Surfers out of water activities

Surfers have always had a social/sporting life away from the ocean.

In the 1950-70s surfers out of water activities were often based around Board Club activities. Clubs organised fund raising balls, cabarets & stomps, parties, presentation nights, weekly beer kegs for members and inter-club footy, rugby & cricket matches.

Club members also worked at and attended city night spots & Sunday pub sessions en masse.

This is a collection of surfers social & sporting images.

Photo: Late 1950s Pagoda Ballroom South Perth. City Beach Board Club 1st Reunion. L-R John Budge, Colin Taylor, Jo, Alma, Artie Taylor, Mark Whittome, unknown, Sandra, Barry ‘Stretch’ Gallon, unknown, Ray Geary, Helen – John Budge pic.

1950s Pagoda Ballroom Sth Pth CBBC crew 1st Reunion John Colin Jo, Alma Artie Mark unknown Sandra Stretch unknown Ray Helen- John Budge

Photos: 1967 night time activities. Photos courtesy of Trevor Burslem & Jeanne Abbott.

(Left) Gayle Frank’s & Timon ‘Tiny’ Mc Kay doing the ‘Tiny 2 Step’ at a Board Club prawning night held at the Swan River. (Right) Sue Ellen, Jeanne Abbott, Stephanie Myer & Tina Daly at ‘Endless Summer’ movie showing at Regal Theatre Subiaco.

1967 Night time activitities collage_photocat

Images: 1967 Board club Sunday arvo keg at Subi. Participants include Michael ‘Jay’ Martino, Bruce King, Colin & Ron Moss, Gayle ‘Copper’ Franks & others. Still frames from City Beach Surf Riders Club Super 8 film.

1967 CBSR keg arvo at Subi collage_photocat

Images: 1967 Sunday arvo beach rugby game between City Beach surfers and the bruisers from Jim Woodland’s Car Club at Scarborough.  Junior surfer Michael ‘Midge’ Semple is participating in Club t-shirt. Still frames from City Beach Surf Riders Club Super 8 film.

1967 City Beach Rugby Midge collage_photocat

Photos: Afternoon drinks. Photos courtesy of Robyn McDonald & Jim King.

(Left) 1968 Ron Moss partying with Robyn Mac and her girlfriends at City Beach. (Right) 1970 Craig Henfry & Tom Blaxell Scarborough.

1960s outdoor social pics collage_photocat

Photos: 1969 Swan River cruise Ric Chan pics.

(Left) Micko Gracie sunbaking with the girls. (Right) Denise George & Bruce King.

1969 River Cruise Micko & Bruce collage_photocat

Images: 1968 Annual City Beach vs Tarni footy match held at Yanchep oval. Images courtesy of Doug White & Norm Bateman.

Left: Doug White’s surf column in Sunday Times. Right: Post footy match drinks at Yanchep L-R Jim King, Kathy Ward & Norm Bateman.

1968 Annual footy match City Beach vs Tarni at Yanchep 2 collage_photocat 1

Photo: 1972 Dolphin Board Riders star studded footy team training session at Deanmore Park Scarborough. Tom Blaxell pic.

1972 Scarborough Dolphin Board Riders at Deanmore Park - T Blaxell 0038 - Cropped

Image: 1979-80 Admona Big League series collectors card featuring WAFL & VFL footballer and WA surfer Barry Day. Image courtesy of Bruce King.

1979-80 Baz Day surfer-footballer Ardmona Footy Card

In the late 70s Ron Moss of the City Beach Surf Riders (CBSR) Club joined the City of Perth SLSC in the hope of obtaining meeting room facilities for his board club. It is understood that CBSR now has a meeting room in the new SLSC building.

Image: 1977-78 City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club Champion Patrol. Ron Moss is on far left. Image courtesy of Ron Moss.

1977-78 City Beach Ron Moss clubbie 8 Years

Photos: Perth Nightclubs. Photos courtesy of Maureen Davies & Ric Chan.

(Left) 1968 Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn & Maureen Davies @ 2 Eyes Nightclub. (Right) 1979 WASRA function at Gobbles Night Club. L-R unidentified lady & Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson.

1968-79 Nightclub Sheepdog & Pants collage_photocat

Photo: 1980 entertainers Ric Chan & Bob McKenzie DJ’ing at Gobbles Night Club in Perth. Ric Chan pic.

1980s Gobbles Night Club Ric Chan & Bob McKenzie IMG_0003

Photos: 1983 annual cricket game for Bentoel Cup. Scarb vs City Beach (CB team includes Glen Carroll, Craig Bettenay & Craig Blume). Craig Blume pics.

1983 Scarb cricket Bentoel Cup vs City Beachcollage_photocat



1960s Elephants at City Beach

A scenic coast road ran along the beach front at City Beach from the 1950’s to early 70’s. The road started near the Floreat Beach Tea Rooms in the north and ended near the City Beach Tea Rooms at the south end. The coast road was used by beach goers and tourists.

Beach erosion was a problem with the coast road and the Tea Rooms so they were demolished during the 70s.

Photos: 1964 City Beach coastline. Photos courtesy of Cambridge Library Local Studies.
(Left) Coast Road looking south towards City Beach Tea Rooms.
(Right) Coast Road looking north towards Floreat groyne & Tea Rooms.

1964 City Beach coast road - Cambridge Library pics collage1_photocat

Members of the City Beach Board Club (CBBC 1953-57) and City Beach Surf Riders Club Inc (CBSR from 1961 onwards) used the City Beach Tea Rooms as their unofficial headquarters and beach hang-out.

Photo: 1965 CBSR crew outside City Beach Tea Rooms. L-R Kevin O’Dywer (dec’d), Jim King, Phil Henderson, Brian Brown (dec’d), Bruce King & Alan Cleaver (dec’d) & unknown sitting in front. Photo courtesy of Norm Bateman.

1965 City BeachTea rooms 6 NB pic (2)

Photos: 1966 CBSR grommets in the front of City Beach Tea Rooms. Photo credits Norm Bateman.

(Left) L-R Bruce ‘Lumpy’ King, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn & Norm Bateman.
(Right) L-R Kevin ‘Dirty Odes’ O’Dwyer (dec’d), Lumpy King, Rob Farris, Sheepdog & Jim King.

1966 Sheepdog City Beach - NB pics collage_photocat

Elephants at City Beach

It was commonplace on weekends for CBSR members to hang on the wooden steps in front of the Tea Rooms and wave to passing tourists.

In the mid 60’s, some CBSR young guns took this social activity to a new level. Being well-hung young lads they performed an elephant impersonation to entertain passengers on a passing tourist bus. On a busy Sunday afternoon they stood out the front of the Tea Rooms waving to the passengers on a passing tourist bus. They flared out the pockets of their shorts like elephant ears and with their fly’s unzipped, they swung their “willy’s” in the breeze like elephant trunks. It was comical to see the busload of smiling oldies casually waving to them, then seeing their looks change to awe (or admiration) as their heads swivelled around to gawk at the elephant routine as their bus drove slowly past the Tea Rooms.

They may have been naughty boys, but they could surf.

Photos: 1960s CBSR crew surfing metro waves. Photo credits Trevor Burlsem & Ric Chan.

Top: Norm Bateman & Phil Henderson.
Middle: Howard Johnson (dec’d) & Sheepdog.
Bottom: Bruce King & Ronald Moss.

cbsr 8 collage_photocat

They were fun times (-:


1960-70s Surfing Coolites at City Beach by Craig Blume

Craig Blume – Caveat before I start – I apologise now for missing out a lot of guys and events that occurred during the mid 60’s and early 70’s, but hopefully someone can fill in the holes so we get a great capture of the time.

These are my recollection of the early coolite days at City Beach from the mid 60’s-70’s.

What a fantastic time, free flowing spirits, evolution in the air with surfboard materials and sizes changing from wooden/balsa 10 foot plus down to Craig Bettenay’s 4’8” fibreglass, as mentioned in other articles. I think Craig also had a smaller green board made to trial which he referred to as the “Derringer”.

My first memory of surfing City Beach is as a 10-11yo in 1964/5. A mate and I would hitchhike from Wembley to City Beach along Cambridge Street /Oceanic Drive, hired inflatable rubber mats either off the beach or from the small blue kiosk in front of the old orange surf club, surf all day or until the nipple and gut rash became too painful.

In 1966 we moved to south City Beach, near Jeff “RE” Marshall’s place in Branksome Gardens. From that point on for the next few years I spent most of my time learning to surf a coolite near the groyne. I remember being in awe of the older guys surfing on fibreglass boards weaving thru kids on coolites and cheering the Surf Life Saving Club guys when they became unstuck on their wooden skis.

In the 60’s the City Beach coolite riders were a small close knit bunch of guys, extremely competitive and enthusiastic, with most attending City Beach Primary and High School, who were encouraged and mentored, at some stage, by equally enthusiastic members of the City Beach Surf Riders Club Inc. (CBSR).

Photo: Mid 70s Craig’s dog “Spike Milligan” guarding his coolites & foamies. Photo courtesy of Craig Blume.

1960s Coolites & Foamies guarded by Spike Milligan - Craig Blume

Surfing Coolites at City Beach Groyne

Most mornings around dawn, when there was surf, there would be a few CBSR crew on fibreglass boards and coolite riders, like the Howe brothers – Alan (Fagan) & Craig (Thurston), Bettenay brothers -Greg (Boris), Stewart (Big Silk) & Craig (Little Silk), Ross (Log) Lawrence, Ross (Duck) Craigie, Chris (Bum Dip) Warrener, David (Errol) Wishart), Grant (Shorty) Arnold, myself and other local school kids surfing off the groyne. (I believe ‘Pixie’ Moss gave some of these coolite riders the endearing title of – “Tiny Tits Little Shits” – that’s another story.)

Typically, the sequence of events was – the fibreglass board riders would tell us coolite riders to stop hassling and f!!k off and then, around 6am, the early morning “tubby club” would slowly arrived for their splash, chat and swim near the groyne and be given a whole bunch of profanities and encouraged to move away from the groyne to avoid being hit and giving all the surfers the shits. The same happened after school at 6pm when the Fremantle Doctor (sea breeze) was in.

I remember one time when there had been no surf for a while, so the north City Beach boys made a sacrifice to “Huey” to bring waves by burning a coolite. The surf eventually did come up, but unfortunately Stewart Bettenay burnt his foot badly during the sacrifice ritual on the molten coolite polystyrene foam and consequently was sidelined and out of action for some time.

Photos: 1969 surfboard riding City Beach groyne. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.
(Left) unidentified. (Right) Stewart Bettenay.

1969 surfing City Beach groyne unknown & Stew Bettenay collage_photocat

Coolites, Skegs and Swimmers

The interaction between coolite riders and swimmers to my recollection was initially sort-of tolerated because they didn’t have skegs, only two small rounded foam 1” keels running along the bottom near the rail, which didn’t hurt if you got run over, although it made them difficult to control and ride standing-up. I am not saying there wasn’t the occasional conflict when a swimmer got hit by a coolite.

Initially, if my memory serves me well, there were two types of polystyrene foam surfboards – Hardies coolites, which were available to general public and another – a foamy for Surf Life Saving Clubs use.

Before either of these foam boards could be surfed without serious chaffing they needed to be painted with exterior water based paint, many a coolite was melted and wrecked by using oil based paint.

Next, installing skegs in coolites – fantastic innovation, it improved their performance and manoeuvrability, usually started with cutting up wooden plank from a fruit crate and shaping it to mimic the latest skeg designs being used in new fibreglass boards.

Then precisely measuring and cutting a slot in the coolite to just fit the skeg and pouring melted bees wax around the skeg to hold it in.

Installing skegs allowed surfers to experiment and pull-off more radical manoeuvres, tube riding, radical turns, re-entrys etc, and cultivated an environment of ultra-competitive aggressive surfing styles like Howie’s and the “Silks”, it also favoured the brave in front of the rocks, especially goofy foots like Howie, and defined pecking orders – rewarded the committed and wrecked the hesitant.

Photo: 1975 Craig Blume & Craig Howe with fibreglass surfboards at City Beach. Photo courtesy of Craig Blume.

1975 City Beach Craig Blume & Craig Howe - Craig Blume pic

“RE’s Law”

I remember hassling and guys dropping in on waves off the end of the groyne intensified to the extent surfers and surfboards were getting wrecked on the rocks. I don’t exactly remember when RE’s Law was proclaimed, but it established a surfers etiquette between the locals – 1st out had priority, 2nd out had the next wave, and so. Once you caught a wave you went to the back of the queue. This law, like all laws, worked if everyone knew it and abided by it, which was most of the time, but fell apart quickly resulting in an exchange of abuse and unnecessary tension in the surf and on shore. When it worked, there was great vibe in the water, guys would be cheering each other on, pushing each other to go harder and bragging how far they surfed down into the bay.

Surfboards and swimmers don’t mix

With the coolite’s increased manoeuvrability due to skegs, it allowed surfers to get closer and further around the nose of the groyne and inside most swimmers which escalated the conflict with swimmers to a whole new level. Because – on the one hand if the fin hit an obstacle, the groyne or swimmer, it would usually rip the skeg and surrounding foam out, resulting in time out the water for repairs. On the other hand if the obstacle was a person, they would be pissed off.

In these early days if you couldn’t get back on your coolite quickly and get away from the swimmer there would a confrontation usually on the shore, due to no leg ropes.

I remember one time my board supposedly hit this fat tubby club swimming obstacle. When I went to pick up my board this guy was going to punch my lights out, however Keith “Woolly” Hawkins (a Leederville surfer who went on to glass Energy Surfboards with Ken McKenzie at Margaret River) had other ideas and came to my rescue and reversed the situation. Thanks Woolly!

Beach Inspectors

The increase in surfboard rider/ swimmer confrontations saw the City of Perth introduce a “swimming area” and restrict surfing times near the groyne to before 6am and after 6pm and beach inspectors to manage it. The first beach inspector I encountered was Warren “Wonk” Somerford (dec’d), a guy not to be messed with, took his role very seriously, no surfboards in the swimming area near the groyne between 6am-6pm, one warning to get out, next time your board was confiscated for a time he thought was appropriate.

Another beach inspector was John “Harbo” Harbison (dec’d) who also took his role seriously, but practically, he strictly enforced no surfboards in the swimming area near the groyne between 6am-6pm, if there were swimmers in the area, otherwise you could surf.

Photo: 1973-74 Beach Inspector John ‘Harbo’ Harbison herding a topless girl off the beach. Photo courtesy of WA Newspapers.

1973-74 CB Beach Inspector John Harbo herding topless girl off beach

Restricted Surfing Times

Restricting surfing times meant you had to be in the water before dawn to beat the “tubby club” and Beach Inspector. This resulted in guys sleeping on beach near the groyne, in the surf lifesaving club’s boat shed (on the beach side of “West Coast Highway” which ran passed the City Beach and Floreat groynes to Scarborough), and camping under a clump of big melaleuca trees behind the City Beach Tearooms, colloquially referred as ‘The Pad’, to get into the surf early.

Many great times and yarns were had around these campfires. There would be someone with a story about their surfing ventures or romantic encounter etc. Whilst everyone was engrossed in these stories or asleep they would on some occasions be sprayed with the contents of canned food and soft drinking which were put in the campfire, as joke, without being pierced and explode.

Fishing off the groyne

Fishing off the groyne was another area of conflict for surfers. Sunrise and dusk are the normally the best time to fish and coincidently before 6am and after 6pm were the times we were permitted to surf coolites near the groyne. Most fishermen cast their fishing lines away from the surfers around the end of the groyne for obvious reasons. On some occasions, however, there would be a passionate European fisherman who would cast their hook, line and sinker over the guys in the water, which would result in a barrage of abuse and profanities coming from the surfers with the occasional assertive person snapping the line off as it came near them. Inevitably someone would get hooked up and on one occasion I was the unfortunate one, getting hooked in the thigh resulting with fisherman losing his gear to the surf, once I managed to snip the hook-eye off, push the barb through the skin with a lot of swearing while pulling the hook out.

Mentors – CBSR Club Members

Most of the CBSR members were incredible enthusiastic dedicated surfers who won many Interclub, State, National and International surfing competitions. Others helped the club function and enjoyed the camaraderie.

The world was our oyster with advice from members like:-

Ron (Pixie) Moss, talented surfer with many attributes – enjoyed pushing coolite riders off their boards in front of the groyne, teaching groms how to fill in time while waiting for the surf to happen by instructing us how to play poker, pontoon, slippery sam etc for money in the City of Perth SLSC boat shed and “Pad”, etc.

Timon (Tiny) McKay – Great story teller, instrumental in transporting the “Tiny Tits Little Shits” to surf comps and surf breaks, putting up with Howie and me dropping around to his and Browneye’s house in Hasting St, Scarborough unexpectedly etc

Brian (Browneyes) Mawby-Brown – for providing advice on cars, driving, surf spots and put up with us visiting unexpectedly, etc

Bruce (Lumpy) King, Kevin (DO) O’Dwyer, Phil Henderson etc – dropping around Tiny’s and Browneye’s house with stories about surfing trips, cars, girls and the night before, etc.

In finishing I would like to especially thank Jim King for having the drive and foresight to gather and publish stories of surfing history in WA.

** see related material**

1960-70s Coolite surfboards – Wednesday 2 March 2106

1970-80s Foamie surfboards – Saturday 5 March 2016


A Pair of Kings by Mike Bibby

The King brothers Jim and his younger brother Bruce grew up in Subiaco and attended Subi Primary School.

Photos: 1950s Jim & Bruce ‘dressed to impress’ at Subi. Photo courtesy of Mrs King.

1950s Subi Jim & Bruce King collage_photocat

They started coming down south with their parents for holidays in the 1950’s staying at Hammond Cottages at Yallingup, Siesta Park and Hamlin Bay.

Photos: 1954 King Family SW Holiday. Photos courtesy of Mrs King.

(Top) Australind church & Yalls beach.
(Middle) Hammond Cottage Yalls hill & Caves House Hotel.
(Bottom) Hamelin Bay camp site & Hamelin Bay dhufish (Bruce & Jim modelling their mum’s homemade boardies) .

1954 SW holiday King family 1 collage_photocat

They started surfing in their early teens at City Beach and were members of the City Beach Surf Riders Club (CBSR) in the 60s.

Jim was CBSR President in 1968 & Captain of the club’s surf team in 1969. He was CBSR Senior Champion 1966-69 (Moss Bros Perpetual Trophy – Seniors).

Bruce was CBSR Junior Champion in 1967 (Moss Bros Perpetual Trophy – Juniors).

Photos: 1966 Jim & Bruce with Cordingley triple stringer & single fin surfboards at Subi (Jim’s board has a CBSR emblem & club colours on the bottom). Photos courtesy of Mrs King.

1966 Jim & Bruce at Subi collage_photocat

They started surfing down south around 1965 and have been regulars since then. The bros are now retired and live in the SW.

Photos: 1970s SW Images. Photos courtesy of Tom Blaxell, Tom Collins & King Bros.

(Top) Jim (Blaxell team rider) at Gallows and Kath & Jim King at Yalls. (Bottom) Kath paddling at Dunsborough & Bruce surfing the Surge (now known as Bubble).

1970s SW Images IMG_001

Jim represented WA at the National Surf Riding Titles held in NSW in 1968. He was runner-up to Rick Lobe in the 1970 State Spring Surfing Titles held at Trigg and won the Annual Trigg Point contest in 1970 (pre King of The Point). He was a State surfing Judge in the 1970’s and has surfed in Mexico, Hawaii, Bali and the Eastern States.

Bruce’s travels include many trips to the eastern states in the late 1960’s. In 1972/73 he travelled with Bob Monkman, Peter McDonald and Micko Gracie to South Africa (including J Bay and Cape St Francis) then went onto England, France, Spain and Portugal, surfing at many places. In 1976 he travelled to Mauritius for about 3 months, then back to South Africa, mainly surfing the Durban area before heading off to Swaziland, Rhodesia, Zambia, Botswana and southwest Africa. He become a bit of a ‘bombo boy’ and saw the wildlife. It was a bit scary at times mixing it with elephants, lions and crocodiles.

Image: This article written by Doug White and appeared in the Sunday Times in 1971, it could well have been written today.

1971 Sunday Times article by Doug White

Both are still keen surfers today on short and long boards.. Jim (age 69) is a natural footer & Bruce (age 66) is a goofy footer.

Photos: 2014-15 King Bros surfing SW waves. King bros pics.

(Top) Jim. (Middle) Bruce. (Bottom) Jim & Bruce.

2014-15 SW surfing collage_photocat

Jim collaborated with author Sue-Lyn Adrian-Moyle and Margaret River Press to publish the first comprehensive book on Surfing Down South. The book has been an outstanding success and led to the SDS website where Jim regularly posts his informative and entertaining blogs.

Image: 2014 Margaret River Times article by Rebecca Parish. Photo by Becky Felstead. Image courtesy of MR Times.

MR Times 14 Feb 2014 Scan cs

Photo: 2014 Author Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle with attendees at Surfing Down South book launch at Vasse Felix Winery. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2014 SDS Book launch Vasse Felix

The book and the SDS website has not only revived old memories but has rekindled old friendships and acquaintances.

Jim has a large collection of vintage photos, videos and news clips of Western Australian surfing. His attention to detail, cross referencing and passion (some would say “obsession”) has created a permanent portfolio of surfing action over the past 60 years.

Both bros are keen amateur photographers and apart from their daily shots of surfing at Yallingup and surrounds, Bruce is a regular winner of the local newspaper photo competition with his wildlife and nature shots.

Photos: Mike Bibby’s wine bottle presentations to King Bros. Photos courtesy of Mike Bibby & King Bros.

(Left) 2014 Mike’s ‘King Bros’ wine labels. L-R Bruce, Mike & Jim. (Right) 2015 Bruce & Jim being presented with bottles of “The King” fine wine at Mike Bibby’s place in Yallingup.

2014-15 Mike Bibby wine presentations collage_photocat


1960s City Beach memorabilia

Students Peter Docherty and Viv Kitson started the City Beach Surf Riders Club (CBSR) in 1962. The Club is still running today.

Photo: 1963 Charlie Roper & Ernie Potter at CBSR Intra Club competition at Scarborough. Photo credit Ernie Potter.

1963 CBSR Charlie Roper & Ernie Potter Scarboro

Image: 1963 Terry Jacks (age 18) CBSR’s ‘favourite son’ surfing City Beach. Image courtesy of the Daily News.

1963 City Beach Terry Jacks surfing ex newspaper

Photo: 1963 CBSR young guns hanging out at Trigg Beach. L-R John Harbison, Lennie Kochanowitsch, Wayne Lynch & John Hanley. Photo courtesy of John Harbison.

1963 John Harbison, Lennie Kochanowitsch, Wayne Lynch and I think John Hanley at Trigg

Photo: 1964 City Beach Tea Rooms. CBSR’s unofficial head quarters. Photo courtesy of Robyn McDonald.

1964 City Beach Tea Rooms - Robyn Mac IMG_0003a

Photo: 1965 Ron Moss doing a head stand at City Beach. Ron is a Life Member of CBSR and it’s longest serving member. Photo credit Trevor Burslem.

1965 Ron Moss head stand City Beach T Burslem pic