Continued from Crystal’s beach life by Elizabeth Nunn – Part 1. 1985-2000
In 2001 after her North West sabbatical and final departure from school, Crystal’s parents bought the Yallingup Surf Shop (formerly Hillzeez) next to Surfside Cafe with the intention of Crystal running the shop.
“After months of prawn trawling, I was ready for something different. We renovated the shop and renamed it Surfside Beach Shack. I wanted the challenge of being my own boss”.
And so she did. At the age of just 16, Crystal became the owner and operator of Surfside Beach Shack. She did all the buying, employing, staff training, rosters, accounts; the whole deal. What she hadn’t been able to harness at school, she came to accomplish in her own business.
“I learned as I went, on my feet. It was certainly challenging but I loved it”.
Photo: 2006 Surfside Beach Shack at Yallingup. Peter Mac pic.
In 2003, three years after purchase, the Simpson clan sold the surf shop to Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston and at age 18, Crystal left Yallingup to travel around Australia and then on to the USA. For all her extensive travel of Western Australia, the world beyond had alluded her.
Byron Bay was the first stop and it’s there she spent months honing her longboarding skills on Byron’s world class point breaks and beaches. The plan had been to continue around Australia, but a phone call from friend, and later business partner, Lizzie Nunn and Crystal suddenly found herself aboard a jet plane headed for the USA.
The two girls had gained employment with the largest all girls surf school in the world, Surf Diva, based at La Jolla beach in California. Their three month employment saw them run every aspect of surf camps for girls and women from the USA.
“It was an absolute eye opener in terms of potential for an all women surf school and surf businesses owned and operated by women. Surf Diva dominated the Californian surf school industry and it was a valuable experience to coordinate surf camps which we hadn’t done back here. They paid $500 U.S a week (which was about 1K AU at the time) plus, we got tips and they covered our accommodation, travel & food expenses. They even paid for my boyfriend’s expenses to be there too! We had a few trips to Mexico as well. It was a time of hard work, but also partying pretty hard”.
In total, the girls ran 11 weeks of surf camps back to back, from 6am starts to 11pm finishes organising every aspect of the camp; pick up, food, accommodation, transport, surf lessons, activities, shopping and entertainment. Local legend and Surf Diva founder, Izzy Tihani worked the girls hard.
“It was utterly shattering, but we learned so much from Izzy and her twin Coco. It gave Lizzie and I some ideas for what we thought we could achieve back home with Sam Hanson (of Yallingup Surf School). I worked there for each northern hemisphere summer from the age of 19 to 21. I was legally only allowed to drink on my final trip. Needless to say, THAT was the best trip of them all.”
Photos: 2000s surf coaching for Surf Diva on La Jolla beach in San Diego. Crystal Simpson pics.
Top: Lizzie Nunn & Crystal with boss Izzy on the La Jolla beach.
Bottom: (Left) just another lazy day surf coaching on La Jolla beach L-R Katie, Lizzie Nunn, with unidentified male and Crystal. (Right) Surf Diva logo.
Photos: 2000s Crystal surfing Del Mar beach in San Diego. Crystal Simpson pics.
(Left) Crystal nose Ride at Del Mar. (Right) Crystal nose ride on Cocobella Lifestyle fashion bag by artist Jos Myers.
In 2005 while on a snow ski trip to Japan with her family, Crystal met renowned surf photographer Shane Peel. Shane invited Crystal on a surf trip to the Telo Islands in Sumatra with some of the best women Longboarders in the world. Belinda Baggs, Schuyler McFerran, Belen Kimble and Mary Osborne made up some of the big names on the trip.
The photo shoot was featured in Shane Peel’s Telo Island surf trip article in Australian Long Boarding magazine in 2006. Photos by Miagunya.
“That was an amazing trip! We surfed fabulous locations, got great photos and it was a fantastic experience”.
Image: 2006 Shane Peel’s Telo Island article in Australian Long Boarding mag. Courtesy of ALB mag.
With her surfing skills at an all-time high, some good competition results and now some solid media exposure with the Telos island shoot, Crystal was now gaining sponsorship attention.
“I was picked up by McTavish boards, West Surfing Products and Otis sunglasses. However, the ‘best’ recognition I ever received was making the cover and featuring in Girlosophy – Real Girls’ Stories by Anthea Paul”.
Girlosophy is a series of books featuring articles and stories of inspiring women from across the world. Created by stylist turned author Anthea Paul, the aim of the book was to empower young women and inspire them with real stories of achievement. Crystal’s life story was covered in the book.
Crystal also featured in Pacific Longboarder Magazine and in a documentary filmed in the South West called Impact.
Images: 2000s Surfing/Lifestyle media images courtesy of Crystal.
For the next several years, Crystal patched together a living as surf coach, bar maid and intrepid traveller, but each year returning to Gnaraloo for the winter.
“We get up to Gnaraloo around June, make a surf camp at the beginning of the winter season and just stay all season. It’s great fun once everyone arrives and it attracts a lot of big wave surfers from all over the world. A lot of them do tow-in surfing there – we all drive jet skis. Getting worked by the reef is scary and I’m always cutting my feet. I’m forever doing my own first aid.”
Photos: 2000s’ Gnaraloo surf camp. Crystal Simpson pics.
Top: George & Crystal on dunes and Tim & Crystal going surfing.
Bottom: Crystal sandboarding & yoga headstand.
Father & daughter surfing Gnaraloo images.
Photo: 2005 Gnaraloo George Simpson surfing Centre Peak. Photographer unknown.
Photo: 2005 Gnaraloo Crystal Simpson surfing Tombstones. Photographer unknown.
“In 2010, Pro-surfers Andy Irons, Parko & Luke Egan stayed at Dad’s camp at Gnaraloo. My brother Jason was running the camp at the time.”
Photo: 2010 Gnaraloo surf camp. L-R Crystal, George & Lizzie Nunn with surf boards & jet-ski. Crystal Simpson pic.
Photo: 2000s Point Samson fishing. Crystal Simpson pics.
(Left) Port Samson fish catch on Leveque fishing boat. L-R Jacko, Peter Mac, unidentified, Jason & Crystal.
(Right) Crystal with jumbo cray.
In 2008 Crystal bought Yallingup Surf School with friend Lizzie Nunn. Crystal was just 22 and launching into her second business. The two formed a strong working ethic and ability to learn fast. They dug their way out of a dozen vehicle boggings on Smiths Beach before mastering the soft sand, created surf camps for women and even opened a surf shop in Yallingup called Vintage Surf. They added pink to the logo and focused on building their female clientele, which in turn brought even more children to the surf school.
Photos: 2009 freshly painted Vintage Surf Shop at Yallingup. Bruce King pic.
“They were good times. Surf coaching all summer, Gnaraloo in winter and running my own business”.
Two years later Crystal bought Lizzie out of the business. After 19 years of surf coaching Lizzie was off on new adventures. Yallingup Surf School now became Crystal’s life.
“It was my life and my baby and through it, I’ve met so many amazing people. The highlight being a woman who survived the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Thailand 2012.”
The woman had waded out with her body board and flippers 1km off the Thailand coast in what she thought was a low tide. Moments later, a great rumbling occurred and she was faced with the infamous tsunami. All she could do was mount her body board and hold on for dear life as the wave picked her up and tossed her back towards the beach.
As the wave crashed across a sea wall, it threw her high and she was left standing on the sea wall as the wave went on its path of destruction. She ran and clung onto a tree when the wave retracted.
All she had was her swimmers and one flipper, the body board long gone. She teamed up with several other tourists and managed to climb to higher ground and escape the following wave surges. The group hid from looters with guns whilst waiting to be rescued. It took two days before anyone got to them. She was eventually picked up by a rescue helicopter crew who could not believe she’d survived. They deposited her to the capital city in her bathing costume, one flipper in hand.
“And here she was, at my surf school, and me teaching her how to surf. She had such a zest for life and gung-ho attitude. She was totally inspirational!”
“Also, my husband Tim’s favourite band, the Claxton’s enrolled in our surf school for lessons at Smiths Beach. They enjoyed themselves so much they invited us their Southbound Concert in Busselton. The next day Tim took the boys sightseeing in the South West”.
Photos 200s Yallingup Surf School pics. Bruce King pics.
Photos: 2000s Crystal surfing NW & SW surf breaks. Crystal Simpson pics.
Left: Fencies at Gnaraloo. Right: The Cove at Yallingup.
“In periods of downtime I travel to dream surf destinations, including the Mentawai’s, Maldives & Bali.”
Photo: 2010’s Girls boat trip in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Crystal Wallace.
Katie Coryell – I was on the boat trip. It was amazing. Lizzie didn’t come on that trip, she had just had Ruby a couple months before. It was Katie Carmichael, Jess Emory, Crystal, Arna Campbell, Amber Shanks, Tara Hawken and myself for the local girls and 3 girls from over east.
“In 2010 Katie Coryell & I stayed in Bali at Karma Kandara resort at Uluwatu with my father”.
Photos: 2010 Uluwatu surf break.
Top & Middle: Crystal riding a short board for the first time (normally she rides a mal).
Bottom: Katie surfing Uluwatu and Katie & Crystal leaping for joy in the resort’s Infinity Pool on Uluwatu cliff.
“In the 2000s I did some modelling for a John Millers Design jewellery brochure at Yallingup.”
Image: 2000s Crystal appearing in John Miller’s Design jewellery brochure. Image courtesy of Crystal Wallace.
In 2010, Crystal found love with childhood sweetheart Tim Wallace. The couple had known one another since early years, but love blossomed when Crystal was 25 years old. What appeared a whirlwind romance to some, was actually a deep seeded knowledge Crystal had harboured for years.
“I’ve known Tim since I was 16 and always had a crush on him. I had other boyfriends, he worked away, I travelled a lot and missed one another, but then finally, it all came together”.
The couple bought their current home in 2012, next door to the home where Crystal and her dad George had lived together and from where he’d taught Crystal to surf.
“In 2013 Tim & I got married on Yallingup Beach. Dad walked me down the steps onto the beach in front of the lagoon. It was everything I’d hoped for and I remember just feeling so blessed to be marrying this man, on my beach with all my friends and family bearing witness”.
Photos: 2013 Yalls beach Tim & Crystal wedding photos courtesy of photographers Becky Felstead & Freedom Garvey.
Photo: 2014 pregnant Crystal & Horrie the Chihuahua surfing Shallows at Yallingup. Photo courtesy of Luke Gerson and Busselton Dunsborough Times Newspaper.
Photo: 2014 A very pregnant Crystal surfing Point Picquet. Katie Coryell pic.
And then in 2014, Crystal and Tim’s first son Bam George came into the world.
Photo: 2014-15 Wallace family on the beach at Yalls. Bruce King & Crystal Wallace pics.
(Left) Tim, Bam & Crystal Yalls beach. (Right) 2015 Wallace family first portrait Tim, Horrie the Chihuahua, Bam & Crystal.
Photos: 2016 Crystal & son Bam working at the office on Yallingup Beach. Jim King pics.
The Wallace threesome continue to live in Yallingup where they run Yallingup Surf School and pack the car and caravan for Gnaraloo every winter.
If you require surfing lessons or information, Crystal’s contacts are:-