Gallery

Keith Campbell’s 1960s surfing recollections **updated 23 July 2017**

Update 23 July 2017 – see Keith Campbell comments below.

Keith CampbellIn the 1957 Dean Street surfing photo, Bob Mayhew is on the left (he lived at about 22 Dean Street) and the guy in the middle was older than us, I think his name was Reg.

Dave Aylett gathered with us in about 1961 along with Jeff Dalziel, the rat, Glen Smith, Ron Anderson (who lost full sight), Ian Peacock and others I can’t remember.

In 1960 I got my driver’s license and teamed up with Terry Jacks, Charlie Roper and we surfed Trigg which in those days was out of the way via Elliott Road.  As City Beach was friendly, with the tearooms allowing boards to be stored there, it later became the meeting place and thanks to Viv Kitson and Peter Docherty, I was roped into being president in about 1962-3.

By the way I was President of Surfing WA (WASRA then) in 1987 after being treasurer for Phil Usher in 1986. I held the President’s position till late 1990 (not 1989) when I was too busy with engineering and we (Doug, Tom, Jock Campbell and myself) managed to get Tim Thirsk to take the reins.

Cheers

Keith

 

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Cottesloe surfer Keith Campbell started surfing in the late 1950’s. Keith surfed with the best surfers of his time in Terry Jacks, Dave Beamish, Brian Cole and others. Like many WA surfers to follow, he spent time living and surfing on Sydney’s northern beaches in the early 60’s. On his return to WA he was elected president of his local board club in the mid 60s and served as WASRA President 1987-89 (WASRA name changed to Surfing WA in 1996).

Photo: 1957 Cottesloe Dean Street surf break. Keith Campbell (on the right) surfing on a hollow plywood board with mates. Keith Campbell pic.

These are Keith’s recollections of his surfing experiences in the early 60s.

In my school days I had mum drop me at City Beach most times and I left my board under the tea rooms behind the lattice as many to follow would also do.

Before I got my driver’s license, Ray Geary took me surfing down to Yallingup a few times and we camped under the melaleuca trees. (Editor’s Note: In the 60’s Ray Geary built a shack opposite a surf break between Avalon & Miami which became known as Geary’s).

I turned 17 and got my license in July 1960 and by 1963 I had been roped into being President of the City Beach Board Club.

I went to Uni 1961-63 to study Engineering and have memories of Charlie Roper and Terry Jacks always being with me when I surfed, as I had lots of gaps in my Uni course.

Photo: 1964 City Beach tea rooms. Local surfers stored their surfboards under the building. Robyn McDonald pic.

In December 1963 I had a year off Uni and went east and actually surfed with Brian Cole, Don Bancroft, Colin Taylor, John Peterson at Narrabeen. I lived in Dee Why where Terry Jacks and Dave Beamish joined me as did Percy Davis, Charles Roper and Ernie Potter.

Photo: 1964 Keith Campbell’s 21st birthday party at Dee Why NSW. Keith Campbell pic.

L-R. S Marshall, J Evans, V Comdler, L Hookes, R Olsen, S Marriott, R Hannagan, B Moore, R Fenwick, G Morley, Keith Campbell, Ernie Potter and D Lowe.

Photo: 1964 Keith Campbell surfing Avoca Beach NSW. Keith Campbell pic.

1965 Keith Campbell with Cliff Hills mini minor and Malibu surfboards on the Nullarbor. Cliff Hills pic.

KeithOn the Nullarbor we hit a lot of potholes that were as big as the mini!

Now back in WA, we managed to build up quite a board club at City Beach with the red outfits having black and white stripes, and organised inter-club competitions with North End and Scarborough.  These club competitions ultimately led to the formation of WASRA through Doc Naylor, Percy Trainer and John Shackley in 1964.

In 1965 Barry King returned to Manly NSW and a few others decided to leave City Beach and join another club (Editor’s note: Peter Bothwell, Brian Boynes & Mark Waddell joined Yallingup Board Club). It was just at the time I had organised the Margaret River Council to grant a lease on a block at Cowaramup Bay. I had Tony Harbison supervise the demolition of a house in Leederville (that Mark Waddell organised) ready for us to re-assemble. It happened just as the club disintegrated and I probably spat the dummy! I think the house frames were stored at Yallingup and we gave them to another club.

It was during this time that Ron Moss took over and got the board club back on track as President. (Editor’s Note: Ron Moss was made a life member of the City Beach Surf Riders Club in August 2000).

I understand the board club kept going during the 60s under the leadership of Ron Moss until Jim King and Trevor Burslem took over in 1967.

Image: 2009 City Beach Surf Riders club “60’s old boys” reunion lunch held at the City Beach café. Keith Campbell pic.

Keith was a prime mover behind the artificial reef at Cable Station reef Cottesloe. He has a holiday house at Gracetown and still surfs on a regular basis.

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Gallery

1963 Surfing images by Murray D’Arcy from North End Board Club

Murray d’Arcy a foundation member of the North End Board Club at Scarborough took these vintage WA surfing photos in 1963 .

Photo: January 1963 Murray d’Arcy (surfer/photographer/cook) cooking brekkie at Lancelin. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Metro Beach Images

Photo: June 1963 south Scarborough Beach wave line-up. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: November 1963 the boys at Scarborough. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Front: Jim Breadsell standing with his foot on Garry Grannery.

Back: L-R Bill Stephenson in white t-shirt, Peter McGuire in black, Warren Smith scratching his leg, Peter Longley in great coat, John Pinch looking over Peter Longley’s shoulder, others unidentified.

Photo: June 1963 Murray Smith surfing Scarborough Beach. Murray d’Arcy pic.

South West Beach Images.

Photo: Easter 1963 surfers with Morris Minor sedan loaded with Malibu surfboards at Yallingup car park. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Alex ‘Zac’ Kochanowitsch on the left with hands in pockets and John Bartle with arm in car window, others unidentified.

Photo: January 1963 the lads campsite set up under melaleuca trees at Yallingup Beach. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: Easter 1963 Murray d’Arcy with camp gear and surfboards in Yallingup car park. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: November 1963 the lads doing a swell check from the creek at Cowaramup Bay. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: Easter 1963 John ‘The Mess’ Stevens at the top of the Gallows track. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: January 1963 summer wave line-up at the Gallows. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: January 1963 flotilla of Malibu’s at the Gallows. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Photo: November 1963 the North End Board Club lads at Bunker Bay. Murray d’Arcy pic.

L-R Peter Longley, unidentified, Bob Spence in red, Geoff Culmsee, John Pinch, Jim Breadsell, Garry Grannery, John Townsend, Peter McGuire, Murray Smith with Bill Stephenson kneeling in front.

Photo: 1963 November 1963 the North End Board Club lads waxing their boards at The Farm surf break in Bunkers Bay. Murray d’Arcy pic.

Many thanks to 1960s North End Board Club member Jim Breadsell for sharing Murray d’Arcy’s vintage surf images with Surfing Down South.

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Gallery

1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Steve Campbell and Bruce King

During the late 60s and early 70s many WA surfers made the long trip across the Nullarbor to surf good waves on Phillip Island in Victoria.

This is a collection of Phillip Island memories by WA surfers Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell and Bruce’ Lumpy’ King.

Image: 2017 Map of Phillip Island Vic courtesy of Google.

1. Horny’s Phillip Island surf trips

In the late 60s and early 70s I made numerous trips across the Nullarbor dirt track to Phillip Island.

On my first Phillip Island trip in 67/68, I travelled with George Scheffener, Peter Carter, John Fox and Ian ‘Prive’ Morris.

In 1972, I drove my yellow Kombi from WA to Phillip Island with my girlfriend.

We stayed in rental houses in Ventnor and Woolamai and I worked on the Phillip Island Shire ‘Shit Truck’.

These are some of my pics from the 1972 surf trip to Phillip Island.

1.1 South Australia on route to Phillip Island.

Photo: 1972 camping area at Cactus Beach at Penong, South Australia. Steve Campbell pic.

A couple of ex South Aust surfers (Crow boys) travelled from WA to Vic with us, but they stopped at Kennett River in Vic and didn’t want to go any further, apparently the Crow boys were not popular in Vic!

Photo: 1972 Horny (on the right) with Crow boys & unidentified girls in South Australia. Steve Campbell pic.

Photos: 1972 the Crow boys showed us some great surf spots in South Aust. Steve Campbell pics.

Photo: 1972 unidentified surf spot in South Aust.  Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 the 12 Apostles tourist attraction on Great Ocean Road Victoria. Steve Campbell pic.

I took this pic back when there were 12 Apostles, some have fallen in to the sea since then. There are good surf breaks nearby at Port Campbell.

1.2 Phillip Island.

Photos: 1972 Horny’s rental house at Woolamai. Steve Campbell pic.

Photos: 1972 Horny and house mates at Woolamai rental house. Steve Campbell pic.

L-R Ralph, Tim Thirsk, Ross, Horny & Pup.

Photo: 1972 Laurie ‘Pup’ Nesbit holding a snake he found in the Dunny at Woolamai rental house. Horny & Steve Pozzi are looking on. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Pup’s mate changing buckets in Woolamai dunny. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Cliff and Horny working on Phillip Island Shire ‘Shit Truck’. Steve Campbell pic.

If we had a good guy on the shit truck, he would let us take our surfboards in the back of the truck and go surfing during our breaks.

Photo: 1972 Pup at Woolamai suited up for his job on a local shark boat. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Steve Pozzi horse riding at Woolamai with Pup looking on. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Rental house at Ventnor on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

L-R Horny, Gail and Woppa (Vic girls) and Wendy Waite (Bunbury girl).

I thought I was real popular and had a lot of friends, then I discovered they only came to the house to try and get into the chick’s pants!

Photos: 1972 Horny’s rental house at Ventor. Steve Campbell pics.

Left: front of rental house

Right: interior of rental house L-R Jamie Doig, unidentified & Horny.

Photo: 1972 Right Point surf break on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

It is called Right Point, even though the wave is a left-hander. Further around the bay there is a right-hander called Flynn’s Reef. It was Murf’s signature surf break!

Photos: 1972 Murf and crew on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pics.

Left: Murf and Jamie Doig with Vic girl and Wendy Waite from Bunbury.

Right: Murf, John Richie, Wendy Waite and Jamie Doig with John Richie’s Holden station wagon.

Photo: 1972 Horny’s yellow Kombi parked in the main street of Cowes on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

2. Bruce ‘Lumpy’ King Whisky a Go-Go surf trip

In 1968 I set off on an overland surf trip to the Eastern States with my City Beach Surf Riders Club mates Phil Henderson (19), Brian ‘Browneyes’ Brown (21) and Kevin ‘Mumbles’ Rumble (20). We travelled in a brightly painted FJ Holden promoting the Club’s sponsor Whisky-a Go-Go nightclub. As befitting four young blokes travelling in an orange coloured FJ Holden we got up to a fair bit of mischief.

Photo: Bruce King (19) with Whisky-A-Go-Go sponsored FJ Holden on Floreat groyne prior to departure in December 1968. Bruce King pic.

Coincidentally, we left Perth on the same day as competitors in the inaugural London to Sydney Marathon Car Rally. Spectators assumed we were part of the rally and cheered our sponsored FJ through Perth and WA country towns. The car broke down many times crossing the Nullarbor and we become quite proficient as a team at pulling it apart and putting it back together again.

We went on to surf good waves in South Australia and Victoria.

Images: 1968 Whisky-A-Go-Go sponsored FJ Holden. Snapshots ex CBSR Super 8 film.

While at Phillip Island (Vic) we re-painted the orange car a less conspicuous light blue colour with 4” brushes and house paint. As no masking tape was available, we painted the tyres and accessories too. The repaint come unstuck when a fresh afternoon breeze came up and coated the car in grass seeds, dirt and insects (very Harry Butler!).

After several more repairs on the trip from Phillip Island to Sydney, the FJ was nursed onto Ulladulla in NSW where it expired for the final time. We travelled onto Manly in Sydney and surfed up and down the East Coast before making our own way back to Perth.

Image: 1970 Denise Zanoni from Lorne Vic with Bruce King at Bells Beach for the World Surfing Titles. Image courtesy of Bruce King.

Click on this link to view 1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Rod Slater, Mal Leckie and Steve Cockburn.

Coming soon 1966 First WA surf trip to Phillip Island by Craig Brent-White and Peter Dyson.

Long Live fun surf trips!

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Gallery

Busso Night Life in the 60s, 70s and 80s

This is a collection of Busselton Night Life memories from some South West residents.

Night out on the town by Kevin Merifield

Kevin Merifield is a former Subiaco League Footballer and has been surfing down south since the 1955.

For the first couple of years the South West locals, primarily dairy farmers couldn’t work out who these weird bods were invading their territory, trespassing on their land and going out in what they considered wild seas and shark invested waters. Even back in those days we dressed, acted and spoke differently (surf speak had already began).

Sometimes on a Saturday we would head into Busselton for a night out on the town.

It usually took about a half an hour at the Vasse or Commercial hotels before it would be on. The locals would have a go at us and it would be good old fashion one on one fisticuffs for about 5 minutes until you were both buggered then up to the bar to share a beer together. After a while the locals got to know us better and we became good mates with some and were eventually accepted into the community.

Photos: Busselton Hotels courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

Left: Vasse Hotel since 1906.

Right: Commercial Hotel built circa 1890

Kevin is retired and lives at Yallingup with his wife Margaret.

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Busso Picture Theatre by Ian Wiese

Ian Wiese grew up in Busselton in the 50s & 60s.

Back then Busselton had a population of about 6,500 ie smaller than Dunsborough is today! It had 2 seasons – summer and winter.

Photo: 1951 Mrs Wiese with her twin sons Stan and Ian on Busselton Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

In the winter we were at school, played sport (in my case hockey), and for entertainment we went to the picture theatre in Busselton or when we were older the drive-in. 

At the picture theatre anyone caught cuddling up to their girlfriend were moved by the owner’s wife who used to patrol the theatre with a torch watching out for any signs of misbehaviour. (Just as well she didn’t get out to the drive-in where all the action was).

After the pictures there was House’s milk bar just around the corner in Queen Street, or the Jolly Roger cafe down the other end near the Vasse hotel. Not a lot else went on in Busselton apart from the pubs. We often used to hold parties at our place after hockey.  

Photo: 1966 Some of Ian’s hockey team at his family home in Morrison St in Busselton. Ian Wiese pic.

The people in the photo (left to right) are Rob Ainsworth, Stan Wiese (in the car), Jim Watts, Ian Wiese, and Fred Ball. The lads are leaning on a 1955 Morris Oxford, jointly owned by Ian and his twin brother.

“Hooning” was a popular past time – the timber yards between the tennis club and the railway jetty were a good place as there was a lot of gravel. Talking to some at a recent reunion I learnt how fast you could go through the S bend over the old bridge at the entrance to Dunsborough, and other hair raising tales. I recall stories about some prominent citizens of the town setting records in their Jaguars for the Bunbury-Busselton trip (which didn’t involve slowing down for the bridge at Capel). With the drinking age at 21, it was common for bored youths to get a keg and take it somewhere into the bush on a Saturday night. There were some terrible accidents as they drove home. In those days Western Australia had a population of 500,000 and a road toll of 350. We tell ourselves we were safe but actually we were the survivors – poor car design, unsafe roads, and alcohol took a terrible toll. 

In summer there was a lot more going-on. People came down for holidays, surfers came down. There were stomps at Churchill Park (until the council banned the Stomp), the Tennis club, Yallingup Hall, Cowaramup Hall, Witchcliffe Hall and the rowing club in Bunbury. Winter relationships broke up as the girls chased the visiting surfers and the boys chased the farmer’s daughters on holiday. At a recent reunion a member of a 60’s band that played at these venues recalled that they used to come home high after playing at the Yallingup Hall!

I left Busselton for Perth early in 1967 when I was only just 17, so I missed the Busselton pub scene apart from one brief summer.

Ian is a keen photographer and now lives in Dunsborough with his wife Glenys.

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Jetty drinks with George Simpson

George Simpson formerly of Cottesloe has lived and surfed in the South West since the late 60s.

We’d come down on weekends and we’d want to go find girls. We’d find the girls at the fish and chip shop next to Busselton Jetty. We’d also go to the youth hostel, but there were too many cops around there. So we’d go and get the oldest one of us to get a couple of bottles of beer and we’d sit on the end of the jetty. We got to know the local girls and they would come hang out there too.

Image: 1960s Busselton jetty with Queens Street in the background. Image courtesy of vintage Tourist post card.

Sally Gunter, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, came around the bend with Chrissy Brennon on skateboards while I was driving up the Cape one day. I introduced a couple of the lads to their future wives. They were cool chicks. They were the sort of girls who were more inclined to like surfers than bogs. (Extract from Surfing Down South book).

George works in the Prawn Fishing industry and lives at Yallingup.

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Busso Stomps by Sally Gunter

Sally Gunter is the daughter of a former Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse keeper and is a real South West local.

My five girlfriends and I used to attend Stomps held in a hall near the Busselton jetty on a Friday night. At about 10pm surfers from the city would turn up at the Stomp….much to the displeasure of local lads. I remember meeting Gary Greirson and other city surfers there.

My Busso friend Pat Milner met & married Ian Cairns in Busselton. That changed her life forever!

Images: 1975 Ian Cairns and Pat Cairns (nee Milner). Images courtesy of WA Newspapers and Ric Chan.

Left: Ian Cairns with his big wave board made for the World Surfing Championships held in Hawaii in 76. Ian designed and shaped the 3.1m board at Gary Greirson’s Surfboard factory in Osborne Park.

Right: Oceans Surf Comp at Trigg Point. L-R Pat Cairns, Barry Day, Ian Cairns, Russell Catto & unidentified.

At the time I was going out with Rick Lobe. I worked in the Dunsborough Bakery and Rick worked with my father at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse.

I remember we made a trip up to the city with Gary Greirson in his Kombi. Gary was going through a religious phase and went on non-stop about religion the whole trip.

Photo: 1975 Sally Gunter & Rick Lobe at Dunsborough with Gremmo’s dog ‘Horse’. Peter Mac pic.

Sally is married to SW surfing legend Andy Jones and lives at Yallingup.

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Busso Dances by Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell

On weekends my mates and I used to go to dances held at the Busselton Tennis Club. That’s where we met Sally Gunter and the other Busso girls. Trevor ‘TA’ Anderson met his future wife Linda Dodd at those dances. Linda’s parents ran the beach shop near the jetty.

Back then the Busso Bogs thought we were trying to steal their girls and there were confrontations. Now I’m friends with some of those Bogs and they are really nice guys…..they could tell you some stories!

Horny has sold his Electrical Business and lives at Yallingup.

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Vasse-A-Go-Go by Bruce King

Bruce King formerly of Subiaco spent a large part of his youth surfing and socialising down south in the late 60s to early 70s.

We used to drive down south on a Friday night and meet up with Busso girls Linda Dodd, Wendy, Gail Colombera and maybe Shaz Day at the Jetty Tea Rooms. Linda Dodd’s parents owned the Tea Rooms which sold fish & chips and meals.

At other times we went to stomps at the Vasse Hall. We called it Vasse-a-Go-Go. One night the old bloke that run the show stopped the music because someone had broken the toilet seat and he wouldn’t continue until someone owned up…can’t remember anyone owning up! The Busso bogs also visited Vasse-a-Go-Go and one big bog turned his glass upside down on our table, which meant he wanted to fight one or all of us….without George Simpson being there, we declined his offer!

Photo: Vasse Hall built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

We also frequented the Ship Hotel. Norm Bateman used to do a comedy routine there. One night instead of kicking us out, the management locked us in and called the cops.

Photo: The Ship Hotel built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

One New Year Eve’s we broke into the Community Hall in Busso for a quiet drink and we were busted by the cops. We got off because one of the Bussell girls was there with us.

Bruce is retired and lives in Dunsborough with his wife Anne.

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In the early 80s big name OZ bands played with late licences at the Commercial Hotel in Busso. This entertainment was popular with SW surfers.

Loz Smith (Quindalup) – I remember listening to Western Flyer with Matt Taylor, Stevie Wright and Brian Cadd at the Commercial in Busso.  

Jo Felton (Dunsborough)After the Dunsy pub closed lots of us used go to the Commercial in Busso, when it stayed open late at one stage. I remember seeing some bands there, but don’t remember names now. Most of the Dunsy and Yalls crew did the same drive when the night club thing was happening in Busso….it was a bit of a novelty back in the days when the pubs shut at 10 pm hahahaha.

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Refer to Surfing Down South book published 2014 for more ‘Hanging with the Locals’ stories.

 

Gallery

1965 My First Trip Down South by Errol Considine

My First Trip Down South – over 50 years ago!

By Errol Considine

December 1965 saw my first trip Down South – I was 14. The memories of that first taste of the magic of the Capes region remain vivid today.

My brother Jeff and I had been bitten with the surfing bug a few summers earlier and ridden our first boards on our home beach at Scarborough, and been part of the local ‘crew’. Eventually, both becoming members of Scarborough Board Club.

We were in awe of the stories we kept hearing from the older guys – especially Murray Smith and the North End Board Club crew, who were also Scarborough-based – about the monster waves on the Yallingup-Margaret River coast. We were busting to get down there.

By ’65, Jeff and his mates in their last year at Scarborough High School had started getting driver’s licences and some were picking up an assortment of old cars and fitting them with roof racks.

So when Jeff finished his Leaving Exams in early December, we loaded up his new 9’6” Dibben-Cole single stringer onto high schoolmate Fred Bosich’s Austin Lancer, along with his board too, on a Monday morning. Jeff and I packed our boardies (ours were custom made by Jenny Cordingley – Fred wore black footy shorts to surf!), wax and sleeping bags and headed for Mandurah, cutting across to Pinjarra, and then on the narrow and winding South West Highway on the s-l-o-w trip South.

We headed to Margaret River and the Prevelly caravan park, which had old buses fitted with bunks and a gas stove, and I think a single light bulb! Camping down south also meant taking along a stash of tinned taste delights like braised steak and onions or baked beans, as the staple diet ….I reckon global warming was given a kick along by a spike in methane gas emissions rising into the atmosphere from the Capes Coast of SW WA during that era!

The following year, we camped at Prevelly. Brother Jeff had started as a Cadet Architectural Draftsman at the Public Works Department in early 1966 and saved enough to buy his first car, the Mini, which carried us for many surfing weekend Down South.

“Funny but early in our Down South days we seemed to always stay at Prevelly. One weekend, we were even being drafted in by the Scarborough Board Club boys to help on the wheelbarrows and shovels to lay the cement slab for their corrugate iron clubhouse which was erected there. North End Board Club built another one nearby. But after the first few summers we all gravitated to staying at the top of the Capes Coast Yallingup, and sleeping on the grass in front of the dunnies.

Geoff Moran, another of Jeff’s mates who also lived near us in Doubleview and went to Scarborough High, joined us on later trips Down South. He had a good camera and snapped the black & white pics which appear with this little vignette memoir….buying and processing colour film was expensive!

Geoff later got called up for Nasho’s and went to Vietnam and I sort of lost contact with him after that….”

Photo: 1966 Jeff’s Mini Minor laden with surfboards in the camping area at Prevelly Caravan Park. Geoff Moran pic.

Photo: 1966 Jeff sitting on Malibu boards on top of his new mini. Geoff Moran pic.

“The top board strapped on the Mini is Geoff Moran’s McDonagh – I recognise the ‘competition stripe’ (it was light blue)…So the bottom board would have been Jeff’s Dibben-Cole 9′ 6”, single stringer, laminated wooden tail block, yellow D-fin, no colouring’.

Photo: 1966 Geoff Moran’s McDonagh surfboard (ex NSW) at the back of the Moran’s house near us in Doubleview – his sister Pam in the shot. Geoff Moran pic

Photo: 1966 Geoff Moran’s EK Holden sedan at Doubleview. Geoff Moran pic.

“Geoff’s Holden took us on other surf adventures – I remember going to Avalon for the first time one summer’s Saturday morning in this car, driving over an open paddock to a wire fence and having to clamber over it to get to the top of a sand hill to check out the waves – it was small and as we got there the sea breeze came in and turned it to junk! Didn’t get wet that day..”

…but I digress – back to the tale of my first ever trip Down South…

The surf spots we knew about in late ‘65 and could locate between referring to our Shell road map, plus by drawing on the knowledge we’d picked up from other guys who’d already been regularly making the trek south, were: Yallingup, Smiths Beach, Indjidup Carpark, Cowaramup Bay (Huzza’s and South Point), Gallows, and Margaret’s Mainbreak and River mouth.

In his autobiography, “Nat’s Nat and that’s that”, Nat Young wrote about his first trip West. He and Rodney ‘Gopher’ Sumpter were recruited by Paul Witzig to shoot an Australian sequence for filmmaker Bruce Brown for his movie “Endless Summer” – including a segment on a surfari to WA. The ground breaking movie was first released in 1964, with worldwide release in 1966. So their trip must have pre ’64.

Nat wrote: “In Perth…the waves were a bit of a disappointment (not surprising!) …and we headed south towards the Yallingup-Margaret River area … we drove to Yallingup and booked into the Caves House hotel… The next day, we tried to get out through the big, nasty waves at Margaret River, but found ourselves washed back up on to the beach after only half an hour – we couldn’t even get out the back…we felt like complete failures and had to admit the waves were too big for mere kids.”

If up and coming, and soon to be world-ranked surfers like Nat and Gopher who we’d seen in the surf magazines couldn’t ride the big stuff Down South, what chance did we have?!

When we first laid eyes on Yalls and Margaret’s Main Break … well, it looked like Hawaii in the surf magazines and we just crapped ourselves, and decided not to sacrifice our young lives to the surf gods and venture way out there!

And, in those pre-leg rope days, South Point had a fearsome reputation for snapping boards lost in the take-off zone – and so that was also a no-go zone!

But we still had a week of what we thought were epic waves.

We all rode some neat little runner rights breaking back towards the south corner of Smith’s, on a bank formed near the out flowing creek; had a few great sessions at Huzzawooie; and then two or three consecutive mornings of what in my mind’s eye now, over half a century later, were sensational small rights at Margaret River mouth – consistent and clean, and within our capabilities back then.

With only two boards on the car, as the younger hanger-on grom I had to wait for one of the older guys to come in and borrow one of their Mals. But I got my share of waves and was stoked.

“It would not be until 1968 – my last year at high school – that I could afford to buy my first new board! I was a serial pest, driving everybody nuts borrowing their boards….during school holidays, I used my brother’s board midweek while he was at work!”

“We obviously liked the small rights at Margaret River mouth – these pics were taken in ’66 and we were back there for more”.

Photos: 1966 Surfing Margaret River mouth.  Geoff Moran pics

Top: Jeff paddling out & Errol surfing the wave.

Bottom: (Left) Jeff performing a Quasimodo head dip (Right) Errol performing a Cheater Five.

One day during that very first trip in December 1965, there were perfect right-hand sets peeling off the sand point out from the River mouth towards what we now know as ‘The Box’ ….they were too far out for us to work-up the courage to tackle them but we thought they looked like the peeling walls of California’s Rincon that we’d seen in “Surfer” magazine. I’ve never seen it break like that again, in my many trips south over the past 50+ years…

I think my brother and Fred Boshart also had a session at Inji Carpark, but I was not up for that yet and watched from the shore!

In those first trips we often headed down random tracks of Caves Road hoping to find other waves.

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol ‘on surfari’ at the back of Cowaramup. Geoff Moran pic.

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol goofing around for the camera at the back of Cowaramup. Geoff Moran pic.

I think, looking for waves also meant goofing around for the camera! I think we were inspired by the antics which always featured in the USA surf movies by Bruce Brown and Bud Brown – that this is what surfers did when ‘on surfari’!”

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol kissing the ground after digging the mini out of a dirt track. Geoff Moran pic.

“After digging the Mini out of a dirt track (maybe the notoriously boggy Gallows), we were happy to be back on the bitumen of Caves Road”.

Crowds were certainly not a problem in that first week Down South. We saw just two other surfers! On the whole coast!! They were staying in one of a small group of cabins at Prevelly. We said hullo and chatted at the caravan park but only crossed paths with them in the surf once, during one of our long afternoon sessions at Huzza’s … as I recall.

Photos: 1966 South West coastline. (Left) unidentified surf coast. (Right) Cape Naturaliste. Geoff Moran pics.

Photos: 1966 Jeff exploring Canal Rocks. Geoff Moran pics.

The surfing horizon opened up for us in December 1965 – and nothing would ever be the same again. Our eyes had been opened to somewhere unique on the planet. It would keep drawing us back on countless weekends and holidays… seeking out the many Down South adventures and life experiences which eventually came to pass over the following decades.

In “Offshore and Pumping”, the booklet released by Surfing WA to mark its 40th anniversary, Down South legend Bob Monkman wrote:  “…we were different. We had long sun-bleached hair, wore different clothes and were always happy from the buzz of surfing all day…”

“We were a relatively small group, everyone one knew each other and crowds weren’t a problem. In fact, we would often wish for a few more people to be out on the line-up because it was always good to have someone to fetch your board if you had to swim or tell you which way your board went.”

There’s much truth in Bob’s words. Being part of that small crew regularly travelling Down South – after that first expedition at the end of 1965 – did make us feel special –and different. We were in the right place at the right time, and on the right side of our surfing history, in terms of crowds and surfing new waves.

And, over half a century since that very first trip “Down South”, I still get a huge buzz every time I come over the crest of the hill and Yalls and see the whitewater, and that stunning coastline and cliffs stretching away north towards Three Bears and Sugarloaf Rock. The magic remains …undimmed by the years. What an amazing adventure it all was…

Footnote:  If you think about it, our generation of salt water addicts have left more than footprints in the sand…like, social impacts. The term “Down South”, for example, was originally a bit of a secret verbal code we all shared back in those early days – initially our parents and other “oldies” did not have a clue what we were talking about most of the time… Now, of course, ‘Down South’ is a universally recognised and used term by just about everybody in Perth.

Errol Considine