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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?

Cheers,

Tom Blaxell

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

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Gallery

Greg Laurenson – Master Shaper by Errol Considine

In the 1960s we wanted to get some national recognition that our home grown WA talent was as good as the stars on the east coast.

While our surfers couldn’t seem to crack the big placings in the National titles when they went east, we all reckoned Greg Laurenson was the equal of any of the big name craftsmen from Brookvale, the Sydney epicentre of Australian surfboard making, or the Gold Coast. And he eventually earned respect over there and began getting mentions in the national magazines.

Can’t recall him ever being called ‘Greg’. He was first dubbed ‘Thunderpants’ but that later morphed into ’Thunder’, ‘Pants’, ‘Pantsman’, or ‘GL’.

Photo: 1967 Greg Laurenson surfing Rocky Point. Greg Woodward pic.

I think GL got his start at Hawke Brothers Surfboards in Osborne Park. Hawke, his main shaper Murray Smith and Greg were all members back then of Scarborough-based North End Board Club. Pretty much all the North End guys rode Hawke boards.

His life had been tied to the ocean from an early age. His father had been a radio officer on merchant ships and later, for a time, was a lighthouse keeper on Troughton Island, on the far north Kimberley coast – which today is an isolated base for choppers servicing oil and gas facilities in the Timor Sea. Back in the 1950s/60s it must have been like going to another planet! GL spent some time there during school holidays.

In the late 1960s, he was one of the select Scarborough crew who were he first to discover and surf the named faced break ‘The Spot’, near Yanchep. And was in the crew who were believed to have been the first to surf the south side of Rottnest, in 1969 [Editor’s note: look for another story on that Rottnest trip to ‘The Yellow Bucket’ later this year on SDS].

GL first started to build his reputation as a master shaper after he moved to Cordingley Surfboards in Subiaco.

In 1969, he left Cordingley and set up under his own name in a factory on Scarborough Beach Road in Osborne Park – it was behind a dry cleaner’s with the site today occupied by a Caltex servo with factories still behind it.

I collaborated with Ric Chan to work up a bit of PR for Laurenson Surfboards. I was a first year cadet reporter at the Daily News afternoon newspaper. I got one of the staff photographers to go out and get a picture of “(Thunder)” at his factory.

I don’t know whether Ric’s surf movie idea was ever actually a goer but it gave me enough to spin into a yarn which got a run in Perth’s afternoon newspaper.

Image: 1969 Errol’s ‘Thunder’ article in Daily News. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

My starting wage as a cadet in January 1969 was $28 a week, going up to $32 a week when I turned 18 that March. So it took me a while to save up enough for my first new Laurenson board, which I got late that year.

I excitedly picked it up on a Friday afternoon and headed down south for the weekend. My first waves on the new board were at good quality Windmills. But it was the pre-legropes era. I lost my board in the first session.

It was early summer and while the banks were pretty good there was still not a lot of sand on the shoreline and my beautiful Laurenson stick smashed into rocks and got a bunch of small dings and fractures on the bottom. Bugger!

So, early the next week I was back at the Osborne Park factory to get some repairs done!

I took that board when I drove east in May 1970 with my mates Peter Bevan and Chuck Morton-Stewart, to go to the World titles at Bells, and then up the east coast to Sydney, Gold Coast and Noosa. It went great on that trip and I did get some favourable comments from a few locals along the way.

Pants preferred to see himself as a sculptor/craftsman

and would let me watch him shape for hours, all the while

discussing what was going on in sculptural terms….

I met many of the east coast’s shaping greats

but I have never seen anyone to match the

pure elegance of what Pants produced.

Mal Leckie, who now lives in Coolangatta. Queensland recalls: “I was studying sculpture at WAIT (now Curtin University) in those years and was very tuned in to curves, edges and their relationships etc. Pants preferred to see himself as a sculptor/craftsman and would let me watch him shape for hours, all the while discussing what was going on in sculptural terms.

“I wish I still had the chamfer-back twinny Pants shaped me at Cordingley’s in ’71.

“After I left WA at the end of ’73, I met many of the east coast’s shaping greats but I have never seen anyone to match the pure elegance of what Pants produced. Maybe DVS (Dick Van Straalen) and Richard Harvey come closest.”

Running a surfboard business while also being the main man in the making process was a tough gig financially and the full page ad published in West Country Surf magazine in 1972 shows, GL was being promoted as the star shaper back at Cordingley’s by then.

Image: 1971 Cordingley Surfboards advt in West Country Surf Magazine. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

In 1977, GL’s reputation was still a headline act for Cordingley Surfboards, as the ad below published in the Sunday Independent newspaper shows with him as member of the “All-Stars”, along with young gun surfer-shaper Craig Bettenay plus the rest of them led by business manager-master spruiker Bill Oddy.

Image: 1977 The Cordingley All-Stars advt in Sunday Independent Newspaper. Image courtesy of Sunday Independent.

Note: Front row should read (left) Charles Campbell, top Glasser and Finisher; (right) Mike Godwin, Finish Polisher.

He moved to Queensland for a period during the 1970s, and his reputation as a shaper grew.

In an obituary published in “The West Australian” Robert Conneely was quoted on GL’s standing at that time…

“By mid 70s Greg had really come into his own

as one of the finest shapers WA had produced.”

Through this era, GL had also built a reputation as surf contest judge and organiser. He played a key role in the staging of the 1978 Nationals at Yallingup.

He also became a mentor for many young shapers.

But GL’s reputation really took off nationally when Ian Cairns – then the best surfer in the world on the big waves of Sunset Beach on the North Shore, which was the core of pro contest surfing at that time – lured GL back to Perth to shape his Hawaiian-inspired designs.

GL moved on from Cordingley Surfboards and by 1980 – as shown in the ad below from West Coast surf magazine, with Mitch Thorson – was at Star Surf making boards for the late and sadly missed Dave Kennedy.

Image: 1980 Star Surfboards advt featuring Mitch Thorson and Greg Laurenson in West Country Surf Magazine. Image courtesy of WCS Mag.

Pant’s shaping and surfing lifestyle odyssey also included periods making boards in Japan, and in California for the legendary Rusty Priesendorfer.

In ’83, Rusty came to WA – according to the current Rusty website – to make boards for Santosha. And Mitch Thorsen, riding one of his shapes, was shown ripping on the cover of Surfing Magazi.

Santosha got the Rusty surfboard licence and the American surfboard pioneer hooked up with GL, taking him to California to learn the latest technology. He was an in-demand shaper for Rusty for a long time.

Greg Laurenson later moved to Dunsborough and kept making great boards for many years, including back under his own signature.

Photo: 1982-83 Greg Laurenson Surf Studio Dunsborough. Gary ‘Gooselegs’ Vaughan pic

He and Loz Smith were amongst the main movers who launched the annual Yal Mal in 1985 – still going strong each December, more than 32 years later.

GL later bought and renovated yachts and did some bluewater sailing trips out of Fremantle. He also moved on to sailboard design.

He later lived on his yacht in Hillary’s board harbour for a period – my brother Jeff used to go there and they’d drink a few red wines together. They would both go within a few years of each other from bowel cancer…

Pants married his partner Jo, who he’d met during an ocean sailing race, on Valentine’s Day 2007 and passed away two weeks later. They had two daughters, Jade and Zoe.

The 2007 Yal Mal was in commemoration of the memory of ‘Thunderpants’, ‘Thunder’, ‘Pants’, ‘Pantsman’, ‘GL’ as a mate and mentor to so many and to mark his great legacy to WA surfboard making.

The following GL article appeared in the Sunday Times 11 march 2007. The reporter Jordan Marchant is the son of Ron, who went with us to Greg’s funeral….

Image: 2007 Board shaper mourned article by Jordan Marchant. Image courtesy of The Sunday Times.

Footnote – nicknames: Nicknames were big back then. Besides the variations on Thunderpants, another North End Board Club member, Murray Smith was dubbed ‘Tiny Brain’.

Nicknames of crew from one of my clubs, North Coast (of which GL was also a member), included: Skullcap, Spider, Gooselegs (who is still universally known as ‘Goose’), Big Eyes (and his younger brother of course became Little Eyes), Spike, Corky, Kegs, Boots and I was dubbed (by Gooselegs) as ‘Armpits’ …because of the way I surfed with my arms raised. Thanks Goose, not!

ENDS

Work mates’ & surfing buddies’ memories of Pantsman

The origin of ‘Thunderpants’ by John Balgarnie

I was with Greg Laurenson when he got his nickname ‘thunder pants’.  We were on our way down south and called in at the Wokelup pub for a beer and singalong on-route. Greg and I were standing at the front bar and this guy with a stutter ran into the pub from the car park to tell Greg he had left his underpants in his car……however because the guy had a stutter it came out sounding like ‘thunder pants’ and his nickname was born.

Peter DysonThe Wokelup pub on the inland road from Brunswick Junction had an old pianola piano that played recorded music. It was our meeting place on the way down south. We used to gather around the piano and sing songs and have a drink. After one session at the Wokelup, Bill Branney went straight through the S bends between Busselton and Dunsborough and was thrown through the windscreen and ended up in a paddock with the cows.

Sometimes we drove down south on the Old Coast Road, but it was constructed of rough limestone and our slow old Kombi vans used to get bogged.

Remembering Pants by Charles Campbell (ex Cordingley Surfboards)

1965 – 1971

I first worked with Pants at Cordingley Surfboards when situated in Hay Street, Subiaco (learning to glass, repairs, etc).  Rex and Colin Cordingley owned the business then and Bill Oddy (Shop Manager), Dave Ellis (Machining, Sanding, Gloss Coating and Repairs), Pants (learning to shape from Rex) and I worked together then among others.

It was in Hay Street, Subiaco Pants cut his hand using the ban saw while cutting a fin out of a panel of fibreglass – Rex instructed me to ‘give him a hand’ over to the Doctor’s Surgery on the opposite side of Hay Street from the factory. Half way across, Pants decided to faint or something and I struggled, being only 5’6” and Pants being 7’0”, arms and legs everywhere, I guess we must have made it to the Doctor to patch him up.

1971 – 1979

Rex and Colin sold Cordingleys to Bill and me after a fire in the Hay Street factory and we moved to York Street, Subiaco. Employees then were Bill (Part Owner and Shop Manager) and me (Part Owner and Workshop Manager, Industrial Fibreglassing), Pants … and Adam, his Golden Retriever (Shaping), Dave (Machining, Sanding, Gloss Coating and Repairs), Bruce King (Industrial Fibreglass work), Rod Slater (Industrial Fibreglass work) and others.

The York Street Factory also burned down and Cordingleys moved to Jersey Street, Jolimont.

Bill and me, Pants, Dave, Bob Monkman (Shaping), Peter MacDonald (Machining, Sanding), Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson (Shaping and Blue fitted out the new Factory and Workshop) and Craig Bettenay (Shaping) worked together and we built some great boards.

Bill and I sold the business to Colin Earle and family.

Photo: 1979 Greg Laurenson in shaping bay at Cordingley Surfboards in Jolimont. Ric Chan pic.

1989 – 1997

Pants, Dave and I were reunited, building surfboards for Rusty Surfboards in Osborne Park.  Mick Button was in charge of the factory then. Some very comical situations unfolded during those years with Pants.

Pants… stopped on the Old Coast Road

for fuel or smokes or something, took

a while to realise when he got back

to drive on (in the dark) that he

was headed back towards Perth!

Friday night after work, he would load up and head south, Pants had a Ford Falcon panel van in those days, stopped on the Old Coast Road for fuel or smokes or something, took a while to realise when he got back to drive on (in the dark) that he was headed back towards Perth!

When he sold that van, the new owner was coming into the factory to pick it up, he pulled the mattress out of the back to discover a wet suit and other treasures he hadn’t seen for a while underneath.  It was a bit of a bummer as the wet suit had rusted to the floor of the van.

Photo: 2004 Yal Mal former Cordingley workmates. Loz Smith pic

Back row: Charles Campbell, Dave Ellis and Peter Mac. Front Row: Greg Laurenson and Bob Monkman.

Pants shaped good boards when he was in the mood.  At his funeral paddle-out at the lagoon at Yallingup – Dave Ellis and I were side by side in the water when Greg’s ashes were released, and the onshore breeze blew the ashes in our faces and we both remarked ‘he used to give us the shits at work over the years and he is still doing it!’ Ha Ha!

Pants was a great bloke, ‘a legend’ in the surf industry.

Pantsman by Rod Slater (ex Greg Laurenson Surfboards)

These are the recollections of an old surfer, 45 to 50 years after they happened and I believe they are as accurate as my memory allows.

When Greg (Pants) left Cordingley’s to start his own surfboard brand, I think Kevin Agar took over from him.

Pants started his own business in Scarborough Beach Road, behind City Dry Cleaners.  Hawke Brothers Surfboards were across the other side of Scarborough Beach Road, Murray Smith was working for them at this stage, I am not sure if he was shaping boards.  I bought my first board (second hand) from Hawke Brothers who then ran their business from a shed at home in Nollamara.

Pants started in partnership with Terry Jacks (dec.).  This arrangement didn’t last very long as ‘Jacksy’ wasn’t interested in the hands on part of board making, he was more interested in spending his time down the beach promoting the new boards!

Pants taught me to glass and originally he was shaping and I was glassing.  We shared the sanding and finishing.  More surfers quickly became involved in the business:

  • Peter ‘Con’ Connelly from Inverloch near Phillip Island learnt to sand and finish the boards.  We had problems with the quality of the finish because we didn’t have a ‘proper’ finishing room.  This resulted in a lot of wet’n’drying and polishing.
  • Ron Waddell became quite infamous for his ding repair capacity
  • Howard Johnson (dec.) was involved in the initial stages but moved on fairly quickly.  Howard was caught with a small amount of marihuana in his white Simca Aronde and I think he found other work after this.  Some thought the ‘bust’ was somewhat intentional because it would mean the person caught could not go get to ‘nashos’, a significant factor in the lives of many surfers at that stage.
  • I member Terry Garrett also spending a lot of time in the factory but I am not sure if he did any work or not.

Greg’s shapes were typically flawless…

he was…undoubtedly the best shaper in WA

and, we believed, he was the equal

to any shaper in Australia.

Greg’s shapes were typically flawless and he was still undoubtedly the best shaper in WA and, we believed, he was the equal to any shaper in Australia.  However, finances were always a concern and as workers we all lived a hand to mouth to existence even though we surfed good boards. 

Eventually we had to pay cash for any materials to build the boards and this, more than anything, spelt the end to Pants’ dream to build his own boards.  I know he went on to manufacture for himself again at a later stage, hopefully with more success.

I finally, after being with Greg Laurenson Surfboards from day one, was forced to find alternative work.  I started making boards for Jack Dadd in Hampton Road in Fremantle.  The boards were labelled ‘Innovator Surfboards’.

Photo: 1970 Laurenson Surfboards team at State Titles Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

L-R. Greg Laurenson, Peter Holzman, Ron Waddell, Bruce King, Robin ‘Skullcap’ Sutherland, Peter Dyson, Rod Slater, Giles Geiger, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn and John Balgarnie.

There were many great times had in Pants’ factory and a number of significant events occurred:

  • Pants bought a new, light blue, XW Falcon panel van and a number of us drove to Bells Beach at Easter time, and back again.  A fleeting visit.
  • Ian Cairns was emerging as a champion surfer.
  • Midget Farrelly made the first ‘side slipper’ surfboard and we made a number of these at Pants’.
  • Midget started sponsoring Ian, a significant chapter in WA surfing history

Photo Gallery of GL images by Rick Syme.

Rick Syme has had an acclaimed career as a photographer in Perth [http://www.syme.com.au/]. Back in the late ‘60s he was a member of Scarborough Board Club and a close mate of Greg Laurenson’s, and they made many trips down south together.

He was even one of the gang of mates who climbed into Thunder’s new panel van to make the legendary spur-of-the-moment trip to Bells to watch the Easter comp – they raced across the continent (including the punishing, unsealed Nullarbor section), hung out and watched some waves, and then turned around and drove back to Perth! …it was an easier time back then just to do cool stuff for the heck of it – ‘cos they could!!

Rick lived on West Coast Drive at Trigg, just north of the Point. The house is still there. He used to have a Super 8mm camera and shot lots of reels of film of the Scarborough/Trigg/Mettams/North Beach crew riding waves.

The Syme’s garage was converted into a mini movie theatre with a projector, screen and black drapes to seal it off from outside sunlight, and lounge chairs. The crew spent many hours there watching the 8mm clips and generally getting up to no good! But it was all great fun.

The caption comments with the following pics were provided by Rick…

Photos: 1967 Greg Laurenson with his Pig Board at Yallingup. Rick Syme pic.

RickThe ‘pig board’ shots were circa ’67 Yallingup. Pants (a new and in-experienced business owner) was trying to find a ‘point of difference’ with his ‘pig board’.

Photo: Circa 1967 Greg Laurenson with his blue Kombi at Surf Beach. Rick Syme pic.

RickThe shot of Pants near the blue Kombi was ‘surf beach’ circa ’67 not long after the Kombi had ‘fallen over’ on the surf beach track with 10 surfers on board (a whole other story!).

Photo: Circa Xmas 1969 Greg Laurenson and Fred Annesley sitting on the bonnet of Holden sedan at Yallingup car park. Surfside store is in the background. Rick Syme pic.

Errol – The boards on the roof of the car have those swept back long single fins, stringer-less blanks and lots of rocker.

The beginning of Yallingup Malibu contest and Pants by Loz Smith

In the early 80s I lived in a shed on a friend’s property on Caves Road opposite Abbey Farm Road, Yallingup.

On a Tuesday night, I used to go to dinner at Bobbo and Jenny Monkman’s place in Vasse Yallingup Siding Road, Quindalup with Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson from Quindalup and Peter Mac from Yallingup.

I presented a Tin Plate award (as opposed to a gold plate as a bit of fun) to Jenny in recognition of her efforts in preparing meals for us. I had a plaque engraved on a tin plate.

Over dinner, I suggested to the boys that we should go back to longboarding and create a fun Malibu event at Yallingup. At that time, only John ‘Boy’ Malloy was riding a Mal in small waves. The boys agreed and this spawned the concept of the Malibu Classic – now known as the Yal Mal.

I had no experience running contests and asked Pants to be competition director and chose Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison as head judge for the first Malibu Classic. Bobbo made the trophies.

The first Yallingup Malibu Classic was run in 1985 and the rest as they say is history.

Aloha 

Photo: 2004 Yal Mal Loz Smith and Pants at Baggies & Bow Tie function held at Surfside. Loz Smith pic.

Loz – It was the last gathering at Surfside before it was demolished.

Photo Gallery of GL images at Yallingup Malibu Classics by Loz Smith.

Photos: 2004 Yal Mal social pics – Loz Smith pics.

Left: Pants and Bob Monkman.

Right: (Top) Jo, Jade and Greg Laurenson. (Middle) Chris Fullston and GL. (Bottom) GL and Peter Dyson.

Photos: 2007 Yal Mal Greg Laurenson Memorial contest – Loz Smith pics

Top: (Left) Pant’s daughter Jade Laurenson. (Right) Jo, Rob and Di Conneely.

Bottom: (Left) Peter ‘Rinso’ Wise, George Simpson, John Balgarnie and Bruce King. (Right) GL Memorial contest t-shirt (courtesy of Bruce King).

Photos: 2011 Greg Laurenson surfboard signed by Kelly Slater at Marg River Pro – Loz Smith pics

Top: (Left) Kelly Slater. (Right) Ian Cairns and Loz Smith.

Bottom: (Left) Taj Burrow. (Right) Fred Annesley.

Image: 2007 Surfboard master obituary edited by Len Findlay. Image courtesy of WA Newspapers.

 

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Gallery

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.

2011 Yalls surf pioneer statue Jim King picscollage_photocat

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.

1970 Yalls State Titles Tony Hardy - Ric Chan img192

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.

1970 Yalls Steve Cockburn in Ric's kombi- Ric Chan img202

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.

1972-yalls-car-park-peter-dunn-pics-1a-fotorcreated

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.

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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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Gallery

1977 Hang Ten WASRA Schoolboys Surfing Champs at Trigg

Updated 11 December 2016 thanks to Stephen Koehne.

Colin Earle entered all 3 age divisions, Under 15, Under 17 and Under 19, winning U/15 and U/19 and placing 2nd in U/17. I think they changed the rules after that event.

The Nationals were held in Jan 1978 at Victor Harbour and Middleton Beach, South Australia. Colin was only able to surf in one division and picked U/15 as it was the division he was most likely to win. Steve and Ant Corrigan were power-houses from Bondi and Queenslander Joe Engel dominated and won the U/19 at the Nationals. Dave Mac was on that state team in U/15 too. Dave’s dad and Bill Girdwood were team chaperones.

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The 1977 Hang Ten WASRA Schoolboys Surfing Championships were held at Trigg Beach in average surf conditions. There was a large pod of WASRA officials & celebrity surfers in attendance to watch the junior talent.

Contest results are unknown, but it is understood Colin Earle won the under 17 age division.

Surf journo/photographer Ric Chan was there to capture the action in & out of the water (mainly the latter).

Photo: 1977 Contest official Ken Trainer on Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 Contest spectators L-R Bill Oddy, John Shanahan & Greg Laurenson. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 unidentified competitor surfing Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 Trigg Beach L-R unidentified, competitor Colin Earle and spectator Steve Hannett. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 contest judges & officials on Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic

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Photo: 1977 Bill Oddy reflecting an image of photographer Ric Chan in his sunnies. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 Contest trophies U/15 & U/17 divisions. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 unidentified spectator Trigg car park. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 contest official Arty Sherburn on Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 Colin Earle with contest trophies on Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 WASRA official Bill Girdwood on Trigg Beach. Ric Chan pic.

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Photo: 1977 WASRA officials Peter Dyson (vice President) and Tony Harbison (President) presenting trophy to Colin Earle and other winners on Trigg Beach.

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If you know the results of the ’77 Hang Ten WASRA Schoolboys Surfing Championships, let us know.

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Gallery

Yallingup Malibu Classic since 1985

The 32nd Yallingup Malibu Classic will run this weekend (3rd- 4th of December 2016) at Yallingup Beach. This event is the marquee event of the Western Australian Longboard season and has been running since 1985. It is proudly presented by HIF and hosted by the Indian Ocean Longboard Club.

Image: 1985 Inaugural Yallingup Malibu Surfing Classic t-shirt design in different colours.

Left: Loz Smith with his original Yal Mal t-shirt. Right: Peter Dunn’s original Yal Mal t-shirt. Photos courtesy of Jim King & Peter Dunn.

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Image: 1986 Yalls Surf Classik (Year 2) finalists standing in front of brick toilet block at Yallingup Beach. Image courtesy of Yal Mal program.

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Quindalup’s Laurie ‘Loz’ smith conceived the idea of celebrating the introduction of the Malibu board back in the 1960s.

Image: 1988 Malibu Surfing Classic promo. Courtesy of Yallingup Progress Association.

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The 1991 Yal Mal Classic goes down as the contest with the biggest surf.

Image: 1991 Yal Mal Classic 0verview. Image courtesy of Yal Mal Program.

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Photo: 1991 Yal Mal finalists at biggest surf contest. Photo courtesy of Mick Marlin.

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In 2004 the late Greg Laurenson recorded his memoirs for the 20th Yallingup Malibu Classic. Greg’s memoirs were published in PLB magazine.

Image: 2004 Greg Laurenson’s 20th Yal Mal Classic memoirs Page 1 of 2. Courtesy of PLB Magazine & Loz Smith.

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Image: 2004 Greg Laurenson’s 20th Yal Mal Classic memoirs Page 2 of 2. Courtesy of PLB Magazine & Loz Smith.

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Image: 2015 Yallingup Malibu Classic list of previous winners. Image courtesy of Yal Mal Program.

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Image: 2016 Yallingup Malibu Classic poster designed by Kat Charles Creative Kat Charles

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Do you self a favour and get down to Yallingup Beach this weekend and watch the State’s finest Malibu riders compete in juniors, womens, mens and team divisions.

Presentations will be held at Caves house in the afternoon following the finals on Sunday with a wealth of prizes for all divisions.

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