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Keith Campbell’s 1960s surfing recollections

Cottesloe surfer Keith Campbell started surfing in the late 1950’s. Keith surfed with the best surfers of his time in Terry Jacks, Dave Beamish, Brian Cole and others. Like many WA surfers to follow, he spent time living and surfing on Sydney’s northern beaches in the early 60’s. On his return to WA he was elected president of his local board club in the mid 60s and served as WASRA President 1987-89 (WASRA name changed to Surfing WA in 1996).

Photo: 1957 Cottesloe Dean Street surf break. Keith Campbell (on the right) surfing on a hollow plywood board with mates. Keith Campbell pic.

These are Keith’s recollections of his surfing experiences in the early 60s.

In my school days I had mum drop me at City Beach most times and I left my board under the tea rooms behind the lattice as many to follow would also do.

Before I got my driver’s license, Ray Geary took me surfing down to Yallingup a few times and we camped under the melaleuca trees. (Editor’s Note: In the 60’s Ray Geary built a shack opposite a surf break between Avalon & Miami which became known as Geary’s).

I turned 17 and got my license in July 1960 and by 1963 I had been roped into being President of the City Beach Board Club.

I went to Uni 1961-63 to study Engineering and have memories of Charlie Roper and Terry Jacks always being with me when I surfed, as I had lots of gaps in my Uni course.

Photo: 1964 City Beach tea rooms. Local surfers stored their surfboards under the building. Robyn McDonald pic.

In December 1963 I had a year off Uni and went east and actually surfed with Brian Cole, Don Bancroft, Colin Taylor, John Peterson at Narrabeen. I lived in Dee Why where Terry Jacks and Dave Beamish joined me as did Percy Davis, Charles Roper and Ernie Potter.

Photo: 1964 Keith Campbell’s 21st birthday party at Dee Why NSW. Keith Campbell pic.

L-R. S Marshall, J Evans, V Comdler, L Hookes, R Olsen, S Marriott, R Hannagan, B Moore, R Fenwick, G Morley, Keith Campbell, Ernie Potter and D Lowe.

Photo: 1964 Keith Campbell surfing Avoca Beach NSW. Keith Campbell pic.

1965 Keith Campbell with Cliff Hills mini minor and Malibu surfboards on the Nullarbor. Cliff Hills pic.

KeithOn the Nullarbor we hit a lot of potholes that were as big as the mini!

Now back in WA, we managed to build up quite a board club at City Beach with the red outfits having black and white stripes, and organised inter-club competitions with North End and Scarborough.  These club competitions ultimately led to the formation of WASRA through Doc Naylor, Percy Trainer and John Shackley in 1964.

In 1965 Barry King returned to Manly NSW and a few others decided to leave City Beach and join another club (Editor’s note: Peter Bothwell, Brian Boynes & Mark Waddell joined Yallingup Board Club). It was just at the time I had organised the Margaret River Council to grant a lease on a block at Cowaramup Bay. I had Tony Harbison supervise the demolition of a house in Leederville (that Mark Waddell organised) ready for us to re-assemble. It happened just as the club disintegrated and I probably spat the dummy! I think the house frames were stored at Yallingup and we gave them to another club.

It was during this time that Ron Moss took over and got the board club back on track as President. (Editor’s Note: Ron Moss was made a life member of the City Beach Surf Riders Club in August 2000).

I understand the board club kept going during the 60s under the leadership of Ron Moss until Jim King and Trevor Burslem took over in 1967.

Image: 2009 City Beach Surf Riders club “60’s old boys” reunion lunch held at the City Beach café. Keith Campbell pic.

Keith was a prime mover behind the artificial reef at Cable Station reef Cottesloe. He has a holiday house at Gracetown and still surfs on a regular basis.

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