80s + photographs

Growing up in the South West by Justin Redman

Justin ‘JR’ Redman is the youngest sibling in a strong South West surfing family. He was born in Busselton in 1977 and attended Busselton High School

His father Ralph is a talented goofy footer and was featured surfing Margaret’s on the cover of Tracks Magazine 30 years ago. His mother Jill has supported Justin throughout his competition career. Elder brother Patrick was twice Australian windsurfing champion. Sister Melanie Redman-Carr is a former West Australian professional surfer. Melanie was twice runner up to World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley.

Justin grew up surfing in the South West with his family, former Pro Surfer Taj Burrow and other Yallingup locals during the 1980 & 90s.

These are Justin’s recollections.

I first started surfing at age 8. Although my dad had tried to encourage my sister Melanie and I to surf previously, we were just not interested until one day I was swimming in the lagoon at Yalls with my sister and Taj Burrow (age 7) who had been already surfing for two months, told us to have a go. I beached the first wave. It was easy for small kids to learn on the thick railed surfboards we had then. We were hooked!

Photos: 1985-87 Justin at the beach. Redman family pics.

Left: Justin and his Dad (Ralph) on Yallingup beach.

Right: (Top) Justin windsurfing at Dunsborough surf cat hire. (Bottom) Justin surfing in Yalls lagoon.

My first board was shared with my sister, it was a Murray Smith Hot Brewz surfboard with a brick wall design sprayed on it.

We had two wet suits between us, one was a spring suit that wasn’t too bad, and the other was a short john 4 sizes too big, that we were literally just swimming in. There was always a fight about whose turn it was to wear the good wet suit. I usually lost, as I was two years younger and not as bossy as my sister.

We thought we were hard done by in our oversized short john, but I remember an incident at Herring beach (in front of the shops at Grace Town). Herring beach was a step above the lagoon at Yalls and our favourite wave at the time. My Dad and brother Patrick were windsurfing with Vance Burrow. Jake Centa was there, Taj and I pressured (teased and bullied) Jake into going out in his jocks with us. It was so windy we could barely walk against the wind. He probably still has hypothermia. Best of all we still have the footage!

Progressing from the Yallingup lagoon to “out to the back” was the equivalent to surfing 50ft Jaws in Hawaii. Standing on the edge of the reef ready to jump off into the great unknown was a terrifying experience for a 9 year old. It was a proud moment fronting up to school on the Monday to boast my achievements. 

Dan Wake, Taj Burrow, Misty and Jessy Ellis and Melanie, and I, as well as all the local Yallingup crew would all hang out in the dunes, near where the lower viewing platform and showers now stand. When we’re not surfing we would be sand boarding, or body surfing Rabbit Hill.

Photo: 1988 Local grommets at Yallingup beach. Nance Burrow pic

L-R Melanie Redman (age 12), Jake Centa, Daniel Wake, Justin (age 10) and Taj Burrow (age 9).

We would be given a small ration of money to make a phone call to get picked up after a long day in the sun, but we preferred to spend the cash on lollies and just call up from the public phone box without money. It would ring through and cut you off after one second. Just enough to shout out one word. Our parents would get the picture.

Spending winter days at Rocky Point was always fun. All the crew would hang out near the tree and rocks, which provided reasonable shelter from the winter squalls and a perfect spot to have a fire and watch our mates surf.  Cooking Jaffles after a freezing surf was awesome.

When the winter North West storms came, it always created a bit of excitement amongst the local school crowd, as it was a chance for the local kids to be able to walk to the surf at Castle Rock or surf in town or somewhere in between. On the bus trip home from school, we would get a sneak peek at the  beaches down every drain along the way and get a bit of an idea if Castles would be breaking or not? Reality rarely met expectations.

My Quindalup neighbours Dan and Shannon Wake and myself would often raid my brothers and Dad’s collection of abused windsurfer boards. We would strap them to our bike trailers and ride down to Three Pines (aka Quindalup Super Bank) and surf the little runners. These boards were about 8’4” by 4 inches thick. They were beastly to turn but they sure did float. Turning a Malibu or a gun was a piece of cake after coming off windsurfer boards.

I remember spending all day on Bears beach in the mid 80s while dad (Ralph) was surfing. Nancy Burrow used to look after my sister Melanie & I (and any other pre-school age kids on the beach). Taj & I used to surf back wash on the inside reef (lagoon) at Bears.

Photo: 1987 Taj Burrow and Justin relaxing between surfs at Three Bears. Nance Burrow pic.

Dad made Surfrats Surfboards for Mel and me in his and Geoff Culmsee’s Fibreglass Factory in Clark Street Dunsborough.

Photo: 1988 Melanie and Justin at Yallingup Beach with their Surfrats Surfboards. Redman family pic.

We used to raid H20 Surfboard’s skip bin and salvage sand paper, fibreglass and I even found an old sander I’m still using today.

Photo: 1989 Melanie (age 13) and Justin (age 11) at Quindalup family home with their H2O Surfboards made in Naturaliste Terrace Dunsborough by Ron Baker.  Redman family pic.

Photos: 1989 Justin surfing Rocky Point. Redman family pics.

We went to the Abrolhos Islands in a cray boat which had been converted to a charter boat. It was called Force 5 and it was the maiden voyage as a charter boat. Taj and I wanted to surf every spot we went past and the old blokes wanted to find better surf. I surfed a left hand reef break in the middle of ocean with Taj, Vance and Ralph and the boat went way to go fishing. I caught a long wave when I got back to the group they were huddled together as they had seen a large tiger shark. The boat came back for us eventually. Later we found out the spot is called ‘Shark Alley’.

Photo: 1989 Abrolhos Island surf trip with the Burrow & Culmsee families and South West friends. Taj and Justin are standing in the middle of the group. Photo credit Nancy Burrow.

My sponsors were Rusty, Quiksilver and Rip Curl. Back then Baz Young was agent for Rip Curl and Quiksilver. Quiksilver were a clothing Coy and Rip Curl were a wettie Coy. Rusty made surfboards.

Photo: 1990 Justin with sponsored surfboard and wettie. Redman family pic.

Photos: 1990 Justin surfing Baby Bears on a Rusty Surfboard. Redman family pics.

Note: the water shot bottom right was taken by Nancy Burrow.

Photos: Early 1990s Justin surfing in the SW. Redman family pics

Top: Justin surfing Cabbage Patch at Kabbijgup Beach.

Bottom: Justin surfing Lefthanders.

I made my first trip to Red Bluff/Gnaraloo when I was age 1. Ha!

Dad used to stick a fold out camper on top of his surf trailer and we camped in it at Gnaraloo.

Photo: 1986 Justin and Melanie with dad Ralph’s surf trailer at Yallingup. Nance Burrow pic.

Photos: 1991 Redman family surf trip to Gnaraloo. Redman family pics.

Left: Justin in camping area.

Right: (Top) Ralph, Patrick and Justin playing cards in caravan. (Bottom) Justin & Melanie checking the waves.

On trips to the city for surf competitions we used to stay in the White Sands Hotel at Scarborough. Like every kid, we raced the elevators and swam in the pool, the movies were good too. Taj used to stay there too. My mum or Nancy Burrow would look after us. We were always disappointed with the waves in the city.

Photos: Junior surf competitions at Scarborough. Redman family pics.

Top: 1980s Taj Burrow (2nd from left) and Justin Redman (3rd from left) competing at Scarborough

Bottom: 1991 (Left) Mum Jill & Justin (age 14). (Right) L-R Daniel Wake, Misty Ellis, Taj Burrow, Justin and Jess Ellis.

Dad used to drive us to Smiths reef on the old dirt road that ends on the hill behind the surf break.

Photo: 1992 Dad’s 4wd parked on Smiths Beach hill. Redman family pic.

L-R Daniel Wake, Ralph and Justin Redman.

My surfboard sponsor Rusty was slow making my boards. There were always excuses like ‘pros in town’ etc. They made me a board 3-4 months late, so I made my own board, I went really well on it and so they dumped me. Ha!

Photo: 1992 Redman bros shaping surfboards in the backyard at Quindalup. Redman family pics.

Left: Justin and Patrick. Right: Justin.

Justin has won numerous State Titles, four National Longboarding titles (in different age categories) and has competed in three World Longboard Tour events.

In 2001 the National Longboard Titles were held at Yallingup WA in a solid swell. Some East Coast teams were not happy competing in the large conditions, but it didn’t worry us and the WA team won the event.

Photo: 2001 the winning WA team at National Longboard Titles held at Yallingup. Justin Redman pic.

L-R (Standing) Justin Redman, Paul Thompson, Bob Monkman, Claire Finucane and Tim Fitzpatrick, (Front) Surfing WA heavy weight Gary ‘Gooselegs’ Vaughan and Australian surfing legend Bob McTavish.

Justin has won the Yallingup Malibu Classic Open Division a record 11 times.

Photos: 2014-15 Justin surfing at Yallingup. Loz Smith and Jim King pics.

Left: 2014 Justin wins Yallingup Malibu Classic. Right: Justin free surfing Yallingup.

Justin has been a team rider for Sunova Surfboards since 1996.

He lives in Dunsborough and operates Meelup Beach Hire.



4 comments on “Growing up in the South West by Justin Redman

  1. Carl Aka-Planz

    Scott / Dane Richardson may have also gotten a mention as older peers to look up to owning and living in the yallingup caravan park right through the 70s into the early 80s.

  2. Brett Ladhams

    As Blake said, I thought the Norman’s might’ve got a mention too -especially Corey, who was the ‘next big thing’ for a while. Those H2O boards Mel and Justin are holding are Mike Campbell shapes. Ron Baker did own H20 though and occasionally glassed boards. I still remember this era very well. Went to school with and often surfed with them all.

  3. Blake Ladhams

    I was looking for Jay Norman he was another ripping grommet around the same age , was a bit jealous of their amazing abilities from growing up surfing down south ,still are ha ha!

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