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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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Pantsman memories by Tom Blaxell

Former WA Surfboard manufacturer Tom Blaxell recalls Greg ‘Pantsman’ Laurenson.

I first met ‘Pantsman’ in 1966. It was at Cordingley Surfboards in Hay Street Subi, where Colin Cordingley had just given me a job for the summer school holidays as a board repairer.

I had made my own first board in the garage at home in ‘64 when I was age 14, and had been instantly hooked on surfing. I also had this creative side and loved making things as well.

Seeing my enthusiasm for surfing, my Dad bought me a book by Midget Farrelly called “This Surfing Life” which had this underlying theme of submersing your life in surfing and I swallowed it hook line and sinker.

In those days there was no such thing as professional surfing, so the only way to make a living out of surfing was to get involved in making the equipment.

Ding fixing has always been the starting point in a surfboard making career, and sure enough it is the best way to hone your skills initially, on a miniature but broad range scale. Repairing a board actually involves small amounts of shaping, graphics, glassing, sanding and finishing – all the major skills in making a board.

So there I was on the threshold, on $20 a week and blessed by being amongst a fine team of experienced craftsmen who were at the height of their game.

Colin Cordingley was the nicest guy you could come across and was the front man for the shop, along with his wife Jenny, who had this knack of somehow making me feel like I was her little favourite.

Colin’s brother Rex was the main task master and head shaper. He could get a little grumpy at times but every team needs somebody to keep the show rolling, and he always kept his sense of humour.

Photo: 1970 Colin and Rex Cordingley with Bill Oddy at Australia Day contest presentations at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

Kathleen King and David Moss are among the spectators’ bottom left.

Charlie Campbell was the ultimate glasser who toiled like clockwork, ever dependable, never making a fuss and a great working companion.

Photos: 1970s Charles Campbell – Cordingley glasser images. Norm Bateman pics.

Left: 1970s Charles at Cordingley Surfboards Subi.

Right: 1975 Charles skate boarding at Carine.

Dave Ellis was a more colourful character with a certain artistic flavour to his way of thinking. He did the graphics, glossing and most of the sanding. He guarded his gloss room like Fort Knox and used to do a lot of the glossing in the cool of night. He also did some repairs and was the one who gave me most of the guidance in my work.

Photos: 1970s Dave Ellis – Cordingley finisher images.

Left: 1970s Dave at Cordingley Surfboards Subi. Norm Bateman pic.

Right: 1979 Dave at Cordingley Surfboards Jolimont. Ric Chan pic.

Then there was Pantsman, the rising star shaper. The thing that struck me about him most was his totally engaging way of communication. What with big wide eyes, full of interest, his insightful thoughts and questions, delivered with such eloquence and spiced with humour amongst the foam dust. It always required a considered response, so that the briefest exchange, even if it was just a joke, left you with the feeling that it was something important and it stuck in your mind. He could become spell binding, and always made you feel good when you had a chat.

Photos: 1970s Pantsman images

Left: 1970s Pants in Cordingley Surfboards Advt which appeared in West Coast Surfer magazine.

Right: 1970 Pants with GL Surfboard and mates at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

For some unknown reason he dubbed me “ Tonneau “ and always opened up with it whenever we ran into each other, and I would be compelled to respond “ Pantsman”, a silly little thing that I always cherished.

Of course in those days, as a punter you got to talk to the shaper, and even get to watch him shape your board. Greg’s gift for communication stood him well in that arena, and of course also later as a contest commentator.

At the same time Pants was of course an extremely talented craftsman who set himself very high standards. In those early days at Cords he was fairly new on the scene but I could see him rapidly developing a growing following, which was encouraging for an even younger bloke like me.

At the end of summer it was back to school, but a lot of my mates wanted me to make boards for them which I did in my spare time in the garage. When I finished school that year I had decided that I wouldn’t go on to Uni but instead devote my life to surfing, so it was back to Cords again.

By the end of that summer the demand in the garage had grown to mates of mates, and it had got to the point where I had 20 boards on order. That gave me enough courage to make the decision to go into business myself at the age of 17. Col took the news pretty well but pleaded with me to stay on until Easter as things were pretty busy, so I agreed to stay on before setting up shop in Ossie Park.

Photos: 1970s Tom Blaxell images.

Left: 1971 Tom at Blaxell Surfboards factory in Osborne Park. Ric Chan pic.

Right: 1973 Tom with full mop top at Gobbles Night Club. Tom pic.

Later on Pantsman did the same, setting up just down the road from me. There was no bad blood, and to me it seemed like a natural progression for him as well. We always had a special connection from the days back at Hay Street.

There was one notable incident when he was shaping a board but made a mistake, and in a Van Gogh perfectionist reaction punched a hole in the wall and broke his arm! He couldn’t shape for some months after, which probably didn’t help business very much.

Another moment was one year at the Margaret River Masters. We had organised a low key sundowner at the point on a Saturday night with a local band from town to entertain the troops. However at the end of the show I had come to the realisation that we didn’t have any cash on hand to pay the band.  So I was discretely making myself scare behind a banner to save the embarrassment, when up pops Pantsman “Tonneau, what are you up to? “  When I explained my predicament he instantly responded by opening up his jacket to reveal 2 bottles of vino to say “Well I’ve got a couple of orphans that I’ve adopted. They were looking for a good home. Why don’t you come back with me to keep em company? “… Band? What band?

Cheers,

Tom Blaxell

Click on this link to view Greg Laurenson – Master Shaper by Errol Considine published 2 August 2017.

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Hammond family farm (Yallingup Hill) early history

In 1933 Thomas Garfield Hammond purchased circa 100 acres of land at Yallingup in front of the historic Caves House Hotel site owned then by that state government.

Thomas built rental cottages and grew oats on the land. 66% of the Hammond land was developed and 34 % was left as undeveloped.

Thomas ‘Ting’ Hammond and his wife Silvia ‘Dorrie’ Doreen (nee Burkett) bought up their sons William ‘Garth’ and Graham ‘Jack’ on Yallingup hill.

Ting was a Dental Surgeon and practiced out of Claremont and a surgery at the top end of St Georges Terrace in Perth. He also had an effective medical suite with dental surgery and denture manufacturing workshop at the big house on Yallingup Hill.

Photo: 1940s Ting’s bronze Dental Surgeon professional plaque and a small selection of his dental equipment. Hammond family pic.

Thomas Hammond’s grandson Evan Hammond has kindly provided this history of his family’s early years on Yallingup Hill. Evan is a 3rd generation Hammond family member living on Yallingup Hill. Evan and his elder brother Dene are the sons of the late Garth Hammond and Patricia Hammond (now of Floreat).

Photos: 1933-36 Ting and his convertible at Yallingup campsites. Hammond family pics.

Left: Ting at Canal Rocks campsite.

Right: Ting at Yallingup hill campsite (near Steve Russo’s place on Valley Road).

Ting built their first family cottage on the undeveloped side of the valley in Yallingup in the 40s. Today only the remnants of the white cap rock chimney and a fruiting fig tree remain.

His wife Dorrie used figs from the fig tree to make fig jam for tourists visiting Yallingup. Initially tourist buses visited the ‘big house’ for refreshments, then later the Hammond Tea Rooms (Surfside) were built on the beach front at Yallingup. The tea rooms served food, Devonshire teas and petrol.

Photo: Dorrie and the hand cast copper pot used to make fig jam. Hammond family pic.

Left: 1922 Dorrie Burkett age 19.

Right: 1940s Dorrie’s fig jam pot.

Photo: 1940s unsealed Valley Road Yallingup. Hammond family pic.

From 1943 to 1947 Ting built rental cottages on the hill. He built 5 rental cottages on the high side of Elsegood Avenue.  On the low side of Hammond Road he built the big house and two cottages (Laurie Schlueter’s cottage and the Savage Family’s “The Junction” cottage).

Ting’s private family house was called ‘the big house’. It was built on stumps and had an enclosed verandah covered in wooden slats.

The cottage on the corner of Hammond and Valley roads was called ‘The Junction’ because it was physically halfway between the pub and beach.

The Junction and its very old hedged tree fence can be found is at the end of the Ghost Track (also known affectionately as the Ghost Trail or Bridal Trail) when walking from the hotel to the beach.

Photos: 1940’s the Hammond’s ‘big house’ on Hammond Road Yallingup. Hammond family pics.

Left: Ting with his car meeting with guests and the cottage builders at the big house.

Right: rental guests at the big house.

Photos: 1940s rental cottages being built on Elsegood Avenue. Hammond family pics.

Left: Rental cottage with the big house and Tings car in the background.

Right: Rental cottage with Ting’s car out the front.

Photos: 1947 Hammond cottages on Yallingup hill. Hammond family pics.

Photo: 1947 Hammond cottages and the big house on the hill with a clearing and a windmill in the foreground. Hammond family pic.

Photo: 1947 Hammond rental cottages with guest vehicles out the front and the big house on the right. Hammond family pic.

Photo: 1947 panorama of Hammond land on Yallingup Hill. Hammond family pic.

L-R Hammond tea rooms, rental cottages, the big house and The Junction.

Photo: 1949 Ting watching Garth (age 7) climb a ladder to a water tank at the rental cottages on Yallingup hill. Hammond family pic.

Photo: 1946-47 Ting’s son Garth playing with a friend at Slippery Rocks Yallingup Beach. Hammond family pic.

Note beach erosion at Rabbit Hill in the background.

Ting’s boys Jack and Garth attended Yallingup Primary School on the corner of Caves Road and Wildwood Road (now Steiner School). Hammond family pic.

Photo: The Yallingup Primary School class of ’52 with Garth in front row 5th from right.

Records show that circa 1952 to 1966 there were just the lower roads on Yallingup Hill. Then the development of Wardanup Crescent was undertaken by Alan Bond from Bond Corp and sold in and around the 1967 to 1972 era. Interestingly Wardanup Crescent is named after the Wardanup Ridge which is visible behind the Yallingup Hill town site. It’s also finds its name from the Wardani people, of the Noongar tribe of indigenous Australians.

Photo: 1955 Hammond family on Valley Road Yallingup with Ting’s Chevrolet sedan. Photo courtesy of photographer John Budge and Surfing Down South book.

L-R. Ting’s sons Graham ‘Jack’ & William ‘Garth’, Mrs Silvia ‘Dorrie’ Hammond and Thomas ‘Ting’ Hammond.

Ting’s car in the photo is a 1954 Chevrolet BelAir 4 Door sedan. 235 cubic inch 6 cylinder with a three speed box. Evan recalls Garth saying there were some “adventurous” runs to Busselton when the old man was away. The car was very powerful for its day.

The number plate BSN 1991 on Ting’s Chev is still retained by the Hammond family and since Garth’s passing it is on Patricia’s car. Evan’s 1979 Range Rover has the number plate BSN 1881 and both these plates are the original family plates.

Ting acquired the ship’s bell off the 1897 MV Helena.

MV Helena was built in England, dismantled, shipped to Perth then rebuilt at Coffee Point (South of Perth Yacht Club’s site) for Ting’s father William John Hammond and his business partner Alex Matherson as they developed what was known as Melville Waters Park Estate which is now called Applecross.

She would steam paddle back and forth from William Street Jetty Perth with supplies and materials for the company’s subdivision and development site.

An Exert from WA maritime registers has the following information on her;

No.12, 1898, HELENA, O/No.102216, 27.5 tons.

Paddle Steamship.

Dimensions, 65 x 12 x 5.25 feet.

Built by A.H.Grey at Coffee Point, during 1897.

Owner: Melville Waters Park Estates Ltd. of Perth.

This vessel was abandoned at Coffee Point, Swan River in 1905 and eventually sank at her moorings.

The ship’s bell subsequently found a home at Yallingup and is well known to a lot of kids on Yallingup hill.

From 1982-83 until recently, Garth Hammond would do up the ute, dress in a Father Christmas outfit along with some years Jack or Mick Mickle and ring the Helena bell to signify Santa was coming. His sons Dene & Evan and any other festive local ready to give a hand would throw out wrapped toffees to celebrate Xmas with the Yallingup Hill community. Very kindly these would be provided by Allens Sweets and organised by Peter Dyson as a gift to his Yallingup hill family.

Graham John Hammond (Uncle Jack) is of the belief that Ting hand built the wooden frame to house the bell he inherited from his father.

Photo: 1897 MV Helena ship bell at Yallingup. Hammond family pic

Garth and Patricia Hammond’s sons Dene and Evan still live in Yallingup.

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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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Greg Laurenson – Master Shaper by Errol Considine

In the 1960s we wanted to get some national recognition that our home grown WA talent was as good as the stars on the east coast.

While our surfers couldn’t seem to crack the big placings in the National titles when they went east, we all reckoned Greg Laurenson was the equal of any of the big name craftsmen from Brookvale, the Sydney epicentre of Australian surfboard making, or the Gold Coast. And he eventually earned respect over there and began getting mentions in the national magazines.

Can’t recall him ever being called ‘Greg’. He was first dubbed ‘Thunderpants’ but that later morphed into ’Thunder’, ‘Pants’, ‘Pantsman’, or ‘GL’.

Photo: 1967 Greg Laurenson surfing Rocky Point. Greg Woodward pic.

I think GL got his start at Hawke Brothers Surfboards in Osborne Park. Hawke, his main shaper Murray Smith and Greg were all members back then of Scarborough-based North End Board Club. Pretty much all the North End guys rode Hawke boards.

His life had been tied to the ocean from an early age. His father had been a radio officer on merchant ships and later, for a time, was a lighthouse keeper on Troughton Island, on the far north Kimberley coast – which today is an isolated base for choppers servicing oil and gas facilities in the Timor Sea. Back in the 1950s/60s it must have been like going to another planet! GL spent some time there during school holidays.

In the late 1960s, he was one of the select Scarborough crew who were he first to discover and surf the named faced break ‘The Spot’, near Yanchep. And was in the crew who were believed to have been the first to surf the south side of Rottnest, in 1969 [Editor’s note: look for another story on that Rottnest trip to ‘The Yellow Bucket’ later this year on SDS].

GL first started to build his reputation as a master shaper after he moved to Cordingley Surfboards in Subiaco.

In 1969, he left Cordingley and set up under his own name in a factory on Scarborough Beach Road in Osborne Park – it was behind a dry cleaner’s with the site today occupied by a Caltex servo with factories still behind it.

I collaborated with Ric Chan to work up a bit of PR for Laurenson Surfboards. I was a first year cadet reporter at the Daily News afternoon newspaper. I got one of the staff photographers to go out and get a picture of “(Thunder)” at his factory.

I don’t know whether Ric’s surf movie idea was ever actually a goer but it gave me enough to spin into a yarn which got a run in Perth’s afternoon newspaper.

Image: 1969 Errol’s ‘Thunder’ article in Daily News. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

My starting wage as a cadet in January 1969 was $28 a week, going up to $32 a week when I turned 18 that March. So it took me a while to save up enough for my first new Laurenson board, which I got late that year.

I excitedly picked it up on a Friday afternoon and headed down south for the weekend. My first waves on the new board were at good quality Windmills. But it was the pre-legropes era. I lost my board in the first session.

It was early summer and while the banks were pretty good there was still not a lot of sand on the shoreline and my beautiful Laurenson stick smashed into rocks and got a bunch of small dings and fractures on the bottom. Bugger!

So, early the next week I was back at the Osborne Park factory to get some repairs done!

I took that board when I drove east in May 1970 with my mates Peter Bevan and Chuck Morton-Stewart, to go to the World titles at Bells, and then up the east coast to Sydney, Gold Coast and Noosa. It went great on that trip and I did get some favourable comments from a few locals along the way.

Pants preferred to see himself as a sculptor/craftsman

and would let me watch him shape for hours, all the while

discussing what was going on in sculptural terms….

I met many of the east coast’s shaping greats

but I have never seen anyone to match the

pure elegance of what Pants produced.

Mal Leckie, who now lives in Coolangatta. Queensland recalls: “I was studying sculpture at WAIT (now Curtin University) in those years and was very tuned in to curves, edges and their relationships etc. Pants preferred to see himself as a sculptor/craftsman and would let me watch him shape for hours, all the while discussing what was going on in sculptural terms.

“I wish I still had the chamfer-back twinny Pants shaped me at Cordingley’s in ’71.

“After I left WA at the end of ’73, I met many of the east coast’s shaping greats but I have never seen anyone to match the pure elegance of what Pants produced. Maybe DVS (Dick Van Straalen) and Richard Harvey come closest.”

Running a surfboard business while also being the main man in the making process was a tough gig financially and the full page ad published in West Country Surf magazine in 1972 shows, GL was being promoted as the star shaper back at Cordingley’s by then.

Image: 1971 Cordingley Surfboards advt in West Country Surf Magazine. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

In 1977, GL’s reputation was still a headline act for Cordingley Surfboards, as the ad below published in the Sunday Independent newspaper shows with him as member of the “All-Stars”, along with young gun surfer-shaper Craig Bettenay plus the rest of them led by business manager-master spruiker Bill Oddy.

Image: 1977 The Cordingley All-Stars advt in Sunday Independent Newspaper. Image courtesy of Sunday Independent.

Note: Front row should read (left) Charles Campbell, top Glasser and Finisher; (right) Mike Godwin, Finish Polisher.

He moved to Queensland for a period during the 1970s, and his reputation as a shaper grew.

In an obituary published in “The West Australian” Robert Conneely was quoted on GL’s standing at that time…

“By mid 70s Greg had really come into his own

as one of the finest shapers WA had produced.”

Through this era, GL had also built a reputation as surf contest judge and organiser. He played a key role in the staging of the 1978 Nationals at Yallingup.

He also became a mentor for many young shapers.

But GL’s reputation really took off nationally when Ian Cairns – then the best surfer in the world on the big waves of Sunset Beach on the North Shore, which was the core of pro contest surfing at that time – lured GL back to Perth to shape his Hawaiian-inspired designs.

GL moved on from Cordingley Surfboards and by 1980 – as shown in the ad below from West Coast surf magazine, with Mitch Thorson – was at Star Surf making boards for the late and sadly missed Dave Kennedy.

Image: 1980 Star Surfboards advt featuring Mitch Thorson and Greg Laurenson in West Country Surf Magazine. Image courtesy of WCS Mag.

Pant’s shaping and surfing lifestyle odyssey also included periods making boards in Japan, and in California for the legendary Rusty Priesendorfer.

In ’83, Rusty came to WA – according to the current Rusty website – to make boards for Santosha. And Mitch Thorsen, riding one of his shapes, was shown ripping on the cover of Surfing Magazi.

Santosha got the Rusty surfboard licence and the American surfboard pioneer hooked up with GL, taking him to California to learn the latest technology. He was an in-demand shaper for Rusty for a long time.

Greg Laurenson later moved to Dunsborough and kept making great boards for many years, including back under his own signature.

Photo: 1982-83 Greg Laurenson Surf Studio Dunsborough. Gary ‘Gooselegs’ Vaughan pic

He and Loz Smith were amongst the main movers who launched the annual Yal Mal in 1985 – still going strong each December, more than 32 years later.

GL later bought and renovated yachts and did some bluewater sailing trips out of Fremantle. He also moved on to sailboard design.

He later lived on his yacht in Hillary’s board harbour for a period – my brother Jeff used to go there and they’d drink a few red wines together. They would both go within a few years of each other from bowel cancer…

Pants married his partner Jo, who he’d met during an ocean sailing race, on Valentine’s Day 2007 and passed away two weeks later. They had two daughters, Jade and Zoe.

The 2007 Yal Mal was in commemoration of the memory of ‘Thunderpants’, ‘Thunder’, ‘Pants’, ‘Pantsman’, ‘GL’ as a mate and mentor to so many and to mark his great legacy to WA surfboard making.

The following GL article appeared in the Sunday Times 11 march 2007. The reporter Jordan Marchant is the son of Ron, who went with us to Greg’s funeral….

Image: 2007 Board shaper mourned article by Jordan Marchant. Image courtesy of The Sunday Times.

Footnote – nicknames: Nicknames were big back then. Besides the variations on Thunderpants, another North End Board Club member, Murray Smith was dubbed ‘Tiny Brain’.

Nicknames of crew from one of my clubs, North Coast (of which GL was also a member), included: Skullcap, Spider, Gooselegs (who is still universally known as ‘Goose’), Big Eyes (and his younger brother of course became Little Eyes), Spike, Corky, Kegs, Boots and I was dubbed (by Gooselegs) as ‘Armpits’ …because of the way I surfed with my arms raised. Thanks Goose, not!

ENDS

Work mates’ & surfing buddies’ memories of Pantsman

The origin of ‘Thunderpants’ by John Balgarnie

I was with Greg Laurenson when he got his nickname ‘thunder pants’.  We were on our way down south and called in at the Wokelup pub for a beer and singalong on-route. Greg and I were standing at the front bar and this guy with a stutter ran into the pub from the car park to tell Greg he had left his underpants in his car……however because the guy had a stutter it came out sounding like ‘thunder pants’ and his nickname was born.

Peter DysonThe Wokelup pub on the inland road from Brunswick Junction had an old pianola piano that played recorded music. It was our meeting place on the way down south. We used to gather around the piano and sing songs and have a drink. After one session at the Wokelup, Bill Branney went straight through the S bends between Busselton and Dunsborough and was thrown through the windscreen and ended up in a paddock with the cows.

Sometimes we drove down south on the Old Coast Road, but it was constructed of rough limestone and our slow old Kombi vans used to get bogged.

Remembering Pants by Charles Campbell (ex Cordingley Surfboards)

1965 – 1971

I first worked with Pants at Cordingley Surfboards when situated in Hay Street, Subiaco (learning to glass, repairs, etc).  Rex and Colin Cordingley owned the business then and Bill Oddy (Shop Manager), Dave Ellis (Machining, Sanding, Gloss Coating and Repairs), Pants (learning to shape from Rex) and I worked together then among others.

It was in Hay Street, Subiaco Pants cut his hand using the ban saw while cutting a fin out of a panel of fibreglass – Rex instructed me to ‘give him a hand’ over to the Doctor’s Surgery on the opposite side of Hay Street from the factory. Half way across, Pants decided to faint or something and I struggled, being only 5’6” and Pants being 7’0”, arms and legs everywhere, I guess we must have made it to the Doctor to patch him up.

1971 – 1979

Rex and Colin sold Cordingleys to Bill and me after a fire in the Hay Street factory and we moved to York Street, Subiaco. Employees then were Bill (Part Owner and Shop Manager) and me (Part Owner and Workshop Manager, Industrial Fibreglassing), Pants … and Adam, his Golden Retriever (Shaping), Dave (Machining, Sanding, Gloss Coating and Repairs), Bruce King (Industrial Fibreglass work), Rod Slater (Industrial Fibreglass work) and others.

The York Street Factory also burned down and Cordingleys moved to Jersey Street, Jolimont.

Bill and me, Pants, Dave, Bob Monkman (Shaping), Peter MacDonald (Machining, Sanding), Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson (Shaping and Blue fitted out the new Factory and Workshop) and Craig Bettenay (Shaping) worked together and we built some great boards.

Bill and I sold the business to Colin Earle and family.

Photo: 1979 Greg Laurenson in shaping bay at Cordingley Surfboards in Jolimont. Ric Chan pic.

1989 – 1997

Pants, Dave and I were reunited, building surfboards for Rusty Surfboards in Osborne Park.  Mick Button was in charge of the factory then. Some very comical situations unfolded during those years with Pants.

Pants… stopped on the Old Coast Road

for fuel or smokes or something, took

a while to realise when he got back

to drive on (in the dark) that he

was headed back towards Perth!

Friday night after work, he would load up and head south, Pants had a Ford Falcon panel van in those days, stopped on the Old Coast Road for fuel or smokes or something, took a while to realise when he got back to drive on (in the dark) that he was headed back towards Perth!

When he sold that van, the new owner was coming into the factory to pick it up, he pulled the mattress out of the back to discover a wet suit and other treasures he hadn’t seen for a while underneath.  It was a bit of a bummer as the wet suit had rusted to the floor of the van.

Photo: 2004 Yal Mal former Cordingley workmates. Loz Smith pic

Back row: Charles Campbell, Dave Ellis and Peter Mac. Front Row: Greg Laurenson and Bob Monkman.

Pants shaped good boards when he was in the mood.  At his funeral paddle-out at the lagoon at Yallingup – Dave Ellis and I were side by side in the water when Greg’s ashes were released, and the onshore breeze blew the ashes in our faces and we both remarked ‘he used to give us the shits at work over the years and he is still doing it!’ Ha Ha!

Pants was a great bloke, ‘a legend’ in the surf industry.

Pantsman by Rod Slater (ex Greg Laurenson Surfboards)

These are the recollections of an old surfer, 45 to 50 years after they happened and I believe they are as accurate as my memory allows.

When Greg (Pants) left Cordingley’s to start his own surfboard brand, I think Kevin Agar took over from him.

Pants started his own business in Scarborough Beach Road, behind City Dry Cleaners.  Hawke Brothers Surfboards were across the other side of Scarborough Beach Road, Murray Smith was working for them at this stage, I am not sure if he was shaping boards.  I bought my first board (second hand) from Hawke Brothers who then ran their business from a shed at home in Nollamara.

Pants started in partnership with Terry Jacks (dec.).  This arrangement didn’t last very long as ‘Jacksy’ wasn’t interested in the hands on part of board making, he was more interested in spending his time down the beach promoting the new boards!

Pants taught me to glass and originally he was shaping and I was glassing.  We shared the sanding and finishing.  More surfers quickly became involved in the business:

  • Peter ‘Con’ Connelly from Inverloch near Phillip Island learnt to sand and finish the boards.  We had problems with the quality of the finish because we didn’t have a ‘proper’ finishing room.  This resulted in a lot of wet’n’drying and polishing.
  • Ron Waddell became quite infamous for his ding repair capacity
  • Howard Johnson (dec.) was involved in the initial stages but moved on fairly quickly.  Howard was caught with a small amount of marihuana in his white Simca Aronde and I think he found other work after this.  Some thought the ‘bust’ was somewhat intentional because it would mean the person caught could not go get to ‘nashos’, a significant factor in the lives of many surfers at that stage.
  • I member Terry Garrett also spending a lot of time in the factory but I am not sure if he did any work or not.

Greg’s shapes were typically flawless…

he was…undoubtedly the best shaper in WA

and, we believed, he was the equal

to any shaper in Australia.

Greg’s shapes were typically flawless and he was still undoubtedly the best shaper in WA and, we believed, he was the equal to any shaper in Australia.  However, finances were always a concern and as workers we all lived a hand to mouth to existence even though we surfed good boards. 

Eventually we had to pay cash for any materials to build the boards and this, more than anything, spelt the end to Pants’ dream to build his own boards.  I know he went on to manufacture for himself again at a later stage, hopefully with more success.

I finally, after being with Greg Laurenson Surfboards from day one, was forced to find alternative work.  I started making boards for Jack Dadd in Hampton Road in Fremantle.  The boards were labelled ‘Innovator Surfboards’.

Photo: 1970 Laurenson Surfboards team at State Titles Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

L-R. Greg Laurenson, Peter Holzman, Ron Waddell, Bruce King, Robin ‘Skullcap’ Sutherland, Peter Dyson, Rod Slater, Giles Geiger, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn and John Balgarnie.

There were many great times had in Pants’ factory and a number of significant events occurred:

  • Pants bought a new, light blue, XW Falcon panel van and a number of us drove to Bells Beach at Easter time, and back again.  A fleeting visit.
  • Ian Cairns was emerging as a champion surfer.
  • Midget Farrelly made the first ‘side slipper’ surfboard and we made a number of these at Pants’.
  • Midget started sponsoring Ian, a significant chapter in WA surfing history

Photo Gallery of GL images by Rick Syme.

Rick Syme has had an acclaimed career as a photographer in Perth [http://www.syme.com.au/]. Back in the late ‘60s he was a member of Scarborough Board Club and a close mate of Greg Laurenson’s, and they made many trips down south together.

He was even one of the gang of mates who climbed into Thunder’s new panel van to make the legendary spur-of-the-moment trip to Bells to watch the Easter comp – they raced across the continent (including the punishing, unsealed Nullarbor section), hung out and watched some waves, and then turned around and drove back to Perth! …it was an easier time back then just to do cool stuff for the heck of it – ‘cos they could!!

Rick lived on West Coast Drive at Trigg, just north of the Point. The house is still there. He used to have a Super 8mm camera and shot lots of reels of film of the Scarborough/Trigg/Mettams/North Beach crew riding waves.

The Syme’s garage was converted into a mini movie theatre with a projector, screen and black drapes to seal it off from outside sunlight, and lounge chairs. The crew spent many hours there watching the 8mm clips and generally getting up to no good! But it was all great fun.

The caption comments with the following pics were provided by Rick…

Photos: 1967 Greg Laurenson with his Pig Board at Yallingup. Rick Syme pic.

RickThe ‘pig board’ shots were circa ’67 Yallingup. Pants (a new and in-experienced business owner) was trying to find a ‘point of difference’ with his ‘pig board’.

Photo: Circa 1967 Greg Laurenson with his blue Kombi at Surf Beach. Rick Syme pic.

RickThe shot of Pants near the blue Kombi was ‘surf beach’ circa ’67 not long after the Kombi had ‘fallen over’ on the surf beach track with 10 surfers on board (a whole other story!).

Photo: Circa Xmas 1969 Greg Laurenson and Fred Annesley sitting on the bonnet of Holden sedan at Yallingup car park. Surfside store is in the background. Rick Syme pic.

Errol – The boards on the roof of the car have those swept back long single fins, stringer-less blanks and lots of rocker.

The beginning of Yallingup Malibu contest and Pants by Loz Smith

In the early 80s I lived in a shed on a friend’s property on Caves Road opposite Abbey Farm Road, Yallingup.

On a Tuesday night, I used to go to dinner at Bobbo and Jenny Monkman’s place in Vasse Yallingup Siding Road, Quindalup with Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson from Quindalup and Peter Mac from Yallingup.

I presented a Tin Plate award (as opposed to a gold plate as a bit of fun) to Jenny in recognition of her efforts in preparing meals for us. I had a plaque engraved on a tin plate.

Over dinner, I suggested to the boys that we should go back to longboarding and create a fun Malibu event at Yallingup. At that time, only John ‘Boy’ Malloy was riding a Mal in small waves. The boys agreed and this spawned the concept of the Malibu Classic – now known as the Yal Mal.

I had no experience running contests and asked Pants to be competition director and chose Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison as head judge for the first Malibu Classic. Bobbo made the trophies.

The first Yallingup Malibu Classic was run in 1985 and the rest as they say is history.

Aloha 

Photo: 2004 Yal Mal Loz Smith and Pants at Baggies & Bow Tie function held at Surfside. Loz Smith pic.

Loz – It was the last gathering at Surfside before it was demolished.

Photo Gallery of GL images at Yallingup Malibu Classics by Loz Smith.

Photos: 2004 Yal Mal social pics – Loz Smith pics.

Left: Pants and Bob Monkman.

Right: (Top) Jo, Jade and Greg Laurenson. (Middle) Chris Fullston and GL. (Bottom) GL and Peter Dyson.

Photos: 2007 Yal Mal Greg Laurenson Memorial contest – Loz Smith pics

Top: (Left) Pant’s daughter Jade Laurenson. (Right) Jo, Rob and Di Conneely.

Bottom: (Left) Peter ‘Rinso’ Wise, George Simpson, John Balgarnie and Bruce King. (Right) GL Memorial contest t-shirt (courtesy of Bruce King).

Photos: 2011 Greg Laurenson surfboard signed by Kelly Slater at Marg River Pro – Loz Smith pics

Top: (Left) Kelly Slater. (Right) Ian Cairns and Loz Smith.

Bottom: (Left) Taj Burrow. (Right) Fred Annesley.

Image: 2007 Surfboard master obituary edited by Len Findlay. Image courtesy of WA Newspapers.

 

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