Former US surfer Pat Bloomer and a number of other American surfers came to the South West seeking uncrowded waves in the early 70s.
Other US ex pats in the SW region include Vance & Nance Burrow, John Malloy, Leon Thomasian & Tom Hoye.
Pat – Some of my American mates & I arrived 1973-74 via South Africa and initially stayed in the undeveloped Yallingup Beach Caravan Park. We used to catch buff bream on white bread from the Surfside Store managed by Bernie & Eve Young. We didn’t know buff bream are pet food and used to eat them. We thought it was great!
Photos: Early 1970s Surfside Store photos courtesy of Helen ‘Spotty’ Smith.
Top: (Left) Surfside Store with Peter Mac’s Falcon panel van parked out front. (Right) Helen Smith, Gran, Bernie & Eve Young.
Bottom: (Left) Jingles, Peter Dyson, Neville, Mick, Helen Smith, Jim, Danny & Peter Davies. (Right) Bruce King & Glynn Lance.
Yallingup Beach Caravan Park
Photos: 1973 Yallingup Beach Caravan Park residents. Pat Bloomer pics.
Pat Bloomer’s mates unidentified except for Jim Cox (US) & Amber (SW) bottom left.
Photo: 1973 Chris Bloomer (Pat’s brother) with his Kombi at Yallingup Beach Caravan Park. Pat Bloomer pic.
In the early 70s surfers were living on the beach at Lefthanders surf break located south of Gracetown.
Pat Bloomer and his American mates built & lived in a timber shack on the beach. And young City Beach surfer Frank ‘Little Big Eyes’ McVeigh lived in a beach cave for a whole summer.
Both residences were located south of Lefthanders surf break.
Pat – In 1973 three Americans guys (Rick, Jim Cox & unidentified) & I built a surf shack out of driftwood timber and some sheets of tin on the beach. We got hessian & clear plastic covering from a carpet place in Bunbury for free. We spent $3 on nails at the hardware store and scrounged the tin sheets from abandoned sheds. It took us nearly a week to get the materials and hammer it into shape. We built bunk beds and put carpet on the sand floor. It only had 3 walls and was built against the sandstone cliff to utilise its natural shape for a fireplace. There was a large picture window from which we checked the surf. There was also a small window near the top bunk which allowed an early morning surf check without getting out of bed.
We had to carry in our supplies of water, food, utensils, bedding & boards. It was so isolated we could go days without seeing another soul. We lived in the shack for 3 months until Easter when weather conditions deteriorated. At times, some girls stayed with us in the shack. It was just fun, fun, fun.
There was no dirt track to Lefthanders at that time, we had to walk from the existing car park. I remember watching Tony hardy surf Lefthanders, he was an amazing surfer. We were the first to surf Cobblestones surf break. It was a long trek over cobblestones from Big Rock.
In 2006 Surfing World magazine (Issue 280) published an article on Pat & the boys living in the beach shack. It was titled ‘The Way we Were’ by James Cox.
Photo: 1973 Team photo of Pat Bloomer & the boys in the shack at Lefthanders. Pat Bloomer pic.
Photo: 1973 Beach shack nestled against limestone cliff at Lefthanders. Pat Bloomer pic.
Photos: 1973 Beach Shack at Lefthanders. Pat Bloomer pic.
Left: Entrance to beach shack. Right: (Top) Chris & Anne music session at the shack (Bottom) Exploring Moses Rock cave. L-R Chris, Jim Cox & Count.
Photos: 1973 view of waves at Lefthanders from the shack. Pat Bloomer pics.
Pat – From 1973 we rented and lived in an old farm cottage at Quindalup Siding for 7 years. It only cost us $20 per month.
Photos: 1973 Quindalup Siding rental property with Pat & hound on verandah. Pat Bloomer pics.
Photos: 1973-78 Quindalup Siding rental property. Pat Bloomer pics.
Left: 1973 farm cottage and wooden shed.
Right: 1978 Pat with his dad.
In 1974 Pat travelled to Kalbarri in his Kombi and lived & surfed at Jacques Point for 6 months.
Pat – There was no cray fishing industry in Kalbarri and it was quiet. We met Kalbarri local Craig Howe but didn’t see many other surfers. We didn’t know about the Bluff at Carnarvon at that time.
Photo: 1974 unidentified surfer Jacques Point Kalbarri. Pat Bloomer pic.
Pat now lives & works in the SW region and is a regular in the surf at Yallingup.