1980 Mitch Thorson & Dave Kennedy at South Point

NZ surf photographer Ric Chan took these 1980’s photos of young surfer Mitch Thorson & surf industry legend Dave Kennedy at South Point on Cowaramup Bay.

Photo: 1980 Mitch Thorson & Dave Kennedy preparing to go surfing at South Point. Photo Credit Ric Chan.

1980 South Point Mitch Thorson & Dave Kennedy  - Ric Chan img757

In 1981 Mitch won the coveted Duke Kahanmoku Trophy for the most emerging surfer at the National Surfing Titles held at Bells Beach Victoria.

Images: 1981 Mitch celebrating his Duke award at the Bells Beach contest. Images courtesy of West Coast Surfer mag.

1981 Mitch Thorson Duke Kahanamoku Award

Mitch Thorson won three Australian Surfing Titles before turning Pro in 1983. After a successful ASP career spanning 10+ years he returned to amateur ranks and won a 4th Australian Surfing Title. Mitch now lives & surfs with his family at Margaret River.

Photo: 1981 Mitch Thorson carving on a Star Surfboard at South Point. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Dave Kennedy opened & ran Star Surf & Skate surf shop in Perth city from 1980 until 2006 when at the age of 51 he lost his battle with leukaemia.

Photo: 1980 Dave Kennedy with a Star Surfboard at South Point. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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See Surfing WA Celebrating 50 Years book for more details of the two legends.


1977 Surfing Santa

In the 70s Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn was a member of the Sand-n-Sea Surf Riders Club and represented the state at seven Australian Surfing Titles as a board rider or judge.

Local freelance photographer Alf Sorbello came up with the idea of photographing Santa surfing at Scarborough Beach. He arranged a photo shoot with Sheepdog and provided the Santa costume and cotton wool beard. Sheepdog recalls “On the day the surf was small and the cotton wool beard got a bit out of control, being full of water and drooping. Otherwise it was a pretty uneventful day. Alf took a few photos then headed back to work”. An image from the photo shoot appeared in the Sunday Times.

1977 Sheepdog surfing at Scarborough in a Santa suit. Photo credit Alf Sorbello.

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1974 Sheepdog at an Australian Surfing Titles function held at Burleigh Heads Queensland. L-R Mike Mickelson, Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson, Sheepdog and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew (Qld). Queensland’s ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew went on to win the World Surfing Championship in 1978. Photo credit Steve Cockburn.

1974 Aust Titles Burleigh Heads Qld Mike Mickelson, Greg Laurenson, Steve Cockburn & Rabbit Bartholomew (Qld) - Steve Cockburn IMG



1969 The Fish & Baddy @ Margs

In 1969 Australia’s top surfers descended on Marg’s for the first Australian Titles held in WA. Interstate competitors Wayne ‘The Fish’ Lynch (Vic) and David ‘Baddy’ Treloar (NSW) finished First & Second respectively in the Junior Men’s division of the Titles. This image shows ‘The Fish’ free surfing Marg’s left hander. Image credit Ric Chan.

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1969 David ‘Baddy’ Treloar free surfing Marg’s right hander. Image credit Ric Chan.

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1969 WA’s first Australian Surfing Titles

In 1969 WA hosted it’s first Australian Surfing Titles. The early rounds were held in small waves at Scarborough before the event was moved to Margaret River. Margs turned on a week of large Hawaiian-style waves and offshore winds for the event. This image shows an unidentified competitor surfing a solid left hander at main break. Photo credit Ric Chan.1969 MR Oz titles surfing - Ric Chan 40

John Arnold Surf Machines in Adelaide South Australia commissioned photo-journalist Ric Chan to travel from SA to WA to cover the 1969 Australian Surfing Titles and help design a movie ticket for Paul Witzigs’ Evolution surf film. Ric Chan compiled this report on the Contest. Image credit John Arnold and Ric Chan.

1969 WA Aust Surf Titles Report by Ric Chan  for Evolution Movie ticket




1971 Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell on Yallingup hill

This 1971 photo shows an unkempt Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell relaxing at his historic Hammond cottage on Yallingup hill. He is wearing a pair of yellow scuffs bought back from India by his surfing mate Terry Jacks. Spook was State Open Surfing Champ 1968-69 and a finalist at the Australian Surfing Titles held at Margaret River in 1969. He retired from competitive surfing in 1970. Image credit Peter Bothwell.1971 Yalls Peter Bothwell yellow shoes ex Terry Jacks India - Peter Bothwell picThis 1971 photo shows Spook’s cottage on a near empty Yallingup hill. It is one of the original holiday cottages built by the Hammond family in the early 1950s. Image credit Peter Bothwell.1971 Yalls Spook's Hammond shack - Peter Bothwell IMG_0002