Rob Ryan (NSW) is the founder and administrator of the Museum of Surf web and Facebook sites.
These are Rob’s memories of his first surf trip to Margaret River in WA.
My first trip to Margaret River was 1970 and it was dirt road nearly all the way. If I remember correctly there was one guy out and the next morning surfed with two guys. That was it for 3 days!
When everyone else went to Bali, I decided to get in my Kombi and go on a trip to WA instead. I went all through Vic, SA, and surfed all the known breaks and some I’m sure were never surfed?
I started in Sydney went all the way around the coast where possible! I met so many people I wish I could remember their names, other than the big names of the era. I surfed Lorne Point with Wayne Lynch. That was an eye opener. Just watching him I learnt so much.
There was a mouse plague at Cactus in South Australia, millions of the buggers all through the Kombi. It smelt like mice for a month.
Photo: 1971 WA’s Neil Sadlier with his Holden panel van and boards at Cactus. Neil Sadlier pic.
I just camped were I could and did odd jobs as I travelled. I broke down on the Nullarbor, it was red dirt, as most roads were. The fuel was evaporating in the fuel lines causing an air lock. I was laying under the Kombi until a truck pulled over and the guy undid the fuel line let the air out and poured a bit of water on the fuel pump. I was worried about using all my water so I drank it and pissed on the pump.
Photo: 1970s Queenslander Peter Lackey’s Kombi in Bunbury WA. Ric Chan pic.
Margaret River was a really small town then. The biggest surprise was the size of the Kangaroos? I arrived at Margaret’s late afternoon and saw one guy out just as he caught his last wave. I am really bad with names, but I think his name was Tony Hardy!
I do remember heading south of Margaret’s and getting three flat tyres on that road. I had to get a lift with another Truck driver to get the fixed and he then told me to meet him at the turnoff that afternoon and he would take me back to the Kombi, great bloke, his name was Les.
Photo: 1972 unidentified surfer at Margaret River main break. Ric Chan pic.
I surfed all around the area but I broke or bruised a rib at what you guys call North Point now, so just headed north to Carnarvon. Saw the biggest White Pointer I have ever seen at the Bluff. I reckon 5 meters long, it was like a bus swimming past me with this big black eye checking me out. The Kombi just kept purring along except for 17 flat tyres?
Photo: 1970s Red Bluff in North West WA. Jim Keenan pic.
There is a left hand break about 50klm south of Perth, it may have been Avalon Point. It was seriously one of the best days of my life, beautiful weather, dolphins in the water, two guys in a beat up old Land Rover camping for about a week. Beers of a night, waves all day!!
That’s about all I remember, except surfing some of the best waves of the trip.
Sadly I lost all of my photos of the trip in a flood. Maybe that’s where the passion came from to preserve surfing history?
Click on the following links to view Rob’s Museum of Surf sites.
Web site http://www.museumofsurf.com