Gallery

Yallingup Feast images by Loz Smith

Another solid ground swell hit the South West’s west coast beaches on Thurs 8 June 2017. Conditions at Yallingup main break were great with winter sun and off-shore winds. It was a feast for local young guns Karl Leavy, Mick Watts and Peter Arnold and veterans Andy Jones and Rich Myers.

Rich MyersAndy & I were the oldest and coldest surfers out there. The real rippers were talented SW locals Karl Leavy, Mick Watts and Peter Arnold….they surfed the waves properly!

In my opinion, Karl Leavy is the best surfer at Yalls these days. Karl is WA’s Kai Lenny (Hawaii). He reads Yalls better than most. His different approach to riding big waves has made him stand out. He is a waterman to the max.

Karl has been collaborating with Chappy from Chapstar Surfboards to develop an innovative surfboard than will enable him to ride big waves at Yalls in a better way.

Quindalup craftsman Loz Smith captured these images of the action at Yalls. Unfortunately there are no images of Andy Jones and Karl Leavy in Loz’s photo-shoot.

Photo: Winter sun and waves at Yallingup. Loz pic.

Photo: Mick Watts taking the drop at Yalls. Loz pic.

Photo: Peter Arnold lining up the wall at Yalls. Loz pic.

Photo: Peter Arnold in full flight at Yalls. Loz pic.

Photo: The Shaana Café crew at Yalls. L-R Chiara, Fonzie and chef Mich. Loz pic.

Note: Shaana Café has closed for winter and will re-open in September.

Photo: Rich Myers doing what he does best at Yalls. Loz pic.

Photo: Rich Myers bottom turn. Loz pic.

Rich Myers – I think my mate Andy got cleaned-up by the following wave. It’s funny because he talked me into going out there! The previous Sunday, the waves were much bigger and I talked him into going out. Then it was my turn to be cleaned up. I took a huge set wave drop then straightened off and got cement trucked on the head. I was held down in Yalls black hole before being washed up on the beach in Grannies Pool. Karl Leavy and Damon Oats were the stand outs that big day.

Photo: a happy Richie with his 8’2” DMD big wave board post surf. Loz pic.

Photo: Rich Myers with his favourite girls Anne and Sinead on the deck at Yallingup. Loz pic.

Rich Myers – I was happy to get two good waves before having to get back to the Rest home before the nurses found out. Ha!

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Gallery

Busso Night Life in the 60s, 70s and 80s

This is a collection of Busselton Night Life memories from some South West residents.

Night out on the town by Kevin Merifield

Kevin Merifield is a former Subiaco League Footballer and has been surfing down south since the 1955.

For the first couple of years the South West locals, primarily dairy farmers couldn’t work out who these weird bods were invading their territory, trespassing on their land and going out in what they considered wild seas and shark invested waters. Even back in those days we dressed, acted and spoke differently (surf speak had already began).

Sometimes on a Saturday we would head into Busselton for a night out on the town.

It usually took about a half an hour at the Vasse or Commercial hotels before it would be on. The locals would have a go at us and it would be good old fashion one on one fisticuffs for about 5 minutes until you were both buggered then up to the bar to share a beer together. After a while the locals got to know us better and we became good mates with some and were eventually accepted into the community.

Photos: Busselton Hotels courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

Left: Vasse Hotel since 1906.

Right: Commercial Hotel built circa 1890

Kevin is retired and lives at Yallingup with his wife Margaret.

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Busso Picture Theatre by Ian Wiese

Ian Wiese grew up in Busselton in the 50s & 60s.

Back then Busselton had a population of about 6,500 ie smaller than Dunsborough is today! It had 2 seasons – summer and winter.

Photo: 1951 Mrs Wiese with her twin sons Stan and Ian on Busselton Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

In the winter we were at school, played sport (in my case hockey), and for entertainment we went to the picture theatre in Busselton or when we were older the drive-in. 

At the picture theatre anyone caught cuddling up to their girlfriend were moved by the owner’s wife who used to patrol the theatre with a torch watching out for any signs of misbehaviour. (Just as well she didn’t get out to the drive-in where all the action was).

After the pictures there was House’s milk bar just around the corner in Queen Street, or the Jolly Roger cafe down the other end near the Vasse hotel. Not a lot else went on in Busselton apart from the pubs. We often used to hold parties at our place after hockey.  

Photo: 1966 Some of Ian’s hockey team at his family home in Morrison St in Busselton. Ian Wiese pic.

The people in the photo (left to right) are Rob Ainsworth, Stan Wiese (in the car), Jim Watts, Ian Wiese, and Fred Ball. The lads are leaning on a 1955 Morris Oxford, jointly owned by Ian and his twin brother.

“Hooning” was a popular past time – the timber yards between the tennis club and the railway jetty were a good place as there was a lot of gravel. Talking to some at a recent reunion I learnt how fast you could go through the S bend over the old bridge at the entrance to Dunsborough, and other hair raising tales. I recall stories about some prominent citizens of the town setting records in their Jaguars for the Bunbury-Busselton trip (which didn’t involve slowing down for the bridge at Capel). With the drinking age at 21, it was common for bored youths to get a keg and take it somewhere into the bush on a Saturday night. There were some terrible accidents as they drove home. In those days Western Australia had a population of 500,000 and a road toll of 350. We tell ourselves we were safe but actually we were the survivors – poor car design, unsafe roads, and alcohol took a terrible toll. 

In summer there was a lot more going-on. People came down for holidays, surfers came down. There were stomps at Churchill Park (until the council banned the Stomp), the Tennis club, Yallingup Hall, Cowaramup Hall, Witchcliffe Hall and the rowing club in Bunbury. Winter relationships broke up as the girls chased the visiting surfers and the boys chased the farmer’s daughters on holiday. At a recent reunion a member of a 60’s band that played at these venues recalled that they used to come home high after playing at the Yallingup Hall!

I left Busselton for Perth early in 1967 when I was only just 17, so I missed the Busselton pub scene apart from one brief summer.

Ian is a keen photographer and now lives in Dunsborough with his wife Glenys.

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Jetty drinks with George Simpson

George Simpson formerly of Cottesloe has lived and surfed in the South West since the late 60s.

We’d come down on weekends and we’d want to go find girls. We’d find the girls at the fish and chip shop next to Busselton Jetty. We’d also go to the youth hostel, but there were too many cops around there. So we’d go and get the oldest one of us to get a couple of bottles of beer and we’d sit on the end of the jetty. We got to know the local girls and they would come hang out there too.

Image: 1960s Busselton jetty with Queens Street in the background. Image courtesy of vintage Tourist post card.

Sally Gunter, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, came around the bend with Chrissy Brennon on skateboards while I was driving up the Cape one day. I introduced a couple of the lads to their future wives. They were cool chicks. They were the sort of girls who were more inclined to like surfers than bogs. (Extract from Surfing Down South book).

George works in the Prawn Fishing industry and lives at Yallingup.

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Busso Stomps by Sally Gunter

Sally Gunter is the daughter of a former Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse keeper and is a real South West local.

My five girlfriends and I used to attend Stomps held in a hall near the Busselton jetty on a Friday night. At about 10pm surfers from the city would turn up at the Stomp….much to the displeasure of local lads. I remember meeting Gary Greirson and other city surfers there.

My Busso friend Pat Milner met & married Ian Cairns in Busselton. That changed her life forever!

Images: 1975 Ian Cairns and Pat Cairns (nee Milner). Images courtesy of WA Newspapers and Ric Chan.

Left: Ian Cairns with his big wave board made for the World Surfing Championships held in Hawaii in 76. Ian designed and shaped the 3.1m board at Gary Greirson’s Surfboard factory in Osborne Park.

Right: Oceans Surf Comp at Trigg Point. L-R Pat Cairns, Barry Day, Ian Cairns, Russell Catto & unidentified.

At the time I was going out with Rick Lobe. I worked in the Dunsborough Bakery and Rick worked with my father at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse.

I remember we made a trip up to the city with Gary Greirson in his Kombi. Gary was going through a religious phase and went on non-stop about religion the whole trip.

Photo: 1975 Sally Gunter & Rick Lobe at Dunsborough with Gremmo’s dog ‘Horse’. Peter Mac pic.

Sally is married to SW surfing legend Andy Jones and lives at Yallingup.

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Busso Dances by Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell

On weekends my mates and I used to go to dances held at the Busselton Tennis Club. That’s where we met Sally Gunter and the other Busso girls. Trevor ‘TA’ Anderson met his future wife Linda Dodd at those dances. Linda’s parents ran the beach shop near the jetty.

Back then the Busso Bogs thought we were trying to steal their girls and there were confrontations. Now I’m friends with some of those Bogs and they are really nice guys…..they could tell you some stories!

Horny has sold his Electrical Business and lives at Yallingup.

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Vasse-A-Go-Go by Bruce King

Bruce King formerly of Subiaco spent a large part of his youth surfing and socialising down south in the late 60s to early 70s.

We used to drive down south on a Friday night and meet up with Busso girls Linda Dodd, Wendy, Gail Colombera and maybe Shaz Day at the Jetty Tea Rooms. Linda Dodd’s parents owned the Tea Rooms which sold fish & chips and meals.

At other times we went to stomps at the Vasse Hall. We called it Vasse-a-Go-Go. One night the old bloke that run the show stopped the music because someone had broken the toilet seat and he wouldn’t continue until someone owned up…can’t remember anyone owning up! The Busso bogs also visited Vasse-a-Go-Go and one big bog turned his glass upside down on our table, which meant he wanted to fight one or all of us….without George Simpson being there, we declined his offer!

Photo: Vasse Hall built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

We also frequented the Ship Hotel. Norm Bateman used to do a comedy routine there. One night instead of kicking us out, the management locked us in and called the cops.

Photo: The Ship Hotel built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

One New Year Eve’s we broke into the Community Hall in Busso for a quiet drink and we were busted by the cops. We got off because one of the Bussell girls was there with us.

Bruce is retired and lives in Dunsborough with his wife Anne.

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In the early 80s big name OZ bands played with late licences at the Commercial Hotel in Busso. This entertainment was popular with SW surfers.

Loz Smith (Quindalup) – I remember listening to Western Flyer with Matt Taylor, Stevie Wright and Brian Cadd at the Commercial in Busso.  

Jo Felton (Dunsborough)After the Dunsy pub closed lots of us used go to the Commercial in Busso, when it stayed open late at one stage. I remember seeing some bands there, but don’t remember names now. Most of the Dunsy and Yalls crew did the same drive when the night club thing was happening in Busso….it was a bit of a novelty back in the days when the pubs shut at 10 pm hahahaha.

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Refer to Surfing Down South book published 2014 for more ‘Hanging with the Locals’ stories.

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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Gallery

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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