West Australia hosted its first Australian Surf Titles in 1969. Contest rounds were held at Scarborough, Margaret River and Yallingup.
In 1973, WA hosted its second Australian Surf Titles. Contest rounds were held in the South West at Left Handers, Redgate and Margaret River Main Break.
Queensland sent a strong team which included reigning Aust champion Michael ‘MP’ Peterson and Peter ‘PT’ Townend, Richard Harvey and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew in the Mens divison and Kim McKenzie in the Womens divison.
NSW had Terry Fitzgerald and Col Smith in the Mens division and Mark Richards in the Juniors. They were very good surfers.
WA was well represented. The WA team included Ian Cairns and Tony Hardy in the Mens division, brother’s Craig and Stewart Bettenay in the Junior Mens and Kevin Merifield and Tony Harbison in the Senior Mens.
Stewart Bettenay (WA Junior) – Round one heats started at Margs, but when the swell dropped, the remaining heats and finals were held at Left Handers. In the Juniors, my brother Craig came 3rd behind Mark Richards NSW 1st and Bruce Hocking WA 2nd.
Round two heats were held in good waves at Redgate, but I don’t remember the results.
The Finals were held in very good waves at Margaret River main break. In the Mens division Tony Hardy surfed well and placed 4th overall. In the Juniors Craig came 3rd behind Mark Richards NSW 1st and Peter McCabe NSW 2nd. However, when results from the second round were taken into account, Craig was relegated to 4th place in the final results.
Overall Contest Results
Mens: 1. Richard Harvey Qld, 2. Peter Townend Qld, 3. Michael Peterson Qld, 4. Tony Hardy WA.
Junior Mens: 1. Mark Richards NSW, 2. Peter McCabe NSW, 3. Dave McDonald Qld, 4. Craig Bettenay WA.
Womens: 1. Kim McKenzie Qld, 2. Gail Couper Vic, 3 Mary Flynn Vic,
Senior Mens: 1. Brian Austin QLD, 2. Ted Harvey NSW, Doug Warbrick Vic.
Surf photographer Ric Chan was there to capture the action for the Independent Newspaper.
Round 1. Left Handers surf break
***Update 29 June 2017 *** Tom Blaxell recognises his F100 4wd and has dated the following Left Handers pic as 1978 and not 1973 as posted. Thanks Tom.
Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest competitors in the old dirt car park behind surf break at Left Handers. Ric Chan pic.
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles competitors surfing at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Chris Fullston (WA). (Right) Tony Hardy (WA).
Bottom: (Left) Terry Richardson (NSW). (Right) Col Smith (NSW).
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles unidentified competitors surfing at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles unidentified competitor getting a cover-up at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.
Photo: 1973 Aust Titles – Film West camera crew at Left Handers. Ric Chan pic.
Finals – Surfers Point at Margaret River
Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest meeting in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pic.
L-R competitor Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic), competitor Richard Harvey (NSW), Channel 7 News cameraman Bryan Dunne, 7 News reporter Errol Considine, media Ric Chan (NZ) and unidentified.…you can see the Channel 7 Holden news van in the background …
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles contest officials at Marg’s. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) unidentified) (Right) contest director Trevor Burslem (WA).
Bottom: (left) unidentified), (Right) competitors, contest judges and officials including John Balgarnie (WA) and Richard Harvey (NSW) ….
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles competitors surfing Margaret River main break. Ric Chan pic.
Top: (Left) unidentified surfer. (Right) Craig Bettenay cover-up.
Bottom: (Left) Michael Peterson. (Right) unidentified surfer.
Photos: 1973 Aust Titles personalities in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pics.
Left: Qld competitor Peter ‘PT’ Townend. PT went onto to become the first IPS/ASP World Surfing Champion in 1976.
Right: spectator Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn and surf photographer Ric Chan.
Photo: 1973 Aust Titles celebrities at Marg’s. Ric Chan pic.
This photo features legendary Australian surfer Michael ‘MP’ Peterson (Qsld), Rip Curl surf co-founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic) and a host of WA surfing heavy weights.
MP (in wetsuit) is making his way through contest spectators to enter the water for his heat. Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic) is on the far right in the hat. Amongst the spectators at the back of the pic are WA boys Len Laskewicz, John Balgarnie, Trevor Burslem, Tom Blaxell and Errol Considine. On the right are Fred Annesley and Colin Ladhams. Dave Ellis is at the front in the cap with his back to camera.
Len Dibben – I was one of the contest organizers ie comp Marshall at the 1973 Aussie Titles in the South West. I was WASRA Vice President to President Ron ‘Doc’ Naylor at that time. I also had the task of transporting the media reporters around the venues ie Trevor Burslem & Doug White, as well as anyone else that needed transport. In 1974 I took the state team to QLD for the AUSSIE titles.
In the following photo I am wearing a Baron Wear striped T shirt, (very popular at that time), Levi Jeans & John Arnold Hararchi Leather Sandals from then Adelaide.
Photo: 1973 Aust Surf Titles. Contest official Len Dibben with official car (Kombi) in Yallingup car park. Len is with his daughter Kim and son Troy. Photo courtesy of Wendy Dibben.
Mark Hills – I was living Down South when the ‘73 Aust Titles were on. Lots of people came down to watch the event. Back then Bill Oddy was running Cordingley’s and the Titles were a big deal in WA. I acquired my first surf board after the Titles. It was a West Coast single fin left under Hideaway Homes at Yallingup by a contest competitor or spectator.
Coming soon 1973 Australian Surf Titles #2 Media coverage by Errol Considine.