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 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!


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.




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!


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 []. 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.


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.






Rotto fashion parades ***Updated 2 August 2017***

Update 02 August 2017 – see Dave Aylett comments below.

Peter Docherty’s comment on Jeff Dalziel on SDS Facebook reminded me of the weekend we lost a great guy. A hero, who wasn’t wanting anything but to save the lives of some thoughtless, reckless surf club individuals who were warned but chose to scoff the advice of men who knew the peril.

These are my recollections of Jeff Dalziel (18) of Mosman Park drowning at Yallingup in 1962.

The weekend began with fun and great surf. Caves house bar was really rocking and spirits couldn’t be higher. From memory Glen Smith took off in his M.K.1 Ford Zephyr with George Godard and Vick Francis to have a look at the surf. It was really getting impressive. Returning from the beach up the ghost trail Glen got sideways a number of times and flipped. I think it was George or Vick who were in the back seat and while trying to untangle themselves from the upturned car heard an elderly couple who had taken cover from the gravel spraying Ford, casually walked past and said “I thought that would happen.” George and Vick walked the rest of the way to the bar and we all heard what happened PLUS the surf was humongous. I think it was Graham Booth and Rob Birch went to see what they could do for Glen with his upturned Zephyr. Returning to the bar to buy a drink for Glen, just to steady his nerves, they told us Yallingup was unrideable and we might as well head home. We all wanted to help Glen with his sorry Zephyr and decided to tow it with dad’s Holden panel van to Perth and the yard at the back of Ozone Hotel. We then had a number of night caps before repose. At dawn we were woken with the smell of salt in the air and the thunder of BIG SURF. Off we went to hook up Glens Zephyr.  Entering the beach car park was a squeeze. It was packed with sightseers. The Surf was thunderous. We all knew it was suicide. The rip going out of the lagoon was bucking like a rapid. Some clown even asked me if he could borrow my board.

Ok back to Glen’s Zephyr. By the time I got there the boys had got it on its wheels. We hooked up with some very dodgy rope. Five of us in the Holden van towing a very sad Zephyr with no windshield , crushed roof and streaked with oil and sand. It was decided the better man for the job of driving the Zephyr was Graham Booth and Glen rode shotgun. Slowly we proceeded until we entered some downhill runs then Graham looked like he was wanting to pass me. He was running out of breaks. Being upturned caused the Zephyr’s brake fluid to escape and Graham was madly pumping to get a response. Somewhere on the way to Perth we bought some fluid and Graham found some feeble excuse for brakes. The scariest part of the journey was when a cement mixer truck in the causeway roundabout tried to get between our tow-er and the tow-ee. While uncoupling the Zephyr from the Holden the scary news of Yallingup was heard. We all raced home and on the spur of the moment decided to drive back to Yallingup. Dad and mum understood how we felt and dad said we could have his big Chev. Thanks dad. Next morning at daybreak we searched the cliffs but no sign of Jeff Dalziel our mate. Yallingup was a very sad place to be that night and beyond. Even harder to bear when Jeff’s body was found. The full heroic story at Mosman Park’s Three Boy Park.

Davo Aylett

Images: 1962 media coverage of Jeff Dalziel’s drowning at Yallingup courtesy of Cliff Hills.


A group of young Cottesloe surfers ventured to Rottnest Island for the Australia Day weekend in 1962. A weekend of surfing merriment away from parents was on the menu.

Davo Aylett’s recollection of the ’62 boy’s weekend at Rotto.

From memory there was Ron Allen, Len Dibben, Jeff Dalziel, Harold Gregory, Robby Birch, Brian Webster and me. Hope I haven’t left anybody out!

Well, as young blokes visiting the island, some for the first time, spirits very were high.

Disembarking the Islander ferry we just threw our stuff on the beach and headed straight for the legendary Quokka Arms and the day progressed from there. Bear in mind the drinking age was twenty one. After some time drinking jugs of Liquid Amber in the sunlight it was announced that soon there was going to be a fashion parade. Well we took our positions to get the best viewing. Well it started out with a bevy of beauties and the crowd responded accordingly, UNTIL, out strode proud as punch, our surfing mate Len Dibben. He appeared made up like something out of the Gidget goes Hawaiian movie, topped off with a straw pork pie hat. I think it was Harold who made that famous quote “OO BRUNG IM!!”

Night fell and we had organised nothing. Staggering to the beach we just flopped on the sand and crawled into our sleeping bags alongside our surf boards. A row of inebriated bodies. We were all fast asleep when suddenly there were voices and a blinding light. One of my mates responded with “BUGGER OFF WILL YA!” Slowly coming to our senses it must have dawned on us all at once. It was Sergeant Plod, the Islands constabulary. We were in deep and it was impossible to run in a sleeping bag. Starting from the nearest to the jetty the most noble, honorary, sir, started with a full-blown interrogation with a side kick writing everything down. “Now, what’s your name?” and “Where do you live?” and finally “how old are you?” Of course the answer to the last question, the officer repeated the age in a loud and astonished voice “17 ” and “19” and “18” and so on until he reached the end of the line. Poor Harold was the last to be interrogated. After giving the under-age answer and with a kick and a clank of bottles the Sergeant asked. “And what do you have at the bottom of your sleeping bag?” With that, all our reserve supply was confiscated and with a stern warning that if we spend another night on the beach, we will suffer the consequences.

After a slow recovery from the night time of terror, we became organised and civilised very quickly. Acting MOST adult from then on, we surfed the Transit Reef and took the Islander ferry back home.

Photo: 1962 Cottesloe surf mates at Rottnest on Australia Day weekend. Len Dibben pic.

L-R Brian Webster, Len Dibben (crouching on surfboard), Graeme Booth, Rick Skelton, Jeff Dalziel, Ron Allen, Bob Birch, Harold Gregory, in front unidentified girl with Dave Aylett.

Len Dibben’s recollections of the same ’62 weekend.

Len DibbenI was on a Modelling assignment for Walsh’s Menswear store and some of my Cottesloe surfing mates were able to come over. I was flown over for the Gig and put up at a Chalet. The boys came over on the Islander on Saturday and moved in. As I remember, the swell was up all weekend and we surfed Transits. On the Sat night, the guys had a lot to drink and were doing Belly Bumps at the Quokka Arms.

Some of us were offered a passage back on a private launch. We tied our nine 9ft plus boards onto the roof of the cabin and set sail, but when we hit the open sea we discovered they were not tied on properly. So a few of us had to get up on the roof and do the job properly with waves breaking over the bow. As I remember, it was bloody dangerous!

Back in the day we would all meet at the Jeff Dalziel’s place in Mosman Park, I think on a Wednesday or Thursday night to watch the Wrestling on TV. Great days. We all played Rugby as well for Cottesloe.

Photo: 1972 Len Dibben fashion photo-shoot at Injidup. Ric Chan pic.

Tom Blaxell’s 2017 Rotto Fashion Parade

Miss West Coast beauty pageants were held on metro beaches from 1967-85.

In 2016 the pageant was revived as the local precursor to the Miss Universe Australia competition. The West Coast beauty contest is now held at Hotel Rottnest. Hotel Rottnest has been reborn out of the renowned Quokka Arms Hotel.

Photo: 2017 Tom Blaxell (with thumbs up bottom right) enjoying himself at the Miss West Coast beauty contest held at Rotto. Tom Blaxell pic.


Fun times at Rotto.





Cleaver Bros 1946 surf mobile

City Beach surfers Allan and Brian Cleaver were popular members of the City Beach Surf Riders Club in the mid-late 60s.

During this time the bros’ shared ownership of their father’s 1946 Morris 8 sedan. They decked it out with surf racks and used it as a surf mobile. The brothers took the ‘Morrie 8’ to Mandurah on numerous ventures, plus a few trips to Yallingup region.

Photos: 1966 Cleaver Bros at City Beach.

Left: City Beach crew L-R Kevin O’Dwyer, Jim King, Phil Henderson, Brian Brown, Bruce King and Allan Cleaver with Dave Kennedy at the front. Norm Bateman pic.

Right: Brian Cleaver surfing south side of groyne at City Beach. Trevor Burslem pic.

This is Brian Cleaver’s recollections of City Beach and the old Morris 8.

City Beach

Both Allan and I have always been ‘City Beach Surfers’. Our parents were weekend regulars at City Beach from the early 40’s. Soon after both Allan and I were born, and still in ‘nappies’, we were introduced to the surf at City Beach. First we learnt to swim, then body surf and onto board riding in the early 60’s. This was and remains my ‘home’ beach.

I was invited to join the CBSRC after taking out second place in the first ‘Novice Surf Competition’ which was held at Scarborough Beach in 1962. Sponsored by radio station 6PR. Allan followed my lead and joined the club soon after.

Morris 8 sedan

The Morris 8 sedan was brought by our father, NEW in 1946, the same year Allan was born.

When my older brother Allan turned 17, he basically took ownership of sorts. Our father purchased a second hand Austin Major for himself.

Photo: 1964-65 Allan Cleaver with the old Morris 8 and Malibu surfboards in Floreat. Brian Cleaver pic.

When I turned 17, I took over the sort of ownership of the old Morris 8.

Photo: 1964-65 Brian and Allan Cleaver with cousin’s Collin & Gary and the old Morris 8 and a Morris Minor at Floreat. Brian Cleaver pic.

Photo: 1966 the Cleaver Bros Morris 8 parked in front of the garage doors at the City Beach Tea Rooms. Trevor Burslem pic.

Allan and I then decided we required better vehicles. Allan purchased an Austin Major and myself an Austin Lancer.

Both vehicles were sold when my brother Allan and I won Lotto and were conscripted into the Army for National Service. Myself on 12th July 1967, Allan followed three months later after completing his ‘plumbers’ apprenticeship. I was deployed to Vietnam on active service with 3rd Royal Australian Regiment in February 1968. Allan was deployed to Vietnam mid 1968 and appointed the plumber during the construction of a swimming pool at the Australian recreational centre at Vung Tau, commonly known as the ‘back beach’.

Photos: 1960s Cleaver Bros on National Service duties in Vietnam. Brian Cleaver pics.

Left: 1967 Brian patrol ready.

Right: 1968 Allan off duty in his boardies.

As for the Morris 8, now it was our sister’s turn to learn to drive, hence she took over the responsibility of driving and looking after the great old vehicle when she turned 17 in 1969, the old Morris was now 23 years old. 

Within a few years our sister Jillian took off to London. As for the dear old Morris 8, it was our mother’s turn to learn to drive as she took on work to earn money for a trip to Europe. My father and mother completed the trip after a few years of working and saving. A trip that is so far back in my memory I cannot think of an approximate year. Possibility the late 70’s – early 80’s?

The Morris stayed with my parents for many years following their European trip. Eventually a collector made an offer to purchase, an offer my father hesitated over for some time. The Morris 8 was his ‘pride and joy’, making a decision to sell very difficult. 

Price was not of great significance, more importantly was who was the vehicle going to and were they going to maintain its historic significance. Dad did eventually sell to the collector who lived in Floreat Park. The sale price was more than Dad had paid back in 1946, hence he was happy to hand over the Morris, plus all the spare parts and a spare engine.

Throughout all those years the vehicle was involved in one accident. Luckily it was minor, the front right hand shell fender. Easily removed, repaired and replaced. This happened whilst Allan had ownership, he would have been 18 years old, making it 1964.

Photo: 1992 Brian Cleaver and Etsuko Kasahara wedding in Japan. Photo courtesy of Brian Cleaver.

Sadly Allan passed away in January 1982. Brian is still a keen scuba diver and returns to Vietnam every year for holidays.



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.





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.