70s 80s + photographs

Bali Charlie’s surf travel

Back in the late 60s and early 70s Scarborough surfer Bali Charlie was a weekend warrior down south.

Charlie I lived in Scarb’s Manning and Filburn streets units just around the corner from Joey Butler, and was a regular at the White Sands sessions.

I first ventured down south in ‘69 as a 16-year-old and may qualify as a “Down Souther”.

I remember travelling over east with surfers Steve Pozzi and Pup on a trip to the Bells ’73 comp. I ended up in NZ, while they went on to Phillip Island.

Fond memory of chatting’ to Bruce King at Scarborough beach circa ’78, and he said something about Mauritius and Africa that resonated so loudly, that I ended up taking his advice and checking these amazing places out. Led me to a couple of places I found fascinating.

So many thanks to him, and you Jim for having the motivation and energy to put SDS together! It’s a great idea, and hope it never becomes too much work for ya!

These are Charlie’s overseas surf travel memoirs and holiday snaps.

In ’78 Mauritius was a fun place to be with lots of WA surfers.

Photo: 1978 Mauritius landscape.

One moon light night my mates and I surfed 6ft lefts at Tamarin Bay.

Photo: 1978 Mauritius Tamarin Bay left hander over shallow reef.

Photo: 1978 Mauritius Tamarin Bay – two dudes one wave.

Photo: 1978 Mauritius Tamarin Bay – same two dudes on the same good wave.

Photo: 1979 Mauritius Fletch, Embo and Charlie at Apres Surf Legarne’s flats.

I also travelled to Africa and visited Kenya.

Photo: 1978 Africa Kenya Safari Masaiu Mara – Leopard and baby on an outing.

In 1982 I went on a surf trip to South Asia. This is where I became known as Bali Charlie, as I used to go to Bali every few months to buy clothes to sell in SE Asia.

I caught up with Russell ‘Quinny’ Quinlivan on the trip and had a great time. Anyone who claims to have known Russell would tell you that he was an incredible guy who knew how to have fun. We had a fantastic time, and I can say that the memories are full of happy times eg the time he woke me in the middle of the night in Arugam Bay Sri Lanka to tell me there was a cobra in our Hut, “yeah sure Russ, was my response. Go back to sleep mate”. Indeed, he was right, as the compound owner’s dog had killed a 5 foot cobra, and was proudly displaying said snake to all…

Cobras are the Sri Lankan version of dugites. They are very prevalent. 

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka breakfast surf shack on the beach at Arugam Bay.

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka inside breakfast surf shack at Arugam Bay with the lads sitting at a table made from a Malibu surfboard.

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka Arugam Bay right hander.

Hikkadua is located on the west coast of Sri Lanka.

Budde’s breakfast shack was a classic Hikkadua hangout spot. Very iconic in the 80s. Budde’s made the best poached egg toast breakfast in Hikkadua.

It was straight from restaurant to the surf, about 15 meter walk. So it was the place to re fuel after a surf, and very popular with everyone!

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka Hikkadua Budde’s breakfast shack.

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka Hikkadua right hander.

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka tourist sharing breakfast and a good book with an equine friend at a restaurant in Hikkadua.

Photo: 1982 Sri Lanka tourist with snake charmer and two cobras.

The pic at the Taj was hilarious, as the locals kept asking what Russ was doing with a “boat” in the middle of India. He tried to explain what a surfboard was, to muted whispers and curious stares from the crowd that had gathered. Innocent and fun times with a guy who loved surfing so much, as the pic says.

Photo: 1982 India Russell Quinlivan with surfboard at the Taj Mahal.

We found some surf in India. Beach breaks mostly, nothing over-head high though. Just surfing anywhere is a buzz, but when you get an audience on the beach it’s weird. Goa is known for its beach breaks, nothing special, but cool just being there. Kovalam is cool too. You gotta remember that was 1982, just a blip ago.

At one time I was in Kashmir Valley and living on a house boat. Went for a meal and on the wall of dingy little chai shop were surfing pictures. This is the Himalayas, about as far as you can get from the ocean. I can only guess what the guys were doing up there!

Photo: 1982 India Lake Nagin Kashmir.

Thanks for sharing your memories and pics, Bali Charlie.


2 comments on “Bali Charlie’s surf travel

  1. G’day Ross, thanks for the picture of the “Kashmir taxi”. It’s sure an amazing place and pic, I think that when you were there in ’75 it would’ve been paradise. For me, it was an amazing and unique place that even now is a source of fond memories.How long it took to “master” the art of paddling a shikara ( boat), well suffice to say it ain’t as easy as it looks mate. Hours of paddling in circles, which the houseboat owner thought was hysterical…lol. I finally got the hang of it though, and would paddle all over the joint. Everything arrives by boat, and I mean everything. The local barber, postman, herb salesman, flowers for honeymooners, vegies and baker even. “Sahib, you want this and that” was always the call.The local carpets were incredible,eh they could take months to create and I still have 3 that I bought 35 years ago.
    Any how cheers, mate.

    • Hi Charlie, I haven’t stopped thinking about Kashmir since you lit the fire. So it was great to hear more from you.
      Yes, in ’75 there were only genuine travellers in Kashmir (not many) & it was beautiful/tranquil.
      Jeez, you are a bloody genius to learn to paddle a shikara.
      I tried & tried but just couldn’t get it, although my circles did get increasingly bigger. In the end I gave up & went everywhere by taxi.
      I was travelling with a Californian girl at the time & she loved sitting on the steps of the houseboat examining the wares of all the artisans who rocked up in/on their shikaras.
      I have a pic she took of some mogul gardens on Dahl Lake that we visited by shikara. Beautiful place & we virtually had it to ourselves. Just sat there for hours.

      Glad you mentioned the carpets, I was captivated. I bought 3 on my travels but the Kashmiri one was the pick by far. The others were Tibetan (from a refugee camp) in Nepal & the other was Afghani.
      All 3 have been in use at my places for over 40 years. I see & walk on them every day & am in awe of their quality.
      From memory(a bit hazy), the Kashmiri was a Princess Bokhara with 400 knots per square inch. It weighs a ton.

      Thanks again for sharing your story on the Bali Charlie blog.
      Jim does an amazing job on the SDS website & doesn’t get enough credit for recording the history of WA surfing & its characters..


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