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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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‘The Dazzling Young Riders’ Photo Exhibition – Greg Woodward images #1 Scarborough Beach

Greg Woodward was a WA surf photographer and writer from 1966 to 1974.

He photographed in Perth, Mandurah and Cape Naturaliste and contributed photos and articles to the then brand new OZ surf magazine called ‘Surf International’.

In May this year, Greg held an exhibition of his beach life photos. The exhibition titled ‘The Dazzling Young Riders’ was held at Nyisztor Studios, 391 Canning Highway Melville/Palmyra from 6-21 May 2017.

There were approximately 80 images in the exhibition, about a third of which were guys surfing. The rest were beaches, waves, bikinis, sunbathers and a few portraits.

Greg has kindly allowed Surfing Down South to display some of his 60-70s photos.

This is the first instalment of images from Greg’s exhibition.

Click on this link to view Greg Woodward surf photographer published 26 April 2017.

Part 1. 2017 The Dazzling Young Riders’ Exhibition images. Images courtesy of Greg Woodward.

Image #1 Invite to ‘The Dazzling Young Riders’ Exhibition.

 

Image #2 Greg’s Exhibition installation at Nyisztor Studios Melville.

 

Image #3 Greg’s Exhibition installation at Nyisztor Studios Melville.

 

Image #4 Greg’s Exhibition installation at Nyisztor Studios Melville.

 

Image #5 Photographer Greg Woodward studying the Exhibition catalogue in front of a close-up Greg Laurenson photo.

 

Part 2. 1966-74 Scarborough Beach images by Greg Woodward.

Greg “Igor” Woody’s comments on Scarborough Beach over the years – Scarborough Beach (SB) has always been a magical place for Perth beach people. It’s a good spot for the wishing well that used to grace the Promenade. When you got there things could happen differently and better than they did in the burbs.

SB wasn’t always as accessible as it is now, I remember my Grandma telling me how the track in used to be covered by wooden railway sleepers to stop punters getting bogged.

In the 1940s, Mum, bless her, and her two sisters Nita and Joy and boyfriends were regular sunbathers at SB in their new beach outfits fresh from the Women’s Weekly magazine. No not the guys!

Then in the 1950s it was the infamous “Snake Pit” where the Bodgies and Widgies practised the then revolutionary JIVE dance to the sounds of Bill Hayley and the Comets. Shock, horror – Libido of the people let loose!!

What next – well then pan across to the Scarborough pub and many happy hours sinking the odd Swan lager by many SB locals, both Surfer and Surf Lifesaver and then a short stroll across the car park to the Scarborough Surf Life Saving Club to varnish a boat or two for the next big swell and inevitable rescue of the innocents.

Then in the sixties when I discovered SB, there was still a great wave because of the sandbars. The wave broke and peeled and then re-formed into a second wave that was great for the learners. With a light offshore easterly it was just heaven.  Sparkling, hollowly rolling and transparently green.

Then after hours in the briny, back to the Promenade for a fabulous burger made by Tony and featuring a serious meat pattie with crunchy Polish pickles–held together by 2 slices of three quarter inch thick toasted white bread and wrapped hastily in some sort of translucent paper that only burger makers know about and can wrap.

Before Dad [Bob] gave me the Austin A-40, I used to catch 2 x buses to get to SB and pick up my 10 foot 2 inch Len Dibben space ship from under the house of a friendly local friend of grandma’s.

It was a magical thing – coming over the hill, board under arm to a sparkling new world or a bummer sea breeze ocean. From the top car park you could see all the way down to Trigg Point.  Miles of white sand beach and sea mist with the Ocean God swirling into the white clouds high above the horizon.

Won’t dwell too much on the Servo World that’s sprung up along the beach like mushrooms.

Gone is the beautiful surf

Gone is the wishing well

Gone is the Beach

Gone the pub

Gone the burgers – along with my youth.   Say La Vee”.

 

Photo #1.1966 Greg’s Austin A40 sedan and Malibu surfboard in the car park at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #2. 1966 Martin Taylor (Kon-Tiki Board Club) surfing Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #3.1966 wishing well at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #4 circa 1966 wave line-up and SLSC tower at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #5. 1967 Brian Hood (North Coast Board Club) surfing Scarborough.

 

Photo #6. 1968 Brian Hood surfing Scarborough.

 

Photo #7. 1968 Jim King (City Beach Board Club) surfing Contacio surf break at Scarborough.

Photo #8. 1968 Steve Cockburn (Sand-n-Sea Board Club) surfing Contacio surf break at Scarborough.

 

Photo #9. 1968 Steve Cockburn surfing Contacio surf break at Scarborough.

 

Photo #10. 1968 unidentified surfer Contacio surf break at Scarborough.

 

Photo #11. 1974 Swimmers at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #12. 1974 Young foamie surfer at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #13. Circa 1974 Fun in the Sun at Scarborough Beach.

 

Photo #14. 1970 Beach front scene at Scarborough.

 

Photo #15. Circa 1974 Gone are the Burgers at Scarborough.

 

Greg is now retired and lives with his wife Anne in Perth.

Coming soon ‘The Dazzling Young Riders’ Photo Exhibition – Greg Woodward images #2 Cottesloe.

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1950s Social Butterflies

In the ’50s pioneer surfers socialised at cabarets, keg parties, pub sessions and enjoyed weekends away at Rotto, Mandurah and down south.

They come from a regimented SLSC Club environment and were happy with their new found freedom.

This a collection of images showing WA surfers socialising in the 50s.

Photo: 1956 City Beach surfers hanging on the steps of City Beach tea rooms. Some of the boys are wearing their Bear suits aka WW2 flying suits. John Budge pic

Includes Ian Scott, Don Roper, Ray Geary and Ian Chapple.

Photo: 1956 Travelling WA boys wearing flying suits at Luna Park in Melbourne. The boys were in Melbourne for the Olympic Games and to watch the USA surf team give a surfing demonstration with Malibu surfboards. Jim Keenan pic.

L-R unknown, Dave Williams, K Jones, Jim Keenan, R Howe and Graham Killen.

Photo: 1958 City of Perth SLSC clubbies/City Beach board riders. John Budge pic

L-R Bernie Huddle, Tony Harbison, Artie Taylor, Dave Williams, Colin Taylor and Bruce ‘Moonshine” Hill.

Photo: 1950s SLSC surf boat race at Leighton. John Budge pic.

Photo: 1957 Bruce ‘Moonshine’ Hill with balsa Malibu at Miami Mandurah. John Budge pic

Photo: 1958 Day trip to Avalon Point at Mandurah by City Beach Board Club. Brian Cole pic.

Photo: 1958 Rotto trip by Auster monoplane. Brian Cole pic

L-R Don Roper and pilot Barry ‘Joe’ King next to monoplane.

Photo: 1958 Rotto trip – the boys playing on an old bomb at the salt works. Brian Cole pic

L-R Brian Cole and Owen Oates.

Photo: 1957-68 Kevin Merifield Subiaco Football Club. Weekend News image courtesy of Kevin Merifield.

Kevin played 213 SFC games & 4 State games and is still surfing Down South.

Photo: 1950s City Beach Board Club members celebrating their 1st Reunion at Pagoda Ballroom South Perth. John Budge pic.

L-R John Budge, Colin Taylor, Jo, Alma Greenwood, Artie Taylor, Mark Wakefield, unknown, Sandra, Barry ‘Stretch’ Gallon, unknown, Ray Geary and Helen.

Photo: 1958 the boys enjoying a cleansing ale in the beer garden at Caves House Yallingup. Brian Cole pic.

L-R Barry ‘Joe’ King, Artie Taylor, Don Bancroft, Dave Williams, Ian Scott, Tony Burgess, Ken Hamer others unidentified.

Photo: 1958 the boys having a ‘flako’ at Yallingup with portable record player and Brian Cole hollow ply Malibu surfboard. Brian Cole pic

L-R Colin Taylor, Dave Williams, Keith Kino and Bruce ‘Moonshine’ Hill.

Photo: 1950s Colin Taylor with a good catch of fish down south. John Budge pic.

Photo: 1950s Hammock with an ocean view on beach front at Yallingup. John Budge pic.

Coming soon 1960s Social Butterflies.

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Interclub comps make a comeback in ’71 by Errol Considine

In December 1971 West End Board Club, led by Peter Bevan, put together a bid to revive the prestigious annual Interclub competition, which had previously been a celebrated annual feature event.

The Interclub had fallen away with the demise of original WA Surfriders’ Association (WASRA) affiliated clubs like Scarborough, North End, Cottesloe and Yallingup …and then the short-lived second generation clubs like North Coast.

A new wave of clubs saw West End spring up, and then a new bunch of young guys revived Cottesloe club.

Dolphins was a club based in Scarborough/Trigg/North Beach and had survived and kicked on from the early days.

The trio of clubs combined to field teams for the 1971 Interclub event.

Peter Bevan lined up the sponsors, did the artwork for a program/brochure, and got the printing done cheaply through his contacts as a graphic designer. He was working as a Press artist at WA Newspapers but had started doing some private design and print jobs – and would leave The West the following year and start up his own design and advertising agency.

Images: 1971 Interclub competition Sponsors. Errol Considine image.

I wrote the copy for the Interclub program and lined up the newspaper coverage in the sports pages of the Weekend News (published in Saturday in Perth) and Sunday Times.

I wrote in the Interclub program/brochure, in part:

“Surfboard design has gone through many radical changes…along with these changes has come the demise of both our local club and competition scene.

“Clubs that were once rich and strong have since dissolved or gone into a dormant state of non-activity and new clubs have sprung up…

“The 1971 STW 9 club championship is an attempt to rejuvenate the competition scene and revitalise the role of clubs in our scene…”

Image: 1971 Interclub competition Brochure. Errol Considine image.

West End Board Club also staged a BBQ with drinks and a rock band on Jim House’s farm near Yallingup, which was on the opposite side of Caves Road near what is now Cullens Wines and a brewery. The show was a ripper and ran like clockwork ….except for the small but important facet of our fairly amateurish security which meant there were heaps of gate crashers who didn’t pay the $1 entrance fee – we lost money on the gig!

Image: 1971 Interclub competition Program listing Prizes, Show, The Contest, riders and judges. Errol Considine image.

Image: 1971 Interclub Contest Rules. Image extracted from Contest Program.

Image: 1971 Interclub contest Riders and Judges. Image extracted from Contest Program.

I have kept these press clippings in my scrap book because I wrote and phoned in the stories to the “Weekend News” and “Sunday Times”……..no email back then, had to go up to the Yalls servo shop and use the pay phone box to dictate the text …

Image: 1971 Errol’s Day #1 contest review in Weekend News. Image courtesy Errol Considine.

The waves at Yallingup were pretty crappy, but Cottesloe blitzed the point’s board. They had a super team with great surfers like Ricky Lobe, Ian and Bruce Hocking, Barry Day, Mark and Paul O’Callaghan, Al Fixter, Wes Bable, Peter ‘Rinso’ Wise, Ian Mitchell and Phil Taylor. Most of whom featured strongly in State titles.

Image: 1971 Interclub competition results courtesy of The Sunday Times.

Somehow Tony Hardy was in the Cottesloe Club too – even though he spent just about every weekend surfing down south and didn’t get into the water that often in Perth. And Tony was shaping at Blaxell Surfboards and his boss Tom Blaxell was a Dolphins man – dunno how that happened?!

Image: 1971 Blaxell Surfboards advt featuring Peter Bevan surfing and shapers Tony Hardy and Tom Hoye. Errol Considine image.

As a postscript to the event, Peter Bevan was named as WASRA’s ‘Surfer of the Year’ in recognition of his “contribution to the sport” led by his prominent role in making the 1971 Interclub happen.

WASRA President Dr Ron Naylor said Peter had contributed greatly to a change of public attitude to the sport which had been “long overdue”. This included getting high profile sponsors like Channel 9 on board for the Interclub.

The Surfer of the Year was pretty prestigious. Fred Annesley won the inaugural award in 1969, followed by Ian Cairns the following year.

Image: 1971 Peter Bevan named WA Surfer of Year in Daily News article by Errol Considine. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Despite all the hard work put into the ’71 event, it was a one-off and the Interclub fell away again after that as a headliner on the WASRA competitions calendar.

ENDS

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Loz Smith’s 11ft Bay Cruiser

Winter time can be a fun time for surfers living in the South West. Winter storms can create novelty waves in the north facing Geographe Bay. Normally placid points and sand banks between the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse and Busselton jetty can come to life in the right conditions. The waves are fickle and don’t hang around, swell size and direction, tides, sand banks and timing are critical.

Some SW locals have the fickle conditions wired. A local female surfer reckons she can feel it in her bones when Geographe Bay point waves are breaking….Ha!

Quindalup resident Loz Smith lives on Geographe Bay and can monitor wave conditions from his house. Loz has enjoyed many happy hours surfing peelers on a sand bar near his place with family and friends.

Photo: 2017 Loz and his son Jimmy surfing the local sand bar. Bruce King and Loz pics.

Recently Loz Smith commissioned Chris ‘Chappy’ Chapman from Chapstar Surfboards in Clark Street Dunsborough to design an 11ft cruiser for use on the Geo Bay peelers. Chappy designed and finished the board. The foam blank was cut out on Al Bean’s shaping machine in the Industrial Area at Dunsborough.

This article covers the making of Loz’s custom ‘11ft Bay Cruiser’ surfboard by craftsmen in the South West surf industry. It is based on Loz’s photos of the various stages of the custom surfboard manufacturing process.

Stage #1. Machine cut foam blank to design specifications.

Al Bean’s shaping machine cutting out a polyurethane surfboard blank to Chappy’s computer specifications. Al Bean Surf Design is located in the light industrial area, Dunsborough WA.

Top: (Left) Chappy designing the board and entering specifications on computer software to meet Loz’s requirements. (Right) Al Bean and Chappy examining the extra-long 11ft+ blank prior to shaping in the shaping machine.

Middle: (Left) Al Bean setting up the blank in shaping machine. (Right) Al and Chappy monitoring the computer and watching the blank being shaped in the shaping machine.

Bottom: (Left) Shaping machine cutting out surfboard shape from blank. (Right) Chappy loading the machine shaped blank onto a truck for transport back to his surf factory for finishing.

Stage #2 Hand finish surfboard shaping

Chappy cleaning up the machine shaped board’s outline and hand finishing the shaping process.

Stage #3 Artwork on surfboard

Artist Chubby Button adding yellow tint and black slash design to shaped foam board prior to glassing.

Stage #4 Glassing surfboard

Master fibreglasser Charles Campbell and Chappy glassing the shaped surfboard in Chappy’s surf factory.

Stage #5 Filler coat and leash attachment

Chappy adding filler coat to glassed board and customised leash attachment.

Stage #6 Sanding surfboard

Chappy sanding the glassed board.

Stage #7 Buff and polish surfboard

Chappy finishing the manufacturing process with a buff and polish.

Stage # 8 Finished product

Chappy with finished surfboard at Chapstar surf factory.

Stage #9 Happy customer.

Top: Loz with new Chapstar surf board

Bottom: (Left) Loz’s maiden voyage on new board at Yalls – Mick marlin pic. (Right) limited edition Natas Kaupas single fin purchased from Yahoo Surfboards.

Loz:  “Many thanks to Chappy, Charlie and Chubby “the three amigos” for doing such a great job on my new board”.

Thanks Loz for sharing your photos. Aloha Loz.

Click on this link to view Chapstar Surfboards Facebook page.

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