Bob Monkman’s Surfing Life by Malibu Mick Marlin

In 2001 Dunsborough surfer and longboard surfing scribe Malibu Mick Marlin wrote an article on South West surfing legend Bob Monkman for Australian Long Board (ALB) magazine (Edition 18).

The ALB story was based on Bob’s first 50 years of life and was titled THE HAPPY HALF CENTURY. It’s been 50 years of pleasing progress for WA’s Bob Monkman.

Image: 2001 ‘The Happy Half Century’ double page cover shot in ALB mag. Paul Jarvis pic.

This is Malibu Mick’s updated story on Bob Monkman’s surfing life. It is based on an excerpt of the 2001 ALB article and has been updated to August 2017.

As a young would-be cowboy hanging out in front of his folks’ petrol station in the tiny wheat-belt town of Mullewa, 400km northwest of Perth as the crow flies. Bob Monkman had no idea of where life on a surfboard would take him. Good heavens, this was 1963, and at the age of 13 he hadn’t even seen a surfboard, much less ridden one, living in this dusty little town 100km from the ocean. As luck would have it, the nearest high school to Mullewa was in the coastal town of Geraldton, so young Robert Cliff was sent to board at a Church of England boarding hostel with the vicar and his wife. The boys’ hostel was on one side and the girl’s hostel on the other. There was no leaping the fence, as the young boys were all sweet and innocent in those times. The hostel was located not far from Back Beach, so the boys would ride their pushies down Gregory Street and bum an old mal from Neil Peggler, one of the original Geraldton surfers, and by the way still going at it.

A year later, Bob’s folks moved to Perth, where he completed his schooling. But now, the surf was more than just a pushbike ride away from home. Bob had a new mate whose mum had bought him a Ron Surfboard from Boans department store. Bob and his mate would then hitch from Mount Lawley to City Beach where the board was stored and the two keen young gremmies would carry the board, one at each end, down to the beach. As Bob was now a confirmed city slicker and beach boy there was no need for the saddle and riding gear that he’d brought with him from the bush. So he sold the lot and bought a brand new 9ft McDonough for 48 pounds ($96).

With the new board came a change of scenery – Scarborough Beach. Here, Bob met lifelong friends Norm Bateman and Gary ‘Gooselegs’ Vaughan, along with Wayne Jacks, Kim Trayner and Murray ‘Tiny Brain’ Smith, who was about 20 at the time and king of the kids. Not long afterwards, a brand new 9ft 3 in Len Dibben was under Bob’s feet – being a little bloke he needed a much smaller board. In those days, before the Floreat groyne was built and the sand hills were tarred and feathered for carparks, the Scarborough boys only surfed their stretch of beach, as well-shaped waves were aplenty. The road to Trigg Point ran inland and the farthest north they went was Threepenny Reef, now covered by sand.

Later throughout his teenage years and apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker, surfin’ safaris down to the wave-rich grounds of the lower south-west were all the go on weekends, with Yallingup, Margaret River and Cowaramup Bay the main areas of focus.

The first set of wheels Bob owned was the ‘Pink and grey Galah’, a 1954 Vanguard, and with it full of mates like Gooselegs, he’d drive south on Friday nights. By now, it was about 1968, the boards were shortening and the v-bottom McTavish’s were state of the art. Ian Cairns was on the rise to fame and glory. On bigger days they’d be looking for guys to go surfing with as these were before leg-rope times and a lost board meant a long swim. One of the guys, Ron Waddell, wiped on the very first wave on his brand new board at Yallingup and off it went into the rip, never to be seen again. News spots were surfed – Gallows, Guillotine, Three Bears and anywhere the old wagons could find a track to the coast. They used to surf Big Rock a lot as the road ran along the hill and doubled back to Big Rock. They looked at this wave just down the beach for years and wondered if it was rideable, until someone finally did the walk and the legendary Left Hander was named and soon overrun with surfers.

Photo: 1970 young Bob cuttie at Rocky Point. Ric Chan pic.

At age 21, Bob finished his cabinet maker apprenticeship, hung around for a while and then in late ’72 went to South Africa with three mates – Peter Mac, Micko Gracie and Bruce King. They bought a Kombi in Jo’burg, drove down to Durban, then on to Port Elizabeth to work, surf ‘n’ play. After a stint in PE, they drove to Cape Town and then on safari up through Kruger National Park to Rhodesia and Victoria Falls. The other guys went to England and Bob took the Kombi and bailed for Jeffreys Bay to surf the beautiful right-hander for a few months before he too headed to England.

Photo: 1972-73 surf trip to South Africa. Bruce King pics.

Top: (Left) 1972 departure from Perth Airport on route to South Africa. Bruce, Bob and Mac (Micko absent). (Right) 1973 South Africa Port Elizabeth Flat. Mac, Micko & Bob.

Middle: (Left) 1973 South Africa Mac & Bob with Kombi. (Right) 1973 South Africa Kruger National park Boab Tree. Bob, Bruce & Mac.

Bottom: (Left) 1973 Victoria Falls in Rhodesia. Bruce, Bob & Mac (Right) 1973 South Africa Transkei Kombi breakdown. Micko, Bob & Bruce.

Back in Oz, it was time for a change in career. Bill Oddy, the owner of Cordingley Surfboards, offered Bob a job as a shaper. His cabinet making skills were transferred from planning timber to planning foam. “It was pretty easy,” reckons Bob, “as the boards at the time had flat decks, flat bottoms and round rails.”

Photo: 1972 Cordingley Surfboards Jolimont WA surf design by Bob Monkman. Courtesy of Grant Mooney collection.

During this period, a young gal from Sydney was holidaying in Perth. Jenny Bell was her name. One night at the White Sands Hotel, Peter MacDonald introduced Jenny to a multilingual local surfer. This handsome young man reckoned he could parle Francais, spreche Deutsche, hable Espanola and speak at least another dozen different languages. Now young Jenny was pretty smart, and coming from Cronulla she knew that all surfers were full of shit, especially around closing time. However, something must have sparked. According to Jenny, it wasn’t love at first fright, but they had a lot of fun together, speaking only in English and, of course going surfing. Romance blossomed and the two lovebirds married in December 1975.

It’s 1976 and the newlyweds set off on safari to England first, then California, where they settled in Santa Barbara (near Rincon) for over a year. They bought a Kombi and surfed The Ranch and would head down to Ventura where Bob encountered the coldest water he’d ever surfed in. For work, he shaped a few boards for legendary Rincon surfer and board manufacturer Reynolds Yater, then moved on to shape for Al Merrick for a while. Shaping and surfing on single-fin pintails, he noticed even then a few longboards in the line-up and thought “What’s wrong with these guys, are they stuck in a time warp or something?” Bob also fixed up and extended houses while Jenny helped with the detailing and doing a few cleaning jobs.

They’d work for a while and save a bit of money, then hit the freeway south to Baja California, 250 miles south, for a few weeks of surf and adventure. On their biggest trip, Bob and Jenny were on their way down through mainland Mexico, heading for El Salvador and Costa Rica, when they decided to go down to the coast in the State of Oaxaca for a few days. What looked like a quick drive on the map finished up being an all-day encounter with nothing better than a goat trail, not getting out of second gear the whole way. However, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was the Mexican pipeline, Puerto Escondido, still undeveloped and reminiscent of early Bali. Even though it was not the best time of the year, the surf was quite good and they stayed for a few months until the money ran out.

When they went through the immigration gates at San Diego, they didn’t have enough money for entry into the United States, but as luck would have it, the crabby old bitch at the Immigration desk happened to be training a new girl. “Do this! No, don’t do that!” The poor girl was so frustrated that she forgot to ask Bob and Jenny how much money they had on them and just stamped the passports. So through the gates they went, breathing a sigh of relief, and drove up to Santa Barbara and went back to work.

After 12 months away, Bob and Jenny decided to come back home. They travelled through Europe and even checked Biarritz in France, before flying on to Singapore. Next, it was a plane trip to Java and overland to Bali for a few months before settling back in Oz. There wasn’t much in Bali in those days; Kuta was all rice paddies and a few losmen, Lasi Irrawatis, Losman Kedin and Kamala Indah. Poppies Lane had a few thatched warongs and a few of Bob’s old mates from Perth were hanging out for the winter. Bob had uncrowded surf and Jenny had her first taste of Asian culture.

Back in Perth Bob fitted-out boats for a couple of years before buying a farm down south at Yallingup. On New Year’s Eve in 1978, Holly their first daughter, was born. Not long after, the family packed and moved to the farm. Bob set up a workshop in the shed and started making cabinets before moving into a factory unit in Dunsborough. Pretty soon a factory unit and land came on the market just down the road and they hocked everything to buy it. “Best move we ever made!” reckons Bob.  In June 1981, twins Kyla and Sage were born.

In 1985, the ‘bunch of fun locals’ at Yallingup decided to have a surfing contest, featuring only Malibu surfboards. And so the Yallingup Malibu Classic was born. Bob needed a board for the contest so he had his old mate Greg ‘Thunderpants’ Laurenson, master shaper for Rusty Australia, make him a new mal. Bob recalls his first wave: “I remember saying to myself that I must step back before I turn. Well I stood up, tried to turn and plonked right over the side!” He swapped between short and long boards for a number of years and dominated the annual Yallingup Malibu Classic. So much so, that the organisers changed the rules. Now the prize of a new board and trip to Bali were drawn out of a hat and not won by the winner, which was always Bob Monkman. By now, Mark Ogram had set up Yahoo Surfboards in Dunsborough and Bob became chief test pilot.

Photo: 1985 Inaugural Yallingup Malibu Classic presentations on beach front. Brad Leonhardt pic.

L-R Bob Monkman, Greg Laurenson and Loz Smith.

In 1991 Western Australia sent its first team to the national Longboard Titles, held that year on the Gold Coast. It has sent a team each year ever since. Two years later, the late Lindsay Thompson started competing at State level and was WA’s top competitor, winning every age group title. He became the first West Aussie to make a final at the Nationals when he came fourth at Bells in ’95. The following year, Bob decided to give the State Titles a go and won both the Masters and Grand Masters, thus making the team to compete at Caloundra in Queensland. The surf was tiny, the competition fierce, but he still managed to get through a couple of rounds and came away more experienced and far wiser.

Photo: 2000 Yal Mal contest presentation at Yallingup. Mick marlin pic.

Front row: Chris ‘Chubby’ Tranthem, Mick Marlin (author), Bob Monkman, unidentified (2).

Middle row: Unidentified, Bob Bright and Adam Lane.

1996 was the biggest year so far for WA longboarding as the Nationals Titles were to be held at Yallingup. Bob went all out in the State rounds, winning the Open ahead of Gary McSwain and Lindsay Thompson and also the over-45s Grand Masters ahead of Lindsay Thompson and Mick Marlin.

However, a month before the National titles, tragedy struck. At Cowaramup Bay, teachers, students and spectators were watching the final heat of the annual surfing contest between Margaret River and Cowaramup Primary Schools when the cliff above them collapsed, resulting in the deaths of nine people, five adults and four children. One of those lost was Lindsay Thompson, who was judging at the time. The National Titles were dedicated to the memory of Lindsay and his photo adorned both the poster and program. Although a sad time for all, the titles went off without a hitch in good surf, with the feeling of Lindsay watching over the proceedings from above.

Photo: 1999 Yallingup Malibu Classic – Lindsay Thompson Team Challenge winners – Team Yahoo

L-R Kevin Anderson, Kevin ‘Twiggy’ Sharland, Bobo, Gary McSwain and Mark Ogram sponsor of Team Yahoo. Loz Smith pic.

Bob went through to the final of the over-45s, not even dropping into the repechage heats. But even a home break advantage is not enough to help if luck is against you. “I thought I had to surf fantastic to win, but all I had to do was just go out and surf normal,” says Bob. “So I thought I’d pick those nice inside lefts that run down the reef – the point scorers, but every wave I took off on closed out!” The other guys sat out on the shoulder and took the fat ones. The winner was Peter Hudson NSW, then Alan Atkins VIC (second), Bob WA (third) and Eric Walker NSW (fourth).

Photos: 1999 Bob Monkman competing in State Titles held at Avalon Point. Mick marlin pics.

Bob won the State open and over-45s almost every year for a while, until his young protégé Justin Redman from Quindalup started winning the opens. The bridesmaid’s tag at a national level was a hard one to shake, with a second place behind Robye Dean QLD at Port Macquarie and a second behind Eric Walker NSW in South Australia. It was not until the Australian Longboard Titles at Bells Beach, Victoria, in October 1999 that the trophy was held high by a West Australian when Bob won the over-45s from Phil Trigger QLD and Andy McKinnon QLD. A solid performance throughout the entire event put Bob on the victory dais at last. Although lost for words at his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to his old mate Lindsay Thompson, who placed fourth in the final of the same event, just five years previously.

Photos: 1999 Bob Monkman competing in National Titles held at Bells and Jan Jac Beach Vic. Mick Marlin Pics.

In 2000 Bob was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to surfing. He was presented with his Medal and letter from Prime Minister John Howard at a ceremony held at Caves House Yallingup.

Photo: 2000 Bob with his Medal and letter from the PM at presentation ceremony Caves House Yallingup. Loz Smith pic.

Bob got back into the shaping bay for a five or six years, shaping his own boards and doing a few signature models for mates through Mark Ogram’s Yahoo Surfboards. “I can’t believe how hard it is to shape a modern longboard, it’s 10 times harder than shaping an old tracker!” Bob reckons.

Photo: 2004 Noosa Festival of Surfing. Old boys final. L-R Wayne Deane, Bill Tolhurst, Robbye Deane, Bob Monkman, Eric Walker, Norm Bateman.  Mick Marlin pic.

The Monkman’s eldest daughter Holly followed in her Dad’s footsteps. She became a very keen and competent grommette, winning the State Junior Women’s title and later, the State Open Women’s title. Holly capped this off by taking out the Australian Women’s title in 1997, before turning pro and doing the world circuit. Taking Holly to contests, Bob would enter the short board rounds and won the State Grand Masters title.  After Holly’s big win they both went on a yacht trip through the Mentawai’s while Jenny and the twins lapped it up in Bali. Holly competed on the world circuit for a few years before taking up marketing and management positions with a number of surf companies. Creatures of Leisure, Globe USA, Electric, Coastalwatch and Quicksilver Asia among them. Now a resident of Bali, Holly runs a surf school.

Photo: 2014 Jenny & Bob Monkman at Surfing Down South book launch held at Vasse Felix Winery. Loz Smith pic.

Into the new century Bob and Jenny built a new home in Dunsborough and ran the gallery and woodworking business until 2007 when they decided to retire. Bob kept having a crack at the national titles and in 2001 he won the Aussie Over 50s title at Yallingup followed up by winning the Over 55s when the titles returned to Yallingup in 2006. In 2011 he won the Over 60s division at Port Macquarie.

Photos: 2001 National Titles held at Yallingup. Bob Monkman over 50s champ. Mick Marlin pics.

Left: Bobbo the Over 50s national champ.

Right: WA team L-R Justin, Paul Thompson, Bob Monkman, Claire Finucane, Tim Fitzpatrick, Gary ‘Gooselegs’ Vaughan and Bob McTavish.

Photos: 2006 National Titles held at Yallingup. Bob Monkman over 55’s champ. Mick Marlin pics

Left: Bob waxing up his longboard.

Right: Holly and Jenny Monkman cheering Bob on at Aussie Titles Yallingup.

In 2017 Bob won the Over 65 division at this year’s WA State Longboard titles and at the National Titles at Cabarita NSW he made the semis in the Over 65s and won the Over 60s division surfing against the young blokes.

Bob and Jenny are part time grey nomads and proud grandparents. Twins Kyla has had three sons and Sage one son.  Bob has his annual one month sojourn up at Gnaraloo riding mostly a 6 foot 6 inch fish while around Yallingup he uses mostly a mal.

Photo: 2012 Bob cooking scones at Gnaraloo surf camp. Ron Marchant pic.

L-R Bob Monkman, Tom Martin and Ron Marchant.

A surfing life well lived. Just look out for the little bloke perched on the nose out at Yallingup.


Malibu Mick



Peter Mac’s Happy Snaps.

Peter ‘Mac’ McDonald has lived, surfed, fished and worked at Yallingup since the 70s.

This a collection of his happy snaps of Yalls & elsewhere.

MacIn the 60’s my parents had a holiday home at Moore River (north of Perth). My sisters & I enjoyed many fun times there.

Photos: 1960s Moore River holidays. Photos courtesy of Peter & Robyn Mac.

Top: (Left) Early 60s Peter age 12 with Nina the hound. (Right) 1963 Peter surfing Moore River beachie.
Bottom: (Left) 1969 Jenny Payne, Robyn Mac, Jenny Lym, Denise Waters & Bruce King. (Right)  1970s Peter Mac, Blue Nicholson, Jenny Lym & Micko Gracie standing in front of outside dunny.

1960-70 Moore River Peter Mac collage_photocat

MacIn the 70s Chris Green & I were partners in Yallingup Bricklayers Co.

Photos: 1970s Yalls. (Left) Mac & Chris Green going over the books at Richie Riggs place. (Right) Mac, Chris Green & his bro Richard (ex NZ) rugged up for SW winter. Photos courtesy Peter Mac.

1970s Yalls Mac & Chris & Richard Green collage_photocat

Photos: 1973 Yalls some of Mac’s mates. (Left) Micko Gracie & Rodney dog. (Right) Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson napping. Photos courtesy of Bruce King.

1973 Yalls Micko & Blue collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Capel party. Photos courtesy of Peter Mac.

Top: (Left) Ron ‘Gremmo’ Ellis & Howard Johnson (decd). (Right) Christine Johnson & Wendy Campbell.
Bottom: (left) Laurie ‘Pup’ Nesbitt. (Right) Hornie Campbell, Peter Mac, George Simpson & Glen Lance.

1970s Capel party various collage_photocat

Mac – In 1978 Bruce King, Kevin O’Dwyer, Ian ‘Prive’ Morris & I lived and worked on building sites in the Bunbury region. Tropical Cyclone Alby went through Bunbury with 130Km/h winds and did a lot of damage while we where there.

Photos: 1978 Bunbury party. (Left) Bruce & Mac. (Right) Prive. Photos courtesy of Peter Mac.

1970s Bunbury Party Bruce Mac & Prive1 collage_photocat

MacIn the late 1970s I was still single and Chris Green & his wife Lynette were living with me at Yalls.

Photo: 1979 Yalls Mac’s house (centre red brick) and view across empty caravan park to the ocean. This photo was taken from Prive’s block on Yallingup hill. Peter Mac pic.

1979 Yalls overlooking P Mac place & caravan park P Mac pic

Photos: 1970s Yalls Chris Green’s van parked out front of Peter Dyson’s shack. (Right) Chris Green at Mac’s house. Photos courtesy of Peter Mac.

1970s Yalls Chris Green collage_photocat

Photos: 2000’s Peter Mac surfing Indijup Car Park. Photos courtesy of Peter Mac.

2000s Peter Mac surfing Injidup Car Park collage_photocat

Photos: 2008 Yalls. (Left) Prive and his ‘Meyerhoffer’ coke bottle shape surfboard. (Right) Peter Mac and his fish catch. Photos courtesy of Jim King.

2008 Yalls Prive & Mac collage_photocat

Photos: YalMal classic Yalls (Left) 1980 Tim Eastwood, Peter Mac & Loz Smith. (Right) 2014 Peter Mac, Peter Dyson & Loz Smith. Photos courtesy of Loz Smith.

1980s 2014 YalMal & collage_photocat

Photos: YalMal classic Yalls. (Left) 2011 Prive, Mark Hills, Arns Smith & Yesca Maas. (Right) 2014 Bob Monkman & Peter Mac. Photos courtesy of Loz Smith.

2011 & 2014 Yal Mal Loz pics collage_photocat

On a sunny day you may see Mac riding his old bike to Yallingup beach for a swim.





Mike ‘Stomper’ McAuliffe

Former Mettams surfer Mike ‘Stomper’ McAuliffe has lived in Margaret River with his wife and children since 1995. A Life Member of Surfing Western Australia, Mike is still involved in surfing through the Margaret River Board Riders Club.


Mike achieved remarkable contest results during the 1970s, 80s & 90s. He has won State Titles in the School Boys, Juniors, Open, Seniors, Masters and Senior Masters divisions. In all Mike has collected eleven State Titles and won numerous Pro-Am, National & International surfing events.

Since 2001 Surfing WA has awarded annual Mike McAuliffe Awards for exceptional surfing performance(s).


Mike is currently a High Performance – Elite surf coach at State, National & International levels.

He has coached the State Juniors for 7 years and the Australian Team for World Titles 3 times in 6 years.

He also runs an Elite Development Program with Surfing Australia High Performance Centre at Casuarina NSW.

Contact Surfing WA if you require Mike’s private surf coaching services.


Mike did sessional lecturing for Rob Holt’s Surf Science course at ECU in Bunbury a few years ago. Unfortunately the course has been terminated and Rob has moved back down to the South Coast.

Mike taught three units over seven years:-

  1. Performance Enhancement
  2. Skills Analysis
  3. Event Management

Mike My time lecturing at Bunbury proved invaluable to me. The research and public speaking aspects of the course helped prepare me for my present Coaching roles.

Former ECU Surf Science student Thea McDonald-Lee recalls one of Stomper’s surf classes.

Thea McDonald-LeeOne day we had a surfing class down at Inji carpark. Mike got everyone to bring their normal boards and other boards, old boards anyone had, fishes etc., and everyone had a go at everyone else’s to try out new things. He told us the story of the board he shaped for himself and took over to Hawaii and won some comps on it back in the 70s. Ended up getting lost somewhere along the way, maybe he had lent it to someone and it didn’t come back, then a few years ago it turned up at the Margaret River tip, his mate picked it up for 5 bucks and gave it back to him. He was stoked. He brought the board to class that day and I rode it. My team ended up “winning” the little surf comp we had that day out at Carparks… 

Photos: 1976 Mike McAuliffe free surfing Stark Bay & Rotto water Taxi. Photos Ric Chan.

1976 Rotto Mike McAuliffe Stark Bay collage_photocat

Photos: 1978 WASRA Awards Night. Photos Ric Chan.

Top: (Left) Mike receiving an award from Len Dibben with Ken Trainer looking on. (Right) Mike with trophy.

Bottom: Peter Dyson presenting award to Mike with Ken Trainer looking on.

1978 WARSA Awaards Mike McAuliffe collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Mike competing in Spring Titles at Trigg. Photos Ric Chan.

1980 Trigg Spring Titles Mike McAuliffe 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Mike competing in Spring Titles at Scarborough. Photos Ric Chan.

1980 Scarb Spring Titles Mike McAuliffe 4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Mike free surfing South Point at Gracetown. Photos Ric Chan.

1980 South Point Mike McAuliffe 3 collage_photocat

Image: 1983 Mike appearing in Blaxell Surfrider advt in West Coast Wind & Surfer Mag. Image courtesy of Tom Blaxell & West Coast Wind & Surfer Mag.

1983 Blaxell advt West Coast Wind & Surfer Mag IMG_0005

Photo: 2004 three surfing legends at Surfing WA Awards Night. L-R Mike McAuliffe, Len Dibben & Bob Monkman. Photo Loz Smith.

2004 Mike McAuliffe, Len Dibben & Bob Monkman Surfing WA 40th Anniversary @ Aqua - Loz Smith

Photos: 2011 Mike in his Event Management role at Marg River Drug Aware Pro comp with former WA Pro Surfer Jodie Cooper. Photos Loz Smith.

2011 Mike McAuliffe & Jodie Cooper MR Drug Aware Pro Comp collage_photocat



Meelup Beach in the 70s

Meelup beach is situated on Geographe Bay near Dunsborough. It is a beautiful beach with trees and vegetation growing down to the water’s edge. The beach is part of a Class A Reserve with native flora, fauna and water ways.

Meelup is an aboriginal word meaning ‘Place of the moon rising’ because at certain times of the year the moon appears to rise from the sea.

Photos: 2000’s Meelup Beach & surrounds. Photo courtesy King Bros.

2014 Meelup green Bruce King collage_photocat

The coastline faces NE and is protected from the prevailing SW winds. Occasionally (when the swell & winds align) the beach produces fun novelty waves on its point and bay.

Back in the 70s some lucky surfers lived in the region and got to sample life’s simple natural pleasures.

Photo: 1970s surfers enjoying fun waves in Meelup Bay pre-bitumen car park. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1970s Meelup Beach - Ric Chan 007

Photo: 1970s Terry Hartley from Tangaroa Board Club rugged up against winter chills at Meelup. Photo credit Ric Chan

1970s Meelup Beach - Ric Chan 009

Photo: 1970s SW surfing legend Bob Monkman in his birthday suit at Meelup Beach. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1970s Meelup Beach Bob Monkman - Ric Chan 010A

Photo: Early 1970s renowned surfboard shaper Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson surfing Meelup Bay on a GL short board. Photo courtesy of Loz Smith, photographer unknown.

Early 70s Greg Laurenson surfing Meelup _ unknown photographer IMG_201

In the late 70s Vance & Nance Burrow rented and lived in a funky small cottage in Meelup Valley.

Photo: 1978 Burrow family cottage in Meelup Valley. Photo credit Vance Burrow.

1978 Meelup Valley V&N Hse VB IMG

Photo: 1978 Former Californian surfer Leon Tomasian dining in the Burrow cottage in Meelup Valley. Photo Vance Burrow.

1978 SW Leon Thomasian Meelup Valley VB IMG


Photos: Novelty waves in Geo Bay. Photos courtesy of Vintage Surf images by Tom Collins and the King Bros.

Novelty waves Geo Bay collage_photocat




Loz Smith’s recollections of 1985 Yallingup Malibu Surf Classic

The annual Yallingup Malibu Surf Classic (Yal Mal) has been running continuously for 30 years.

SW surf identity Laurance ‘Loz’ Smith and some of his surfing mates created and run the first contest in 1985.

These are Loz’s recollections of the inaugural event held at Yallingup Beach in 1985.

I thought up the idea of a gathering of SW friends to celebrate the long board revival and as a tribute to my SW longboard friend John ‘John Boy’ Malloy. Tom Hoye had shaped a Malibu board for John Boy and I enjoyed watching him surf Yallingup and Injidup Car Park.
Peter ‘Mac’ McDonald, Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson & I met at Bob & Jenny Monkman’s place in Dunsborough for dinner on a Thursday and we talked about the contest and prizes.
I then designed contest posters and a t-shirt and collected contest prizes. I paid Mick Button $350 to make a Santosha longboard to present to the winner. ‘Pants’ (GL Surfboards) shaped a fibreglass version of a mal to scale to present as a perpetual trophy to winners. Pat Leahy (Wetsuits) donated a wettie and Baz Young (Ripcurl) donated 6 pairs of board shorts as prizes.

Photo: 2015 Quindalup Loz Smith with the original Surf Classic t-shirt. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2015 Loz Smith holding original 1985 Yal Mal t-shirt - Loz Smith pic IMGP7116a

The Contest was promoted by poster and word of mouth. The initial contest was postponed when it was discovered it clashed with a couple getting married. It was changed to accommodate the wedding and we missed perfect waves on that occasion.

Legendary NSW surfer Jim Banks) was surfing The Bluff at the time. He got sick and I drove back to Cronulla in NSW with him. I stayed a couple of months with Jim in NSW and there was concern about the future of the contest. But John Boy had spread the word amongst SW & city surfers and it was still on. Then John Boy had to return to home in USA and I took over promotion again.

Unfortunately the surf for the rescheduled contest (after wedding cancellation) was onshore & only 1/2 foot. It was postponed to a later date at a meeting held at Surfside on the Saturday morning.

On the third attempt 100 surfers gathered at Yalls on the Saturday to find atrocious conditions and it was cancelled for the day.
That night a dance was held at Yallingup Hall with music provided by Gina Pannone and Vance & Nance Burrow. The dance finished at midnight and Terry Jacks helped clean up the hall. I crashed 2am at Rob Malcolm’s place on Yallingup hill.

I was woken up approx 6am by Craig Brent-White. The morning was hazy and the ocean & horizon blended into each other. We went down to the beach to ascertain conditions. The swell was a clean 8-10ft & wind offshore. There was a large gathering at the beach. Many crew headed to the public toilets to ease the tension on their tummy… was seriously big!

Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison confirmed the contest was on. But no one was keen to go out for first heat.

I wanted the contest to be a success and recoup my expenditure on contest t-shirts. So I grabbed my Jacko single fin longboard souvenired from the Yallingup tip and tied 2 extra rail savers onto my Pipeline leg rope. I entered the ocean near Grannies Pool and paddled wide out into the bay to get in the line-up. Not being a big wave surfer my balls and heart were in a race to get to my throat. After what seemed like an eternity I got out the back to take a rest. I was so far out I had a view of Caves House gardens. After some time I paddled into a smaller swell, my rubbish tip found Jacko surfboard with rolled rails to the tail, refused to hold into the left-hander & I fell down the face with the whole lip going over my head. It was the worst wipe-out I can recall. I retrieved my board and while paddling back out to attempt another wave, to my absolute joy, I witnessed the First Heat descending down the steps at Yalls. I caught another wave with the express intention of getting in.

I cheered the boys as they paddled out. At the top of the steps the judges were at the ready. Harbo told me I was in the next heat.
After regathering my courage, I followed Harbo across the reef for the second heat. I followed him thinking he knew Yalls better than me. We launched off the reef into a maelstrom of white water near The Bubble. Unfortunately I was hit by a mountain of white water and my board struck my funny bone and I lost feeling in my arm. Still managing to follow Harbo, I eventually got out the back and caught a left, I came straight in.

The day went on. Ian ‘Lips’ Mitchell snapped Pat Leahy’s brand new Town & Country mal in half. He got caught inside on the biggest wave of the day, a 10-12ft monster.

Craig ‘Clarrie’ Brent-White snapped Greg Laurenson’s brand new 9’1” hand shaped long board. Craig bought in part of the board and the rest floated out to sea.

Photo: 2014 Quindalup. Craig Brent-White on his 66th birthday with the remnants of Greg Laurenson’s long board snapped at the 85 contest.

2015 Craig Brent-White holding 1985 Yal Mal GL broken mal - Loz Smith pic IMGP7117a

John ‘Headstand’ Clemenger made the final and took out the event after borrowing Dan Darrigan’s 10’6” GL custom single fin longboard. John took off on a 5ft left and did a headstand before returning to his feet and finishing the wave. Conditions turned on-shore during the finals.

Judging was different in this contest. The result was split between the judges and the crowd’s choice. It was a unanimous decision and John ‘Headstand’ Clemenger was judged the winner.

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic finalists: L-R Bob Monkman, Robbo, John Clemenger (kneeling with board), Peter Mac, Ian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, Peter Dyson, Ross Tomsett (the big black dog belonged to Ross & was called Cindy or Bear), Cliff Hills, Gene Hall, Tony Harbison, Keith Campbell & Kevin ‘Twiggy’ Sharland. Photo credit Loz Smith

1985 Yal Mal4 finalists

Afterwards contest presentations were held on the beach. There were many prizes and Robbo won the worst wipe-out award. Later there were festivities and recollections of fear factors at Caves House. While I do have some photos of spectators on the beach, unfortunately I have no photos of contest surfing at the event.

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic presentations on the beach. Brian Cole, Harbo and Cliff Hills can be seen at the back on left. Photo credit Loz Smith.

1985 Yal Mal beach presentation Brian Cole, Harbo, Cliff Hills - Loz Smith pic IMG_02a

Photo: 1985 Surf Classic spectators. L-R Brian Sherrington and Wayne ‘Choco’ Cartledge sitting on wall. Photo credit Loz Smith.

1985 Yal Mal spectators Brian Sherington & Wayne 'Choco' Cartlidge - Loz Smith pic IMG_03a

Photo: 2014 Yallingup Surf Classic presentations at Caves House. Contest winner Justin Redman with the GL perpetual trophy. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2014 Yal Mal Justin Redman - Loz pic IMGP7600a

The 2015 Yallingup Malibu Classic will be contested this coming weekend December 5-6, 2015. Put it on your social calendar!