1977 Arty Sherburn first WA surfer to win an Australian Title – Updated 10 May 2017

Update 10 May 2017. See Arty Sherburn’s comments below.

Hi Jim, thank you for the article on the 1977 Aussie Titles. It brings back some fond memories.

If I remember correctly, Australia experienced its first Pilots Strike just prior to us departing.

WASRA and our Team Manager, Tony Harbison organised at very short notice a number of Hire Cars in lieu of the cancelled flights. We all met on a Wednesday morning at Trigg Point Car Park (great to see some of Ric’s Photos covering the departure) and left in convoy (sort of!) at about 11am. I remember in our vehicle(a Falcon Stn Wgn) we had Tony Hardy, Peter Davison, Blair Mikeljohn and myself. We shared the driving except for Pete who was a Junior Grom in the back whose main contribution to the journey was continually asking “are we there yet Dad?”

Thankfully the Nullarbor section was mainly sealed and we drove continuously stopping only for fuel, something to eat and the necessary “lightening of the load so to speak”. We must have thought that all the road maps were out of date because we all seemed to have a different idea of  of the short cuts and “this way is quicker” routes. As the Titles started on Saturday we were under the pump to get to Sydney by Friday so we decided to head north from South Aust up through Cobar, fuel up and beat the rest of the Crew into Sydney.Great idea except by thetime we got to Cobar (what a God forsaken place!)the town was closed including the Servo and we were out of Fuel! We had our first sleep for the trip on the forecourt of the Garage waiting for them to open, and from memory it was about about as comfortable as the floor of the Dunnie’s at Yall’s on a winters night in the early 60’s. Finally we arrived at our destination, a Caravan at North Narra Beach at around 2pm Friday, after leaving Trigg about 48 hrs earlier.

We all had a surf and were  ready for the Contest to start the next morning. Not the sort of Pre Competition preparation I would recommend but we got there on time.

Thankfully the Pilots Strike ended and the Association were able to fly us back after the Contest.

Regards Jim, keep up the good Work with the Site. Arty Sherburn.


1977 State Team Departure

The West Australian Surf Riding Assoc (WASRA) arranged a media event at Trigg Point car park prior to the departure of the ‘77 State Team to the Australian Surfing Titles in NSW.

Surf photographer Ric Chan was there to record the Team’s departure.

Photo: 1977 WA surf team members and officials at Trigg Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1977 WA surf team officials & sponsors at Trigg Point. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1977 WASRA President Tony Harbison speaking to the media at Trigg Point. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1977 WA judge Greg Laurenson & competitor Colin Earle at Trigg Point. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1977 Media and sponsors at State Team departure. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1977 Sponsor’s representatives at State Team departure. Ric Chan pic.

1977 Australian Surfing Titles held in NSW

Contest heats were held in stormy conditions at Warriewood, Palm Beach & Collaroy. The finals and grand finals were held in near perfect 6-8ft Narrabeen lefts and rights.

WA’s Arty Sherburn won the Senior Men’s division of the Australian Surfing Titles.

He avenged his second placing in the same event the previous year and became the first West Australian surfer to win an Australian Title after 14 years of National competition.

Photo: 1977 WASRA President Tony Harbison presenting the National Senior Men’s Title trophy to Arty Sherburn (WA) in Sydney NSW. Photo courtesy of Arty Sherburn.

Arty’s surfing mate Barry Young finished 6th in the Senior Mens and WA’s Ross O’Brien came fifth in the Kneeboard division.

In the Open division WA surfers Tony Hardy and Bruce Hocking made it into the second round semi-finals and Chris Fulston was unlucky to miss out on a berth in the final.

WA judge Greg Laurenson was rated the fourth best judge at the Titles.

Contest Results:

Open: 1. Col Smith (Sydney) 2. Col Smith (Newcastle) 3. Andrew McKinnon (Vic)

Junior: 1. Chris Bryne 2. Tom Carroll 3. Steve Wilson (all NSW).

Senior: 1. Arty Sherburn (WA) 2. C Coulsen (Vic) 3. G Black (Qld).

Kneeboard: 1. Peter Crawford 2. J Waterworth 3. G Wilson (all NSW).

Women: 1. L Goebels (Qld) 2. V Burke (NSW) 3. G Couper (Vic).

WA surf journo Randell Owens covered the National Titles in his West Coast Tubes surf column in the Sunday Independent Newspaper on 29 May 1977.

Image: 1977 Randell Owens’ coverage of the National Surf Titles. Courtesy of Arty Sherburn.

Photo: 1977 WASRA Annual Award Presentation at Karrinyup Tavern. Adrian Wilson is presenting an award to Arty Sherburn. Tony Harbison is the MC in the background. Ric Chan pic.

Arty is now retired and lives in Cowaramup in the South West. He is still a talented surfer.



Margaret River Main Break is internationally renowned as the premier surf break in the South West region. It is one of Australia’s most consistent big wave locations and hosts amateur & pro surfing competitions. The annual Drug Aware Margaret River Pro contest is telecast to a world-wide audience. Like other popular surf breaks, it gets busy during holiday periods.

Back in 70s’ State & National Titles were held at Marg’s, but it was pre the hordes (and FIFO workers) and uncrowded mid-week surfs were possible.

Surf photographer-journalist Ric Chan captured these quieter moments at Marg’s in 1976. Marg’s surfer Adrian Wilson has provided comments on some of the images.

Photo: 1976 Randall Owens & his Toyota Land Cruiser at early morning session Surfers Point. Photo Ric Chan.

Adrian WilsonRandall used to wear boardies and a wetsuit top….you may remember he wrote the surfing column in the Sunday Independent in the mid 70s.
He was a good surfer in big waves…goofy foot.
I recall one very large day…sets breaking in the middle of the bay…I think I was paddling out with Steve Randall…we saw Randall Owens take a very large left. He got about half way down the face, caught a rail then tumbled into the pit only to be sucked over the falls.
As you can imagine we were concerned for his safety…. especially as he did not surface for about 100m with his board long gone heading for the middle of the bay.
He survived, but retold the story many times over the years.

1976 Marg River line-up early morning - Ric Chan 006

Photo: 1976 Adrian Wilson surfing classic low tide right handers at Margs. Ric Chan pic.

Adrian WilsonThere were perfect small medium rights. I was riding a 6ft 8 inch shaped by Ian Cairns….those boards, about 20 inches wide and 3 inches thick with plenty of rocker were very suited to hard bottom turns and powerful surfing especially for bigger guys. Nothing like what the modern surfers can do (unless you were Kanga)…but a lot of fun…Ric Chan used to walk out on the reef and take photos.

1976 Margaret River Adrian Wilson Ric Chan IMG_0002 (1)

Photo: 1976 Chris Fullston surfing Marg River left. Ric Chan pic.

Adrian WilsonI reckon the goofy footer could be Chris Fullston. Chris and I used to surf together a lot in those days…he ripped at Margs riding boards that were ahead of their time……triple flyer pintails…very fast and good for slashing turns….exactly what Chris used to do. Chris got on well with Ric Chan….we used to see him at Margs early, after he had driven straight from Gobbles Night Club where he used to DJ at in Perth.

1976 Marg River Chris Fullston - Ric Chan IMG_0002 (2)

Photo: 1976 solid Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Main Break line-up big - Ric Chan 008

Photo: 1976 Marg River Bombie. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Bombie - Ric Chan 007

Photo: 1976 Unsealed Surfers Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Surfers Pt car park  - Ric Chan 006

Photo: 1976 Craig Bettenay surfing Margs Left. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Craig Bettenay - Ric Chan 002

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Right. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Tony Hardy - Ric Chan DSC00038

Photos: 1976 Marg River surfers. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Dave Bailey. (Right) Mark Wells.
Bottom: (Left) Wayne Kissick & girlfriend (Right) Jeff Cedevic.

Adrian WilsonWhen I was a gremmie at Margs, Jeff Cedevic was part of a local crew that surfed the Point in the 70s. He was a great big wave surfer, having a classic back hand style. I can still picture his deep bottom turns on big left hand peaks…..from memory Jeff had a bad surf accident at Margs breaking his pelvis on a very large day. Jeff later moved to Tassie with his wife Chris ( Gary and Sadie Keys also made the move)….sadly Jeff died of cancer in Tassie.

1976 Marg River people - Ric Chan collage_photocat