1970s South Point Seascapes

Gracetown’s South Point surf break is a haven for surfers in the South West.

The surf break was discovered and surfed by Murray Smith and his North End Board Club mates in the early 60s. The wave breaks on a solid swell and is sheltered from the prevailing south west wind.

State & National Surfing Championships have been held at South Point since the 70s.

This is a collection of 1970s South Point seascape images by photo/journo Ric Chan.

Photo: 1973 South Point empty line-up. Photo Ric Chan.

1973 South Point Ric Chan img446

Photo: 1970 unidentified surfer enjoying uncrowded waves at South Point. Photo Ric Chan.

1970 Sth Point - Ric Chan img462

Photo: 1973 Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston charging South Point. Water damaged photo by Ric Chan.

1973 South Point Chris Fullston - Ric Chan IMG5_0007

Photo: 1973 unidentified surfers with Blaxell Surfboards at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

1973 South Point inidentified with Blaxell Boards Ric Chan img444

Photo: 1973 Kath King with a view of Cowaramup Bay & Gracetown town site in the background. Photo Jim King.

1973 Cowaramup Bay Kath King - J King IMG_0002

Photo: 1975 unidentified surfers at the base of cliff at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

1975 Sth Pt spectators - Ric Chan img802

Photo: 1976 4WDs parked on the headland at South Point. Photo Ric Chan.

1976 Sth Pt headland - Ric Chan 012

Photo: 1976 set wave at South Point. Photo Ric Chan.

1976 South Point set wave - Ric Chan 009

Photo: 1976 unidentified girls at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

1976 South Point unidentified girls - Ric Chan 013

Photo: 1977 South Point car park with Gracetown residences in the background. Ric Chan pic.

1977 Sth Pt car park- Ric Chan 019

Photo: 1978 cliff top parking at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

1978 Sth Pt Aust Titles - Ric Chan 101

Photos: 1978 scrub fire near South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

1978 Sth Pt Aust Day Comp car park fire - Ric Chan 012

Photo: 1978 cliff top view of South Point wave. Ric Chan pic.

1978 Sth Pt Aust Titles - Ric Chan 102

Photo: 1978 Dave Kennedy (dec’d) from Star Surfboards behind camera at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

1978 South Point Aust Day Comp Dave Kennedy - Ric Chan 030

Photo: 1978 Cowaramup Bay fishing boat with South Point in the background. Photo Ric Chan.

1978 Sth Point fishing boat- Ric Chan img885

Click on this link to see SDS Blog 1960s Vintage South Point Images published 5 Dec 2015.




1974 State Surfing Titles held at Guillotine Surf Break

In the early 1960s members of the West Coast Board Club used a rough old fisherman’s track to access the Gallows. The WC boys dobbed in 10 shillings each and paid 20 pound to local bulldozer driver ‘Boodge’ Guthrie to upgrade the track. They later got Boodge to extend the track to Guillotine and they started surfing there too.

For more history on the West Coast Board Club and the discovery of Guillotine refer to Surfing Down Surf book.

A round of the State Surfing Titles was held at the Guillotine surf break in 1974. Photo-Journalist Ric Chan covered the event for the Independent Newspaper and took these images. However, Ric cant remember being there, so we can’t ask him for the results!

Did Baz Day or Kanga Cairns win the blue ribbon Open Div?

Photo: 1974 WASRA President Doc Naylor & competitors meeting at Gracetown turn-off on Caves Rd. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Cowaramup Rd img098

Photo: 1974 Guillotine line-up. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Guillotine img094

Photos: 1974 State Title officials. Ric Chan pics.

Top: (Left) Doc Naylor. (Right) Len Dibben. Bottom: Len Dibben with judges and assistants.

1974 State Titles Guillotine officials collage_photocat

Photo: 1974 unidentified surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Ttiles unknown - Ric Chan

Photo: 1974 Barry Day surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Barry Day img 097 (3)

Photo: 1974 Ian Cairns surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Ian Cairns - Ric Chan 018

Photo: 1974 Chris Fullston surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Chris Fullston img097 (4)

Photo: 1974 Russell Catto surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Russell Catto img086

Photo: 1974 Trevor ‘Kenmac’ Kenyon surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles img097 (2)

Photos: 1974 competitors & spectators at State Titles. Ric Chan pics.

1974 State Titles Guillotine spectators 2 collage_photocat


Lefthanders (or ‘Lefties’) surf break south of Grace town has been surfed since the early 70s. State Titles and rounds of the National Titles have been held at the break.

There is some debate about who was the first to surf the break. WASRA credits Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell & Peter Dyson but Bob Monkman, Peter Mac, Micko Gracie & Bruce King also lay claims to being the first.

Murray SmithI remember in the mid 60s we were surfing Big Rock and Scarborough’s John Bartle walked up to Lefthanders and reported the break’s potential.

Living on the Beach

Lefthanders beach had some inhabitants in the early 70s. In 73’ Pat Bloomer and his American mates lived in a timber shack built on the beach and Frank ‘Little Big Eyes’ McVeigh lived in a beach cave for a whole summer. Both residences were located south of Lefthanders.

Beach Parking Facilities

In the early days, surfers walked along the beach from an old dirt car park located near the site of existing car park & amenities. Then in the early 1970s fisherman and/or surfers pushed through a sand track along the coastal sand dunes to Lefthanders. This dirt track and it’s rocky car park was closed by Dept of Conservation & Environment (DEC) in the late 70s for environmental reasons.

Bill GibsonI used to drive up to the break in my old Falcon. Sometime I would continue onto Ellenbrook. I wasn’t happy when DEC closed the dirt track to Lefties.
Murray SmithIn the 70s I used to drive right up to the break in my VW Beetle.
Pat BloomerAlthough the dirt track was primarily for 4wd, I used to drive my Kombi Camper up to Lefthanders.
Bruce KingSometimes we would drive to Lefties along the dirt track from Ellenbrook in Micko’s VW Beetle.

Today’s bitumen road & car park with toilets located north of near Lefthanders were built in the mid 70s. Surfers walk approx. 700 metres along the beach past a series of popular reef breaks to reach the waves at Lefties.

Photo: 1973 Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston and vehicle at former dirt car park located behind Lefthanders. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1973 Lefthanders Chris Fullston - Ric Chan IMG_0006

Photos: 1975 Lefthanders car parks. Ric Chan pics.

(Left) Original car park located north of surf break near Gracetown. (Right) Former dirt car park located behind Lefthanders line-up.

1975 Lefthanders caraprks 4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1975 Lefthanders wave line-ups. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders waves 8 collage_photocat

Photos: 1973-75 topless beach girls at Lefthanders. Ric Chan pics

1973-75 Beach girls Lefthanders collage_photocat

Photos: 1973-76 Beach people at Lefthanders. Surfing Craig Bettenay top right and Chris Reynolds bottom left. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 1975-79 Surfing at Lefthanders. (Top) Steve Hannett & Bruce Smith. (Bottom) Unidentified surfers. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders surfing 8 collage_photocat

Photos: 1976-77 spectator & surfing at Lefthanders. Ric Chan pics.

Top Right: Surfing Tony Hardy, other surfers unidentified.

1976 Lefthanders surfing misc 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 1978 Aust Surfing Titles held at Lefthanders. Vehicles are parked in former dirt car park located behind the surf break. Ric Chan pics.

1978 Lefthanders Aust Titles 5 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980s Surfing at Lefthanders. (Top) 1980 Chris Fullston. (Bottom) 1981 Dave Macaulay. Ric Chan pics.

1980-81 Chris Fullston & Dave Macaulay collage_photocat






1978 Margaret River Rowing Regatta

In the 70s the Margaret River Rowing Club held Rowing Regattas on the Margaret River near Wallcliffe House.

Margaret River locals and visiting SW surfers met on the bank of the river to compete in the Regatta’s rowing boat and surfboard paddle races and enjoy a drink or two.

Margaret surfer Adrian Wilson attended the regattas in the 70s. These are his comments.

Early MR Rowing Regattas

 Adrian Wilson – In the early Regattas big John Hohnen used to cruise around with a shotgun under his arm as a deterrent to bikies who used to turn up….there used to be a massive tug of war with a heavy duty rope…I can’t remember who was against who…was it held on Australia Day?

Back then one could drive down to the un-renovated Wallcliffe House…unfortunately the historic house built in 1865 is no longer with us after the Marg River bush fire in 2011.

It was a classic day….. the paddle race was so popular the organisers were forced to impose board design rules to prevent unfair advantage. The first couple of regattas in 76/77 Billy Gibson won the surfboard race with me second…Sam Sadleir’s run came a bit later. I have memories of trying to catch Billy Gibson…but just couldn’t bridge the gap. I saw Billy out at Huzzas today…his high speed paddle style hasn’t changed!

Billy was part of a hard core Scarborough surf crew…all great surfers…who used to frequent down south in the 70s…the Waller brothers (Mark and Paul), Shaun Atkinson, Kim Hewton just to mention a few.

Paul Waller was a handsome young chap…one particular night at the Margaret River tavern he was drinking a flaming shot….a bump on his shoulder resulted in a minor burn on his cheek….Paul was very worried about a scar. That night the car he was a passenger in hit a cow on Wallcliffe Road….next time I saw Paul he had plaster on one arm and various bandages…I said that on the bright side, you couldn’t see the burn on his cheek.

Life at Margs in the 70s had much more of a pioneering carefree atmosphere. Life was much simpler then….only one food shop…Wesfarmers…and the tuckshop for apricot pies with cream….no mobile phones, internet or 24 hour news cycle.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta

Adrian Wilson – Classic photos of the ‘78 event with many familiar faces… I reckon this was towards the end of the regattas at Wallcliffe House (don’t think the shotgun patrols were still going)…..

PD is sitting next to the beautiful Irena….

Typical in the background of Hog Hannett is a beautiful woman.

Great photo of Ric Chan in full flight……I don’t remember Tony Harbo doing the loudspeaker thing….don’t think he featured in the early ones…but I could be wrong.

Sam Sadlier was a grom when I surfed at Cottesloe…but it was obvious he had amazing talent and general athletic ability…..he went on to be a great surfer……I saw him a few years ago, now living in Bunbury I think.

One surprising omission from these early photos are images of the Hocking brothers…Bruce and Ian and Col Ladhams. They were regulars at Margarets……Bruce the master of getting barrelled at the Margaret River mouth. Bruce Hocking was an amazing surfer…his backhand surfing at lefties was even by today’s standards outstanding. These guys used to stay with Rod White in his converted bus next to the speedway track in Margaret River.

Col Ladhams used to shape at Len Dibben’s in North Freo until Greirson Surfboards started…….

Many thanks to photojournalist Ric Chan for the social photos and Adrian for his recollections.

1. 1978 Rowing Regatta Races

Yallingup surfing legend Tony Harbison was MC and called the rowing & paddle races.

Race Photos #1: Rowing races.
Top: Spectators watching rowing race from river bank.
Bottom: (Left) Race caller Tony Harbison with loud hailer. (Right) Spectators.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta Race1 Rowing collage_photocat

In the 70s Cottesloe surfer Sam Sadleir won the paddle board race two years running. Marg River’s Bill Gibson & Gary Greirson also competed in the paddle races.

Race Photos #2: Paddle Board Races.
(Left) Sam Sadleir preparing for paddle board race. (Right) Paddle Board race & support crew.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta race2 paddle Sam Sadleir collage_photocat

Race Photos #3: Paddle board races.
(Left) Gary Greirson preparing for paddle board race. (Right) Gaz competing in paddle race.

Gaz Greirson – “That’s me coming last in next pic.”

1978 MR Rowing Regatta race3 Paddle Gary Greirson collage_photocat

Race Photos #4: Competitors
Top: (Left) Margaret River Rowing Club officials L-R Kim Davis, Don Drabble & Stewie Thomas. (Right) unidentified female competitor.
Bottom: Competitors rehydrating under trees between events. Mitch with Greg Russell in the middle and Dave Simmons (Cottesloe) in Hawaiian shirt on the right.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta Race4 competitors collage_photocat

2. 1978 Rowing Regatta Social

There was a strong social aspect to the Rowing Regatta with families & friends participating.

Attendees competed and enjoyed a cold beer or sipped wine under the trees in the afternoon and then stayed on for Graham Noakes’ ‘Windspan Band’ which played at the Regatta Dance held afterwards in the Club House on the river Bank.

Peter ‘Reffo’ Felton (Yalls) recalls – “one year bikies tried to join the party but they were quickly dispersed by locals and visiting surfers.”

A fun time was had by all.

Social Photos #1:
Top: (Left) unidentified girl with beer keg in background. (Right) social gathering
Bottom: (Left) social gathering (Right) unidentified persons.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social1 collage_photocat

Social Photos #2:
Top: (Left) Girls & hounds. Deb from Byron Bay on the right. Deb married & moved to Kalbarri. (Right) young girl getting a tan.
Bottom: (Left) Mother & baby (Right) unidentified.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social2 collage_photocat

Social Photos #3:
Top: (Left) Ric Gath’s brother. (Right) Dennis Lindsay & unidentified. Dennis’s brother Eion ran the Berry Farm for years
Bottom: (Left) Chris Reynolds. (Right) Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston (Mandurah, Kalbarri & SW).

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social3 collage_photocat

Social Photos #4:
Top: (Left) Ric Chan. (Right) Marina with baby.
Bottom: (Left) Trinity Tate (Right) Syd Tate.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social4 collage_photocat

Social Photos #5:
Top: (Left) Rankin Wise. Rankin & his brother Sandy were from a local family. Mum Wise could not control her wayward sons. (Right) George Tocas (Yalls).
Bottom: (Left) unidentified (Right) unidentified.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social5 collage_photocat

Social Photos #6:
Top: (Left) social gathering under the trees. (Right) unidentified couple
Bottom: (Left) Peter Davison (Trigg) & girlfriend. (Right) Steve ‘Hog’ Hannett (Trigg).

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social6 collage_photocat

Social Photos #7:
Top: (Left) drinks tent. (Right) Ric Chan, Gary Greirson, Trinity Tate & Marina under the trees.
Bottom: (Left) Feeding time. (Right) unidentified.

1978 MR Rowing Regatta social7 collage_photocat (2)




1970-80s Surfing Reflections

Have you ever wondered what you would look like surfing in reverse stance?

This is a collection of Ric Chan surfing images showing some of our top surfers in the 70-80s. Ric’s normal images have been matched with a reversed image of the same wave.

Photo: 1974 Mick Black (natural foot) surfing Noiseys near Gracetown. Ric Chan pic

1974 Mick Black Noiseys Ric chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1974 Barry Day (natural foot) surfing Guillotine. Ric Chan pic

1974 Barry Day Guillotine Ric Chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1975 Steve Hannett (natural foot) surfing Injidup. Ric Chan pic

1975 Steve Hannet Injidup Ric Chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1976 Rob Conneely (natural foot) surfing Margaret River. Ric Chan pic

1976 Rob Conneely Marg River Ric Chan 1 collage_photocat

Photo: 1976 Ian Cairns (natural foot) surfing North Point. Ric Chan pic

1976 Ian Cairns North Point Ric Chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy (goofy foot) surfing Margaret River. Ric Chan pic

1976 Tony Hardy Marg River Ric Chan 2 collage_photocat

Photo: 1978 Craig Bettenay (natural foot) surfing Trigg. Ric Chan pic.

1978 Craig Bettenay Triggs Ric Chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1980 Mike McAuliffe (goofy foot) surfing Scarborough. Ric Chan pic

1980 Mike McAuliffe Scarb Ric Chan collage_photocat

Photo: 1980 Chris Fullston (goofy foot) surfing Lefthanders near Gracetown. Ric Chan pic

1980 Chris Fullston Lefthanders Ric Chan collage_photocat