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1983 Cowaramup Bay Shark Story by Tom Hoye

Preface to Tom Hoye Shark Story by Chris Warrener.

In 2012 Tom and I sat together at his place in Margaret River to do some interviews for the purposes of compiling “Hoye Stories”, which is the title to a ‘book’, I have not completed.

Over a 2-year period we had a number of ‘sit-downs’ to record his musings on matters related to surfing, shaping and Tom’s general history.

There are so many stories, some tragic, some enlightening, and many funny stories of his exploits, fun times, and people he has encountered during his journeys on planet Earth, and always well told by Tom!

The following ‘story’ is an account of an experience Tom related involving a very big white pointer shark in Cowaramup Bay, which when you think about it makes your skin crawl!

Thanks Tom, enjoy

Chris

Photo: 2008 Chris Warrener and Tom Hoye enjoying an ale at Settlers Tavern in Margaret River. Chris Warrener pic.

1983 Cowaramup Bay Shark Story by Tom Hoye

Back in the summer of ‘83 we had this long flat spell when I was living in the Bay (Cowaramup), and working in my shop ‘PE Surfboards’ in Margaret River.

I was coming home after work each day about 4:30, 5:00 and launching my sailboard on this south-easter, grovelling out through the Bay, then sailing between North Pt and South Pt on the outside, not much wind, it was really hot.

So on the 3rd day coming down the hill I looked at the Bay and thought ‘ah there’s not enough wind today’, then I looked at it a while, and it looked similar to yesterday so I rigged up my big sail and launched.

Then about half way out I thought “I should just turn around there’s no wind out here today and I’m just barely moving”, then this gust of wind came along and picked me up and I thought it’s going to be like yesterday and the other days, so I charged on out to where I was just outside the rocks at South Point.

And then it just went ‘boof’ – no wind, so there I was trying to sail down wind, mast forward, grovelling.

As I looked down toward Left Handers, I noticed the wind had gone offshore and light, and I went “oh no I’m gunna be in here till night trying to get back into the Bay because you have to tack and I’d be falling off because of the light wind.”

Photo: 1986 Tom Hoye carrying his windsurfer to the waves at Surfers Point, Margaret River. Tom Hoye pic.

I thought I would be swimming the rig back in, and I was just concentrating on trying to find a place to jibe with the rhythm of the chop, I had my sunglasses on so no glare, and I went across this sand patch, and I thought: “shit I thought it was about a 100’ deep out here”, and I thought “no it must be the sunglasses”, it was really still, with no swell.

I went through this slow motion jibe, wobbly and weird, and something just made me look over to the left, and I saw the silhouette of a shark, a perfect silhouette just coming round really fast up underneath me horizontally and it looked to be about 6’ long.

Then my mind just screamed HUGE, and then it went down the other side, and I looked at it and I thought it was only 6’ but it looked bigger because it was so close to me.

So I made the decision to just go straight in and try to crash land somewhere along the back of North Point.

I didn’t want to jibe with that ‘guy’ swimming around.

I was then pretty much convinced he was gone so I’m just chugging along and then I looked down, and there he is right underneath me going exactly my speed just going with me, “oh fuck”, he was following me, then he arced around and went behind me.

I could only see 180º ahead because if I tried to look behind I would wobble and fall over, so I started looking for him just below me, and I was freaking out. Then he came underneath me again, I see his nose first and as he comes into full view I realize, “oh shit he’s bigger than 6’ he’s 8’, he went along with me for a while and then circled around behind as before.

He continued to do the same thing, just swimming along with me but getting closer, and then on the 4th pass when he was underneath me I thought “holy fuck he’s longer than my board he’s a monster”, and when he started to arc around this gust of wind came across the water so I thought if I can hook into this gust of wind and squirt away from him, he’ll leave me alone.

I hooked into the wind, the sail filled up and I got into my harness, and then the wind just let me down and I got stuck in the harness, I rounded up into the wind while he was swimming around me I looked right into his eye, and there was a “full eye to eye hello, I see you, you see me”, just total recognition.

So now I’m down to my waist in the water, my sailboard’s pointing straight up, and I went right to the back of the boom and the sail fell over and I held it up from the back till the sail brought the nose around.  That’s like superhuman you can’t do that, not in a light wind, it just falls over but I just strained “ayarrh”, and grabbed it and got myself going again.

So I thought “fuck he’ll hit me for sure the next time”. I was really freaking out thinking to myself the next day’s headline – “surfboard shaper eaten by shark!”

By this time I was coming to the outer shelf at North Point. I knew exactly where he was coming from and I was looking at the spot where he had appeared before, then I saw this fish swimmer glimmer about 2” around, just a little flicker in the water. It went from a flicker to a shark’s head wider than the foot strap area in a “click” just like that, and he was coming up so fucking fast. Not coming up jaws-like, but coming up on that same plane that he was doing before but really fast.

It was just getting bigger as it came up thru the water and I shut my eyes.

I went all woozy and I don’t know how I didn’t fall off. I thought I was going to pass out, expecting the BANG, then nothing happened and I opened my eyes.

It looked like there was no water between us. I felt like I was on his fucking back, I think he was touching the bottom of my board with his dorsal fin, he was really close.

My sailboard was an 8’ 6”x 21½’’. The tip of his nose was a good solid 3’ in front of my board and there was 18” of shark exposed down either side of the board’s rails. His pectoral fins came out right where my straps were, his tail was out behind me.

Then, he slowly moved out from underneath me in the same pattern as he had been doing disappearing out the back.

By then I was over the reef and I landed on the rocks you launch from. I rammed the nose of my board into the back of North Pt, stepped out of the straps, walked up the board and onto the point dragging everything by the mast across the rocks crunch, crunch, crunch. I turned around to see where he was but I couldn’t see him.

Then I felt a little bit weak so I sat down on the rocks because the whole ordeal took about a half hour. I started shaking, and laughing uncontrollably as soon as I sat down.

I couldn’t stop myself shaking with this high-pitched hysterical giggle for what felt like about 10minutes. Then I sort of calmed down and sat there a while looking at the ocean, then put my gear on my head and started walking back to the car which was at the bottom of South Point.

About half way round the Bay I thought to myself I’m not even going to tell anyone about this because there was no one else there and it’s just too bizarre, no one would’ve believed me so I put my gear on my car and pulled up in front of the Gracetown Store to get some beers on the way home.

Remember now that 10 mins before this I’d told myself I wasn’t going to tell anyone about it.

As I opened the car door I started shouting the story out at the closed screen door of the store – there wasn’t even anybody in view.  I walked into the store about a quarter the way thru shouting out the story. There were 3 people standing in the store. They had this look of ‘what the fuck is this guy on about?’

The next morning when I got to my shop there was a fishing boat parked in the driveway, the guy wanted a boat repair. I asked what kind of fish he was catching and he said: “I’m a shark fisherman”.

I told him about seeing a shark yesterday afternoon, and he said “ah well if you saw one that big he’ll take one of our baits”.

About a week and a half later there was a picture of a big shark caught off Cape Mentelle in the paper. I instantly recognised him, I said to myself “oh that’s the guy who came by, I felt sorry for him.”

The shark measured over 4.5metres long and weighed one tonne.

Cheers

Tom Hoye.

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Gallery

1960s Teena Christon – Triple State Women’s Surfing Champion

Teena Christon from Miami (now named Falcon) near Mandurah took up surfing at age 12. She learnt to surf on a 2nd hand plywood surfboard purchased by her father from a Mandurah hardware store. Teena mastered the plywood surfboard and moved onto a new Len Dibben fibreglass surfboard at Xmas time. Her surfing improved rapidly and she became a member of the Miami Surfinks Board Club.

Teena: “In the 60s my parents built and ran the Miami store located on Falcon Bay. I left Pinjarra High School at age 15 and became a professional fisherman like my father. I fished in the Peel Inlet at Mandurah. I worked for myself and put down nets at night and collected them in the morning. That left me most of the day to surf, go water skiing & skin diving.”

Photos: 1965 Teena with her Len Dibben board at Miami Beach. Photos courtesy Teena Christon.

1965 Teena at Miami IMG_001

In 64 Teena competed in WA’s first State Women’s Titles at age 14 and came third. She went on to win the next three Women’s surfing Titles and represent WA at three National surfing Titles.

State Womens Surfing Titles.

1964 Womens 3rd. Teena (Miami Surfinks) finished 3rd behind Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) in WA’s first Women’s Surfing Titles held at Cowaramup Bay (Huzza surf break). Jenny is John Shackley’s wife & Jamie Doig’s sister.

1965 Womens 1st. Teena (Miami Surfinks) defeated Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) & Stephanie Meyers (West Girls) at Yallingup.

1966 Womens 1st. Teena (Scarborough Boomerang Club) defeated Maureen Farrell (Yallingup) at Cowaramup Bay.

1967 Womens 1st. Teena (Scarborough Boomerang Club) defeated Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) & Maureen Farrell (Yallingup) at Yallingup.

Photo: 1965 Teena surfing to victory in WA’s Women’s Surfboard Championships held at Yallingup. Photo credit Len Dibben.

1965 Yalls Tina Christon surfing State Titles- Len Dibben pic

WA State Surfing Teams.

1965 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Manly in NSW.
1966 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Coolangatta in Queensland.
1967 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Bells Beach in Victoria.

Teena: “Ampol Petroleum sponsored WA Women’s Surfing titles from 1964 to 67. In 64 Ampol paid for the girls to stay at Caves House Yallingup with my mother as chaperon. In 65 & 66 Ampol paid for my mother to fly over east and chaperone the WA Women’s surf team. Ampol paid for everything.

At the 67 National contest at Bells, WA judge Doug White (surf journalist Sunday Times) told me he knew I had won my heat but he put me 2nd because he didn’t want to appear biased. I won the heat anyway based on the other judges’ scores. The semi-final was then called off as it was too windy at Bells. Later one of the guys told me it was on again at Torquay, so I raced to Torquay but was too late and missed the semi by 15 mins. I was not a happy girl!”

Teena was the first and may be the only female surfer to win three consecutive State Women’s Surfing Titles in WA.

Yallingup Board Club’s Carl Schumaker also won three consecutive State Junior Titles in the same years as Teena (1965-67).

In April 1965 Woman’s Day magazine featured an article on the Miami schoolgirl titled ‘Top of her Class’.

Image: 1965 Teena’s magazine article courtesy of Woman’s Day magazine.

1965 Tina Christon Womans Day report - Len Dibben pic

By 1965 surfboard manufacturer Len Dibben was sponsoring Teena and she was surfing for the Len Dibben Surf Team.

Photo: 1965 Len Dibben Surf Team L-R Rod Slater, Dave Richards, Jeff Jowlett, Steve Farbus, Teena Christon, Peter Stephens, Art Sherburn & Doug White. Photo credit Len Dibben.

1965 Len Dibben surf team Leighton Beach L-R Rod Slater,Dave Richards,Jeff Jowlett,Steve Farbus,Teena Christon,Peter Stephens,Art Sherburn,Doug White-Len Dibben pic 01

Photos: 1965 Teena with surfing contest trophies and her Len Dibben surfboard at Leighton Beach. Photos courtesy Teena Christon

1965 Leighton Teena trophies IMG_001

Teena: “I practiced surfing mainly in winter because local beaches were always crowded on good summer days. I found winter surf near Geary’s shack at Miami as good as the best elsewhere. My only concession to the cold was a wet suit jacket, the top half of a skin divers suit.

When the Miami Surfinks Board Club disbanded in 66, I joined the Scarborough Boomerang Board Club”

In 1966 the local Mandurah Newspaper featured an article titled ‘Teena Tops the Fem’s’.

Image: 1966 Teena’s media article courtesy of Mandurah Newspaper.

1966 Teena Tops The Fems IMG_003

In 1967 Teena (age 17) gave up competitive surfing soon after winning her 3rd State Women’s Surfing Title. She moved to Exmouth and worked as a civilian on the US Navy base. She joined her father George who worked for Kailis Fisheries in Exmouth at the time.

In 1972 Teena travelled overseas and spent a year in Africa. She surfed Jeffries Bay. In 1973 she spent a year driving a Kombi overland to England via India.

After the overseas trip she moved to Vic and surfed Bells Beach. In 1979 Teena joined the WA Public Service and worked as a Finance Officer for 23 years until retirement in 2002 at age 54.

Photos: 1970s Teena’s overseas travel pics. Photos courtesy of Teena Christon.

Top: (Left) 1973 Johannesburg South Africa. L-R Sue Sims (Mandurah), Teena & Helen Loder (Vic). (Right) 1973 Paris France Teena.
Bottom: (Left) 1973 Afghanistan heading into a mosque L-R Helen Loder, Sue Sims & Teena. (Right) 1974 Perth Scotland Teena.

1970s Teena's travels pics IMG_002

In 2004 Surfing WA celebrated its 40th Anniversary at AQWA in Hillarys. Teena was invited to officially cut the Anniversary cake with WA politician John Quigley. There was an image of Teena and her surfboard on top of the cake.

2004 Surfing WA Anniversary function photos: (Left) Teena cutting the 40th Year birthday cake with politician John Quigley. (Right) Len Dibben, Teena & Murray Smith. Photo credits Loz Smith.

2004 Surfing WA Birthday compilation IMG_002

In 2004 The West Magazine ran an article titled ‘Swell Times 40 Years of Surfing in WA’. The article featured photos of Teena and other well-known WA surfing identities .

Cover Photo: 2004 L-R Teena Christon, Murray Smith, Len Dibben, Mick Marlin and Gary Vaughan. Photo courtesy of WA Newspapers.

2004 Surfing 40 Years West Mag

Teena lives in Halls Head near Mandurah. Her mother still lives in Falcon two doors down from WA surf pioneer Ray Geary.

Gallery

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.

1963 Cottesloe Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott & Stef Meyer - WA Newspaper pic IMG_001

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.

1963 Jeanne Abbott compilation 3 IMG_001C

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.

1964 Yalls First State Titles compilation IMG_001

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.

1965 Surfing Balls compilation IMG_001

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.

1980s YBC reunion compilation 2 IMG_001

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.

Gallery

1964 Down South Surf Trip

Former Australian Senior Surfing Champion Arty Sherburn took these photos of Bruce Brown and his surfing mates on a Down South surf trip.

1964 Bruce & his mates preparing to leave the city and head Down South. L-R Ian Barsden, Bruce Brown & Peter Meyer loading their surfboards on Bruce’s FC Holden. Photo credit Arty Sherburn.

1964 Down south surf trip Ian Barsden, Bruce Brown & Peter Meyer with Brownies FC Holden - Arthur Sherburn pic img179

1964 Relaxing under the trees in their Cowaramup Bay camp site are L-R John Murphy, unidentified, Joe Wilson (standing), Bruce Brown, unidentified & Peter Backhouse in hammock. Photo credit Arty Sherburn.

1964 Cowaramup Bay camp site John Murphy, unknown, Joe Wilson, (standing), Bruce Brown, unknown, Peter Backhouse (hammock) - Arty Sherburn pic img183

1964 Bruce Brown’s FC Holden & the boys wallowing in soggy conditions on the Gallows track (near Cowaramup Bay). Photo credit Art Sherburn.

1964 Gallows track Bruce Brown's FC Holden bogged - A Sherburn pic img186