surfing Bears. Twiggy Sharland pics.
Mitch & Damon at Margs
Top WA surfers Mitch Thorson, Damon Eastaugh & Courtney Grey used to take me surfing at Marg’s Bombie and Boat Ramp for fun. I appreciated the fact that they were better surfers than me and yet they still saved good waves for me. They would say “don’t take the crumbs Rich, you go”. Mitch would lend me his 8’11” Mick Manolos gun board and he would forfeit paddle power and ride his 8′ Mick Manolos gun board in the 10-12ft waves. Mitch was sponsored by MM at the time.
I had not seen that friendliness anywhere in the world. I was below their level, but they still called me into waves. It didn’t happen in the States, it was dog eat dog over there.
Photo: Late 1990s Rich surfing solid Yalls. Twiggy Sharland pic.
I have always been hypo in and out of the water, but thankfully Yallingup surfers Vance Burrow & Loz Smith tuned me onto the fact that the best way to catch waves is for everyone to take turns. I became more aware & now really have more fun because everyone is stoked! Never forget there is always a well-deserved pecking order at every break. Always have respect for older surfers because if you are lucky enough, you might be one of them one day!
Yallingup Main Break is a live cemetery where old surfers never die….they just multiply!
Photos: 2005 Yalls Rich profile and surfing main break. Loz Smith pics.
Respect the Ocean
I have natural instinct and feel when surfing and diving in the oceans of the world. You may not see set waves coming, but if you are tuned in and aware to what is moving and such, you can read the conditions and feel it. When diving under water, I watch seaweed movement and feel currents, so I always know where the shore is. I’ve been doing it so long and tune in and feel the tide, energy, swells and watch for indicators etc. Tune in to nature, quit following others & become an individual. You have to learn to respect the ocean. If it doesn’t feel right, I’m not into it!
Mitch Thorson and Damon Eastaugh have an innate ability to read ocean conditions and are top watermen.
Photo: 2012 Video cameraman Steve Russo stalking Rich Myers on the steps at Yallingup. Photo credit Bruce King.
I had my long board hand made by Bill Foote in Hawaii 14 years ago. It is made of polystyrene foam & epoxy resin. I only use the board at Yallingup. It has snapped twice and been repaired. On a trip to Hawaii, I took the two pieces of broken board with me for repairs (there was no-one here to fix EPS boards back then) and the guy at Hawaii airport charged me for two boards. I argued that it was one broken board, but he was a big ‘Brudda’ and I had to pay double!
Photos: 2012-13 Rich Myers ripping Yallingup rights on his favourite long board. Bruce King pics.
Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills
I have a jet ski and indulge in tow-in surfing on big SW waves.
Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills was my tow-in partner. In 2006 on the day Damon Eastough won the “Wave of the Year Award” at Cow Bombie. Mo & I went and surfed Marg’s Bombie and Gas Bay bombies on our own. We had to launch the Jet Ski at Kilcarnup Beach as it was too rough for Marg’s boat ramp. The waves were huge & gnarly at Marg’s Bombie. Mo towed me into some big ones then when it was his turn Mo got nailed on a huge 30ft wave. He loved big waves and came up wanting more!
In the 2000s Mo was diagnosed with malignant skin cancer and was given one year to live. In his final year I would take Mo surfing whenever possible & Steve Russo videoed his sessions so his son Henry would have surfing memories of his dad. He surfed big waves to the end. He was on steroids and would come up laughing after bad wipe-outs.
Mo died age 41 leaving a wife & son. We had a funeral & paddle out for Mo at Yallingup when he passed away in 2010.
Image: 2004 Mo (inside) & Jake Paterson wave sharing at Cow Bombie. Rich towed Mo into the wave. Image courtesy of Twiggy Sharland and Waves Magazine.
I have a man shed on my property. It includes a ‘Mo’seum (named after my mate Mo) containing memorabilia from surfing friends who have passed-on plus my own collection of wind surfing/surfing memorabilia.
The ‘Mo’seum is a memoriam to my dead friends. Jim Farrell, Steve Boniani, Twiggy Sharland, Jordan & Mo. Mo’s yellow coloured tow-in surfboard hangs on the wall.
Photos: 2016 Rich in his ‘Mo’seum at Yallingup. Jim King pics.
Photos: 2016 some of Rich’s artefacts in his ‘Mo’seum at Yallingup. Jim King pics.
2015 Andrew Mills – Mo’s Ashes
In June 2015 I spread my mate Mo’s ashes in a tube ride at Yallingup Main Break.
Mo & I had deep in-depth talks when it was discovered his cancer was terminal. And I promised to tow-in his ashes into a big barrel at Yallingup.
Photo: 2015 Yalls Rich’s boat & Geoff North’s Jet-Ski waiting out the back prior to ‘Mo’ ashes tube ride. Bruce King pic.
2015 Image: Surf Filmmaker & big wave charger Adz Kennedy covered the ‘Mo ashes’ event in his web article 7 Feb 2015.
Editor’s note: Rich was age 59 at the time.
Photo: 2015 Rich surfing in Mo’s tube at Yalls. Dev Coote pic.
My father-in-law Jim Farrell & I hookah dived in the SW for many years. I learnt a lot about diving & fishing from my father in law.
Photos: (Left) 2010 Rich, Jim Farrell & son Reif at Yallingup. (Right) 1960s Jim Farrell with a groper at Caves House Yallingup. Images courtesy of Farrell family.
Photos: 1996-2000s Fish, Cray & Abalone catches.
Top: (Left) Rich with abalone & lobster catch at Bunker Bay. (Right) Rich & Reif with fish catch at Jim Farrell’s place Yalls. Photos courtesy of Twiggy Sharland & Rich Myers.
Bottom: (Left) Rich & Ry with jumbo cray at Yalls. (Right) Reif, Rich & Ry with the days catch at Gnaraloo. Rich Myers pics.
Beaver 1 & 2.
I have always been a beaver lover. My partner Anne and mate Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston are beavers lovers too!
Feggsey knew I like beavers and bought a pair of ‘beaver slippers’ back from Canada for me.
Anne wants to disown me when I wear my beaver slippers to the Dunsborough shops. Ha!
One of my beaver slippers has one eye and the other two. I named my boat Beaver 1 and jet-ski Beaver 2 after my slippers.
Photos: 2016 Rich modelling his Beaver slippers at Yallingup. Jim King pics
Photos: 2016 Rich’s boat Beaver 1 at Yallingup. Jim King pics.
Near the end, Jim Farrell got Alzheimers (dementia) and became forgetful. On one boat trip off Moses I was underwater on the hookah searching in a cave for crays when he took off in the boat. I was dragged underwater for nearly a mile. Luckily I was still attached to the hookah. When he finally stopped and realised what happened, he said “Oh Rich, I forgot I brought you!”
Photo: 1960s Jimbo Farrell with jumbo crays at Yallingup. Photo courtesy of Farrell family.
I love animals and they are attracted to me, apparently!
Humped by wobbegong shark.
I was diving with Jim Farrell in 9 metres of water off Yalls. Jim was after crays and I was after dhufish. I was resting on the bottom & saw a dhufish swim into a cave. I followed it then I felt something heavy on top of me & thought it was Jim being silly. But it was a big green brown thing with pectoral fins. A 10ft wobbegong shark had landed on top of me like a submarine. It had its pectoral fins wrapped around me and was trying to hump me. Jim saw what was happening and saved me. I told him I thought it was him. Jim reckons the wobbegong was in mating mode!
Octopus with a torch
Jim Farrell told me to dive down 18 metres into a reef hole to get some crays. I used a torch as it was deep & dark. I stuck my head in the hole and two crays come flying out and hit me in the face. Then a big octopus sucked up my lantern and lit up like a Jack-o’- Lantern (carved pumpkin) at Halloween. I went around the back of the hole to reach in & grab back my torch and the occy wrapped its tentacles around my arm….we had a tug of war. I thought this might not end well for me, so I rubbed the occy’s tentacles against some sharp reef and sawed off two of its arms. The occy eventually spat out my torch and swam off with just 6 arms. The sawed off tentacles were still wrapped around my arm when I got back to the boat, so I took them home and ate them.
Randy Roo Rapes Rich
Back in 1990 I was at Banamah Wildlife Park in Dunsborough feeding a group of small roos with my wife Jos her mom Mandy. The roos were standing in a cluster around me and we were thinking how cute they were, when I was grabbed from behind by two strong arms and I felt something prodding my backside. I was startled as it hugged me tighter. I pulled out two paws that went through my jacket and two t- shirts & I ripped myself away. I turned around to face a big boomer who was sexually aroused with a large erection. The randy roo left bloody claw marks on my chest. Later the Park Ranger told me the boomer was in mating mode and I was a victim of its lecherous desire.
Mandy Farrell (Rich’s Mother in Law) – “I remember it like it was yesterday!”
Gorilla at Andy’s Store
Andy & Sally Jones ran Andy’s Store (Caves House Store) for 33 years until recently. Over the years they entertained visitors at the store with fake spiders, snakes & dog droppings, a fart machine and a giant Gorilla. They installed a chipmunk machine with a speaker in the gorilla, it played back pre-recorded messages and startled customers when they passed by.
Bevan & I did carpentry work at the store and joined in the fun.
While a customer was in the shop, I put the gorilla in his car on the front seat. The gorilla had sunnies on & a smoke in his mouth, one of his hands was on the gear stick & other was hanging out the window. The guy went ape-shit when he came out of the shop & saw the intruder.
Working at Andy’s was the best job I have ever had, I got paid for laughing all day!
Photos: 2016 Yalls Gorilla with Andy, Sally & Rich and sign from Andy’s Store. Photos Jim King.
I have made annual trips to the Hawaiian Islands since 1973 and still go on regular surf exploration trips. In the 70s I also surfed Portugal, Spain & France. In Hossegor (France) I met up with Malibu Beach legend Miki Dora. Miki wasn’t happy that other Californians had discovered waves in France!
Photo: 2000s Hawaii trip to Haleakala Volcano L-R Rich, Ry, Anne & Sinead. Rich Myer pic.
I still get invites back to Punta San Carlos in Mexico as a guest. I always call in on Bucky the dog in the cemetery at Punta Abreojs.
I used to do life guarding/boatman duties at Namotua in Fiji. My son Reif has done it for the past few years.
I have been on surf trips to the Maldives with Andy Jones and George Simpson and the Mentawai’s with George Simpson and Luke Sutherland. Last year I went on a surf trip Sri Lanka with Anne.
Photos: Early 2000s Fiji Cloudbreak Rich Myers towed into last wave of the day by Kobi Abberton. Ben Kotke pics.
In 2008 I took my family on a holiday to Bali.
On a surf trip to Butik Peninsula with my family I raided an illegal Taiwanese fishing boat shipwrecked on the reef at Padang Padang. I salvaged some portholes from the vessel and was chased by pirates.
Javanese pirates had attacked the boat out to sea, killed the crew & scuttled the boat which washed up on the reef at Padang Padang. The shipwreck was cordoned off by Bali Police.
Unbeknown to me Pirates (1 leader & 6 underlings) were hiding in bushes on the cliff watching how I got on the boat and followed me (I was salvaging portholes & such). The Pirates snuck upon the ship & found me. They asked “where’s is my boy” (they had seen my son Ry earlier). I passed them my screw driver and told them to “hold this for a second”, then grabbed my bag with the portholes & tools and bolted. As they slid down the slippery deck, I scampered down the anchor rope onto the sharp coral in my tennis shoes, then jumped into the ocean and ran up to the beach where Anne & Ry were innocently beachcombing and yelled out “RUN”. Anne said “what have you done this time?” We ran up the hill to our driver who had been watching the caper unfold and hurried away in his car.
I was excited & yelled “I got the portholes”.
The portholes are now fitted in my man shed.
Images: 2008 Bali Padang Padang shipwreck. Images courtesy of Rich Myers.
Top: Bali newspaper report on shipwreck.
Bottom: Bali shipwreck. Rich can be seen in the cabin removing portholes. The anchor rope Rich used to escape from Pirates can also be seen leading down to the coral reef.
Photos: 2016 Portholes salvaged from Bali shipwreck installed in Rich’s Man Shed at Yallingup. Photos Jim King.
SW SURF PIONEER SCULPTURE
In 2011 SW sculptor Cerys Allerton used my body as a model for the surfer in the bronze sculpture commemorating the ‘birthplace of surfing in WA’ at Yallingup Beach. The head on the sculpture is not mine, it is fictitious. The surfboard was designed and shaped by Mark Ogram from Yahoo Surfboards.
Photos: Surf Pioneer Sculpture on unveiling day 2 December 2011. Photos Loz Smith
Top: (Left) Sculptor Cerys Allerton. (Right) Cerys & husband Ben Allerton with Kevin Merifield.
Bottom: (Left) Rich Myers & unidentified photographer. (Right) Rich & Cerys with Sculpture.
Photos: 2011 Surf Pioneer Sculpture plaques. Photos Loz Smith
I just love surfing & the ocean. I have always tried to be the best I can be while having fun.
Photo: 2016 Rich, Anne & Loz Smith at Caves House Hotel Yallingup. Bruce King pic.
I have a positive attitude and believe a guardian angel is looking after me.
I feel kinda like the Forrest Gump of surfing, just a normal average bloke but ‘Shit Happens’.
My life has been a series of misadventures with good results…….and I’m not dead yet. Ha!