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Novelty waves at Eagle Bay

Over the years winter storms and cyclones have produced some novelty waves at the normally placid Eagle Bay in Dunsborough.

Brief History Eagle Bay

The Bay was first named by the French (Baudin) on 1801. It was named “Anse Depuch” which means Depuch’s cove or creek. Depuch was a geologist on Baudin’s expedition.

Then in 1830 Governor Stirling and John Septimus Roe (the first surveyor General of WA) visited the area in search of land suitable for settlement, they anchored in Eagle Bay and named the location after their 108 ton schooner ‘Eagle’.

American whalers frequented the Geographe Bay coast regularly, using the sheltered waters for repairs and replenishment. There were many hundreds of these ships whaling off the coast of Geographe Bay during the 1830s.

Many of the streets in Eagle Bay are named after local shipwrecks. The Carnarvon Castle caught fire off Cape Naturaliste in 1907. The Ella Gladstone was lost at Quindalup in 1878. Day Dawn was wrecked at Quindalup in 1886. Source: SW Historians Claire Guiness and Ian Wiese.

This is a collection of Eagle Bay beach images from 2009 to 2014.

Photo: 2009 Tow-in action at Eagle Bay east end. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2011 Unidentified surfer Eagle Bay. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2011 Kids doing tow-ins at Eagle Bay. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2012 Margaret River maestro Tony Hardy at Eagle Bay. Bruce King pic.

Photo: 2012 Rainbow over Eagle Bay. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2013 Ry Myers aerial at Eagle Bay. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2013 Unidentified girl surfing Eagle bay. Jim King pic.

Photo: 2014 Placid Eagle Bay. Jim King pic.

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1960s Phillip Island surf trips by Craig Brent-White and Peter Dyson

WA surfers started travelling to Phillip Island in Victoria in the mid 1960s. They were chasing the quality waves and casual lifestyle.

These are Peter ‘Dyso’ Dyson and Craig Brent-White’s recollections of their Phillip Island adventures in the ’60s.

IN THE BEGINNING by Peter Dyson

In the mid to late 60s my surfing mates and I stayed in the top camping area at Yallingup, near Caves House and opposite Sue’s Tuck Shop – later to become known as Andy’s Store. We would leave our hammocks permanently strung between the pine trees and store our surf boards under the hammocks from weekend to weekend. We never locked our cars and 5-6 of us used to dob in five bob each for petrol money for weekend trips from Perth to Yalls.

During this time a group of Eastern States surfers came to the South West from Victoria. They worked in conjunction with Surfing World Magazine and came across to do stories on WA surfing spots. My mates and I met the Victorian surfers while we were camping at Yallingup.

The Vic guys told us stories of Phillip Island over drinks at Caves Pub. That’s what gave us the idea to go there!

FIRST SURF TRIP TO PHILLIP ISLAND by Craig Brent-White and Peter Dyson

In 1966 Cottesloe surfers Craig Brent-White, Peter ‘Dyso’ Dyson and Scarborough surfer Peter Lumis travelled by train from WA to Phillip Island in Victoria. It was the first surf trip to Phillip Island by WA surfers.

DysoI met Scarborough surfer Peter Lumis at Hale School. Peter Lumis was a bloody good surfer and was related to first WASRA President Percy Trainer.

Craig – When the Peter’s and I arrived on the train at Kalgoorlie en route to Phillip Island, we were only aged 16, but started our adventure with a pub crawl and some hi-jinks in the mining town. 

Image: 1960s Greetings from Phillip Island postcard. Courtesy of Peter Dyson.

Dyso – We rented an old house on the Phillip Island for £10 per week. We had so much fun!

Craig – A Phillip Island surfer nicknamed ‘Dogs’, lent us a van and we travelled everywhere together.

Dyso – On one occasion we went to Koala Cafe and one of the boys acquired a large bottle of concentrated dark green cordial. At a subsequent BBQ party at the house, some rogue poured the contents of green cordial into our water tank. (I think I know who it was!). From then on we drank and showered in dark green water…phew it was sticky! We subsequently received a Summons for £37 and 10 shillings for costs to repair damage to the water tank and house furniture.

Craig – The guys at the BBQ party started a fire in our lounge room and burnt a lounge chair. 

Photo: 1966 Dyso day dreaming at Flynns Reef on Phillip Island. Peter Dyson pic.

Dyso – After surfing all day I was buggered and went to the Isle of White pub for a counter meal and a few beers. I walked outside for a piss and an old guy from the amusement park over the road must have thought I was going to rob the place and pointed a shotgun at me. I yelled out and the boys from the pub came and got me out of there.

At a later time, I became friendly with the old bugger who held me up and he recommended a place in Melbourne where I could buy a gold ring for my girlfriend Jan. It was a sleazy jewellery shop in Little Collins Street and there were t-chests full of watches for use in amusement parks. I bought a gold wedding ring for Jan Bevan who became my wife.

Craig – Sergeant Ernie used his six battery burglar torch to clear troublesome surfers out of the lsle of White pub.

Photo: 1966 Dyso dropping-in on an identified goofy footer at Flynns Reef. Peter Dyson pic.

Dyso – In 1966 I competed in a local Victorian surfing competition held at Cat Bay as a WA entrant. I came 3rd behind Wayne Lynch (Vic) 1st and Allan Atkins (Vic) 2nd in the Junior Event. 

Image: 1966 Vic newspaper article on combined board rally on Phillip Island. Image courtesy of Peter Dyson.

Dyso – Cottesloe Board Club President Victor Kailis sent me a telegram congratulating me on my success in the Vic contest….see telegram below.

Dyso I stayed six weeks on Phillip Island with Craig and Peter Lumis then returned to WA because of work commitments in my family’s business. I left Craig and Peter on the Island.

 WA surfers John Balgarnie, Peter Horton and Mick Maddren visited the Island after I left.

Craig – Dyso and I have great memories of the ’66 trip…..he wouldn’t want me to tell you some of it, but over a beer it’s possible!

Photo: 1966 Craig Brent-White surfing Cat Bay. Photo by Ian Wilson Surfing World Magazine photographer.

SUBSEQUENT YEARS AT PHILLIP ISLAND by Craig Brent-White and Alex Chobanoff

Craig – In 1967 John Balgarnie and I started the first surfing school in Victoria at Phillip Island. We had a ball while our pupils sat on the beach at times while we surfed, all part of the process really.

I ended up abalone diving there for the next three years….perfect, you had to go surfing when the surf was up because it was unsuitable for diving.

It was a wonderful time in our surfing lives and an opportunity for surfers from various communities across borders to discover friendships that endure today for many of us.

Image: 1960s postcard showing bridge from mainland to Phillip Island. Courtesy of Peter Dyson.

To the best of our knowledge we were the first WA surfers to go there in 1966. I don’t remember any other WA surfers being there. Subsequent years there were a lot of us going back, to mention a few:

Bob Shenston – City Beach

Mick Maddren – Scarborough

Peter Reed – Scarborough                          

Hume Heatley – Cottesloe

Peter Bothwell – Cottesloe

John Balgarnie – Cottesloe

Jamie Doig – City Beach

Dig Digelli – Scarborough

Rod Slater- Trigg

In 1968 John Balgarnie (Cottesloe), Jamie Doig (City Beach) and I travelled overland to Phillip Island. It was another epic surf journey. John, Jamie and I didn’t have much money and we struggled to get across the Nullarbor to Melbourne.

My shining achievement was beating Wayne Lynch in the inaugural interstate surfing competition between SA, WA and Vic held on the island in 1968. Peter Bothwell told me recently he was pissed off I beat Wayne Lynch, because he was tipped out in one of the earlier rounds of the competition I won. John Balgarnie was there and recalls it well, as does Peter.  It was the real inaugural interstate surfing competition between Vic, SA & WA held on the Island.

Image: 1966 Postcard of Summerland Beach on Phillip Island. Courtesy of Peter Dyson.

In late 1968 I travelled over east with Alex Chobanoff in his VW fast back. On the way we called in at Penong and found 6-8ft waves at Caves, with no one out! There was a massive salt cloud and visibility was poor. The two of us were sitting out the back, when I saw shapes in the water. Alex caught a wave in on his belly and I was left there on my own pondering my future. I soon laid down and caught a wave in too. It was beautiful surf but sharky!

I went back to Phillip Island to go Abalone diving.

Alex Chobanoff – I spent time with Craig on Phillip Island in the late 60s. We had many fun times. One night we were driving back to our house in my VW fast back with the paisley design on bonnet, when we came across a penguin on the road. Craig picked it up in a towel and placed it on the back seat. We took off and the panicking penguin got loose and caused mayhem in the car while I was trying to drive. When we got back to the house, the crew was watching TV in the dark. Craig then released the stressed penguin into the group and cleared the room. It was hilarious Ha!

SOUTH AUSTRALIA CONNECTION by Craig Brent-White

Craig – There is a sequence that follows on from the ’68 interstate surf comp at Phillip Island that came back here to WA and turned into something very special. It is the beginning of a new chapter, a new story and will connect the dots about the brotherhood that developed between SA and WA surfers. It kept me away traveling and searching for waves further afield too.

Click on this link to view 1966-67 WA surfers in South Aust.

In SA, the WA guys hung around with surfers from the Sand n Sea board club. Alan Boag from S-n-S discovered Cactus. While there, I mooted to Spook Bothwell and Hume Heatley the idea of starting an S-n-S club in WA. In 1968 I returned to WA and we recruited surfers and formed our own S-n-S club. I was the President of the Club. We had very good surfers including Terry Jacks, Dave Beamish, Spook Bothwell, Hume Heatley, Brian Boynes, Steve Cockburn and other top surfers. The other WA clubs didn’t want to compete against us. The club was a great idea, but everyone travelled and our surfers were always coming and going. The club never really folded, we just didn’t get back together. Ha!

In 1969 I travelled with Brian Boynes to South Africa.

Photo: 1967 South Australia’s Sand & Sea bus at Tunarama Festival in Port Lincoln. Baz Young pic.

There were a lot of surfers who hooked up across from East to West, not just Phillip Island. There was a huge affiliation with SA and WA surfers for a long time, I still stay in contact with a lot of crew from SA mainly. Had two of them come and stay with me recently at different times. Those long standing friendships are the best, the most comfortable, as close too or closer than brothers.

John Balgarnie and I used to go to Geary’s shack all the time, very often with Terry Jacks who was a very close friend of mine, we had Scarborough one day 8 ft +, when we got there, Jenny Shackley took off on a monster wave going left, she was out there all by herself, bloody unreal! My most vivid memory of that day was Terry Jacks in a stand up barrel of perfection on his 10 ft 3 inch Gordon Woods three stringer board.

Photo: 2017 Jim King and Peter Dyson at Loz’s place in Quindalup going through Dyso’s scrap book looking for photos for this article. Loz Smith pic.

Many thanks to Craig and Dyso for sharing their Phillip Island stories.

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WA Surfing Identities – Then & Now images #1

This is a collection of Old and New images of WA surfing identities from various photographers.

Series #1 contains images of the following surfers:-

  1. Brian Cole
  2. Andy Jones
  3. Gary Gibbon
  4. Jeffrey Marshall
  5. Craig Bettenay
  6. Teena Christon
  7. Rich Myers
  8. Al Bean

Brian Cole – retiree Dunsborough

Left: 1959 Brian with balsa pig board at Coolangatta Beach Queensland. Brian Cole pic.

Right: 2009 Brian with hand crafted King & Cole fiberglass board at Yallingup. Jim King pic.

Andy Jones – retiree Yallingup

Left: 1970s Andy with mates in Nias. Andy pic.

Right: 2007 Andy with Kelly Slater at Yallingup. Andy pic.

Gary Gibbon – school teacher Margaret River.

Left: 1975 Gary with Tom Hoye single fin at Cowaramup. Gary Gibbon pic.

Right: 2016 Gary with Tom Hoye multi fin Claw surfboard at Margaret River.  Gary Gibbon pic.

Jeffrey ‘Re’ Marshall – retiree Augusta

Left: 1971 ‘Re’ bike riding Dunsborough. Ric Chan pic.

Right: 2008 ‘Re’ suited up in his Augusta Bowling Club outfit for a bowls tournament held at Dunsborough. Jim King pic.

Craig Bettenay – Indonesia

Left: 1969 Craig with Rick Lobe (dec’d) at City Beach. Ric Chan pic.

Right: 2011 Midge Semple and Craig at City Beach Board Club reunion held at City Beach. Bruce King pic.

Teena Christon – retiree Halls Head, Mandurah

Left: 1965 Women’s Day magazine article on State Womens surfing champion Teena Christon.

Right: 2004 Surfing WA 40th anniversary function L-R Len Dibben, Teena and Murray Smith. Loz Smith pic.

Rich Myers – carpenter Yallingup

Left: 1976 Rich with diving catch at Malibu California. Rich pic.

Right: 2016 Rich with diving catch at Yallingup. Jim King pic.

Photos: Al Bean – Surf Industry Dunsborough

Left: 1976 Al at South Point with Gary Greirson surfboard. Ric Chan pic.

Right: 2016 Al working in surf factory at Dunsborough. Ric Chan pic.

Some of the crew have worn well, others are a little weathered. They may not be as polished in the water these days, but most of them are still surfing & having fun!

Coming soon WA Surfing Identities – Then & Now images #2.

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South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks and other predators

In this post I will attempt to boost the SDS hit rate by including the keyword “Shark”. Over the years I haven’t had much success photographing sharks. They usually swim on the bottom, and as I have since found out are rather shy – at least the bronze whalers are. That’s the good news!

First never believe the story that if you see dolphins there won’t be any sharks around. This is a shot of what is probably a large whaler such as a dusky whale. I’m guessing he is 3-4m long and is swimming with a pod of dolphins. I didn’t notice him until I got home and looked at the photo on my computer.

Image #1 large shark swimming with a pod of dolphins at Sandpatches. Ian Wiese pic.

This year I was using a drone to follow the salmon schools and found I had discovered one way to photograph sharks. Another way is to be on the beach when commercial netting operations are underway. The sharks were following the salmon and the netting operations brought some of them in close to the shore at Smith’s Beach. Often the sharks were so close in they showed in the face of oncoming waves just a few meters out.

Image #2. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smiths Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #3. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #4. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #5. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

About 90% of the sharks I saw following the salmon were bronze whalers, and 10% tiger sharks. The good news is that in all cases where a bronze whaler approached someone, they turned away when around 10m away. They appear to be very shy. The following photo shows a bronze whaler approaching an unsuspecting tourist at Bunker Bay with his 2yo child in his arms. The shark swam out to sea and back again to avoid the tourist.

At Bunker Bay this year there were up to 150-200 fishermen each day catching and releasing salmon, and schools of salmon coming past often every 20 minutes of so. The steady stream of exhausted and injured salmon meant easy prey for sharks and for most of the salmon season we could see with a drone up to 8 sharks at a time in Bunker Bay. If you don’t want to swim with sharks it is best to avoid surfing in the area at this time.

Images #6. Drone image of Bronze Whaler passing tourist with child in the shallows at Bunker Bay. Ian Wiese pic.

The bronze whalers can be quite beautiful – in the sun the brilliant copper colouring stands out. The next image is a bronze whaler in the surf at Wyadup.

Images #7. Bronze Whaler in the shallows at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #8. Bronze Whaler in the shallows at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

The following images are my “Monet” interpretation sharks at Wyadup.

Images #9. Bronze Whaler images at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

The next image shows a salmon fisherman a bit too keen to get his lure out to a school of salmon. There is a bronze whaler on the back of the wave directly under his lure. The shark was probably following the same school.

Image #10 Salmon fisherman vs shark at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

For a change here is a tiger shark, shot from a drone.

Images #11. Drone image of Tiger shark at Bunker Bay. Ian Wiese pic.

Finally here are a couple of nasty predators. They are 2-3m long and were harassing dolphins at Sandpatches, stealing the fish they were rounding up. They are extremely fast, making the dolphins look slow. I have been told they are a “Hartail” or Trichiurius lepturus. Nasty pieces of work. The dreadlocks (strings of “rope” hanging down from the neck area) are probably just water running off – a quirk of the shutter speed.

The WA museum’s Curator of Fishes made the following quote regarding the Hairtale.

“Largehead Hairtail Trichiurus lepturus occur all around Australia and in all tropical and temperate seas of the world, although it is probably a complex of multiple species that are yet to be described. There are a few other known species also, including in WA.  They are not so common in the south.  We sometimes get contacted by members of the public either catching one or finding one on the beach. They grow to around 1.2m and generally live in very deep water (to 350 or 400m), but the adults apparently have a DVM [diurnal(daily) vertical migration] that is opposite to most deepsea fishes – that is, they come to the surface to hunt during the day and stay deep at night.  Interestingly, the juveniles and small adults have the opposite DVM (surface at night, deep during day).  Large adults feed on any pelagic prey – anchovies, sardines, trevally, barracuda, whitebait, squid and even juvenile tuna and other hairtails.  From what little I know, they sometimes enter estuaries in early to mid winter.”

I can assure him they grow to well over 2m!

Images #12. “Hairtail” or Trichiurius lepturus harassing dolphins at Sandpatches. Ian Wiese pic.

As a result of these photos I was recently invited to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the efficacy and regulation of shark mitigation and deterrent measures. The main focus of my submission was Bunker Bay during the salmon migration. A friend and I flew drones almost daily at Bunker Bay and we were constantly seeing up to 8 bronze whalers along the beach, normally close in to the shore break. The helicopter reported a fraction of the numbers we saw. This is hardly surprising as we were observing for several hours a day. My concern was that tourists were unaware of the sharks and often let their children swim in the shore break without realising they could be within metres of sharks. I pointed out that once a shark was sighted and reported on the Sharksmart web site, there was no one responsible for any further management of the situation. My submission (including recommendations can be downloaded from the Senate Inquiry web site – My submission is submission 72.

In 2016 I went out to the Cape Naturaliste Seal colony every fortnight for 12 months and photographed the seals. I used the photographs to count the seals and was able to produce this graph of the way the numbers fluctuate during the year.

The data went to Curtin University, and will be the subject of a paper documenting the way in which the seals haul out of the water at Cape Naturaliste.

Image #13. 2016 Cape Naturaliste Seal Colony statistics courtesy of Ian Wiese.

In August 2016 there were nearly 250 seals, so many in fact that the colony split and roughly half moved to the rocky point at Point Marchant (ie near Shelley Cove). By December the numbers had dropped to just over 30 and there were 5-10 pups born just after Xmas.

This information was not previously available and little research had been done on the colony previously. As great white sharks are known to target seal colonies I have included this graph in the SDS blog as it is read by surfers who can use it to be better informed about the risks through the year.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on this link to view Ian’s South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

Coming soon South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #3 Whales

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1987 Lombok Gili Nanggu images by Ric Chan

Surf photographer Ric Chan moved from WA to Bali in the 80’s. He set up and ran Cheaters Nightclub in Kuta, worked as a photo journalist for Bali News in Denpasar and undertook other entrepreneurial tasks.

Photo: 1985 Ric in the Bali News office in Denpasar. Ric Chan pic.

In 1987 Ric led a couple of Perth businessmen to Gili Nanggu island on Lombok.

Ric Chan:  The Island was owned by Mr Gede Badjra who was the owner of a large furniture store in Mataram. He passed away a few years ago and the island was sold (I gather, by his family) for around 250,000U$, and has been developed further.

 There are three islands in the small group and is not too far from Lembar, the port on Lombok.

 A couple of architects from Perth came to the island to survey it for a possible investment, but the potential investor went broke not long after the guys returned to WA…. once again, I missed out on getting rich!

 Not far to the west are several larger islands, one of which is called Gili Gede (gede means large). In these waters are several pearl oyster farms.

Photo: 1987 Sami and Taron Chan on the ferry to Lombok. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 Taron Chan being nursed on Lombok ferry. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 Taron Chan in the wheelhouse of Lombok ferry. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 Gili Nanggu island on west coast of Lombok. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 Perth businessmen travelling to Gili Nanggu to explore the possibilities of developing the island. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 cottages on Gili Nanggu. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 cottages on Gili Nanggu. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1987 business lunch on Gili Nanguu. Ric Chan pic.

In 1985 Ric met and married former Queensland model Sami in Bali. They had two sons Taron in 1986 and Tao in 1989.

Sadly Sami passed away in July 1991 and Ric returned to his homeland NZ with the two boys.

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