Pantsman memories by Tom Blaxell

Former WA Surfboard manufacturer Tom Blaxell recalls Greg ‘Pantsman’ Laurenson.

I first met ‘Pantsman’ in 1966. It was at Cordingley Surfboards in Hay Street Subi, where Colin Cordingley had just given me a job for the summer school holidays as a board repairer.

I had made my own first board in the garage at home in ‘64 when I was age 14, and had been instantly hooked on surfing. I also had this creative side and loved making things as well.

Seeing my enthusiasm for surfing, my Dad bought me a book by Midget Farrelly called “This Surfing Life” which had this underlying theme of submersing your life in surfing and I swallowed it hook line and sinker.

In those days there was no such thing as professional surfing, so the only way to make a living out of surfing was to get involved in making the equipment.

Ding fixing has always been the starting point in a surfboard making career, and sure enough it is the best way to hone your skills initially, on a miniature but broad range scale. Repairing a board actually involves small amounts of shaping, graphics, glassing, sanding and finishing – all the major skills in making a board.

So there I was on the threshold, on $20 a week and blessed by being amongst a fine team of experienced craftsmen who were at the height of their game.

Colin Cordingley was the nicest guy you could come across and was the front man for the shop, along with his wife Jenny, who had this knack of somehow making me feel like I was her little favourite.

Colin’s brother Rex was the main task master and head shaper. He could get a little grumpy at times but every team needs somebody to keep the show rolling, and he always kept his sense of humour.

Photo: 1970 Colin and Rex Cordingley with Bill Oddy at Australia Day contest presentations at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

Kathleen King and David Moss are among the spectators’ bottom left.

Charlie Campbell was the ultimate glasser who toiled like clockwork, ever dependable, never making a fuss and a great working companion.

Photos: 1970s Charles Campbell – Cordingley glasser images. Norm Bateman pics.

Left: 1970s Charles at Cordingley Surfboards Subi.

Right: 1975 Charles skate boarding at Carine.

Dave Ellis was a more colourful character with a certain artistic flavour to his way of thinking. He did the graphics, glossing and most of the sanding. He guarded his gloss room like Fort Knox and used to do a lot of the glossing in the cool of night. He also did some repairs and was the one who gave me most of the guidance in my work.

Photos: 1970s Dave Ellis – Cordingley finisher images.

Left: 1970s Dave at Cordingley Surfboards Subi. Norm Bateman pic.

Right: 1979 Dave at Cordingley Surfboards Jolimont. Ric Chan pic.

Then there was Pantsman, the rising star shaper. The thing that struck me about him most was his totally engaging way of communication. What with big wide eyes, full of interest, his insightful thoughts and questions, delivered with such eloquence and spiced with humour amongst the foam dust. It always required a considered response, so that the briefest exchange, even if it was just a joke, left you with the feeling that it was something important and it stuck in your mind. He could become spell binding, and always made you feel good when you had a chat.

Photos: 1970s Pantsman images

Left: 1970s Pants in Cordingley Surfboards Advt which appeared in West Coast Surfer magazine.

Right: 1970 Pants with GL Surfboard and mates at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

For some unknown reason he dubbed me “ Tonneau “ and always opened up with it whenever we ran into each other, and I would be compelled to respond “ Pantsman”, a silly little thing that I always cherished.

Of course in those days, as a punter you got to talk to the shaper, and even get to watch him shape your board. Greg’s gift for communication stood him well in that arena, and of course also later as a contest commentator.

At the same time Pants was of course an extremely talented craftsman who set himself very high standards. In those early days at Cords he was fairly new on the scene but I could see him rapidly developing a growing following, which was encouraging for an even younger bloke like me.

At the end of summer it was back to school, but a lot of my mates wanted me to make boards for them which I did in my spare time in the garage. When I finished school that year I had decided that I wouldn’t go on to Uni but instead devote my life to surfing, so it was back to Cords again.

By the end of that summer the demand in the garage had grown to mates of mates, and it had got to the point where I had 20 boards on order. That gave me enough courage to make the decision to go into business myself at the age of 17. Col took the news pretty well but pleaded with me to stay on until Easter as things were pretty busy, so I agreed to stay on before setting up shop in Ossie Park.

Photos: 1970s Tom Blaxell images.

Left: 1971 Tom at Blaxell Surfboards factory in Osborne Park. Ric Chan pic.

Right: 1973 Tom with full mop top at Gobbles Night Club. Tom pic.

Later on Pantsman did the same, setting up just down the road from me. There was no bad blood, and to me it seemed like a natural progression for him as well. We always had a special connection from the days back at Hay Street.

There was one notable incident when he was shaping a board but made a mistake, and in a Van Gogh perfectionist reaction punched a hole in the wall and broke his arm! He couldn’t shape for some months after, which probably didn’t help business very much.

Another moment was one year at the Margaret River Masters. We had organised a low key sundowner at the point on a Saturday night with a local band from town to entertain the troops. However at the end of the show I had come to the realisation that we didn’t have any cash on hand to pay the band.  So I was discretely making myself scare behind a banner to save the embarrassment, when up pops Pantsman “Tonneau, what are you up to? “  When I explained my predicament he instantly responded by opening up his jacket to reveal 2 bottles of vino to say “Well I’ve got a couple of orphans that I’ve adopted. They were looking for a good home. Why don’t you come back with me to keep em company? “… Band? What band?


Tom Blaxell

Click on this link to view Greg Laurenson – Master Shaper by Errol Considine published 2 August 2017.



1960s Surfing in the City – Peter Dyson

In the 1960’s Dalkeith surfer Peter ‘Dyso’ Dyson spent his youth surfing & socialising in the city.

In the early 60s Peter was a junior member of the Cottesloe Surf Board Club and a student at Hale School.

Later in the 60s he became a member of the Yallingup Surfboard Club and the lead singer in the popular Perth band The Banned – these matters are covered in other SDS Blogs.

These are Dyso’s memories and images of metro surfing & social activities in the ’60s.

1. Surfing (Metro)

In the early ‘60s I purchased my first polyurethane & fibreglass surfboard from former wooden boat builders Colin & Rex Cordingley in Stirling Highway, Mosman Park. The board cost 39 pounds & 10 pence and was expensive due to the cost of imported Bennett blanks. The board was a white colour with a red & black stripe. It weighed approx. 30lbs and had a bullet proof fibreglass & resin job. I used to drag it down to Slimys at North Cottesloe for a surf. Cordingley’s purchased adhesives and paint brushes from Dysons, my family’s business in Perth.

Photo: 1960s Jack Dyson (Pete’s granddad) building in Bedford Place in Perth. Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Jack Dyson Building Bedford Place Perth - PD pic IMG_0006

In ‘65 I won the individual award at the State School Boys competition held at Scarborough and was runner–up in ‘66.

Photos: 1960s Peter surfing the Cove at Cottesloe on his surfboard with wooden nose block. Peter Dyson Pics.

1960s The Cove Peter Dyson 3 collage_photocat

The 1966 State Winter Surfboard Championships were held at Scarborough. Michael Bibby won & I was runner-up in the Junior division. We were both members of the Yallingup Surfboard Club.

Image: 1966 Media coverage of the event courtesy of WA Newspapers.

1966 Scarborough State Winter Titles results - Daily News IMG_006

The following image appeared on Surfing WA’s 50th Year Anniversary t-shirt and on Invitations to their Celebrations held at Surfers Point Margaret River in 2014.

Photo: 1966 Finalists in State Winter Surfboard Championships at Scarborough. Trevor Burslem pic. L-R Maureen Farrell (2nd Women), John Pozzi (3rd Senior), Michael Bibby (1st Junior), John Balgarnie (1st Senior), Peter Dyson (2nd Junior), Terry Jacks (2nd Senior), Eleanor proud (1st Women).

1966 Scarborough Winter Titles winners - Trevor Burslem pic IMG_0079

In 1966 I was invited to become a ‘Team Rider’ for Cordingley Surfboards in Subiaco.

Image: 1966 Peter Dyson’s Cordingley competition team card courtesy of Peter Dyson.

1966 Cordingley Surfboards business card Peter Dyson - PD image IMG_0062

Images: 1966 Cordingley Surf Shop letters to Peter courtesy of Peter Dyson.

1960s Cordingley Surf Shop letters 1 collage_photocat

Photo: 1960s Jan Bevan (my first wife) modelling on Trigg Beach with a Nipper Williams Surfboard. Photo courtesy of Peter Dyson.

1960s Trigg Jan Bevan modelling with Nipper Williams surfboard 1 - PD pic IMG_0004

In the 70s Tony Harbison was President of WASRA and I served as Vice President during his term. If you know the attractive girl on my right in the following photo, please let us know her name.

Photo: 1970s Scarborough Beach. WASRA Vice President Peter Dyson presenting surfing awards to unidentified and Maureen Farrell. Photo courtesy of Peter Dyson.

1960s Scarborough comp Peter Dyson handing trophies to unidentified & Maureen Farrell - PD pic IMG_0060

2. Social (Metro)

Photo: 1960s Ball held Palace Hotel in Perth. L-R Blue Burridge, Peter Dyson, John ‘Ned’ Franetovich & Richard Burridge (ladies unidentified). Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Blue Burridge, Peter Dyson & Richard Burridge at Ball held Palace Hotel IMG_0017

Photo: 1960s Party. L-R Richard Barik, Peter Dyson, Terry Jacks & Dick Lenard. Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Party Richard Barik, Terry Jacks, Peter Dyson & Dick Lenard - PD pic IMG_0042

Photo: 1960s Claremont Football Club function. L-R Peter Dyson, John Balgarnie & Lance Bevan. Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Claremont Footy Club Peter Dyson, John Balgarnie & Lance Bevan - PD pic IMG_20160509_0002

Photo: 1960s Fancy Dress Embassy Ball Room. L-R Jeff Hanson, Don McDonald, Peter Dyson, Hume Heatley & Dave Condon. Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Fancy Dress Embassy Ball Room Jeff Hanson, Don McDonald, Peter Dyson, Hume Heatley & Dave Condon - PD pic IMG_0030

Photo: 1960s River Cruise. L-R Peter Dyson, Jan Bevan, Niobie Pericles & Mike Byrom. Peter Dyson pic.

1960s river cruise Peter Dyson, Jan Bevan, Niobiei Pericles, Mike Byrom - PD pic IMG_0026

Photo: 1960s River Cruise. L-R Peter Dyson, Mike Byrom (Young Blaydes band) & Mike ‘Gruff’ Reynolds (roadie for Young Blaydes band). Peter Dyson pic.

1960s river cruise Peter Dyson, Mike Byrom, & Gruff - PD pic IMG_0016

Photo: 1960s Party. Peter Dyson & John Balgarnie – Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Party Peter Dyson & John Balgarnie - PD pic IMG_0003

Craig Brent-White and I go right back to baby bassinets.

In 1964 Craig Brent-White, Peter Lummis (from Scarborough) & I were the first WA surfers to travel to Phillip Island in Vic. My dad Ken Dyson booked us into Koala Estate on Phillip Island. We were age 16 and travelled over on the train, stopping at Kalgoorlie on route to enjoy the attractions. We met & made friends with local surfers and started an exodus of WA surfers to Phillip Island (eg Peter Bothwell, Hume Heatley, John Balgarnie etc).

Photo: 1960s two unidentified maidens & Craig Brent-White (Sand n Sea Board Riders) dining at unidentified Perth restaurant, Peter Dyson pic.

1960s Perth location unknown 2 girls & Graig Brentwhite - PD pic IMG_0039

I still enjoy life and a good party!





1980 Cordingley Surf Team trip to Rotto

Colin Earle and the Cordingley Surf Team visited Rottnest in 1980. Surf photographer Ric Chan was there to capture the surf session at Strickland Bay.

Photos: 1980 Colin Earle surfing Strickland Bay #1. Ric Chan pics.

1980 Rotto Colin Earle 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Colin Earle surfing Strickland Bay #2. Ric Chan pics.

1980 Rotto Colin Earle 2 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Craig Bettenay surfing Strickland Bay #1. Ric Chan pics.

1980 Rotto Craig Bettenay 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Craig Bettenay surfing Strickland Bay #2. Ric Chan pics.

1980 Rotto Craig Bettenay 2 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980 Rotto pics by Ric Chan.
(Left) Damon Eastaugh & unknown surfing Strickland Bay. (Right) Mitch Thorson’s dad working at the Rotto bakery.

1980 Rotto Damon & unknown surfing & MItch's dad at bakery collage_photocat





1960s Greg Wynne and ‘The Young Blaydes’ Band

In the 60’s North Beach brothers Greg & Michael ‘Spike’ Wynne were talented young surfers on the northern beaches. They attended Scarborough High School.

Older brother Greg was not a member of a board club, but Michael (formerly Scarborough Board Club) was an inaugural member of the North Coast Board Club formed in 1969.

Photo: 1965 Greg & Mike Wynne with Greg’s blue VW Kombi & surfboards at Beachton St North Beach. Photo courtesy of Wynne family.

1965 Wynne Bros Greg & Mike 17 Brighton St North Beach. IMG_0002

In 1968 the brothers turned to stringerless surfboards. These boards were 9’0” mals, not short boards and had very large 11” flexible fins which Mike had Rex Cordingley make especially for their boards. Mike designed the boards which are very similar to what Mike now rides except for weight. They had a slight concave at the nose, flattening out in the centre and a slight “V” bottom at the back.

Greg was featured riding his stringerless board at Trigg’s 3rd carpark in an article on ‘WA surfboard design’ by surf photographer/journalist Greg Woodward’s in Surfing International Magazine in 1968 (see image below).

Image: 1968 Greg surfing Trigg on his stringerless Cordingley surfboard. Image courtesy of Greg Woodward & Surf International Magazine.

1968 Gregl Wynne Trigg Surf International Mag - Greg Woodward pic

Greg Wynne was also a talented musician.

These are Mike’s comments on Greg’s musical background.

Greg started out singing at the Snake Pit at Scarborough when he was 15. He met Geoff Gibson at Scarborough and they formed a band when they were about 17. They played a lot of stomps back then and all the surfers had a ball. Greg lived with the Gibson’s for over 2 years when he was young, he had parental issues.

Greg played in all the top bands. Ray Hoff and The Offbeats in Melbourne, Russ Kennedy and the Littlewheels, The Clan, The Profile (John Eddy, Greg Wynne, Cliff Toll and Peter Anderson from The Troupadores) and many others.

From 67-68 he played in a local band called The Young Blaydes managed by Victor Kailis. Everyone said they were amazing. Everywhere they played, it was a full house. Sometimes the liquor squad would come in and make the night club owners tell people to leave, as the number of patrons outnumbered the allowable attendees for their liquor license. It was Perth’s most popular band at that time. They were in the era of The Times and Johnny Young and the Strangers. I remember one night at the Top of the Town night club, it was a sell-out and teenagers were out of control; girls crying, guys drinking excess etc. the atmosphere was electric. The Blaydes’ had the night of their lives.

Victor Kailis was a great manager. He dressed them in suits and ties like the Beatles. They had hair to match, with exception of Greg, he grew an afro…..Curley hair can’t be a Beatle!

Image: 1971 Victor James Entertainment advertisement featuring Victor Kailis. Image courtesy of West Country Surf Magazine.

1971 Victor James Entertainment advt - West Country Surf mag img246

The Young Blaydes Band Members:

Dave Aylett. Played rhythm guitar and was a vocalist. Dave wrote all the songs. He wrote Sunday Afternoon recorded by Clarion Records – the group’s first single. They had other singles, all had airplay with Keith McGowan on 6PR back in those days. Dave was a Cottesloe boy and surfer.

Greg Wynne. Played bass guitar and was the lead vocalist.

Terry Malone. Played lead guitar. Renowned classical guitarist Jose Feliciano, saw Terry play a 12 string classical guitar at a muso’s “jam session” one night in Perth at a Night Club after hours and told all present he was the best guitarist in the world bar none – big compliment! He went on to be Professor in Law at UWA. Smart, brilliant guy! I used to watch him play the “Kinks” lead guitar breaks with his eyes closed. He was wild or sick as the kids say today! Terry wrote most of the music for Dave’s songs.

Michael Byrom. Played drums. He also surfed and was a North Beach boy like Greg.
He hooked up with Karen Pini. She won a beauty contest and they lived in Qld for a while.

One day Dave Aylett, Victor, Greg and I went to Avalon for a surf. Dave was a super surfer. I had never surfed there before. The whole bay had sand in it and the lefts were breaking off the point and going all the way to the beach. I thought it was sensational. I have never seen it like that since and I surf it a lot.

The group broke up as everyone had their own personal agendas and it became too hard for Victor to manage them. Had they held it together, they really could have been a very successful band internationally.

Greg Wynne passed away on Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 5.20pm after a 6 month battle with Leukaemia. It was Father’s Day. (Michael was born on Father’s Day 1949). Greg left behind his wife of 39 years, Nancy and three children, Jamie, Simone and Adam.

Adam and Simone are both talented musicians. Adam is a prolific songwriter and record producer and plays guitar(s) and drums and mixes all the music and sings on all his records. Simone is a bass guitarist, the same as her father. So the legacy continues…

Victor Kailis now runs the new restaurant at Trigg’s Point and is a good friend of surfer John Balgarnie.

Mike Wynne.


Former North Coast Board Club (NCBC) member Errol Considine recalls ‘The Young Blaydes’ band.

Errol ConsidineMy brother Jeff was the first President of the NCBC… and he designed the first club logo & cut the silk screen at home for the t-shirts – which were chocolate brown with an orange logo….both very cool colours then. I think Jeff & Gooselegs came up with the ‘69’ thing – naughty boyz!
Jeff had the brain wave of a ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ stomp/dance (the movie was huge then with title song big on the hit parade world-wide) ….he designed and made the posters and we plastered Perth beaches with them….hired an old hall under the Perry Lakes stadium & got a liquor licence….HUGE mob dressed up and turned up, it was great fun and the Club made THOU$AND$. Greg’s band “The Young Blaydes” played at the Bonnie & Clyde stomp/dance.


1970s Craig Bettenay Profile

Craig Bettenay and his elder brothers Greg & Stewart were amongst WA’s finest surfers in the late 60s & 70s. They started their surfing careers at City Beach in the 60s and then moved down south in the 70s.


Photo: 1969 Craig (age 12) surfing City Beach on a Blaxell Deringer surfboard. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1969 City Beach Craig Bettenay on Blaxell Deringer.- Ric Chan img064

At an early age, Craig & Stewart Bettenay were recruited into the prestigious Cordingley ‘Surf Team’.

Images: Early 70’s Craig at Cordingley Surfboards in Subiaco & Jolimont. Photos courtesy Country Surf Mag & Norm Bateman.

1970s Craig Bettenay at Cordingley surfboards collage_photocat


Spring Titles:
1970 Juniors 1st (Stewart 4th)
1971 Juniors 1st (Stewart 4th)
1972 Juniors 1st (Stewart 3rd)

State Titles:
1970 Juniors 3rd
1971 Juniors 3rd
1973 Juniors 1st (Stewart 2nd)

WA State Teams:
1971 Juniors in Vic
1972 Juniors in NSW
1973 Juniors in WA (Stewart also in State Team)
1976 Open in Vic.


Craig (age 11) made his first trip down south in ’68 with his bros’s Greg & Stewart. They camped at Smiths Beach and surfed Smiths Reef and Yallingup main break on modified coolites.

At age 14,  Craig was surfing big North Point Cowaramup and Margaret River on a 4’8″ twin fin.

Click on this link to view Craig Bettenay surfing Marg’s on 4’8′ twinnie blog published 24 January 2014.

In the 70s Craig & Stewart settled at Yallingup and indulged in their passion of surfing big waves.

Photos: Craig surfing photos courtesy of Ric Chan.
Top: (Left) 1973 Injidup (Right) 1978 Spring Titles Trigg.
Bottom: (Left) 1980 Rottnest (Right) 1976 Margaret River

1970s Craig Bettenay surfing IMG_008


Stewart Bettenay recalls Craig met & surfed with surfing legend Miki Dora at Yallingup .

Stewart: “My brother Craig told me USA Malibu legend Miki Dora came through Yallingup in the mid to late 70s. Craig went surfing with him twice and said he was a cool dude, handsome, very smooth, well dressed and good company. Miki told Craig “You really can surf”. He also told Craig about a new thing called a ‘credit card’ which he was using to travel the world.”


In ’76 & 77 Australia’s Surfing World magazine published articles on Craig surfing in the SW.

Images: 1976 Craig SW surfing photos courtesy of Surfing World magazine.

1976 Craig Betetnay Surfing Word article collage_photocat

Images: 1977 Craig SW surfing photos courtesy of Surfing World magazine.

1977 Craig Bettenay Surfing World article collage_photocat


In 1977 Craig joined Ian Cairns in Hawaii for a stint in the big waves on Hawaii’s North Shore.

Image: 1977 ‘Top Surfer off to Hawaii’ article by journalist Robbie Burns (former Subiaco Footballer). Image courtesy of Daily News & photographer Kevin Davidson.

1977 Travel Hawaii - Craig Bettenay ex Sunday Times copy


In the 70s Craig was a talented surfboard shaper for Cordingley Surfboards and also manufactured boards under his own name in the SW.

Clink on this link to view Craig Bettenay Surfboards blog published 29 July 2015.


In 1993 Journailist Mark Thornley published the following profile of Craig in WA’s Wetside News surf magazine.

1993 Craig Bettany Wetside News article collage_photocat