1950s Ray Geary’s surf art

In the 50s WA surf pioneer Ray Geary made hollow plywood surf boards & decorated the boards with art work.

Ray was a sign writer by trade and also designed t-shirts, parkas and surf shop signs for the surfing community.

Photo: 1954 Ray with his ‘Jasper’ toothpick surfboard at City Beach groyne. Ray Geary pic.

1954 City Beach R Geary with Jasper surfboard - Ray Geary

Images: 1954-5 Ray’s cartoon character drawings on plywood surfboards #1. Images courtesy of Ray Geary.

1954-55 Ray Geary surf art #3 collage_photocat

Images: 1954-5 Ray’s cartoon character drawings on plywood surfboards #2. Images courtesy of Ray Geary.

1954-55 Ray Geary surf art #4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1955 Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield with plywood toothpick surfboards. Ray Geary pics.

(Left) Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield with Rob’s new 16’6 board. (Right) Rob Wakefield’s old 13′ & new 16’6 board.1955 Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield surfboards collage_photocat

Photo: 1956 Ray with his sign writing work Ute & homemade 4 man wave ski on top. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 R Geary work ute picking up 4 man ski - Ray Geary1

In the mid 50s Ray Geary designed & printed parkas for the City Beach Board Club. Neil & Rob are wearing board club parkas designed by Ray in the following photo.

Photo: 1956 Rob Wakefield’s Holden Ute parked in front of City Beach groyne with homemade 4 man wave board on roof rack. L-R Colin Taylor, Neil Chapple, Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 City Beach 4 man ski on Ray's Holden ute C Taylor, N Chapple, R Geary, Rob Wakefield - Ray Geary1

In 1958 there was a typhoid scare at City Beach. Ray designed & printed City Beach Tifoyd Club t-shirts for local surfers.

Photo: 1958 City Beach Typhoid scare t-shirt designed by Ray Geary. Brian Cole pic.

1958 City Beach Typhoid scare t-shirt by Ray Geary - Brian Cole pic IMG_06

In 1961 Brian Cole & Barry ‘Joe’ King started King & Cole Surfboards in Roydhouse St Wembley & produced WA’s first foam surfboards. Ray Geary designed and painted the business sign for King & Cole surfboards shop/factory.

Photo: 1961 King & Cole Surfboards sign designed & painted by Ray Geary. Brian Cole pic.

1961 King & Cole Surfboards Roydhouse St Wembley sign writer Ray Geary - Brian Cole IMG_0001a

Geary’s surf break near Mandurah is named after Ray Geary’s beach shack, which was located on the hill overlooking the waves.








1963 Brian Cole’s Overseas Surf Trip 1963.

WA surf pioneers Brian Cole & Barry ‘Joe’ King started making King & Cole surfboards with Bennett blanks in 1962. Their surfboard factory was located at the corner of Station St & Salvado Rd in Wembley. Later they moved to an old dairy in Harbourne St Wembley.

In 1963 Brian got the travel bug and headed to Europe on a ship with his surfing mates ‘Joe’ King and Bob Keenan.

Brian documented his surf travels in White Horses Magazine Issue 12 – Life of Brian in 2015. This is an extract of Brian’s article in White Horses Magazine plus some additional holiday snaps.

We parted company while hitch hiking through Europe, but joined up again in England where Joe & Bob had purchased a Kombi van. We toured Spain, Portugal & Morocco and checked surf beaches before returning to France.

Photos: 1963 France Cote de Basque (left) Kombi & boys on wall (Right) Biarittz Beach & top French junior surfer John Marie Lartigau – Brian Cole pics.

1963 France La Barre line-up & the mob on beach - Brian Cole collage_photocat (4)

In France we met a fellow from Barton Surfboards. He allowed us to make boards for ourselves in his factory & we showed him how to improve his glassing techniques. He bought the boards off us when we left Europe.

While in Biarritz we met US film star Deborah Kerr’s husband Peter Viertel. Peter was the original surfer at Biarritz. We became friends & mixed socially. At the time Peter was a script writer for a US film on bull fighting and we helped teach the bullfighters how to surf.

Photos: 1963 France La Barre wave line-up & the mob on the beach – Brian Cole pics.

1963 France La Barre line-up & the mob on beach - Brian Cole collage_photocat (1)

The French held an International De France De Surf competition at Biarritz and we were invited to compete against surfers from France, Hawaii, USA and Australia.

Photos: 1963 France Biarritz International Competition competitors (Left) Brian Cole & Hawaiian Jan W Lee. (Right) Brian Cole – Brian Cole pic.

1963 France La Barre line-up & the mob on beach - Brian Cole collage_photocat (3)

Australia’s Peter Troy won the event. Bob Keenan came third and I came fifth in the final. I stayed on in Biarritz for a while with Peter Troy.

Image: 1963 France Biarritz International Surf Comp newspaper report – Brian Cole image.

1963 France La Barre line-up & the mob on beach - Brian Cole collage_photocat (2)

From France I caught a Yugoslavia tramp steamer to USA. The ship was relatively small (6500 tonnes) and was tossed around the Atlantic in a hurricane. The ship docked in New York & I travelled across the US in a Volkswagen beetle with a fellow I met on the trip. His VW had shipped from France as deck cargo and was badly salt damaged on the journey.

On the US West Coast I teamed up with Bruce Shooper, a wealthy American surfer I met in France. We spent a week in Loz Angles driving round in his Porsche and then he showed the coastline up to Santa Barbara. Bruce knew Miki Dora and we shared a six pack of beer with Miki on Malibu Beach.

Next I travelled down the coast to San Clemente & stayed with guys from Hobie Alter Surfboards. I was astonished to discover Hobie was making 150 boards a week, as that was considerably more than any OZ board builder at the time.

While there I met Jon Severson, the editor of The Surfer Magazine, and film maker Bruce Brown. I told Bruce to contact Cordingley Surfboards when filming ‘The Endless Summer’ in WA. I was happy to hear later that the Cordingley boys showed him around WA. Unfortunately the surf was poor during Bruce’s WA visit.

I left the West Coast, flew to Hawaii and stayed at Velzyland on the North Shore in an old military hut I shared the hut with boys from Seal Beach California.

Photos: 1963 Hawaii Velzyland (Left) Brian’s shack & red Jack Haley surfboard (Right) sunset view from verandah – Brian Cole pics.

1963 Hawaii Velzyland - Brian Cole collage_photocat

In Hawaii I purchased a second hand 10’2” red colour Jack Haley surfboard (ex Seal Beach California) for $90 US off American Arthur Crump. I bought this board home to WA with me.

Image: 1963 Receipt for second hand Jack Haley surfboard. Image courtesy of Brian Cole.

1963 Hawaii receipt 2nd hand Jack Haley surfboard - Brian cole img677

For six weeks I toured the North Shore stretch and mainly surfed Haleiwa.

Photo: 1963 Hawaii North Shore beaches (left) Sunset Beach line-up from the hill (Right) Waimea Bay with elephant rock in foreground – Brian Cole pic.

1963 Hawaii Sunset & Waimea Beaches - Brian Cole collage_photocat

Banzai Pipeline didn’t agree with 10ft Malibu’s!

Photos: 1963 Hawaii Banzai Pipeline (Left) uncrowded waves (Right) Bill Fury USA – Brian Cole pics.

1963 Banzai Pipeline 2 - Brian Cole collage_photocat

At the time Bob McTavish was on the run from US immigration for stowing away on a ship from Australia to Hawaii. We sheltered Bob from immigration officials on several occasions, but he was eventually caught and flown back to Australia.

I late 1963 I caught a ship from Hawaii, back to Perth in WA and ended my adventurous life when I married Rhonda in 1964!

Rhonda & I live in the South West and I still enjoy fun waves and great companionship with other mature board riders.

Photos: 2015 Brian (age 76) surfing fun waves at Yallingup on his home made triple stringer Malibu board. Bruce King pics.

2015 Brian Cole surfing Yalls - Bruce King pics collage_photocat

2006 Len Dibben Award

In 2006 Surfing WA awarded Brian the Len Dibben Award for his outstanding service towards the development of surfing over an extended period of time.

Image: 2006 Len Dibben Award to Brian Cole. Image courtesy of Brian Cole.


Clink on this link to view Brian Cole’s East Coast Surf Trip 1959-1961



Brian Cole’s East Coast Surf Trip 1959-1961

WA surf pioneer Brian Cole toured the East Coast of OZ from 1959-61.

Earlier this year Brian documented his surf travels in White Horses Magazine Issue 12 – Life of Brian.

This is an extract of Brian’s article in White Horses Magazine plus some additional holiday snaps.

‘Word of mouth’ stories of well-shaped point surf on the East Coast had filtered back to WA (there were no OZ surf mags back then) so in 1959, I followed my dream and hitched a ride on a semi-trailer to Sydney.

I surfed & worked in Bondi, purchased a balsa pig board from Wallace Surfboards and headed off to Queensland in a Hillman Minx sedan with a WA guy. My surf board was too big to fit on the car and I had to fly it to Coolangatta. When I arrived I told the local Surf Club I was a clubbie and they let us stay there free. I surfed good waves at Greenmount for 3 months and met Bondi surfer Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan.

Then I headed back to Sydney & moved in with other WA surfing guys at Queenscliff. There were many great parties and a lot of shenanigans took place. I took over a milk run in Manly where some of the local Grems used to borrow the milk truck to carry their boards to the beach. When this happened I had to recover it from the beach front early in the morning. Back then, there was only a small group of surfers who surfed through winter on Sydney’s north shore. While there I met big wave rider Bob Pike, surf promoter Bob Evans and other surfing pioneers. Bob Pike & I (and others) did a modelling job for Flair fashion magazine. A bunch of us guys witnessed Freshwater surfer Dave Jackman tackle huge waves at the Queenscliff Bombora for the first time on a surfboard. Joe Larkin (board maker and beach inspector) was there taking photos.

At the end of 1961, I returned to Perth with WA surfer Laurie Burke. We drove straight to Yallingup in the South West. On arrival we had a beer with Bill Copley the proprietor of Caves House Hotel and he offered me a job. I was a barman at the pub for 3 months and surfed Yallingup on my own mid-week while waiting for mates to drive down from Perth on weekends.

In 1962 Barry ‘Joe’ King and I started King and Cole Surfboards in Wembley. We purchased blanks from Bennett Surfboards and were the first to produce foam surfboards in WA.

Brian’s East Coast holiday snaps.

Photo: 1959 Qld Coolangatta. Brian Cole with his Wallace balsa pig board. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1959 Qld Coolangatta Brian Cole balsa pig board - Brian Cole img662

Photo: 1960 NSW North Narrabeen. WA boys with a 1934 straight 1939 Chevy sedan. L-R Speedy, Bernie Huddle, Arty Taylor, Phil Mostyn & Cocko Killen. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1960 NSW Nth Narabeen 1934 straight 8 Studybaker Speedy, Bernie, Arty Taylor, Phil Mostyn & Cocko Killen - Brian Cole Pic img156

Photo: 1961 NSW North Steyne. L-R John Sprigs & Brian Cole surfing. Photo courtesy of surf photographer Ron Perrott (NSW).

1961 NSW North Steyne John Sprigs & Brian Cole - Ron Perrott picimg697

Photo: 1961 NSW North Narrabeen. L-R Brian Cole & big wave rider Bob Pike modelling for Flair Magazine. Image courtesy of Flair Magazine & Brian Cole.

1961 Models Brian Cole & Bob Pike Nth Narrabeen NSW

Photos: 1961 NSW Dave Jackman surfing Queenscliff Bombora on a surfboard for the first time. Photos courtesy of surfboard manufacturer Joe Larkin (NSW).

1961 Dave Jackman Queenscliff Bombora NSW - Joe Larkin pics IMG_001

Photo: 1961 NSW Queenscliff. Surfers enjoying Xmas Day keg on the beach. Surfers include Bernie Huddle, Bob Pike, Joe Larkins & others. Photo Brian Cole.

1961 NSW Queenscliff Xmas Day keg Bernie Huddle, Bob Pike, Joe Larkins & others - B Cole pic img686

Photo: 1961 NSW Dee Why Point ‘mayhem’. Brian Cole is on the right. Photo courtesy of surf photographer Ron Perrott (NSW).

1961 NSW Dee Why Pt 'mayhem' Brian Cole on right - Ron Perrott pic - B Cole img695

Photo: 1961 NSW Brian Cole & mates heading towards a surf break inside Sydney Harbour in a 1934 Studebaker sedan. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1963 NSW Brian Cole & mates heading towards Sydney harbour surf break in 1934 Studybaker - B Cole pic img690


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.




1962-64 Alex ‘Zac’ Kochanowitsch

West Perth surfer Alex ’Zac’ Kochanowitsch purchased his first surfboard in 1962 and won WA’s first State Open Men’s Surfing Title in 1964.

1962 Zac’s first board

In 1962 Zac purchased his first fiberglass board from King & Cole Surfboards in Wembley. The 9ft Malibu board cost £28 pounds and was his pride & joy. (The surfboard would be worth a lot more at auction these days). Zac chained the surfboard to stumps under the City Beach Tea Rooms and hitch-hiked or caught the bus to the beach.

Photos: 1962 The Kochanowitsch brothers with their Malibu surfboards. (left) Zac age 17 with his new King & Cole Surfboard and (right) Len with his surfboard – manufacturer unknown. Photos courtesy of Ernie Potter.

1962 Zac & Len Kochanowitsch  compilation1

1962 Zac’s first SW trip.

Zac recalls his first trip Down South was quite by accident.

In the summer of ’62, I travelled to Avalon (near Mandurah) with my mates John McGuire and Boz Cummins in John’s mum’s new Morris Minor 1000. When we got there the surf was too small so John said “bugger this we are going to Gallows”. John immediately dismantled the car’s speedometer cable as he was told to go no further than Avalon and his dad always took a speedo reading to check how far we travelled that day. To save time we headed off down the Old Coast Road on a rough dirt track between Lake Preston Road House and Australind. Finally we found our way to The Gallows. To our surprise we were the only ones there, it was an offshore wind and a perfect head high wave. We surfed for 2 hours then John said “we have to go home now as I have to have the car home before 6pm”. So we headed home to wash the car & reconnect the speedo and pretend Avalon was as far as we went.”

By the next year (1963) Zac was spending most weekends down south surfing big well shaped waves.

Photo: 1964 Zac surfing Margaret River on his ‘rising sun’ design surfboard. Photo credit Eddie Potter.

1964 Zac Kochanowitsch Marg River - Ernie Potter pic

1964 Zac’s first surf Title

WA’s inaugural State Surfing Title were held in solid wave conditions at Yallingup in 1964.

Contest winners: Open: Zac Kochanowitsch, Bob Keenan, Tony Harbison. Juniors: Barry King, Richard White, Brian Boynes. Womens: Jenny Shackley, 3rd Teena Christon age 14 (Womens event held Cowaramup Bay).

Photo: Contest winners L-R Barry King (Juniors) and Zac (Open). Both surfers were from the City Beach Surf Riders Club. Photo credit WA Newspapers.

1964 Yalls State Champs Barry King & Zac- Newspaper picA

WA State Champions Zac, Barry King & Jenny Shackley went on to represent Australia at the first World Surfing Titles held at Manly NSW in May 1964.

Photo: 1964 Logo on Zac’s Australian Surf Team jacket. Photo credit Zac Kochanowitsch.

1964 Zac's Aust Surf Team jacket- Zac pic