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1970-80 Yallingup Beach car park

Update: 20 March 2017. According to Wardandi Elder George Webb’s book ‘Noonyabooghera’, Yallingup means ‘place of land falling away‘ referring to the limestone cliffs. The ‘place of love‘ myth was created by the people that opened up the caves and Caves House as a honeymoon destination. Source Melia Brent-White.

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Yallingup Beach car park has been a meeting place for surfers since the mid-50s.

The Wardandi aboriginal meaning of Yallingup is ‘Place of Love’. In 2011 a large bronze sculpture of a surfer was erected at Yallingup to recognise its role in ‘the origins of surfing in WA’.

Photos: 2011 unveiling of surf pioneer sculpture at Yallingup. Jim King pics.

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Surfers used to camp under the melaleuca trees at the beach car park in the ’50s. Then in the 60-70s surfers used the old public toilets as overnight accommodation in inclement weather.

Things have certainly changed since those days, camping is now banned on the beach front, the public toilets have been relocated and the car park curbed & landscaped. Today’s surfers meet in the car park to check the waves & ‘chew the fat’ on surfing, footy, women……and more recently ailments issues.

This is a collection of car park images with a sprinkling of comments from surfers who frequented the Yallingup car park & Surfside Store back then, when times seemed so much simpler.

Photo: 1970 State Open Champion Tony Hardy in the car park at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

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Peter ‘Mac’ McDonaldIn the 70s when we were working in the SW carting hay, about 10 of us (George Simpson, Ronny Ratshit, Grant Robinson, Gary Kontoolas, John Molloy & others) slept in our cars under the melaleucas at Yallingup and ate breakfast (tomato mince) & dinner with Bernie & Eve at Surfside.

Photo: 1970 Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn behind & in front of the camera in Ric Chan’s Kombi at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

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Peter Dunn (NZ expatriate) Yallingup regular John ‘Tex’ Branch arranged my first trip down south in 1972. Tex met my mates & I at the Cottesloe pub and we then headed to Yallingup in a convoy.

Photos: 1972 First trip Down South. Peter Dunn pics.

Left: Yallingup car park team photo. L-R Peachy, Paul, Renya, Murray, Tex, Keith, Wayne, Dick, Steve & Bow.

Right: Busselton pit stop. Bearded ‘Tex’ sitting on the roof of Prive’s former Holden panel van.

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Len DibbenThis Photo was taken by my wife Wendy in the Yallingup car park at the Australian Surf riding Championships, about July 1973. I was part of the Contest committee to run the 1973 Australia Surfboard Championships. At that time, I was Vice President to Ron Naylor president. I organized the Kombi to help run Contestants & Reporters to & from venues, if needed. The two children are my daughter Kim at 7 year of age & son Troy at 5 years of age. They are now aged 48 & 46. The gear I am wearing is a Baron wear striped t-shirt…very popular at that time, Levi Jeans & John Arnold Hararchi Leather Sandals from then Adelaide.

Photo: 1973 Aust Surf riding Championships contest official Len Dibben in the car park at Yallingup. Wendy Dibben pic.

1973 Aust Titles yalls contest marshal Len Dibben with daughter Kim 6 & son Troy 4

Laurie ‘Loz’ Smith (Quindalup surfer & photographer) – In 73-74 my brother Tony & I would sleep in his split screen Kombi in the Yallingup car park. At that time there were no rangers and camping was free. After an early surf, we used to have a brekkie of sausages & eggs on toast and a cuppa at Surfside for 60c. We would play table soccer for 10c a game while we were waiting for brekkie. We used to fill up the Kombi at Surfside using the hand pump Petrol Bowser. Surfside was the only place to eat brekkie besides the Bakery at Dunsborough. Sally Jones (nee Gunter) used to work at the Bakery and made the biggest milkshakes.

Photo: 1973 Yalls Lobster Pot Restaurant at Surfside. L-R Grant Robinson, George Simpson and Bernie Young at Sally Gunter’s 21st birthday party. Sally Gunter pic.

Photo: 1975 Yallingup car park during State Surfing Titles. Surfside Store is on the left and the old brick Toilets are under the melaleucas on the right. Ric Chan pic.

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Andy JonesWe used to kick the footy in Yallingup car park. It was an open area with few cars and was a good meeting place for surfers. Before technology (surf reports/web sites etc) we used to check waves conditions from the car park before heading off to the best surf destination for the day.

Photo: 1975 Mark Favell ex Bundaberg Qsld & Andy Jones in Yalls car park. Gina Pannone pic.

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Julie FavellAndy Jones, Mark Favell, Neil Juster and myself all lived in Dunsborough. We all work in the Dunsborough Bakery. It was a hell of a time. We travelled to Bears along the old road following coast. One vehicle we had was an old VW with balloon tyres. We always made it through the dirt track. Neil had a blue heeler dog (sorry forgotten his name), Neil was always tying him up and that darn dog always got himself out, could climb ladders at a great pace. At this time there was a surfboard maker at Willyabrup Peter ‘Stumpy’ Wallace who made Pegasus Surfboards. And the beginnings of Creatures of Leisure leg ropes at Injidup by Helen & Dave Hattrick and John Malloy.

Photo: 1975 Yallingup Mark Favell & Southey the dog in front of old brick toilet block. Julie Favell pic

Bruce KingIn inclement weather we used to sleep in the old toilet block behind Surfside tea rooms/store. I never had a sleeping bag and used to sleep in thongs in keep warm as my feet used to stick out the end of the blanket.

Photo: 1976 unidentified surfers in Yallingup car park. Ric Chan pic.

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Al Bean (Surfboard shaper) – I became Manager of Surfside & the Yalls Beach Caravan Park in 1977 at age 20 years. I learnt to cook and employed local girls to help at Surfside. Back then city surfers would sleep in cars in the car park and we would get up to 60 surfers waiting for breakfast each morning over the weekend. It was a different story during the week and we would be lucky to sell a choc milk & newspaper to Harbo at Hideaway Homes. So I would close the shop mid-week and go surfing.

Photo: 1978 an empty Yallingup car park with Surfside Store, Bali Hai surf shop & Surfside rental accommodation in the background. Vance Burrow pic.

1978 Yalls Bali Hai surf shop Yalls VB IMG

Ross UttingIt was always difficult to fill in long hot surf-less afternoons, particularly on holiday or contest weekends when there were a lot of high spirited people about. Fortunately there were a few blokes who fancied themselves as stunt drivers. These blokes would relieve our boredom by putting on a display of burning rubber and wheelies in the Yallingup car park.

On one occasion, two of these charismatic drivers in Bill “Big Eyes” McVeigh and Kevin “Odey” O’Dwyer fed off each other, with each stunt becoming more outrageous than the one before.  They ended up, each in turn, racing down the hill from the pub at high speed, over the bridge and throwing the wheel on full lock entering the unsealed car park, sliding and spinning wildly through the car park and coming to a halt in a cloud of dust in front of the cheering masses, leaping out of their cars and taking a bow.

Both brilliant drivers, but how none of the vehicles parked in the car park were not damaged or pedestrians killed still amazes me.  The owner of Surfside Tea Rooms with it’s petrol bowser out front wouldn’t have been amused either.

Photo: 1980 Parking spot with a view. Gary Gibbon’s Ford Cortina with protruding surfboard in Yallingup car park. Gary Gibbon pic.

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Louie ‘Longboard’ CorkillI left school at age 13 and started hitchhiking down south. I used to camp in the old toilet block at Yallingup beach. I slept in a board bag made of quilt by my mother. The best camping spot used to be in the melaleucas just before the bridge on the right, as you come down the hill into Yalls. Brian Bell and I would set up our tent or sleep in the car next to the fresh water creek which flowed from the pub.

Photo: 1980 Ray Nott & Dave Seward preparing to go for a surf at Yallingup. Gary Gibbon pic.

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Mal Leckie – Steve “Horny” Campbell used to do an interesting performance for tourist buses in the Yall’s car park when he pulled his boardies up as high as they would go, puff his stomach out like he was pregnant and do an emu walk. 

More than one dead snake arrived at speed into the Yall’s car park behind a car, tied to the back by fishing line and “whipped” into the entry area to Surfside.

Photo: 1981 Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell and hound installing electricity at Caves Caravan Park. Gary Gibbon pic.

Floyd IrvineIn the early 80s my mates and I used to pitch our tent on the lawn in front of the ugly old brick toilets at Yallingup. We had a friendly council ranger who would provide firewood for our camp fire and chat with us. Back then nobody gave a shit what you did!

Photo: 1980 Tony Harbison reading West Coast Surfer magazine at Yallingup car park. Tony and his wife Carol built and ran Hideaway Holiday Homes at Yallingup in the 70s. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1980 surfboard shaper Greg Laurenson and Dave Kennedy from Star Surfboards in Yallingup car park. Sadly the surf industry legends are now deceased. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1980 Greg Laurenson, Dave Kennedy, Tony Harbinson and Mitch Thorson in Yallingup car park with Harbo’s dog Prince. Ric Chan pic.

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Yallingup Beach car park is still a meeting place for surfers in the South West.

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Three Bears surf break & track in the 80s

In August 1971 surfers George Simpson, Mick Pearce & Mark Rudenberg discovered Three Bears surf break at Kabbijgup Beach. The boys had seen waves breaking along the cliffs north of Yallingup and walked in from Sugarloaf Rock to find the surf break.

Click on this link to view Three Bears surf break & track in the 70s.

This a collection of anecdotes & photos from ’80s Bears user’s………

Gary GibbonMy abiding memories are frequently concerned with scrambling up to Bears in vehicles, not always my own, that really weren’t designed to do the job. The track, especially in summer, could be ruthless on them; tyres, suspension, steering, etc. Four wheel drives weren’t as common in those days, so I was usually looking to bum lifts with people like Harbo, Ralph Redman and Geoff Culmsee, all of whom had reliable vehicles that would do the job. Poor souls such as me, frequently made do with the common man’s 4WD … clapped out VW’s, which, it should be added, were pretty reliable getting through if they had the right tyres. Just as an aside, I remember a day with Kim Hunter, Micko Gracie, Kirk (Boonga) Ball and one or two others, when we had to change a flat on a VW bug, up towards the bombie with no jack, nor wheel brace. We only had a spare and a knife! Somehow managed it, which partially involved everyone lifting the VW up and swinging it around, so that it balanced airborne on the track edges, temporarily blocking the track.

Can’t help chuckling when I remember that sign that Tony had for years outside Hideaway Holiday Homes – “$10.00 for tow-outs!” Luckily I never had to request his services, but I bet quite a few did over the years.

But the occasional price you paid with your vehicles was worth it, considering, the value you received back in some unreal, relatively uncrowded, sessions in those days with just your mates for company.

I generally surfed Baby Bear the most, but especially liked Papas in clean, small conditions. My favourite spot though was Outside Mamas in summer low tides with big S, SW swells where it began to break on the outside ledge, creating a much longer ride.

I always loved surfing with Ralph at Bears and consider him the best I saw at Babies back in the 70’s/80’s. He really tube rode there very consistently.

I didn’t surf Mamas so much (except as noted above, which I think of as a separate break), but watching over there from Baby’s and chilling on the dunes in between sessions, I was always impressed with Lindsey Whittle who pretty much surfed there exclusively from the late 70’s into the early 80’s.

From the time I first surfed it in 1975 with Andy Jones, Steve Carroll and Mark Favell, I always loved the place. How could you not, especially when you’d come back to Yallingup surfed out and seeing it crowded and inconsistently small? Flashing back on the fact that Three Bears had only been discovered 4 years earlier, was also a buzz.

Photo: 1980 Gary Gibbon surfing Baby Bears. Gary Gibbon pic

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Justin RedmanI remember spending all day on Bears beach in the mid 80s while dad (Ralph) was surfing. Nancy Burrow used to look after my sister Melanie & I (and any other pre-school age kids on the beach). Taj & I used to surf back wash on the inside reef (lagoon) at Bears.

Photo: 1980 Ralph Redman surfing Baby Bears. Gary Gibbon pic

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Photos: 1980 Yalls (Left) Ralph Redman, Rubberman & Tim with Ralph’s VW buggy. (Right) Ralph with VW buggy and boards. Gary Gibbon pics

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Loz Smith – In the 80s Peter Mac & I would drive to Bears from Yalls in his little yellow VW Beetle. His VW had razor blade tyres & a piece of driftwood wedged across back bumper. I used the driftwood as a platform to stand-on and bump us through boggy bits of the track.

Tony Harbison’s son Glen used to park at the top of the track’s boggy section (behind Shallows) and tow out bogged cars for $5.

On a good day we used to surf Bears three times a day. We would go early & surf in strong NE conditions with blind take-offs, then return to Yalls for lunch. After lunch the offshore wind dropped and we would go back to Bears for an arvo session & return to Yalls for a rest. If conditions were still good late in the day, we would go back again for the Sunset session. Geoff Culmsee & Ralph Redman were always there.

Photo: 1980s Yalls early Yal Mal contest. L-R Tim Eastwood, Peter Mac & Loz Smith. Peter Mac pic

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Jim KingIn the early 80s, Fred Harris & I used to get a lift to Bears with Brian Felton and his team of veteran wave ski riders – Ron Fussell, Laurie Roach, boogie boarder Al Rich and hand boarder Harry Kimber. Every weekend & holiday Brian would pack us in his old reconditioned Landrover van and we would head off from Yalls on the bumpy coastal dirt track to Bears. Much fun was had being tossed around the back of the old Landrover (with unpadded seats & no suspension) on those slow trips to Bears & return. Brian’s son Peter continued to use the Landrover on the Bears run for years after his dad passed away.

I celebrated my 40th birthday at Bears by catching 40 waves in one gluttonous session at Baby’s. Afterwards I spent a pleasant afternoon with mates in the beer garden at Caves Pub Yalls. My brother and mates tried to do the same on their 40th but conditions or their bodies didn’t allow them to do it. Ha!

Photos: Bears. (Left) 1982 Vance Burrow cuttie at Mammas. Minolta Water Camera shot by Brian Bell. (Right) 1983 Jim King surfing Baby’s on a Blaxell Surfboard. Photos courtesy of Jim King.

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Jim McFarlane – I used to surf Three Bears a lot over summer in the nude. Not only did I feel free, but not many other surfers wanted to drop in on me.

Photo: 1983 Jim McFarlane surfing Baby Bears in a wettie. Photo courtesy of Jim McFarlane

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Mark ‘Hillsy’ HillsMy earliest memory was dad and  Terry ‘Rat’ James taking the brand new HG Holden sedan up the back track when I was about 10 (1976) and snapping the aerial off and scratching the car up much to mum’s disgust. I think this is where my lack of respect for cars going up the Bears track must have come from.

On another occasion my mum warned me beforehand not to come home if I damaged dad’s car and, lo and behold, I had a head-on prang on one of those mounds on the track. I jumped out of the car and started abusing the other guys, then quickly realised it was full of big Maori guys….so I backed off & politely asked them for a tow back to Yalls.

Very few people had 4 wheel drives, so you did what you’re not supposed too, drive your two wheel drive up the track.

Photos: 1988 Mark Hills surfing Mama Bears on an Al Bean surfboard. Twiggy Sharland pic.

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Mark “Hillsy’ Hills – When I turned 18 my mum and dad bought me my first car, a green 1968 two door Toyota Corolla station wagon in mint condition. After three months, I rolled the car completely and finished up against a lamp post full of piss after a night at the Nookenburra pub in Innaloo. My punishment other than my license being suspended, was to find and fix a secondhand car body, fit a motor and repaint the Corolla station wagon, before I was allowed to drive again.

Nine months later, painted canary yellow, the ultimate Bears mobile ‘Fang’ was born. I had put Pirelli P4’s on Fang which gave her more height and less chance of losing an exhaust on the way up to Bears. With mates in hand and one or two cement bags in the back and a little less tyre pressure, Fang could go where others perished. The first part of the track was always the hardest, with Fang screaming in first gear through the gravel mounds and ditches with enough speed and lack of respect through the sandy bits. If we got stuck we would simply lift her out or shunt her along to get on the right path. Fang was so light that when we came into the S bends before the small fence opening, the boys in the back would move to one side trying to slide us into the fence or off the track…..this was unsettling!

Each time going up the track it would smash the steering around so much that dad made me a stick to line up in the middle of the front tyres, exactly for the right manual alignment after each trip. One time after a horror trip up to Bears the windscreen wiper motor just fell out and landed on my foot. After this it was hard driving back to Perth when it was raining and dark. She was a great old car, not the fastest, but she could do the track in about eight and half minutes. I think Dave Sheen had the record at seven and half minutes in his EH black and white Holden and I reckon Gordon Vernon in his HK was pretty fast too. Super fun times. Oh yeah, the surf was good too! 

Photo: 1990 Mark Hills cover-up at Mamma Bears. Twiggy Sharland pic.

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Floyd Irvine – In the 80s Andrew ‘MO’ Mills & I destroyed so many Kingswood’s on the Bears track. We used the front track from Yalls & that first hill behind Shallows was so sandy & had so many large steps.

On one trip in MO’s Datsun 1200 we were waiting in a queue to get back up the hill. A Ford F100 & Hilux got out, but chewed up the track. Then after many tries a Subaru got out but was smashed up in the process. Then Mo & I set off in his little Datsun 1200. Mo was such a legend driver, he just keep the wheels on the track without spinning out and we smoothly drove out of there and waved to the others waiting their turn.

Mo’s Datsun 1200 had narrow tyres like razor blades. After a 3 hour surf at Bears we were tired & hungry and in a hurry to get to the bakery, so we tried the seldom used Sugarloaf track. On top of the hill with a right hand turn, the car slid side-ways off the track & we were hideously bogged. After 3 hours jacking & pushing, we finally got back the car back on the track. We were already exhausted & starving before we got started again….what a nightmare!

Photos: 1990 Floyd & Mo at Bears. Floyd Irvine pics.

Left: Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills on Bears Beach. Right: Floyd surfing with flair in yellow wettie.

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In the 1990s The Dunsborough pub named its front bar after the Three Bears surf break.

Mike BibbyWhen my colleagues & I purchased the Dunsborough Hotel from Shad Nixon in 1998, the main bar was the Three Bears Bar. There was a lot of memorabilia on the walls, photos, plaques with stories as to why it was named by George Simpson & Co (as told in SDS book), boards (all new) etc.

When we renovated the bar, all of the memorabilia (boards included) were souvenired (stolen) by the staff.  Nothing was left.

Photos: 1998 Three Bears Bar memorabilia. Mike Bibby & Bruce King pics.

Left: Three Bears Bar T-Shirts logo. Right: Three Bears Bar surfboard logo.

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Track Closure

CALM closed the coastal Bears track from Yallingup circa 1992, it is now part of Cape to Cape walk. Surfers now use other 4wd routes to access Bears.

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Floyd Irvine – Surfer, Sailor & Fisherman

Dunsborough surfer Colin ‘Floyd’ Irvine (born 1965) set off on a world cruise in a home-made boat with his family in 1976 when he was age 11.  Three years later he returned to WA and started surfing in the South West.

Floyd is a talented freestyle surfer and is currently riding ultra-short twin fin surfboards. He surfs fast and can switch feet with ease (aka Justin Redman) on short & long boards in his unique style.

He is an extrovert and likes bright coloured surfboards and wetsuits and owns a ’73 Mercedes 2 door convertible.

Photos: 2015 Floyd with some of his boy’s toys. (Left) Floyd’s Mercedes convertible at Yalls. (Right) Floyd with colourful surfboard at Shallows. King Bros pics.

2015 Floyd Irvine car & board 2 collage_photocat

This is Floyd’s story of his life with the ocean.

I have always been around the ocean.

My first memories at age 2, are looking out from beneath the foredeck in our sailing dinghy & seeing mum & dad in the wind & spray.

Sailing – World Cruise 1976-80

I grew up in Safety Bay then moved with the family to Fremantle. I started surfing at age 10 with my oldest brother Simon. We used to catch the train to Victoria Street & surf Dutch Inn, Dean Street & Isolated. We surfed in school jumpers & lit fires on the beach to keep warm between surfs. The gear was pretty primitive, single fins with pieces of clothes line and a sock around the ankle for a legrope.

My parents were sailors and in ’76 they finished building a boat at home and our family (2 parents & 3 kids) set off on a world cruise.  I was age 11 at the time.

Our boat was called ‘Girl Morgan’ and the family visited North Africa (Sudan & Egypt), lived in Greece for 2 years and travelled around Europe.

Girl Morgan was a 31 foot ketch and a tiny boat to do such big ocean crossings – the longest we were at sea was 32 days between NW Cape in WA and Chagos archipelago (Diego Garcia & Egmont Islands) in the Indian Ocean approx. 500kms south of the Maldives archipelago. Over a month without seeing land!

Photo: 1977-78 Girl Morgan sailing in the Red Sea. Floyd pic.

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Because of the world travel, I left primary school in Year 6 and missed out on a lot of schooling.

My parents continued cruising around the world for 20 years. But I returned to WA from England in 1980. I lived with a grand aunty at Kelmscott & attended Kelmscott High School. It wasn’t too long before I started to skip days of school and hitch hike down south. I would sleep in a board bag on the verandah of Andy’s Store at Yallingup.

After one year in Australia, I returned to England and surfed a winter on the Jersey Channel Islands, it was freezing & an introduction to 6mm wetsuits, rubber booties, gloves & hood. I am still in touch with my friend Rory who I surfed with in Jersey. We used to ride a motorbike to the beach with a huge bag of wetsuits between us & boards under our arms. One day we surfed when there was snow on the beach. Even the locals thought we were mad!

As a 16 years old, I escaped the cold winter and headed across France to Portugal. I spent 6 weeks hitch hiking in Portugal & met a lot of nice locals. Before I went to Portugal, some English guys told me to take some spare wax, legropes etc. because the local Portuguese surfers had a hard time getting any gear then. So I took 10 blocks of spare wax with me. I was hitching and got picked by some local surfers, I reached in my back pack and gave them a block of wax each. They were stoked and instead of taking me to a regular well known surf spot, they took me to their local break, a classic right hand point break. I set my tent on the point & just surfed the filthy right hander. The locals bought me food & beer every day and looked after me!!!

In the late 80s I visited my parents on the east coast while they were cruising around Australia in ‘Girl Morgan’.

Photos: Late 1980s Girl Morgan sailing the East Coast of Australia. Floyd pics.

Top: (Left) High & dry in Queensland creek (Right) Floyd & mum paddling ashore Queensland.

Bottom: (Left) Floyd holding shovel nose shark with his mum. (Right) Floyd’s dad sailing in Sydney harbour.

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South West (Vasse) – 1980s

After coming back from Portugal I rented a farm house at Vasse with a couple of mates. We grew vegies, had chooks & bought milk in a flagon from the dairy. We eked out a living doing odd jobs and farm work. Spuds in winter, hay in summer, the grapes in autumn and vegies in the between times. Farm work was hard, but it paid the rent.

The guy who ran the Vasse Store hated us, he wouldn’t sell us petrol unless we told him we were going to work, we’d have to leave the boards at home to go get fuel, then go back for the boards before heading to the beach. The guy at the Vasse Store was a ‘Righteous Man’  and was so over us, he had two daughters who would flirt with us and it drove him crazy! He used to send our dole cheques back marked ‘NOT AT THIS ADDRESS’. We had fun having sport with him & his daughters.

I have a load of good memories belting down Wildwood Road in an XC Ford with a Jamaican flag painted on the driver’s door, listening to Peter Tosh.

I met Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills during this time. Mo & I used to love surfing big waves, surfing injuries and maybe kids slowed me down …..Mo never slowed down, he just kept going bigger and started doing tow-ins with Rich Myers. We surfed and enjoyed life in the South West.

Photo: Late 80s L-R Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills, Andrew ‘Co’ Corbett, Brad Goode (peeking through car window) & Floyd at Yalls. Floyd pic.

1990s Andrew Mo Mills, Andrew Co Corbett & Floyd Irvine

Perth – 1988-91

From 1988-91 I attended Murdoch University in Perth as a mature age student (age 23). I studied Politics and Philosophy and graduated in ’91 with a Degree in Politics and Philosophy.

I worked as a cook at The Left Bank Restaurant in East Fremantle to cover expenses.

While at University I met & married a girl named Carol, who was also a student at Murdoch. The wedding ceremony was held in North Fremantle. We toured OZ on a motor bike & lived rough as guts! She was a glamorous girl & I had her dressed in rags on the back of our motorbike….we had fun!

Photo: 1990 Floyd on his wedding day to Carol with father Ross and brother’s Simon & Jim in North Fremantle. Floyd pic

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I also toured China with Carol for 3 months. China was a really different place then, almost no cars on the road. Really different to the scenes you see about now. Our relationship didn’t last too long!

Photo: 1990 Floyd holidaying in China while my wife Carol studied the Chinese language. Floyd pic.

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I went to Perth, got my degree, got married, got divorced & came back to the SW…I often wonder why I spent those 4 years in Perth!

South West (Dunsborough) – Mid 90s – present

In the mid 90s I moved into a house in Dunsborough. I continued surfing and started working with Brad Goode. I worked as an assistant Anthropologist for 15 years with Brad in the SW. We prepared aboriginal heritage reports on Noongar people for Government Departments & Mining Companies. We worked from home on computers, mainly at night time and surfed during the day. It was great not working in an office environment.

I continued to surf in the SW with Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills and others.

Those were good days when Mo and I were just surfing anything so long as it was big. So many good memories. Loads of road trips. We had so many surfs where there was nobody around. The world was ours and we loved the water. Once we got caught inside on the peak at Yalls and had to duck dive a set on our 8′ boards. We duck dived in the pit of the last wave and when I looked across at Mo it was like we were 30 feet underwater…..and scuba diving with a rhino chaser! Still one of the craziest things I ever experienced. And f*** were we glad there wasn’t another big set behind.

Photos: 1989-90 Floyd and Mo in the SW. Floyd pics.

Top: (Left) Floyd with his 8ft Jim Banks Surfboard at Yalls (Right) Floyd on Caves Road.

Bottom: (Left) Andrew ‘Mo’ Mills at Bears. (Right) Mo working on his boat.

1990 Floyd Irvine & Mo 4 collage_photocat

I have always been interested in fishing as I lived on a boat. My eldest brother is a very good fisherman.

As a result of surfing accidents at The Womb and Smiths Reef I missed 2 years of surfing while recuperating from shoulder reconstructions. During this period I took up fly fishing and learnt to cast left & right handed.

I own & run the Dunsborough Fishing School.

Photos: 2015-16 Dunsborough Fishing School. Floyd caught the gardie & salmon on a fly fishing rig. Floyd pics

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I’m an extravert and love colour in my surfboard designs and wetties. I have a quiver of short boards (twin & tri fins) & mals.

I once made a surf cap out of a diving hood to protect my ears. I added rubber fins to the top and I looked like Godzilla when I surfed.

Photos: Floyd’s colourful surf equipment. Pics by Twiggy Sharland & King Bros.

Top: (Left) Early 2000s Floyd surfing a Mark Ogram designed twinnie at Shallows. (Right) 2015 Floyd’s colourful wettie & twinnie at Shallows.

Bottom: (Left) 2015 Floyd’s surfboard quiver. Floyd pics. (Right) 2015 Floyd twinnie attack on fun waves at Shallows.

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I’m not a contest surfer, but in the 2000 I came third in the National Malibu Titles O/35 division held at Yalls. I surf like a blow fly – high energy!

Photos: Floyd surfing with flair in the SW. King Bros pics.

(Top) 2014 Yallingup main break. (Bottom) 2015 Shallows – natural and switch foot stance.

2015 Floyd Irvine surfing Yalls & Shallows collage_photocat

Environment

I have always had an interest in the environment. I think most sailors have an appreciation of trees, and I joined a campaign to Save Native Forests way back when I was around 16 or so.

I never became much of a ‘protestor’ so much as I wanted to be practically involved. When we first moved into the farmhouse at Vasse, the farmer said to us “I don’t really care what you do to the house, just don’t plant bloody trees everywhere.” So I went to the “Men of the Trees’ and got a tray or so of native trees and planted them all around the farmhouse. They are still there and are pretty big trees now, so the farmer came around I guess.

At one stage I found and read all the river care manuals and literature I could find. I was already a trout fisherman by then and rivers are water, so just another connection to water, the ocean and environment.

My ex-partner Sue Elscot is an Environmental Scientist and we started an environmental consultancy and implemented the tree planting, re-shaping degraded streams and enhancing dams, wetlands & streams. Part of this I do as a volunteer for a local environmental group Dunsborough Coast and Land Care or D.C.A.L.C.

These days

These days I look after my 2 school boys, run a Fishing School & work as a Carer.  Currently I’m sailing with my kids at the Dunsborough Yacht Club and still sail a 14ft skiff. I also surf & fish.

In my spare time I am writing a book titled ‘Dinosaurs of Surfing’. I’m interviewing older surfers and trying to get their stories in print.

The remainder of the time I live under a rock!

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