Louis ‘Longboard Lou’ Corkill lives in Dunsborough with his dog Sinbad and is a regular charger at Yallingup & up north.
Lou has a daughter and two grand-daughters living at Margaret River.
Photos: 2000s Lou with daughter & grand kids. Lou Corkill pics
(Left) Lou & daughter Esther with Mia at Marg River. (Right) Lou with grand daughters Mia & Paris at Dunsborough.
These are Lou’s surfing recollections.
I was schooled and started surfing in the Mandurah region in the late 60s (age 7).
I grew up in Halls Head and surfed Stewart St, Blue Bay, Halls Head & Potty’s Hole with Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston, Pat Leigh & Brian Bell. We used to drive to Potty’s Hole in a Peugeot hearse to go surfing. Paul Fitzgerald owned the hearse. Old man’s Sutton’s cows used to be on the beach licking the salt off the rocks at low tide.
I went to school at Mandurah Primary and used to jump off the jetty in front of our house with my school clothes in a plastic bag and swim to the sand bar in the middle of river, run along it, then swim to the other side of the river, get dressed & run to school.
I was a good singer and sang in the Primary School choir. I won a Pope sprinkler singing ‘Little Drummer Boy’ in a School singing contest.…..”if you want to swoon get Long Board Louie to sing you a tune.”
My brother-in-law to be Rob Murray used to work at Innovator Surfboards as a glasser with John Dadd.
Then I went to Pinjarra High School, as there was no high school in Mandurah. I didn’t stay long and left High school at age 13. That’s when I started hitchhiking down south and living in the old toilet block at Yallingup.
To earn money for food at Surfside I used to collect beer glasses at Caves Pub and the bar staff Harbo & George Simmo would pay me in $’s and slip me a bottle of Blackberry Nip. I also mowed Pete Dawson’s lawn on Yalls hill and Hideaway Holiday Homes lawns for Harbo.
Back then Andy Jones used to be a cook at Dunsborough Bakery. In winter time I used to pinch uncut loaves of warm bread off the hot rack, hollow them out and stick my feet in them to keep warm. Mark ‘Murf the surf’ Brescoe and I used to sleep in the hedge next to the Dunno bakery.
I felt my first women’s breasts under Tom Hoye’s Board Shop next to Surfside. I fondled the girl’s breasts while her mother was relaxing above us listening to Neil Diamond’s ‘Hot August Night’.
In the 70s I bought a caravan for $50 and moved into Yallingup Beach Caravan Park. I built a humpy off the side and nailed it to the melaleuca trees.
I spent a lot of time with Dappa & Al Fixter in the shaping dust at Sunrise Surfboards in Smiths Valley. Dappa’s lady used to feed me granary bread and blackcurrant juice.
Photo: 1975 Louie Corkill age 16 Mandurah Len Dibben surfboard & Adler boardies. Lou Corkill pic.
In 1979 my girlfriend Gemma (age 34) and I (age 20) leased the Lake Cave kiosk off the Tourism Board in Margaret River. We catered for tourist buses…..Gemma provided Devonshire teas and carrot cake to customers. On weekends nights we ran a vegetarian restaurant called ‘Moon Dance’ – named after the Van Morrison song. The kiosk had a restaurant & toilet facilities but no living quarters, so Gemma & I lived in an Army tent in the Boranup Forest….It was bazaar!
I made rolled oats bars with honey and sold them for $2 a slice in the gravel car park at surfers point in Margaret River.
Back then it was ‘short board Lou’. I rode Ken McKenzie ‘Rick Gath design’ single fins. I surfed mainly at Boranup & Margs. I surfed Boranup with Terry James and Terry Jack’s. The locals called me ‘Fly’….. as in Louie the fly!
During this time Billy Gibson & his wife Kaye lived in Marg River behind the top tuck shop. Billy become my mentor and introduced me to big wave surfing & travelling up north to The Bluff.
In 1979 Gemma & I sold the Lakes Cave kiosk and headed up to The Bluff to join Bill & Kaye Gibson and their son Hamish (age 2 mths). Bill had been up north before and talked me into it. Billy’s Mazda maroon coloured sedan blew-up at The Bluff. We left his campervan at The Bluff and I towed his car back to Carnarvon. He returned once the car was fixed and we had good waves for the rest of trip.
Two of Bill’s photos from our ’79 trip appeared in the The Bluff NW surf history book by Patsy-Anne Wotton. One pic shows the surf at Turtles and the other shows Gemma & I dressed up like Arabs to keep the sun off us.
Photo: 1979 Lou at The Bluff in his budgie smugglers. Lou Corkill pic.
After the NW trip in 1979, I went to Augusta and worked on a shark/cray/longline/tuna fishing boat with commercial shark fisherman Graeme Pateman. Later Graeme operated the State Govt’s drum line program off Margaret River coast for three years.
Then I headed north & went craying & fishing in Cervantes, Jurien Bay (Joe Wilson owned & operated a cray boat out of Jurien Bay), Greenhead & Kalbarri’s ‘Big Bank’. I also went prawning at Shark Bay. Next I turned my hand to scalloping & snapper fishing out of Carnarvon, before heading further north to Point Samson where I continued fish trawling, prawning & always mending bloody nets. George Simpson owned and operated a prawn trawler Westerly, then the Westmore at Point Samson. George still operates the business to this day with his son Jason.
From 1990-07 I went mining underground. Initially I worked on a nickel mine at Leinster then moved to Argyle Diamond Mine at Kununurra. I worked FIFO underground as an operator of heavy mobile equipment for 12-13 hours a day, 7 days on, 7 days off. I loved the isolation underground!
Photos: 2000s Lou mining underground pics. Photos courtesy of Lou Corkill.
Top & Middle: Lou working at Argyle Diamond Mine in the Kimberley.
Bottom: Leinster nickel mine site in WA’s Goldfields.
1998 Inaugural Whalebone Longboard Classic
After a 20 year absence from surfing I returned for the inaugural Whalebone Longboard Classic held at Isolated in 1998. I took budding photographer Lane Williams from Augusta with me and he photographed the event for his first gig.
It was the first time I had ridden a mal. I didn’t win, but I had fun and was back into surfing.
At that time, I had a ‘Mo’ that touched my ears and wore my hair on top of my head so it would not hang down my back.
Photo: 1998 Longboard Lou competing in inaugural Whalebone Longboard Classic at Isolated. Lane Williams pic.
Back in the South West
After I finished mining in 2007, I moved back Down South and now live in Dunsborough.
I still enjoy surfing & competing in long board competitions & I’m a member of the Indian Ocean Long Board Club.
In 2011 a Fancy Dress surf comp was held in conjunction with the unveiling of the Surf Pioneer sculpture at Yallingup. I went dressed as a pirate and had a Jolly Roger flag draped over my shoulder.
Photo: 2016 Lou with a glossy print of his pirate costume worn at 2011 Fancy Dress surf comp. Lou Corkill pic.
North West surf trips
To this day Billy & I still compete in long board competitions at State & local levels and travel annually to Red Bluff and charge the NW swells!!!
Mick Marlin has joined our team at the Bluff and calls us the Three Stooges. We fly the Jolly Roger flag at our camp and are known as the Pirates at the Bluff. We are a bit older, a bit slower, but still charging!!!
Photos: 2014-15 NW surf trip with Bill Gibson & Mick Marlin. Mick Marlin pics.
(Left) 2015 Pirate camp with Jolly Roger flag at Red Bluff. (Right) 2014 Bill Gibson charging at Gnaraloo.
Photos: 2015 NW surf trip with Bill Gibson & Mick Marlin. Mick Marlin pics.
Top: (Left) Bill & Lou at Gnomes Ville on table-top ranges south of Carnarvon. (Right) Lou with rhino chaser board at Gnaraloo.
Middle: (Left) Lou charging at Gnaraloo. (Right) Lou surfing Turtles on his longboard.
Bottom: (Left) Lou surfing The Bluff. (Right) Lou relaxing at The Bluff with visiting South Oz surfer.
Brian Bell also came from Mandurah and now lives in Dunsborough. Brian has become a fixture on our annual ventures up north surfing…..Brian’s a great long boarder, surf photographer & buddy to boot!!!
Photos: 2009 Warroora Station (pronounced Warra) surf trip with Brian Bell, Neil Woods, Kim Whitfords & Louie. Brian Bell pics.
South West pics
Photos: 2015-16 Lou at play in the SW. Photos courtesy of Ian Wiese, Bruce King & Brian Bell
Top: Yalls (Left) Yalls old boys Stew Bettenay, Jim King, Lou Corkill, Baz Day, Peter Hansen, Bruce King & Gary Greirson. (Right) Lou & his best mate Sinbad.
Middle: Yalls (Left) Lou & Taj Burrow. (Right) Lou surfing Yalls a solid right.
Bottom: Injidup Lou competing Indian Ocean Long Board club comp. (Right) Capel Steve Rice’s paddle out L-R Rick & Inga, Lou, Brian Bell, Sean Rowles, Dave Ellis & Jim King.
Photo: 2015 Yalls Lou with AFL Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and Bruce King. Photo courtesy of Bruce King.
Lou is not shy and you may have chatted with him and Sinbad at Yallingup, Gnaraloo or on the Longboard competition circuit. He is a likeable rascal.