1976 Craig Bettenay Surfboards

In 1976 top WA surfer/shaper Craig Bettenay and former Victorian Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson designed and made Craig Bettenay signature surfboards in Blue’s back shed in Dunsborough. The single fin boards were designed for surfing solid SW waves.

Photos: 1976 Steve & Craig displaying some of their surfboard designs in Dunsborough. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Craig: “Blue glassed & finished and I shaped & sanded the surfboards. The boards had hand written signatures on them and were sold Down South and in Perth at Star Surf Shop. It was a ‘Good Happy Vibe’ as Blue was great with good structure and some good boards came out of The Shed.”

Photos: 1976 Craig in the shaping bay at The Shed Dunsborough. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Photos: 1976 Craig testing his surfboards in solid SW waves. Photos credits Ric Chan.
Top: (Left) Craig surfing Margaret River. (Right) Craig surfing North Point.
Bottom: (Left) Craig surfing North Point. (Right) Craig at Margaret River.

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Craig & Blue went on to design custom surfboards for Cordingley Surfboards in Jolimont WA.

Image: 1976 Craig & Blue in Cordingley Surfboards advt displayed in WASRA Spring Titles Program. Image courtesy of Cordingley Surfboards & WASRA.

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1960s West Coast Surfing Girls

Former Cottesloe surfer Jeanne Abbott recorded her memoirs of surfing with her cousin Tina Daly and friend Stefanie Meyer in the early 60s.

This is Jeanne’s story:-

My cousin Tina Daly, Stef Meyer and I hired surf shooters at Cottesloe at a very early age and simply loved being out in almost all conditions and being dumped in the rolling surf on the beach. We had been jumping off the groyne at Cottesloe at an early age and the beach was in our blood.

In the early 60’s surfing was very much a male dominated sport, particularly at the local beaches, Cottesloe, the Cove, Isolated, City Beach and Scarborough and then later at Yallingup and Cowaramup Bay. The guys were very content as they had the beaches all to themselves.

We used to watch the guys surfing with enormous envy. A guy called John McGilvray (brother of Alan) used to ride a wooden plank at Cottesloe beach almost every day. We knew that those wooden boards were way too heavy for us but that did not deter us in any way.

Eventually we got the guts to ask a couple of surfers if we could pay to have a few rides on their boards. We thought nothing of paying 40c to 50c for a few rides on their boards. We were the Gidget’s of Cottesloe and we were hooked and there was no way in the world we were going to let this sport go by without us.

It was a battle to convince our parents we wanted to surf and wear jeans, duffel coats and desert boots. Anyway we managed to save our money and we ordered our own custom built surfboards which were made by Colin and Rex Cordingley who lived in Stirling Highway, Mosman Park. Our first Cordingley boards were all white with a single stringer and a fin. They cost approximately $35.00 which was a lot of money in those days.

Photo: 1963 Tina, Jeanne & Stefanie at Cottesloe. Photo credit WA Newspapers.

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We used to carry our heavy 9’2” Malibu boards on our hips from my cousin’s house in Cottesloe to all the beaches within walking distance. Sometimes the guys used to give us lifts and we put in for petrol. We did not care because they took us to the places where the best waves were.

One day we got a lift down to the 27 mile peg just before Mandurah (Surf Beach). It had a narrow limestone track and the cars got scratched by overhanging bushes, but it was the best spot and hardly anyone knew about it. We drove down in Tina’s boyfriend Joe Wilson’s work vehicle, a Holden Ute. We had never seen waves like this before and we surfed there all day on our own.

Finally the guys accepted us after we surfed up to 4-5 hours a day with them at the Cove, Isolated or wherever the best waves were on the day.

There were no such things as wetsuits and leg ropes and we made our own baggy board shorts and wore them over our normal bathers.

One day a beach inspector at Cottesloe came up to me and ordered me off the beach because I had bikinis on. I was shocked because they were cute little pink and white bikinis. He told me to put a t-shirt on and cover up as he said I looked indecent. My parents were not impressed, which made it worse.

Photos: (Left) 1963 Jeanne in the bikinis she was wearing when ordered off Cottesloe beach by a beach inspector. (Middle) 1963 Jeanne winner of surfing competition at Surf Beach. (Right) 1963 Jeanne competing surf contest at Scarborough. Photos courtesy of Jeanne Abbott.

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We surfed all year round and in the winter months used a fire to keep us warm between surfs at the Cove. We also went to Norm’s Tearooms which were directly across the road from the Cottesloe pavilion, Norm made the best pasties and hot chocolate drinks. After a couple of years he accepted us and used to ask us to help him serve in the shop when it was busy.

We were lucky in those early days as drugs had not hit our scene and we were content surfing and attending the Swanbourne Stomp each Saturday night. We also went to some stomps at the North Cottesloe Surf Club, which was an old house on the opposite side of the road to where the NCSC building is located now. Our favourite word was “stoked”.

In 1964 the Coca Cola Company decided to sponsor the first ever State Surf Board Championships to be held at Yallingup for the guys. We wrote to them asking if they would sponsor a female event. They wrote back and agreed. They paid for us to stay at Caves House at Yallingup. We were only allowed to go if Tina’s father took us down.

Newspaper Images: 1964 State Surfing Titles at Yallingup. (Left) Surf journalist Alan McIntosh’s article on women competing at surf championships. (Right) Women competitors at the championships. Images credit WA Newspapers.

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The day of the big event the waves in the bay at Yallingup were huge and the event was cancelled and the boys did not venture out. However Tina, Stef & I from the West Girls Board Club ventured out. It took us nearly an hour to get out the back, then we saw this huge set coming from hell, the next minute it took us with it. We surfaced to find our boards were gone and then the next big wave landed on us. We couldn’t see each other and were swept by strong current into the bay. I think it took us an hour to get back to shore and walk back to the guys at Yallingup Beach.

The guys on the beach were laughing and told us we were mad and could have been killed out there. That night the guys asked us to go and have a beer with them at the pub, but all we wanted to do was to have a hot shower and recover from the ordeal.

Tina’s father was very strict and that evening when it came to 8.30 to 9.30 pm it was time to stay in. But there was no way we were going to stay in, so after dinner, off come the dresses and on went the jeans and duffel coats and we climbed down the roof near the entrance of Caves Hotel and joined the guys, we had a great night.

The next day the waves were still too big at Yallingup so the titles were moved to Cowaramup Bay. It was a long walk through the scrub and across rocks on the beach with our boards. But it was a great surf spot (Huzza) and the waves were safer and easier to ride.

Eventually another year went by and I was old enough to get my driver’s licence and my father purchased a Morris Minor convertible which made our lives a lot easier to get around to any beach we wanted.

Photos: Social pics (Left) 1965 Pre-dinner drinks at Jeanne’s place before Yallingup Board Club Ball L-R (boys at the back) Don McDonald, Joe Wilson & Allan McGilvray, (girls at the front) Jeanne, Tina Daly & Louise Bojear. (Right) 1965 Surfers Ball held at South Perth Community Centre L-R George Goddard, Jeanne, Tina Daly & Joe Wilson. Photos courtesy of Jeanne Abbott.

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In those days Midget Farrelly and Nat Young from NSW were our idols but we also had good surfers here in WA. Surfing was not recognised in WA like the eastern states, we got our recognition some years later.

We had some great surfers in those days in WA, I cannot remember all the names, but a few come to mind. Of course, Joe Wilson being the boyfriend of my cousin Tina, Bill Oddy who drove a white Simca sedan and never let anyone in his car if they smoked or left rubbish, his car was always immaculate, Alan McGilvray (cruising around in his white Valiant), Trevor Baskerville, Terry (Rat) James, Kim (Dish) Standish, Rob Birch, Dave Ellis, Murray Smith from Scarborough and Terry Jacks from City Beach, Craig Brent-White, Hume Heatley (who unfortunately passed away with a brain tumour), Peter Dyson, Mark Paterson (who we are all proud of as his sons have done so well), Howard (the Ghost) Kent, John Pozzi, Don (Floater) Ramsey, Don McDonald, Bob Mayer, John Balgarnie, Steve Mailey, Tony Harbison, John (Artie) Shaw, Cliff Hills and also a special little guy called Karl Schumacher. There are naturally a lot of others, but after all these years it’s a little hard to remember each and every one, they were all very special in their own way.

In the 1980s Tina & I were invited to a Yallingup Board Club (YBC) reunion at Bill Oddy’s Newport Hotel in Fremantle.

Photos: 1980s YBC reunion in Fremantle. (Top left) Rob Birch, Jeanne & Kim Standish (Top right) Kim Woods & Jeanne. Photos courtesy of Jeanne Abbott. (Bottom) Tina Wilson, Trevor Baskerville & Tanya Hills. Photo courtesy Tina Wilson.

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I look at the surfers of today with their light weight boards, wet suits, leg ropes and the 4 wheel drives and so on and I guess like the other surfing girls from the 60’s, our hearts say we would never have changed a thing.

Jeanne Darcy (nee Abbott) as I remember it.


1960s & 70s Ron Moss – another day at the office

Ron ‘Pixie’ Moss of Floreat started riding surf boards at City Beach in the early 60s. Ron was a talented body surfer and board rider on Malibu & coolite surfboards. He was easily recognisable with long blonde hair and red ‘sluggos’ (ie speedos). His surfing style was unique, he could paddle his mal in the squat position and used to stand on his board with arms folded while waiting for waves.

Ron was a foundation member of the City Beach Surf Riders Club (CBSR) in 1962 (along with Peter Docherty, Viv Kitson & others) and in 2000 was made a Life Member in recognition of his valuable service to the club over many years. He was an enthusiastic club member and encouraged the younger surfers.

Photos: (Left) 1964 Ron in sluggo’s at Scarborough – Carol McDonald pic. (Middle) 1966 Ron doing a head stand at City Beach – Daily News pic. (Right) 1967 Ron with Cordingley surfboard & CBSR boardies at Scarborough – Trevor Burslem pic.

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Early on Ron & surf promoter Trevor Burslem sold surf gear to shops and later established the Gasworks Surf Shop. At the time Ron worked as a postman so he could spend more time at the beach.

Ron surfed metro and South West beaches before being conscripted & serving in Vietnam in the late 60s. After National Service, where he trained to be a cook, he returned to his ‘office at the beach‘ and continued charming maidens while working as a cook at Hollywood Hospital.

Photos: (Left top) 1966 Ron surfing Scarborough on a Cordingley Board – Trevor Burslem pic. (Left middle) 1966 Surfers Ball held in South Perth. Ron 4th from left – Ron Moss pic. (Left bottom) 1968 Ron on National Service in Nui-Dat Vietnam – Ron Moss pic. (Right top) 1967 Ron working as a postman at Scarborough – Ron Moss pic. (Right bottom) 1966 Ron surfing a prohibited wave at Leighton – Trevor Burslem pic.

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In the mid-60s Ron Moss & Paul Meink paddled from City Beach to Rotto on their mals. It was a flat day & they were bored, so they did it. They took jelly babies for fuel on the trip. When they got to Rotto, the Authorities refused them access to the Island as their crafts weren’t registered. On the paddle back it was getting dark and they were spent. Luckily for them they were picked up by a passing cray boat. The boys were dropped off at Swanbourne Beach and left to paddle-in in the dark.

In 1977-78 Ron joined the City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club hoping to negotiate a meeting room for CBSR. While with the surf club he competed successfully at a National SLSC competition at Scarborough and rode a coolite to victory in a SLSC surfboard competition held at Trigg.

Because of his outgoing personality, Ron was widely known inside and outside surfing circles and was particularly popular with the ladies. He was/is a raconteur and a legendary character of WA surfing.

Ron is now retired and lives in Kalbarri.

Photos: (Left) 1975 Kalbarri residents Ron & Craig Howe holding a local snapper – Ron Moss pic. (Middle) 2008 Ron & Julie Angel at Rick Ardon’s 50th birthday party – Loz Smith pic. (Right) 2010 Ron & Peter Docherty with CBSR Docherty Perpetual Trophy – Jim King pic

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Footnote: Ron’s younger siblings are also competent water people. Colin was a talented junior surfer, sister Margaret was a swimming champion at the State level and David a veteran of Princess Royal Harbour (Albany) and Rottnest swims won the 60-69 year old division of the 2010 2.4km Alcatraz swim in USA .




1970s-1980s Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston

In the early 1970s Mandurah surfer Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston was a team rider for Len Dibben (rode a wide Bonzer) and Cordingleys before moving to Greirson Surfboards and Redhot Sticks (made by Ian Cairns at Bicton) in the 1980s.

Chris surfed Hawaii in 1975 and 76 with Ian Cairns.  He then became a Pro Surfer on the fledging Pro circuit and was a finalist in the Gunstun 500 surf comp in Durban South Africa from 1976 to 78. He also competed successfully at the Bells Comp Trials in Victoria and the Stubbies Pro comp in Queensland.

In WA he won the first Margaret River Classic in 1978, a Coca Cola comp at Trigg Point, a Sunshine Coast comp in Geraldton, two Spring Titles and represented the State 8 times in short board Surfing Teams.

In the 1980s he added another string to his bow & began cray fishing in Mandurah, Yallingup, Greenhead and Kalbarri on his cray boats ‘Charisma’ & then ‘Wave Dancer’.

In 1997 at age 42 he took up long boarding and won numerous State long board surfing titles.

Chris now lives on a farm in Tasmania with his wife Lesley. He recently won the Tasmanian State short & long board surfing titles in the over 55 division. You could write a book about Feggsey!

Chris on the beach at Margs in 1975. Photo Ric Chan

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1975 Chris Fullston surfing solid Margaret River main break. Image credit Ric Chan.

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