Gallery

‘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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Gallery

Interclub comps make a comeback in ’71 by Errol Considine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images: 1971 Interclub competition Sponsors. Errol Considine image.

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

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

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

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

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

Image: 1971 Interclub competition Brochure. Errol Considine image.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

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Gallery

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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Gallery

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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Gallery

1973 Australian Surf Titles #2 Media coverage by Errol Considine

1973 Nationals at Margs

Trying to shut the door Down South …. too late!

The 1969 Australian Nationals held at Margaret main break in pumping power waves, the like of which had never been seen at the titles before was the pivotal moment in the history of WA surfing – when the door was flung open to the world and the secret of the Capes coast’s waves was out.

People like Len Dibben who had been there at the birth of modern surfing in Western Australia has said that ’69 was the turning point – and nothing Down South would ever be the same again.

That iconic Ric Chan shot of the legendary Wayne Lynch high-lining a main break left at the ’69 titles said it all – that WA could match it with famed Australian east coast, Hawaiian and Californian breaks which up till then had dominated surf magazines and movies.

We were in awe of the boards Nat Young, Lynch and the crew were riding and wanted to follow them too – although we parochially claimed our mate Greg “Thunder” Laurenson was at least equal with the best board shaper craftsmen and designers on the east coast…and we reckoned WA surfers like Ian Cairns, Peter Bothwell and Kevin Agar were up there too.

The ’69 titles also brought the ‘flower power’ thing to WA – the long hair, beards, beads, floppy felt hats, bell bottom dacks – the new surfing cool was here. And we were all ready to follow…

But in the aftermath came some other changes that weren’t so cool.

Surfing pilgrims from across the Nullarbor, and even from across the world, bought new progressive influences …and also, for the first time, more crowded waves at times Down South [‘crowded’ in relative terms to what we knew up till then!]

There was also something of a loss of innocence as the downside from a new drugs and dole culture began to be felt – not everybody was mellow and ‘cool’ – man!

Boards could no longer be left on cars outside pubs or at mates’ houses in Scarborough ‘cos stuff started betting stolen, for instance.

TRACKS MAGAZINE – ‘Paradise Lost’

In the February 1973 edition of Tracks magazine (really more a non-glossy, black and white newspaper format at that time), I wrote an article titled “Paradise Lost” which appeared in the “news & opinions” section and hit like a bombshell sending shock waves coast to coast

It provoked a storm with string of letters to the editor in the following edition of the magazine – which unfortunately I have not kept – which just smashed me!

Richard Harvey – third at the ’69 championships and would go on to win the May ’73 titles at Margs – labelled me as a total dickhead. It was chastening and more than a little embarrassing.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine Errol’s “Paradise Lost or How the West Was Won” editorial – page 1. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine Errol’s “Paradise Lost or How the West Was Won” editorial – page 2. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks letter and payment to Errol for “Paradise Lost” editorial. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

All I can now say now is that our intentions were good and naked self-interest came first …but we were totally naïve and it was all too late. The tide could not be turned back.

In my article, I related how amazing the 1969 titles had been, but on a “cold Saturday night late in winter ’72 some friends and I go and see Tom Hoye (expatriate American and builder of good sticks at Yallingup) and get to talking about contests”.

Now Tom had fled California to get away from the crowds and reckoned he’s found Nirvana at the Margies coast.

He talked about having had it all in southern California – surfing had provided him with a good income, place to live, good car, great stereo (dunno why but I recall that detail!) …and he got to go surfing. But SoCal polluted, too fast, and the water was a crowded nightmare and had all gone to crap.

As I wrote in my two-page feature in Tracks: “He put to us a question: ‘WHY DO WE WANT ANOTHER NATIONALS IN OUR SURF…”

“Good question…no real answer…

“Only abstract notions like pride in our surf and surfers.

“Look at the realities …surfing everywhere is strangling itself with its own success and the contest will ensure the much quicker death of our crowd-doomed southern surf.”

We got fired up. You also have to put this in the context of the times. It was age of the rising power of the young & the power of protest action …”the times they are a changin’…”

At the next monthly meeting of WA Surf Riders’ Association (the forerunner of Surfing WA) I put a motion which was seconded by my mate Peter Bevan (who was also WASRA Publicity Officer) for an “extraordinary general meeting to be held for the first time in local history to “discuss” the national titles…really to cancel them.”

Well, it hit the fan – BIG TIME!

The special WASRA meeting saw battle lines drawn with the pro and anti Nationals factions lined up.

The pro team had something we didn’t – money! Some developers who were building the caravan park at Yallingup wanted to bankroll the titles. Their main man pulled out a wad of $20 notes and said he would put up $500 for the winner’s purse at the Nationals.

Bear in mind, we were earning less than $100 a week – I had never seen that much cash in my life!!

Anyway, the vote is taken and we won. The May ’73 Nationals in WA were off. Cancelled.

Now it hit the fan across the Nullarbor.

Surfing Australia President Stan Couper wrote WASRA a nasty ultimatum letter “generally calling us shitheads and coming on heavy and about how we should reconsider…”

So at WASRA’s next monthly meeting another extraordinary general meeting is called – and the vote was reversed. The ’73 Nationals were back on at Margaret River.

The Tracks feature also ran nearly a full page on the written submission we’d put to the WASRA special meeting…including:

“This monster of our own making is coming back to WA…Our frontier will inevitably be destroyed by the pressures of too many surfers and has obviously already begun to tread that path to destruction….”

I guess our attitude was – if we’re going to head down this path, then go hard!!

We were defeated. Surfing life moved on. We thought then, well we may as well enjoy it?!

I was working as a journo at TVW 7 news and conned my boss into letting me go down to Margs for the week with a film cameraman and send back reports.

That meant sending cans of undeveloped 16mm black and white film by overnight courier back to the station at Tuart Hill. With scripting copy enclosed pounded out on my little Olivetti typewriter!!

‘Surfing Down South’ has a Ric Chan shot of me somewhat sheepishly interviewing Richard Harvey amongst a group in the car park at Surfers’ Point at the ’73 Nationals. I think I mumbled my name and he didn’t work out that he was being questioned on camera by the dickhead from Perth who he’d vilified in the national surf media a few months earlier. Phew!

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest meeting in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pic.

L-R competitor Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic), competitor Richard Harvey (NSW), Channel 7 News cameraman Bryan Dunne, 7 News reporter Errol Considine, media Ric Chan (NZ) and unidentified.…you can see the Channel 7 Holden news van in the background …

TRACKS MAGAZINE – ‘Main Report on the ’73 Nationals at Margies

Fast forward to June’73 – and I accepted an invitation from Tracks to write the main report on the May Nationals at Margies.

Image: 1973 Telegram from Tracks magazine editor Frank Pithers to Errol requesting coverage of ’73 Nationals. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

The surf was good. I wrote about how our worst fears weren’t borne out.

“The only real hassle was the hassling. Hassling in the water like I’ve never seen before. Everyone (including the worst hasslers) seem to be complaining about it so it must have been worse than usual… Tony Hardy and Rod Brooks…nearly came to blows early in the piece. But in a pattern that seemed to be typical, it was friends on shore; kills, kill, kill in the water.”

The same Rod Brooks, from Victoria, took me aside for chat about my previous little surf media storm and explained why guys like Richard Harvey had gotten so angry at me:

“…the east coast boys look forward to two contests on the Australian surf circuit…the annual Bells and the triennial or quadrennial Margaret rip. It puts surfers into the juice and sorts them out and is a nice adventure cum holiday.”

It was indeed a simpler time with narrower horizons!

I did let rip in the article at the then Surfing Australia president Stan Couper “giving a few guys the shits with his …dictatorial…attitude and rulings” about where rounds of the event were to be surfed.

“The guy doesn’t surf, he doesn’t know the coastline, the report comes in from the world’s most experienced Margaret River rider (Murray Smith) that it’s 6 to 8 foot and great, everybody wants to go there…but Stan says “NO”…we’ll check our Cowaramup and Redgate. It ended up at Margaret but Stan, it seemed, just had to have his way.”

You have to remember that back then, Australian sport was notorious for being run by inflexible, uptight officials and the interests and wishes of the athletes came second to nit picking process and procedure…

Anyway, I digress. Back to the contest.

I wrote how the first round was held at “South Point Cowaramup in fair to good 4 to 6 foot surf”.

George Simpson beat Queensland’s reigning champion Michael Peterson, and Tony Hardy did well. The WA flag flew high and we were all pretty stoked.

In the Juniors, Craig Bettenay and Bruce Hocking did well. But Ian Cairns was a shock loser.

Round two was “Big Wednesday” at Margaret main break – not perfect quality but “sure big 10 to 12 foot”.

I reported there were some surprise losers like Simon (“that guy’s got muscles on his muscles”) Anderson, but Terry Fitzgerald killed it.

After a lay day, it was on at good Redgate. Richard Harvey, Michael Peterson and Peter Townend got deep in barrel after barrel.

The final day surfed off on the Sunday, back at Main break. While smaller than the Wednesday, the shape and conditions were better.

Richard Harvey ruled in the Open final, beating Peter Townend, with Michael Peterson third. WA’s Tony Hardy came fifth, which was a disappointment as he was just such a master at Margie’s.

A young fella named Mark Richards from NSW won the Juniors – he went on to do pretty good in Hawaii and the big leagues a few years further down the track! WA’s Craig Bettenay came in fourth.

In the Senior Men’s, Tony Harbison placed fifth.

I also noted to round off my report, that great WA surfer Barry Day, who’d won the coveted Duke Kahanamoku trophy for the best up-and-coming rider at the Nationals in Sydney the year before, could not compete Down South in 1973 as he was “playing league football.” A gifted player, Barry starred in the 1974 grand final for West Perth and later played for Essendon in the VFL. He would have been a rider to be reckoned with if he’d been able to take part in the ’73 Nationals held here…one of those ‘what ifs’…

I wrote a brief comment in my Tracks report about an event in the Open final:

“There was a hassle about an alleged drop-in against Peterson that would have changed everything had it stood. Michael hassled the judges afterwards about the drop-in (or “interference” as it’s now called) and got a few to change their minds in a pretty strange decision. The ruling was reversed.”

In Surfing Australia’s “A Complete History of Surfboard Riding in Australia”, published in 2012, author Phil Jarratt revealed the full details of what really happened and Michael Peterson’s epic meltdown:

“By this time, Peterson’s drug use was becoming more noticeable to most surfers and officials…and often his behaviour on land was hard to fathom, even though in the water his drug haze seemed to be no impediment to his performance. Until Margaret River.

“In big, powerful waves the defending Australian champion was a contender all the way to the final where he was up against consistent Peter Townend and the powerhouse goofy-footer Richard Harvey. Agitated beyond belief, Peterson paddled up and down the line-up, snaking and hassling his rivals with a manic intensity. He was probably never going to beat the smooth, calculating Harvey, but a drop-in call by the judges put that beyond doubt. Furious, Peterson confronted the judges with a tirade of profanity-laden abuse, delivered in a rainstorm of white spittle.

“No one had seen anything like it in an Australian championships since Nat Young’s famous dummy spit at Greenmount in 1970…Peterson’s invective stopped as suddenly as it had started, and within seconds he was spinning wheels in the car park and on this way to the airport.”

Wow. Never knew that. The officials covered it up well for us working media back in ‘73!!

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine coverage of ’73 Aust Titles by Errol Considine – Page 1. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine coverage of ’73 Aust Titles by Errol Considine – Page 2. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

…and one more thing. An ironical post-script to my naïve idealism all those years ago and trying to stop the Nationals from over-exposing our surf! At the start of last year, I ended a six-year term serving on the Board of Surfing WA as Vice Chairman. During that time I played a role in helping Mark Lane and the team to move at the right time to get the MR Pro as ASP/WSL world championship event …and then helped with running of some of the media stuff…exposing and promoting the Cape Coast to millions of surfers around the world! …go figure!

My Tracks front cover – Poem

During my “Tracks” phase in ’72 & ‘73 I broke into verse – something which just came to me out of the blue to me one day during a surf – and the Editor liked it so much it made the front cover of the August 1972 edition…bit hard to read in the scan, so here’s the lines, as published:

I feel the waves;

The waves feel me.

We both feel each other:

We both feel free

Not sure now about my mysterious use of punctuation with the semi-colon and colon!

Taking a bit of a revisionist backward view of that time in our surfing history, the vibe is definitely an after-glow of the ‘tune in, turn on and drop out’ mantra from the San Francisco ‘summer of love’ hippie thing.

Even if you weren’t doing the ‘turn on’ bit, it was important in peer image terms back then to try hard to at least appear to be a cool and mellowed-out ….and not risk the mortal sin of being deemed to being uncool – shock, horror!!

…my little stanza doesn’t quite join Bob Dylan in the Nobel Prize for Literature league but I’d like to think it does say something about the stoke we all felt back then in that unique and blessed era as we spent our weekends and holidays Down South surfing uncrowded waves with our mates, progressing with the developments in surfboard design, and feeling part of Australian surfing taking on the world…the ‘hot generation’ and the swagger of ‘we’re tops now’. It was all happening.

Some people assumed the picture on the Tracks cover was me – unfortunately no …don’t think I ever looked that good on a wave! But the Tracks’ editor did find a great visual image which matched the spirit of what I was trying to say.

No idea who the surfer captured in the shot was but I reckon it looks to me like it could have been Keith Paul?

The yellowed Tracks cover is now framed and hangs in a little personal surf memorabilia man-cave in my garage at home…

Image: 1972 Tracks cover (August edition) containing Errol’s poem. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1972 Tracks payment letter to Errol for poem and an inside article. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Footnote: In 2004, I interviewed George Simpson for a feature profile piece which was published in the first ‘Summer 04/05’ edition of “Longbreak” surf travel magazine (now published online: http://www.longbreak.com.au/ ) …

George related about his first trip to an undeveloped Bali in 1973 and stayed six months. They travelled to Indo by boat from Singapore and slept amongst reed beds on the beach at Kuta.

Local bemo drivers would charge the surfers the equivalent of about $1 to take them out to Uluwatu.

One day at 8 foot Ulu’s, George was surfing with the very same Richard Harvey.

The NSW goofy spotted white water further up the unexplored coast and decided to take off and have a look to see whether he could find any more surfable waves.

The way George tells it, Mr Harvey paddled off by himself carrying just a bottle of water and a joint to keep himself provisioned for the journey into the unknown!

In that one day, George told me, Richard Harvey discovered and surfed Bingin, Padang Padang and Impossibles by himself. It’s hard to imagine how mind blowing that must have been.

Harvey arrived back at Jimbaran Bay after dark that night bubbling with excitement about these great new spots ….which today are just so well-known across the world. Bloody amazing!

ENDS

Click on this link to view 1973 Australian Surf Titles #1 Contest Images by Ric Chan

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