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“What a small world we share” by Trevor Grant

This is a story about an East Coast surf traveller who met NZ surf photographer Ric Chan in Margaret River in 1977. Forty years later, he met Ric’s son Tao in Mauritius.

Ric Chan (Auckland NZ) – “Wooohooooo!! Here’s a mind blowing situation. A Chinaman from NZ takes off to OZ to shoot and surf, travelling across OZ to WA, and eventually made it to Syd Tate’s farm house at Witchcliffe in the South West.

There, in 1977 he meets an interesting dood Trevor Grant from the East Coast and takes a pic of him holding a balsa board.

Then 40 years later, 10,649 km away, my son born in Brisbane, me in NZ, Trev and Tao meet in Mauritius on the same beach at the same time…………HOWZAT!!!!!

I’ve got this grin on my face. It’s sooo damned freaky, what a GREAT story!”

Photo: 1975 Ric Chan and Syd Tate at Syd’s farm house in Witchcliffe. Ric Chan Pic.

Trevor’s message to Ric Chan

Trevor Grant (Mauritius) – “Howzit Ric, I met your son Tao in Mauritius, cool kid. Haven’t seen you since that time with the Balsa Board at Syd Tate’s farm at Witchcliffe in 1977. It was by accident that I met Tao in Tamarin Bay and the rest is history. Tao will explain to you our meeting and conversation in Tamarin Bay Mauritius”.

Photo: 1976 Syd Tate’s farmhouse at Witchcliffe. Ric Chan Pic.

Tao’s message to his dad

Tao Ah Chee (Mauritius) – “Hey dad, I just met a Trever Grant who owned a balsa board back in the 70s.

You took a photo of him and his balsa board a long time ago in Western Aust. We were just all talking and I told him “I’m Chinese from NZ” and he asked if I knew a Ric Chan.

I said “yeah he’s my dad”, and he flipped and started talking about your gold van and all the photos.

I’m sure he knows about the Surfing Down South book, because he said all the photos are from you. lol

He was nice to me, one of your old photo models. Lol”.

Photo: 2014 Ric Chan’s son Tao with his dog Fella, in their unit in NZ. Ric Chan pic.

This is Trevor Grant’s story.

Hi Ric,

Great to have your news and to connect with you after 40 years, that is amazing bro. Last time I saw you was at Syd Tate’s farmhouse at Witchcliffe in 1977 when you took that photo of me holding my Balsa Board and I was leaving for Mauritius at the same time. I also haven’t seen Syd since that time nor heard of his whereabouts. (Editor’s note: It is understood Syd Tate now resides in NZ.)

Photo: 1977 Trevor Grant with his new balsa board at Syd Tate’s farmhouse in Witchcliffe. Ric Chan pic. 

I did a lot of surf travelling during the 70’s mostly Mauritius, Reunion Island, South Africa, and East Africa. In the early 80’s I started working on the Docks in Sydney where I worked for almost 33 years until last year when I retired from my job. During my working years I could manage to get away each year for 6 weeks going to Samoa on many occasions Fiji and Tonga and Mauritius and Reunion Island. I bought some Land on the South Coast of NSW just south of Ulladulla near Bawley Point at Merry Beach where I have now retired to. I have been married twice both to Mauritian ladies and divorced to both of them with no children involved, I don’t have kids. So now being retired, I decided why spend winter on the south coast so I bailed out early June and headed back to Mauritius. While here I decided to take a look at Madagascar where I spent 2 months on the south west coast of Mada, what an unreal amazing place. After Mada I returned back to Mauritius where I’m currently staying till the end of October then returning back to Oz for Summer and Xmas at my south coast home.

How I met your youngest son Tao in Mauritius, I couldn’t believe it blew me away!

Each afternoon as a ritual I take a couple of beers and sit on the beach at Tamarin Bay to catch up with local creole friends and watch the Sunset each day. Tao was there this particular afternoon and I heard him talking to people I know. I picked up on his accent and asked if he was from Oz. He said “No I’m from NZ”. I then said are your parents Maoris? Tao said “No, I’m Chinese Kiwi” in saying that the penny dropped and I could see a resemblance of a face that had crossed my path in my early surfing days, there was just something with his eyes and facial features of a person I met years ago. So my next question to Tao was would you know an older Surf Photographer by the name of Ric Chan. Well Tao looked at me in amazement and nearly choked and said “That’s my Dad”. I said you’re kidding me, Tao said “Yes, that’s my Father”. I went Far Out you’re kidding me, Tao said “No that’s my Dad”. Then I went on to tell Tao that I met you in ‘77 down south at Margaret River. I even told him about your gold Kombi wagon. Tao was blown away, I was blown away and the rest is History. What a small world we share!

Photos: 2017 Trevor meeting Tao in Mauritius. Trevor Grant pics.

So just the other day, I saw Tao on the beach at sunset and asked him to give me your Email address, so now here we are talking to each other after 40 years of lost contact, Fucking Amazing hey! As for Tao I haven’t seen him surf or we haven’t been in the water together here. He did tell me that he has only been surfing for a few years and still learning his way on the ocean. But there is one thing Tao has impressed me as a person, he has a good mellow nature, shows great respect to others and older people like me. You should be very proud to have a son of his nature and style. I’m not saying he is a total angel, as we were all crazy larrikins in our early days and done some wild radical things, as you can recall the crazy 60’s early 70’s we were all very out there in many ways.

Tao told me he is leaving Mauritius next week heading for the Seychelles and then onto Sri Lanka. I said I will catch up with him at sunset before he bails out. So there you go Ric, amazing story how I met your son Tao in Mauritius and how I have been able to connect with you here. Lots of waves and stories have passed since I last saw you 40 years ago in ‘77 at Syd Tate’s Farmhouse at Witchcliffe holding that Balsa Board.

Regards Always

Trevor Grant. 🏄🌴🌺💃😆

Footnote:

Trevor Grant –What a small World we share sounds a part of your history of surfing in South West Oz and a little bit of history I’ve thrown your way. Its one true story how I met Ric Chan’s son Tao in Mauritius and what unfolded in that conversation with Tao. Then to connect with Ric after 40 years is absolutely amazing. As I said to Ric, lots of waves and stories have gone down over those 40 years on both sides.

 Keep up the good work on the history of surfing in South West Oz. I enjoy reading all those SDS blogs. Only by chance an old West Oz connection I met in Mauritius in the early 70’s, started forwarding me those blogs on the surfing history in South West Oz, I think about 12 months ago. I enjoy reading them and many names and characters give me great flash backs on part of that era and time I spent down south. Good stuff, keep it going”.

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  • Charles

    Yep, I extend hearty kudos to Jim King for having the idea of bringing the past back to us all so we could enjoy what was an incredible moment in all our lives !!The idea has become something so enjoyable, and the reminiscing an absolute pleasure. The persistence to get this book together,and to the tech world that’s enabled this as well.
    With respect to Ric, who had the foresight to photograph those times too. Personally,I think that it would be easier to ask who didn’t know of him and his “work”..Lol. He was an integral part of the surf History in W.A. as well.
    Charlie

  • Charles

    Ca va,Trevor how you going “Malabar Kid”? Lived chez Legarne’s at Tamarin “78.What a great time it was. Drak,Buzz and Big fella lived upstairs always ready for a surf! Bridgette and Norm,Will and Cherie rockin and rolling…Lol How’s Dadoun ,Mario, Francois.Remember old Regis ?.
    Time really is a Jet plane, eh mate ? Take care.
    Charlie

  • Tony Wigger-Smith

    What a great story.i have just returned home after surfing this morning and read the article. I to remembet Ric from those early days floating around at huzzas taking pics.your son certainly looks like you Ric.keep snapping away.
    Cheers.
    Tony.

    • ric chan

      howzit mate? Shit, its strange how all this shit has happened since jim king started the duringdownsouth trip for me. Without several people, none of this would have happened. I think this is how it went: Steve Koehne told Jim King that i was still alive (jim thought i was dead), and told him that Graham Noakes had all my negs stored in his loft. Jim finds em, scans em, and ends up getting me a trip to the Marg River Pro, pics in the SDS book, the 50th anniversary of surfing book, a plaque on rotto, Tee shirts on the east coast, and contact with people i havent seen for many many years. FUCKIN UNFUCKIN REAL