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1973 Australian Surf Titles #2 Media coverage by Errol Considine

1973 Nationals at Margs

Trying to shut the door Down South …. too late!

The 1969 Australian Nationals held at Margaret main break in pumping power waves, the like of which had never been seen at the titles before was the pivotal moment in the history of WA surfing – when the door was flung open to the world and the secret of the Capes coast’s waves was out.

People like Len Dibben who had been there at the birth of modern surfing in Western Australia has said that ’69 was the turning point – and nothing Down South would ever be the same again.

That iconic Ric Chan shot of the legendary Wayne Lynch high-lining a main break left at the ’69 titles said it all – that WA could match it with famed Australian east coast, Hawaiian and Californian breaks which up till then had dominated surf magazines and movies.

We were in awe of the boards Nat Young, Lynch and the crew were riding and wanted to follow them too – although we parochially claimed our mate Greg “Thunder” Laurenson was at least equal with the best board shaper craftsmen and designers on the east coast…and we reckoned WA surfers like Ian Cairns, Peter Bothwell and Kevin Agar were up there too.

The ’69 titles also brought the ‘flower power’ thing to WA – the long hair, beards, beads, floppy felt hats, bell bottom dacks – the new surfing cool was here. And we were all ready to follow…

But in the aftermath came some other changes that weren’t so cool.

Surfing pilgrims from across the Nullarbor, and even from across the world, bought new progressive influences …and also, for the first time, more crowded waves at times Down South [‘crowded’ in relative terms to what we knew up till then!]

There was also something of a loss of innocence as the downside from a new drugs and dole culture began to be felt – not everybody was mellow and ‘cool’ – man!

Boards could no longer be left on cars outside pubs or at mates’ houses in Scarborough ‘cos stuff started betting stolen, for instance.

TRACKS MAGAZINE – ‘Paradise Lost’

In the February 1973 edition of Tracks magazine (really more a non-glossy, black and white newspaper format at that time), I wrote an article titled “Paradise Lost” which appeared in the “news & opinions” section and hit like a bombshell sending shock waves coast to coast

It provoked a storm with string of letters to the editor in the following edition of the magazine – which unfortunately I have not kept – which just smashed me!

Richard Harvey – third at the ’69 championships and would go on to win the May ’73 titles at Margs – labelled me as a total dickhead. It was chastening and more than a little embarrassing.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine Errol’s “Paradise Lost or How the West Was Won” editorial – page 1. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine Errol’s “Paradise Lost or How the West Was Won” editorial – page 2. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks letter and payment to Errol for “Paradise Lost” editorial. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

All I can now say now is that our intentions were good and naked self-interest came first …but we were totally naïve and it was all too late. The tide could not be turned back.

In my article, I related how amazing the 1969 titles had been, but on a “cold Saturday night late in winter ’72 some friends and I go and see Tom Hoye (expatriate American and builder of good sticks at Yallingup) and get to talking about contests”.

Now Tom had fled California to get away from the crowds and reckoned he’s found Nirvana at the Margies coast.

He talked about having had it all in southern California – surfing had provided him with a good income, place to live, good car, great stereo (dunno why but I recall that detail!) …and he got to go surfing. But SoCal polluted, too fast, and the water was a crowded nightmare and had all gone to crap.

As I wrote in my two-page feature in Tracks: “He put to us a question: ‘WHY DO WE WANT ANOTHER NATIONALS IN OUR SURF…”

“Good question…no real answer…

“Only abstract notions like pride in our surf and surfers.

“Look at the realities …surfing everywhere is strangling itself with its own success and the contest will ensure the much quicker death of our crowd-doomed southern surf.”

We got fired up. You also have to put this in the context of the times. It was age of the rising power of the young & the power of protest action …”the times they are a changin’…”

At the next monthly meeting of WA Surf Riders’ Association (the forerunner of Surfing WA) I put a motion which was seconded by my mate Peter Bevan (who was also WASRA Publicity Officer) for an “extraordinary general meeting to be held for the first time in local history to “discuss” the national titles…really to cancel them.”

Well, it hit the fan – BIG TIME!

The special WASRA meeting saw battle lines drawn with the pro and anti Nationals factions lined up.

The pro team had something we didn’t – money! Some developers who were building the caravan park at Yallingup wanted to bankroll the titles. Their main man pulled out a wad of $20 notes and said he would put up $500 for the winner’s purse at the Nationals.

Bear in mind, we were earning less than $100 a week – I had never seen that much cash in my life!!

Anyway, the vote is taken and we won. The May ’73 Nationals in WA were off. Cancelled.

Now it hit the fan across the Nullarbor.

Surfing Australia President Stan Couper wrote WASRA a nasty ultimatum letter “generally calling us shitheads and coming on heavy and about how we should reconsider…”

So at WASRA’s next monthly meeting another extraordinary general meeting is called – and the vote was reversed. The ’73 Nationals were back on at Margaret River.

The Tracks feature also ran nearly a full page on the written submission we’d put to the WASRA special meeting…including:

“This monster of our own making is coming back to WA…Our frontier will inevitably be destroyed by the pressures of too many surfers and has obviously already begun to tread that path to destruction….”

I guess our attitude was – if we’re going to head down this path, then go hard!!

We were defeated. Surfing life moved on. We thought then, well we may as well enjoy it?!

I was working as a journo at TVW 7 news and conned my boss into letting me go down to Margs for the week with a film cameraman and send back reports.

That meant sending cans of undeveloped 16mm black and white film by overnight courier back to the station at Tuart Hill. With scripting copy enclosed pounded out on my little Olivetti typewriter!!

‘Surfing Down South’ has a Ric Chan shot of me somewhat sheepishly interviewing Richard Harvey amongst a group in the car park at Surfers’ Point at the ’73 Nationals. I think I mumbled my name and he didn’t work out that he was being questioned on camera by the dickhead from Perth who he’d vilified in the national surf media a few months earlier. Phew!

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest meeting in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pic.

L-R competitor Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic), competitor Richard Harvey (NSW), Channel 7 News cameraman Bryan Dunne, 7 News reporter Errol Considine, media Ric Chan (NZ) and unidentified.…you can see the Channel 7 Holden news van in the background …

TRACKS MAGAZINE – ‘Main Report on the ’73 Nationals at Margies

Fast forward to June’73 – and I accepted an invitation from Tracks to write the main report on the May Nationals at Margies.

Image: 1973 Telegram from Tracks magazine editor Frank Pithers to Errol requesting coverage of ’73 Nationals. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

The surf was good. I wrote about how our worst fears weren’t borne out.

“The only real hassle was the hassling. Hassling in the water like I’ve never seen before. Everyone (including the worst hasslers) seem to be complaining about it so it must have been worse than usual… Tony Hardy and Rod Brooks…nearly came to blows early in the piece. But in a pattern that seemed to be typical, it was friends on shore; kills, kill, kill in the water.”

The same Rod Brooks, from Victoria, took me aside for chat about my previous little surf media storm and explained why guys like Richard Harvey had gotten so angry at me:

“…the east coast boys look forward to two contests on the Australian surf circuit…the annual Bells and the triennial or quadrennial Margaret rip. It puts surfers into the juice and sorts them out and is a nice adventure cum holiday.”

It was indeed a simpler time with narrower horizons!

I did let rip in the article at the then Surfing Australia president Stan Couper “giving a few guys the shits with his …dictatorial…attitude and rulings” about where rounds of the event were to be surfed.

“The guy doesn’t surf, he doesn’t know the coastline, the report comes in from the world’s most experienced Margaret River rider (Murray Smith) that it’s 6 to 8 foot and great, everybody wants to go there…but Stan says “NO”…we’ll check our Cowaramup and Redgate. It ended up at Margaret but Stan, it seemed, just had to have his way.”

You have to remember that back then, Australian sport was notorious for being run by inflexible, uptight officials and the interests and wishes of the athletes came second to nit picking process and procedure…

Anyway, I digress. Back to the contest.

I wrote how the first round was held at “South Point Cowaramup in fair to good 4 to 6 foot surf”.

George Simpson beat Queensland’s reigning champion Michael Peterson, and Tony Hardy did well. The WA flag flew high and we were all pretty stoked.

In the Juniors, Craig Bettenay and Bruce Hocking did well. But Ian Cairns was a shock loser.

Round two was “Big Wednesday” at Margaret main break – not perfect quality but “sure big 10 to 12 foot”.

I reported there were some surprise losers like Simon (“that guy’s got muscles on his muscles”) Anderson, but Terry Fitzgerald killed it.

After a lay day, it was on at good Redgate. Richard Harvey, Michael Peterson and Peter Townend got deep in barrel after barrel.

The final day surfed off on the Sunday, back at Main break. While smaller than the Wednesday, the shape and conditions were better.

Richard Harvey ruled in the Open final, beating Peter Townend, with Michael Peterson third. WA’s Tony Hardy came fifth, which was a disappointment as he was just such a master at Margie’s.

A young fella named Mark Richards from NSW won the Juniors – he went on to do pretty good in Hawaii and the big leagues a few years further down the track! WA’s Craig Bettenay came in fourth.

In the Senior Men’s, Tony Harbison placed fifth.

I also noted to round off my report, that great WA surfer Barry Day, who’d won the coveted Duke Kahanamoku trophy for the best up-and-coming rider at the Nationals in Sydney the year before, could not compete Down South in 1973 as he was “playing league football.” A gifted player, Barry starred in the 1974 grand final for West Perth and later played for Essendon in the VFL. He would have been a rider to be reckoned with if he’d been able to take part in the ’73 Nationals held here…one of those ‘what ifs’…

I wrote a brief comment in my Tracks report about an event in the Open final:

“There was a hassle about an alleged drop-in against Peterson that would have changed everything had it stood. Michael hassled the judges afterwards about the drop-in (or “interference” as it’s now called) and got a few to change their minds in a pretty strange decision. The ruling was reversed.”

In Surfing Australia’s “A Complete History of Surfboard Riding in Australia”, published in 2012, author Phil Jarratt revealed the full details of what really happened and Michael Peterson’s epic meltdown:

“By this time, Peterson’s drug use was becoming more noticeable to most surfers and officials…and often his behaviour on land was hard to fathom, even though in the water his drug haze seemed to be no impediment to his performance. Until Margaret River.

“In big, powerful waves the defending Australian champion was a contender all the way to the final where he was up against consistent Peter Townend and the powerhouse goofy-footer Richard Harvey. Agitated beyond belief, Peterson paddled up and down the line-up, snaking and hassling his rivals with a manic intensity. He was probably never going to beat the smooth, calculating Harvey, but a drop-in call by the judges put that beyond doubt. Furious, Peterson confronted the judges with a tirade of profanity-laden abuse, delivered in a rainstorm of white spittle.

“No one had seen anything like it in an Australian championships since Nat Young’s famous dummy spit at Greenmount in 1970…Peterson’s invective stopped as suddenly as it had started, and within seconds he was spinning wheels in the car park and on this way to the airport.”

Wow. Never knew that. The officials covered it up well for us working media back in ‘73!!

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine coverage of ’73 Aust Titles by Errol Considine – Page 1. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1973 Tracks Magazine coverage of ’73 Aust Titles by Errol Considine – Page 2. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

…and one more thing. An ironical post-script to my naïve idealism all those years ago and trying to stop the Nationals from over-exposing our surf! At the start of last year, I ended a six-year term serving on the Board of Surfing WA as Vice Chairman. During that time I played a role in helping Mark Lane and the team to move at the right time to get the MR Pro as ASP/WSL world championship event …and then helped with running of some of the media stuff…exposing and promoting the Cape Coast to millions of surfers around the world! …go figure!

My Tracks front cover – Poem

During my “Tracks” phase in ’72 & ‘73 I broke into verse – something which just came to me out of the blue to me one day during a surf – and the Editor liked it so much it made the front cover of the August 1972 edition…bit hard to read in the scan, so here’s the lines, as published:

I feel the waves;

The waves feel me.

We both feel each other:

We both feel free

Not sure now about my mysterious use of punctuation with the semi-colon and colon!

Taking a bit of a revisionist backward view of that time in our surfing history, the vibe is definitely an after-glow of the ‘tune in, turn on and drop out’ mantra from the San Francisco ‘summer of love’ hippie thing.

Even if you weren’t doing the ‘turn on’ bit, it was important in peer image terms back then to try hard to at least appear to be a cool and mellowed-out ….and not risk the mortal sin of being deemed to being uncool – shock, horror!!

…my little stanza doesn’t quite join Bob Dylan in the Nobel Prize for Literature league but I’d like to think it does say something about the stoke we all felt back then in that unique and blessed era as we spent our weekends and holidays Down South surfing uncrowded waves with our mates, progressing with the developments in surfboard design, and feeling part of Australian surfing taking on the world…the ‘hot generation’ and the swagger of ‘we’re tops now’. It was all happening.

Some people assumed the picture on the Tracks cover was me – unfortunately no …don’t think I ever looked that good on a wave! But the Tracks’ editor did find a great visual image which matched the spirit of what I was trying to say.

No idea who the surfer captured in the shot was but I reckon it looks to me like it could have been Keith Paul?

The yellowed Tracks cover is now framed and hangs in a little personal surf memorabilia man-cave in my garage at home…

Image: 1972 Tracks cover (August edition) containing Errol’s poem. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Image: 1972 Tracks payment letter to Errol for poem and an inside article. Image courtesy of Errol Considine.

Footnote: In 2004, I interviewed George Simpson for a feature profile piece which was published in the first ‘Summer 04/05’ edition of “Longbreak” surf travel magazine (now published online: http://www.longbreak.com.au/ ) …

George related about his first trip to an undeveloped Bali in 1973 and stayed six months. They travelled to Indo by boat from Singapore and slept amongst reed beds on the beach at Kuta.

Local bemo drivers would charge the surfers the equivalent of about $1 to take them out to Uluwatu.

One day at 8 foot Ulu’s, George was surfing with the very same Richard Harvey.

The NSW goofy spotted white water further up the unexplored coast and decided to take off and have a look to see whether he could find any more surfable waves.

The way George tells it, Mr Harvey paddled off by himself carrying just a bottle of water and a joint to keep himself provisioned for the journey into the unknown!

In that one day, George told me, Richard Harvey discovered and surfed Bingin, Padang Padang and Impossibles by himself. It’s hard to imagine how mind blowing that must have been.

Harvey arrived back at Jimbaran Bay after dark that night bubbling with excitement about these great new spots ….which today are just so well-known across the world. Bloody amazing!

ENDS

Click on this link to view 1973 Australian Surf Titles #1 Contest Images by Ric Chan

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Rob Ryan’s first surf trip to Margaret River

Rob Ryan (NSW) is the founder and administrator of the Museum of Surf web and Facebook sites.

These are Rob’s memories of his first surf trip to Margaret River in WA.

My first trip to Margaret River was 1970 and it was dirt road nearly all the way. If I remember correctly there was one guy out and the next morning surfed with two guys. That was it for 3 days!

When everyone else went to Bali, I decided to get in my Kombi and go on a trip to WA instead. I went all through Vic, SA, and surfed all the known breaks and some I’m sure were never surfed?

I started in Sydney went all the way around the coast where possible! I met so many people I wish I could remember their names, other than the big names of the era. I surfed Lorne Point with Wayne Lynch. That was an eye opener. Just watching him I learnt so much.

There was a mouse plague at Cactus in South Australia, millions of the buggers all through the Kombi. It smelt like mice for a month.

Photo: 1971 WA’s Neil Sadlier with his Holden panel van and boards at Cactus. Neil Sadlier pic.

I just camped were I could and did odd jobs as I travelled. I broke down on the Nullarbor, it was red dirt, as most roads were. The fuel was evaporating in the fuel lines causing an air lock. I was laying under the Kombi until a truck pulled over and the guy undid the fuel line let the air out and poured a bit of water on the fuel pump. I was worried about using all my water so I drank it and pissed on the pump.

Photo: 1970s Queenslander Peter Lackey’s Kombi in Bunbury WA. Ric Chan pic.

Margaret River was a really small town then. The biggest surprise was the size of the Kangaroos? I arrived at Margaret’s late afternoon and saw one guy out just as he caught his last wave. I am really bad with names, but I think his name was Tony Hardy!

I do remember heading south of Margaret’s and getting three flat tyres on that road. I had to get a lift with another Truck driver to get the fixed and he then told me to meet him at the turnoff that afternoon and he would take me back to the Kombi, great bloke, his name was Les.

Photo: 1972 unidentified surfer at Margaret River main break. Ric Chan pic.

I surfed all around the area but I broke or bruised a rib at what you guys call North Point now, so just headed north to Carnarvon. Saw the biggest White Pointer I have ever seen at the Bluff. I reckon 5 meters long, it was like a bus swimming past me with this big black eye checking me out. The Kombi just kept purring along except for 17 flat tyres?

Photo: 1970s Red Bluff in North West WA. Jim Keenan pic.

There is a left hand break about 50klm south of Perth, it may have been Avalon Point. It was seriously one of the best days of my life, beautiful weather, dolphins in the water, two guys in a beat up old Land Rover camping for about a week. Beers of a night, waves all day!!

That’s about all I remember, except surfing some of the best waves of the trip.

Sadly I lost all of my photos of the trip in a flood. Maybe that’s where the passion came from to preserve surfing history?

Cheers

Rob

Click on the following links to view Rob’s Museum of Surf sites.

Web site            http://www.museumofsurf.com

Facebook           https://www.facebook.com/museumofsurf/

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1965 My First Trip Down South by Errol Considine

My First Trip Down South – over 50 years ago!

By Errol Considine

December 1965 saw my first trip Down South – I was 14. The memories of that first taste of the magic of the Capes region remain vivid today.

My brother Jeff and I had been bitten with the surfing bug a few summers earlier and ridden our first boards on our home beach at Scarborough, and been part of the local ‘crew’. Eventually, both becoming members of Scarborough Board Club.

We were in awe of the stories we kept hearing from the older guys – especially Murray Smith and the North End Board Club crew, who were also Scarborough-based – about the monster waves on the Yallingup-Margaret River coast. We were busting to get down there.

By ’65, Jeff and his mates in their last year at Scarborough High School had started getting driver’s licences and some were picking up an assortment of old cars and fitting them with roof racks.

So when Jeff finished his Leaving Exams in early December, we loaded up his new 9’6” Dibben-Cole single stringer onto high schoolmate Fred Bosich’s Austin Lancer, along with his board too, on a Monday morning. Jeff and I packed our boardies (ours were custom made by Jenny Cordingley – Fred wore black footy shorts to surf!), wax and sleeping bags and headed for Mandurah, cutting across to Pinjarra, and then on the narrow and winding South West Highway on the s-l-o-w trip South.

We headed to Margaret River and the Prevelly caravan park, which had old buses fitted with bunks and a gas stove, and I think a single light bulb! Camping down south also meant taking along a stash of tinned taste delights like braised steak and onions or baked beans, as the staple diet ….I reckon global warming was given a kick along by a spike in methane gas emissions rising into the atmosphere from the Capes Coast of SW WA during that era!

The following year, we camped at Prevelly. Brother Jeff had started as a Cadet Architectural Draftsman at the Public Works Department in early 1966 and saved enough to buy his first car, the Mini, which carried us for many surfing weekend Down South.

“Funny but early in our Down South days we seemed to always stay at Prevelly. One weekend, we were even being drafted in by the Scarborough Board Club boys to help on the wheelbarrows and shovels to lay the cement slab for their corrugate iron clubhouse which was erected there. North End Board Club built another one nearby. But after the first few summers we all gravitated to staying at the top of the Capes Coast Yallingup, and sleeping on the grass in front of the dunnies.

Geoff Moran, another of Jeff’s mates who also lived near us in Doubleview and went to Scarborough High, joined us on later trips Down South. He had a good camera and snapped the black & white pics which appear with this little vignette memoir….buying and processing colour film was expensive!

Geoff later got called up for Nasho’s and went to Vietnam and I sort of lost contact with him after that….”

Photo: 1966 Jeff’s Mini Minor laden with surfboards in the camping area at Prevelly Caravan Park. Geoff Moran pic.

Photo: 1966 Jeff sitting on Malibu boards on top of his new mini. Geoff Moran pic.

“The top board strapped on the Mini is Geoff Moran’s McDonagh – I recognise the ‘competition stripe’ (it was light blue)…So the bottom board would have been Jeff’s Dibben-Cole 9′ 6”, single stringer, laminated wooden tail block, yellow D-fin, no colouring’.

Photo: 1966 Geoff Moran’s McDonagh surfboard (ex NSW) at the back of the Moran’s house near us in Doubleview – his sister Pam in the shot. Geoff Moran pic

Photo: 1966 Geoff Moran’s EK Holden sedan at Doubleview. Geoff Moran pic.

“Geoff’s Holden took us on other surf adventures – I remember going to Avalon for the first time one summer’s Saturday morning in this car, driving over an open paddock to a wire fence and having to clamber over it to get to the top of a sand hill to check out the waves – it was small and as we got there the sea breeze came in and turned it to junk! Didn’t get wet that day..”

…but I digress – back to the tale of my first ever trip Down South…

The surf spots we knew about in late ‘65 and could locate between referring to our Shell road map, plus by drawing on the knowledge we’d picked up from other guys who’d already been regularly making the trek south, were: Yallingup, Smiths Beach, Indjidup Carpark, Cowaramup Bay (Huzza’s and South Point), Gallows, and Margaret’s Mainbreak and River mouth.

In his autobiography, “Nat’s Nat and that’s that”, Nat Young wrote about his first trip West. He and Rodney ‘Gopher’ Sumpter were recruited by Paul Witzig to shoot an Australian sequence for filmmaker Bruce Brown for his movie “Endless Summer” – including a segment on a surfari to WA. The ground breaking movie was first released in 1964, with worldwide release in 1966. So their trip must have pre ’64.

Nat wrote: “In Perth…the waves were a bit of a disappointment (not surprising!) …and we headed south towards the Yallingup-Margaret River area … we drove to Yallingup and booked into the Caves House hotel… The next day, we tried to get out through the big, nasty waves at Margaret River, but found ourselves washed back up on to the beach after only half an hour – we couldn’t even get out the back…we felt like complete failures and had to admit the waves were too big for mere kids.”

If up and coming, and soon to be world-ranked surfers like Nat and Gopher who we’d seen in the surf magazines couldn’t ride the big stuff Down South, what chance did we have?!

When we first laid eyes on Yalls and Margaret’s Main Break … well, it looked like Hawaii in the surf magazines and we just crapped ourselves, and decided not to sacrifice our young lives to the surf gods and venture way out there!

And, in those pre-leg rope days, South Point had a fearsome reputation for snapping boards lost in the take-off zone – and so that was also a no-go zone!

But we still had a week of what we thought were epic waves.

We all rode some neat little runner rights breaking back towards the south corner of Smith’s, on a bank formed near the out flowing creek; had a few great sessions at Huzzawooie; and then two or three consecutive mornings of what in my mind’s eye now, over half a century later, were sensational small rights at Margaret River mouth – consistent and clean, and within our capabilities back then.

With only two boards on the car, as the younger hanger-on grom I had to wait for one of the older guys to come in and borrow one of their Mals. But I got my share of waves and was stoked.

“It would not be until 1968 – my last year at high school – that I could afford to buy my first new board! I was a serial pest, driving everybody nuts borrowing their boards….during school holidays, I used my brother’s board midweek while he was at work!”

“We obviously liked the small rights at Margaret River mouth – these pics were taken in ’66 and we were back there for more”.

Photos: 1966 Surfing Margaret River mouth.  Geoff Moran pics

Top: Jeff paddling out & Errol surfing the wave.

Bottom: (Left) Jeff performing a Quasimodo head dip (Right) Errol performing a Cheater Five.

One day during that very first trip in December 1965, there were perfect right-hand sets peeling off the sand point out from the River mouth towards what we now know as ‘The Box’ ….they were too far out for us to work-up the courage to tackle them but we thought they looked like the peeling walls of California’s Rincon that we’d seen in “Surfer” magazine. I’ve never seen it break like that again, in my many trips south over the past 50+ years…

I think my brother and Fred Boshart also had a session at Inji Carpark, but I was not up for that yet and watched from the shore!

In those first trips we often headed down random tracks of Caves Road hoping to find other waves.

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol ‘on surfari’ at the back of Cowaramup. Geoff Moran pic.

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol goofing around for the camera at the back of Cowaramup. Geoff Moran pic.

I think, looking for waves also meant goofing around for the camera! I think we were inspired by the antics which always featured in the USA surf movies by Bruce Brown and Bud Brown – that this is what surfers did when ‘on surfari’!”

Photo: 1966 Jeff & Errol kissing the ground after digging the mini out of a dirt track. Geoff Moran pic.

“After digging the Mini out of a dirt track (maybe the notoriously boggy Gallows), we were happy to be back on the bitumen of Caves Road”.

Crowds were certainly not a problem in that first week Down South. We saw just two other surfers! On the whole coast!! They were staying in one of a small group of cabins at Prevelly. We said hullo and chatted at the caravan park but only crossed paths with them in the surf once, during one of our long afternoon sessions at Huzza’s … as I recall.

Photos: 1966 South West coastline. (Left) unidentified surf coast. (Right) Cape Naturaliste. Geoff Moran pics.

Photos: 1966 Jeff exploring Canal Rocks. Geoff Moran pics.

The surfing horizon opened up for us in December 1965 – and nothing would ever be the same again. Our eyes had been opened to somewhere unique on the planet. It would keep drawing us back on countless weekends and holidays… seeking out the many Down South adventures and life experiences which eventually came to pass over the following decades.

In “Offshore and Pumping”, the booklet released by Surfing WA to mark its 40th anniversary, Down South legend Bob Monkman wrote:  “…we were different. We had long sun-bleached hair, wore different clothes and were always happy from the buzz of surfing all day…”

“We were a relatively small group, everyone one knew each other and crowds weren’t a problem. In fact, we would often wish for a few more people to be out on the line-up because it was always good to have someone to fetch your board if you had to swim or tell you which way your board went.”

There’s much truth in Bob’s words. Being part of that small crew regularly travelling Down South – after that first expedition at the end of 1965 – did make us feel special –and different. We were in the right place at the right time, and on the right side of our surfing history, in terms of crowds and surfing new waves.

And, over half a century since that very first trip “Down South”, I still get a huge buzz every time I come over the crest of the hill and Yalls and see the whitewater, and that stunning coastline and cliffs stretching away north towards Three Bears and Sugarloaf Rock. The magic remains …undimmed by the years. What an amazing adventure it all was…

Footnote:  If you think about it, our generation of salt water addicts have left more than footprints in the sand…like, social impacts. The term “Down South”, for example, was originally a bit of a secret verbal code we all shared back in those early days – initially our parents and other “oldies” did not have a clue what we were talking about most of the time… Now, of course, ‘Down South’ is a universally recognised and used term by just about everybody in Perth.

Errol Considine

 

 

 

 

 

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1976 Tony Hardy surfing Margaret River Main Break

In the mid-1970s, Tony and his wife Jacquie moved their young family from Scarborough and settled on a rural property in Margaret River. In 1976 Tony built a shaping bay and started making Hardy Surfboards on the property.

Click on this link to view 1976 Hardy Surfboards Margaret River blog posted 8 October 2014.

Photo: 1976 Tony country living on his Margaret River property. Ric Chan pic.

In the 1970s, goofy-footer Tony was arguably the best surfer riding Margaret River Main Break.

Independent newspaper surf journo Ric Chan captured these images of Tony surfing Marg’s Main Break in 1976.

Photo: 1973 surf photographer Ric Chan with his gold coloured kombi and ‘tools of the trade’ in the car park at Surfers Point.

Ric ChanIn this shot I was using an 1100mm catadioptric lens. It’s a mirror lens and is shorter with more power. It is not as long as a 600mm lens.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #1.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #2.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #3.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #4.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #5.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #6.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #7.

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic #8.

Margaret River surfing legend Tony Hardy still shapes the odd surfboard and surfs Margaret’s on his hand crafted single fin surfboards.

Tony’s granddaughter Willow Hardy is carrying on the family surfing traditional. Willow has won the 12-and-under-girls title two years in row at the Taj’s Small Fries Competition held in the Yallingup region. And in March 2017, Willow won her first State Title in the U/14 division held at Main Break Margaret River. Willow now joins her grandad Tony, father Gene and uncles Ryan and Brett in the record books, with all family members holding Surfing WA State Titles.

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Gallery

Design of movie ticket for 1969 ‘Evolution’ surf film.

In 1969, John Arnold Surf Machines in Adelaide got in touch with New Zealand photo-journalist Ric Chan. At the time, Ric was touring the East Coast of Australia in his gold coloured Kombi. John Arnold commissioned him to travel from Adelaide to Western Australia, to cover the first Australian Surfing Titles held in WA and design a movie ticket for Paul Witzigs’ 1969 Evolution surf film.

Click on this link to view Ric Chan’s coverage of 1969 Australian Surf Titles in WA

Ric’s photos and article covering the Title events held at Scarborough, Margaret River and Yallingup, were then featured on the poster sized movie ticket for Paul Witzigs’ Evolution surf film. Ric’s commentary is accompanied by reviews from surf legends Bob McTavish and John Arnold. The ticket doubled as the movie poster and was published by John W Robertson in Adelaide, June 1969.

The front of the poster shows a John Arnold Surf Machine logo and is accompanied by a well-known image of Wayne Lynch from Victoria. The photo by lensman John Pennings, was taken at the 1968 Australian Surfing Titles at Palm Beach, on the NSW coast.

Image: 1969 front of Evolution surf film ticket. Wayne Lynch photo by John Pennings.

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The back of the Evolution surf film ticket features reviews by Bob McTavish, Ric Chan and John Arnold with surf photos by Ric Chan.

Image: 1969 back of Evolution surf film ticket. Photos by Ric Chan.

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Image: Bob McTavish’s ‘Evolution film and it’s maker’ review on Evolution surf film ticket. Photos by Ric Chan.

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Image: Ric Chan’s ‘1969 Australian Surf Titles’ report on Evolution surf film ticket. Photos by Ric Chan.

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Image: John Arnold’s ‘Wayne Lynch’ review on Evolution surf film ticket. Photos by Ric Chan.

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In 2014, Ric Chan presented an original edition of the Evolution surf film ticket to Surfing WA. The ticket, now a collector’s item for surf history buffs, was placed in Surfing WA’s history collection.

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