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1960s Malibu surfboards

Malibu ‘Mals’ surfboards where introduced into the WA in the early 1960’s. They replaced the longer, heavier, less manoeuvrable Toothpick surfboards. At that time, there was no balsa or fibreglass surfboard business in WA and the Malibu boards were imported from Gordon Woods and Barry Bennett Surfboards in NSW.

Malibu Surfboards background

Malibu surfboards originated at Malibu Beach in California. The longboard shape has a slightly pulled in nose and tail sections for extra manoeuvrability. This classic shape has been ridden and praised by experienced surfers for its manoeuvrability and performance. Classic party tricks eg “Hang Five” and “Hang Ten” can be performed on a Malibu board. There was a resurgence of longboarding in the late Eighties and Mals are still popular worldwide.

Photo: 1959 the boys & their toys on Yallingup Beach. This image includes a collection of different surfboard types at Yallingup Beach. The boards range for plywood toothpicks to balsa and a few fibreglass Malibu surfboards. The boys include Ken Hamer, Bernie Huddle, Dave Williams, Cliff Hills, Mark Paterson & others. Photo credit Bill Pratley.

My beautiful picture

Jim Keenan: “My first Malibu board was a Gordon Woods balsa with a centre stringer for added strength. Balsa was imported from South America and was expensive to say the least. My board if I remember right cost about 30 quid and represented approximately five weeks salary. On a relative scale that would put a new board at approximately $10,000.
I well remember the Californian life guards performing at Torquay and Sydney in 1956. They certainly created surfing history with the introduction of Malibu surfboards into Australia.
We were so isolated in WA in those early days, as the ‘Septics’ had been riding Mals way back in the forties. Those bloody Gidget movies stuffed up surfing because it revealed the life style and as a consequence a greater participation.”

Photo: 1961 pioneer SW surfers resting on Yallingup Beach with imported Malibu’s & some homemade balsa surfboards. The crew includes Keith Campbell, Don Roper, Bob Keenan, Brian Cole, Howard ‘The Ghost’ Kent and other unidentified persons. In the background are the old timber change rooms, timber steps and a shelter for the lifesaving reel. Photo courtesy of Terry Williams.

1961 Malibu Boards at Yallingup - Terry Williams1

In 1961 Brian Cole & Barry ‘Joe’ King formed King & Cole Surfboards in Wembley and commenced making fiberglass Malibu surfboards to cater for the local market.

Brian Cole: We used Bennett blanks and at that time Bennett Surfboards were experimenting with coloured foam. They blew foam with different colours and some of their surf boards had dual colour foam. Previously most fibreglass boards were coloured white to cover the discolouring in the foam.”

Photo: 1961 King & Cole Surfboards logo. Photo courtesy of Brian Cole.

1961 King & Cole Surfboards Wembley Brian Cole pic1

Photos: 1961 Howard “The Ghost” Kent surfing a King & Cole malibu surfboard at the Gallows in the SW. Photographer unknown.

1961 Ghost at Gallows on King & Cole surfboard unknown photographer1

By 1962 Dibben & Cole, Cordingley Bros & other surfboard manufacturers followed King & Cole and started manufacturing fibreglass surfboards in WA.

See Surfing Down South and Surfing WA celebrating 50 Years books for more details of WA’s surfboard industry in the 60s.

 

 

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1956-57 Surfers Camping at Yallingup

In the 50s’ pioneer SW surfers camped under melaleuca trees in front of the Yallingup Beach car park.

Surfside Tea rooms was available for meals at the time but the beach Caravan Park and Hideaway Homes accommodation options didn’t happen until the 70s.

Photo: 1956-57 Yallingup campsite L-R Tony Burgess, unknown, John ‘Red’ Abbott (hammock), unknown, Bernie Huddle, Alan Hamer, unknowns (3). Photo Credit John Budge.

Let us know if you can identify the unknown persons.

1956-57 Yalls camping Tony Burgess, unknown, John 'Red' Abbott (hammock),unknown, Bernie Huddle, Alan Hamer, unknown- JB pic img583

Photo: 1957 Surfers cooking on camp fire at Yallingup Beach. L-R Des Gaines, Jim Keenan, unknown, Laurie Burke, Bernie Huddle & Artie Taylor. Photo credit Jim Keenan.

1957 Yalls Des Gaines, Jim Keenan, unknown, Laurie Burke, Bernie Huddle & Arty Taylor - J Keenan pic

 

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Surfing Rotto in the 50s.

Surfing at Rottnest Island has been a popular pastime since the mid-50s. Cottesloe surfers made the maiden voyage to Rotto by surfboard.

Mark Paterson: “Cottesloe surfers John ‘Artie’ Shaw (champion board paddler), Lester Watkins and George Bevan from Coogee NSW were the first to paddle to Rotto on surfboards in the mid-50s. They paddled 16ft plywood boards and wore Army grey coats from Cottesloe to Rotto & return. On arrival the boys had a beer or two at Rotto pub before returning to the mainland. Their exploits were reported in the West Australian”.

Circa 1955 young City of Perth clubbies Jim Keenan, Graham ‘Cocko’ Killen & Tony Harbison paddled wooden surf skis from City Beach to Rotto and surfed waves at Transit Reef and Salmon Bay. This action on SLSC equipment eventually led to the boys being suspended from the surf club.

Jim Keenan: “Rottnest in the 50’s from a surfing point of view was absolute fun, especially when the Transit breaks were running. There were quite a few of us that surfed the Transit area. Dave Williams, Tony Harbison & John Budge were part of the group. These boys would travel over on the ferry and surf on their toothpick surfboards.

Salmon Bay was less well known and surfed and when we did it was very hairy. Salmon Bay produced challenges above and below the water line. On south west swells the ‘bommies’ threw up some quality big wave surfing above and below sharks ensured you stayed with your board or ski.

We did toy with the idea of taking on West End, but I am glad that’s as far as it got as that spot is full on.

Rottnest was heaven in those early days. Dhufish, crays were prolific and the beer was good also. We used to send our crates across on the Islander ferry and then float them across Thomson Bay to our camp site. We used to get our gear across on the Islander for free in the very early days.

It certainly was a step up from what was available on the Perth coastal beaches. It also toned up the skills necessary to what was to follow at Yallingup and Margaret River once our transport needs were cured.

Paddling to Rottnest was an adventure on its own especially at the ripe old age of 15 to 16 years. It was hard work and on occasions dangerous. On one particular journey a fog moved in while we were paddling through the shipping channel. A ship’s fog horn could be heard but not seen until it was bearing down on us at close quarters. Cocko and I on the double were able to escape reasonably quickly but for Tony Harbison on the single ski it was a close call as the Orcades (a passenger liner) bore down on us.

On another return journey from Rotto, my paddling partner Cocko on the two man ski fell asleep and slipped overboard, it was some time before I realized and returned to pick him up.

Our eventual suspension from the Surf Club for refusing to comply with a Harbour and Light’s ‘No paddling to Rottnest directive’ was indirectly an absolute blessing. It freed up our weekends and along with our newly found wheels firmly embedded Yallingup into our veins.

Yes, Rottnest played a part in many of the early Yallingup crew and is fondly remembered by all.”

Photo: 1956 Surfing at City Beach. L-R: Dave Williams on plywood toothpick surfboard and Jim Keenan & Cocko Killen on plywood double surf ski – Photo credit Ray Geary.

1956 City Beach Dave Williams toothpick board and Jim Keenan & Cocko Killen on double ski - Ray GearyA

In November 1958 pioneer surfers Brian Cole, Don Roper, Ken Hamer & others spent a couple of weeks holidaying on Rotto. Some of Brian’s holiday snaps & comments follow.

Brian Cole: “On a still night sounds carry from Transit reef back to Phillip Rock and the settlement in Thomson Bay. One moonlight & windless night Don Roper, Ken Hamer, myself (and others) went surfing at Transit after a few beers at the pub. The next day Mrs. Homes from Homes Tearoom, told us she could hear everything we said and asked us to keep our voices down and be more discreet in future.”

In the mid-50s the Islander & Wandoo worked the Freo to Rotto ferry route. The Wandoo was primarily a work boat and the trip could take a few hours on a fresh NW wind.

Photo: 1958 Don Roper (3rd from front) arriving at Rotto on Wandoo ferry. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto Wandoo ferry arriving Don Roper 3rd from front - Brian Cole pic 004

Pioneer surfer Barry ‘Joe’ King was a pilot and flew an Austen monoplane to the Island to get his hours up for a commercial licence. His mates often kicked in for the trip and did winter flights to Rotto with Joe. The boys were sometimes allowed to take over the controls over the water.

Photo: 1958 Don Roper & Barry ‘Joe’ King with the Austen monoplane at Rotto airport. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto Don Roper & Barry 'Joe' King next to Auster monoplane  - Brian Cole pic 005

Photo: 1958 The main street of Rotto. The famous Bakery is on the left and the Butchers shop is on the right. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto main street - Brian Cole pic 007

Photo: 1958 Brian Cole and Owen Oates sitting on an old bomb at Rotto Salt Works. Other old vehicles from the former Salt Works can be seen in the background. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto old bomb at the salt works Brian Cole & Owen Oates - Brian Cole pic 012

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1958 Budgie water shots at Yalls

1958 Jim Keenan and Graham ‘Cocko’ Killen took this classic water shot of John ‘Budgie’ Budge surfing Yalls. The boys were on their plywood double ski & used Budgie’s Kodak box camera to capture the action. Budgie was an instrument maker at UWA and came up with the camera innovation. The camera had no telescopic ability so they had to get as close up as possible on the double ski. Photo credit Jim Keenan, Cocko Killen and John Budge.

1958 Yalls John Budge - John Budge  pic IMG_0005

1958 On the same day, Budgie took this water shot of Jim Keenan & Cocko Killen surfing Yalls on their plywood double ski. Budgie took the photo from his home made balsa board. Refer Surfing Down South book for more of Budgie’s SW photos from the 50s. Photo credit John Budge.

1958 Yalls double ski Jim Keenan & Graham 'Cocko  Killen 001 - J Budge