1970s Guillotine Surf Break

The SW’s Guillotine surf break was discovered and named by Dave Williams, Terry ‘Horse’ Williams & Kevin ‘Legs’ Merifield circa 1961.

Refer to Surfing Down South book for more details on the discovery of Guillotine.

Photos: 1970s Guillotine surf break. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan & Jim King.

1970s Guillotine lineup IMG_001

Photo: 1973 Barry Day and Gary Kontoulis (on knee board) wave sharing at Guillotine. Photo credit Tom Collins.

1973 Guillotine Barry Day & Gary Kontoulis - Tom Collin spic NVE00047

Photo: 1973 unidentified surfer on Guillotine right. Photo credit Ric Chan

1973 Guillotine unknown surfer - Ric Chan IMG_0046

Photo: 1974 Barry Day free surfing Guillotine right. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1974 Guillotine Barry Day - Ric Chan 005

Photo: 1974 Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns free surfing Guillotine right. Photo credit Ric Chan

1974 Guillotine Ian Cairns - Ric Chan 015

Photo: 1975 young surfboard maker/male model Gary ‘Gaz’ Greirson leaving the water at Guillotine with one of his hand crafted single fin surfboards. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1975 Guillotine Gary Greirson - Ric Chan 004

Photos: 1970s Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn surfing Guillotine right in his colourful wettie. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1970 Guillotine Sheepdog - Ric Chan 002



Surfing Rotto in the 60s **update

Surfing at Rottnest Island has been a popular pastime since the mid-50s. By the mid-60s Cottesloe surfers were making regular surf trips to Rotto on the ‘Islander’ ferry. The early crew surfed Transit Reef and Salmon Bay. It appears Strickland Bay wasn’t surfed until late 60s or early 70s.

1962 Modelling Gig at Rotto

Surfboard manufacturer Len Dibben was at Rottnest Island on the Australia Day weekend in 1962.

Len Dibben ”I 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 and the boys came over on the Saturday and moved in. As I remember, the swell was up all weekend and we surfed Transits. On the Sat nite, the guys were doing Belly Bumps at the Quokka Arms. We were offered a passage back on a private launch. We tied the 9 x 9 ft 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, it was bloody dangerous!”

Photo: 1962 Rottnest Left to Right. Brian Webster, Len Dibben, Graeme Booth, Rick Skelton, Jeff Dalziel, Ron Allen, Bob Birch, Harold Gregory in front sitting Girl unknown & Dave Aylett. Photo credit Len Dibben.

1962 Rottnest Len Dibben & Cottesloe surfing mates - Len Dibben pic

1963 First Surf Trip to Rotto

Talented Cottesloe surfer Ashley Jones and his older brother Kim were amongst the early wave seekers. The Jones boys first surfed Transit Reef in ’63.

Ashley Jones: “In ’63 my brother Kim came out to Transits in a rented dinghy with a 3hp Johnson and tried to catch some waves with us and also keep an eye out for sharks. Chris Dermer was with us. I think Chris was still on Coolites then. I started surfing in earnest with Dermer on Coolites a few years before. My first Cordingley board was blue with white Detroit flash detail and very light weight for the time, maybe 8’6” (see image). My parents bought it from Renee Lee-Steere, his mother didn’t like her son surfing. It had been floating around in a swimming pool at their farm in Toodyay.
A couple of years later Theo Mathews and Michael Trimby and I think someone else were circled by a shark at Transits, it was serious as two of the guys were in a flooded canoe after trying to hook into a few waves. The shark passed under them several times. They were very lucky as a passing yacht got them out of the water in the nick of time. It added weight to the saying, up shit creek in a wire canoe. This whole story was covered in the West or maybe the then Daily News. Theo may even have a cutting of the article.
Guy Leyland & I have surfed a fantastic break just to the right of the Basin on a good north swell. Another interesting place to surf in the following years was Garden Island, a whole other can of worms.”

Ashley Jones won the individual trophy at the 1967 State School Boys contest held at Scarborough and was Yallingup Board Club’s Junior champion in 1968. Ashley & his wife Nina now live in the SW and are directors of Gunyulgup Galleries at Yallingup.

Photos: (Left) 1963 Rotto surfing trip L-R: Ashley Jones, Chris Dermer and Kim Jones. Ashley (age 12) is holding his first Cordingley Surfboard. Photo credit Tony Jones (oldest brother). (Right) 2010 Ashley surfing Rotto. Photo credit Ashley Jones.

1963 & 2010 Rotto Ashley Jones compilation IMG_001

**Edited to add:

Theo Mathews was there that day on Transit Reef and true to story, has submitted a news clipping about that day.

Theo Mathews: “The third person out at Transit Reef on that day when we were circled by the shark was no other than journalist Piers Ackerman. Fisherman Alan Abjornsen had been watching us through binoculars and could see we were in trouble.  He came and saved us in his dingy.”

Daily Mail, 28 January 1964


1963 Summer Holidays at Rotto

Scarborough surfers Jeff & Errol Considine witnessed the Jones boys surfing Rotto in 1963.

Errol Considine: “Ashley Jones was always a terrific surfer who I admired… fact he & his brother Kim were the first surfers I met. We went to Rottnest with the family for summer hols in 63 and there were two mals strapped across the bow of the ‘Islander’ ferry – next morning my brother Jeff and I spotted the Jones boys out getting an early morning wave at Transit in Thompson Bay. I think by next summer Jeff got his first board – a second hand 9’6″ Barry Bennett three-stringer with red rails and we were both hooked!!”

Ashley Jones: “We first met Errol and Jeff Considine in 62-63, when we spent several days body surfing a reef at Penguin Island whilst staying at Safety Bay. This was pre-surfboard surfing for all of us.

Photos: (Left) 1960s Rottnest Islander ferry. Image credit Ferries of Aust. (Right) 1966 Marg River Errol & Jeff kissing the road after digging their Mini Minor out of a dirt track. Image credit Geoff Moran.

1960s Islander ferry & Considine surf compilation  IMG_002

1966 School Holidays at Rotto

Young City Beach surfers Barry ‘Baz’ Day & Colin ‘Pig’ Moss spent the August 1966 school holidays at Rottnest with Colin’s family. The boys surfed Transit, hung out at the Tearooms and went to the pictures. Baz met his future wife Terri Williams of Cottesloe on these holidays. They cannot recall how they got talking in the Tearooms, but agree it would probably have been Terri that approached shy Barry. Now nearly fifty years on they live in the SW and Baz is still chasing waves.

Photo: (Left) 1966 school holidays on Rotto Barry Day (age 13) & Terri Williams (age 12). Photo courtesy of Terri Day (nee Williams). (Right) 1969 Barry Day & Colin Moss at City Beach. Photo credit Moss family.

1960s Barry Day compilation IMG_001

1969 Quokka Arms at Rotto

The Hotel Rottnest building (formerly the Quokka Arms Hotel) has been a magnet for generations of Western Australians. This historic hotel was once where the Governor of WA would lodge on Rottnest during summer.

Photos: 1969 City Beach crew socialising at the Quokka Arms Hotel. (left) Bruce King on someone’s bike with Peter Mac drinking on the lawn. (Right) Terry Franklin, Jude & Robyn McDonald (Peter Mac’s sister). Photo credits Robyn Brockman (nee McDonald).

1969 Rotto Robin Mac compilation IMG_001

**update 19/04/2015 text and image courtesy of Theo Mathews


1958-2011 Peter Docherty’s Autoboardography

Peter ‘Doc’ Docherty (age 13) started riding plywood ‘Toothpick’ surfboards at City Beach in 1958. Doc surfed metro, Lancelin & South West beaches and shaped balsa surf boards at his parents place in Floreat (and nearly sent his folks crazy). Brian Cole employed Doc as a sander at King & Cole Surfboards in Wembley. Brian recalls Doc used to sit in a corner & play his guitar. Doc co-founded the City Beach Surf Riders (CBSR) Club with Viv Kitson in 1962. Late 1963 Doc toured eastern states surf beaches with Terry Jacks, Ernie Potter & other WA boys. He returned to WA to attend Uni in 1965, then moved back & settled on the East Coast.

Doc is a talented artist & musician. He now lives with his wife Annie on the NSW Central Coast near his home beach of Avoca Beach.

This montage is Peter’s autoboardography showing all his surfboards from his 12ft plywood board in 1958 to his 11ft Surftech surfboard in 2011. The orange pig board (2nd from left) was Murray Smith’s first surfboard. The green board in the middle is a 10ft Reynolds Yater (USA). Doc had the board recoloured Maroon by the guys at Scotty Dillion’s surf shop (NSW) and sold it to Cordingleys (WA) in 66. Doc says  “If you come across a 10ft maroon board, grab it, sand through the maroon resin and you may discover evidence of a valuable antique.” Missing from the montage is Doc’s current board a Tom Wegner Alaia shape (finless) board. Image credit Peter Docherty.

1958-2011 P Docherty's Autoboardography from 12ft plywood to 11ft surftech surfboards

1962 This is a fuzzy shot of Peter Docherty’s bedroom / surfboard shaping room at his parent’s place in Floreat. The CBSR Club’s inaugural meeting was held in this room. Photo credit Peter Docherty.

1962 Peter Docherty's bedroom-boardroom. Site of inaugural CBSR meeting Floreat

In the early 60s Doc shaped balsa surfboards for City Beach hot rats Barry Day & Norm ‘Dot’ Kitson. This 1965 photo shows Norm Kitson of Floreat holding a 9’10” balsa board shaped by Peter Docherty. Photo courtesy of Norm Kitson.

1965 Norm Kitson with Peter Docherty 9 ft 10 balsa board - N Kitson pic


1970s Spectators, Judges & Competitors at State Surfing Titles held Margaret River.

Surf Photographer/Journalist Ric Chan captured these images of spectators, judges & competitors at State Surfing Titles held at Margaret River during the 1970s.

1. Spectators

Spectators watching the 1973 State Surfing Titles held at Margaret River’s Main Break. L-R Doug White (journalist), Linda Wright, Colin Ladhams, Pat Cairns, Barry Day & Guy Quackenbush (State body boarder). Photo credit Ric Chan.

1973 Marg River State Titles L-R Doug White, Linda Wright, unknown, Pat Cairns, Barry Day & unknown - Ric Chan img888A

2. Judges

Contest judges & assistants officiating at the 1972 State Surfing Titles held at Margaret River. L-R Kaye & Bill Gibson, Colin Ladhams, Peter Bevan, Judy (Shaun Atkinson’s girl friend) and Murray Smith in front.  Photo credit Ric Chan .

1972 MR State Titles Bill & Kaye Gibson, Col Ladhams, P Bevan, unknown,  M Smith front - Ric Chan img252

3. Competitors

1977 State Titles at Margaret River. (Top pic) Competitors keenly watching the action in the water at Margaret River. Includes Sam Sadleir, Bill Oddy with binoculars, Colin Earle & Greg Laurenson in front. Others unidentified. (Bottom pic) The action in the water, unidentified girls frolicking in the shallows. Photo credits Ric Chan

1977 Marg River State Titles compilation #1




1971 Max Hickson at Margaret River

1971 Cottesloe surfer Max Hickson with his VW beetle and Jacko twin fin surfboards at Margaret River. Max was a talented surfer and made a name for himself surfing Margaret River in the late 1960s and early 70s before heading to England to live. In 1979 Max was flown back to Australia from England to appear as a special guest on Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns ‘This is Your Life‘ TV show. Arty Sherburn and Barry Day were also Kanga’s guests on the top rating TV program presented by Roger Climpson. Image courtesy of Brian Trainer.

1971 Marg River Max Hickson & VW with Jacko Twin Fin Surfboards- B Trainer pic (2)A

1970 Max Hickson came second to Ian Cairns in the Junior Division of the State Surfing Titles held at Margaret River. Image credit Ric Chan.

1970 Marg River - Max Hickson - Ric Chan img249