Gallery
0 comment

Ron Moss “Rock Star”

In March 2017, the City Beach Surf Riders Club held a reunion for club members through the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s at Ocean One Bar in Scarborough. The club is flying at the moment with a good bank balance and new club rooms coming at City Beach.

Former club president Jaxon Crocker sent through some pics of the night which included a couple of Ron Moss, a former club president himself and life member. Ron has aged a bit since his heyday in the 60’s, but still sports the long white hair and beard. Anyway, the pics of Ron were forwarded to club members from the 60’s & 70’s and a couple of the old boys shot back replies saying that he looked just like rock star Brian Cadd.

Photo: 2017 City Beach Surf Riders Club reunion. Team photo at Ocean One Bar Scarborough. Photo courtesy of Jaxon Crocker.

Ron Moss is bearded chap in the front row on the left!

Photo: 2017 CBSR Reunion Scarborough Club Presidents past and current. L-R Corey Hill (former Club President), Ron Moss (former Club president & Life Member) with Mark Thompson (current Club President). Photo courtesy of Jaxon Crocker.

City Beach veteran Ron Moss now looks and dresses like rock star Brian Cadd. See Brian Cadd photo below.

Photo: Australian rock star Brian Cadd. Web pic.

The resemblance between Ron and Brian is uncanny, but the story doesn’t end there. It turns out that the boys were mates as young fellas, as Ron’s young brother David recalls.

David Moss: Brian Cadd’s father worked at Hollywood Repat Hospital with my father. We got to know his family through Hollywood Hospital Christmas parties which were held at Garden Island. Everyone would head over on the ferry, usually the Zephyr or Triton. They had a piano on board & a young Brian Cadd, not older than 9 or 10, would belt out some great tunes. In particular, he did a great version of Green Door(what’s that secret you’re keeping!). Ron developed a friendship with him which continued until he was called up for National Service in late 60’s. I think they also caught up in Melbourne when Ron was doing his Nasho training at Puckapunyal army base . On my way to New Zealand during my Uni days in the early 70’s, I also caught up with Brian Cadd who took me to a nightclub where iconic Australian band The Loved Ones were playing. I’m sure that Ron & Brian would still be mates if they lived closer to each other. To see them together now would be something, as I reckon they could easily be taken for twins.

Brian Cadd went on to perform with well-known Melbourne based Australian bands The Groop & Axiom (with Glen Shorrock) before doing a lengthy stint in America.

Before departing, along with Taman Shud & G. Wayne Thomas, he provided a good proportion of the sound track to the iconic Australian surf movie of 1971, Morning of the Earth. This movie recorded the first waves ever surfed at Bali’s Uluwatu.

Image: 2012 Morning of the Earth original film and music Live in Concert Sydney & Melbourne featuring Brian Cadd. Web image.

Click on this link to view Ron Moss SDS blog 1960s-70s Ron Moss another day at the office.

Click on this link to view CBSR Facebook page  City Beach Surf Riders Club

Ron Moss lives in Kalbarri and is still a colourful character.

————————————————-

Gallery
0 comment

1960s WA Board Clubs – Part #1 History

There was a strong Board Club culture in WA in the 60s. You had to be a member of a Board Club and be affiliated with the West Australian Surf Rider Association (WASRA formed 1964) to compete in State Surf Riding Championships.

1960s Board Clubs (This list may be incomplete).

Boomerang
Casuarina (Bunbury)
City Beach
Cottesloe
Dolphins
Indiana (Bunbury)
Kontiki
Miami Surfinks
Mid Way
Moana
North Coast
North End
Sand n Sea
Scarborough
Southern Surfriders
Southside
Surfari
Surfers Inc.
Surfers United (Albany)
Tangaroa
Tarni
Warrain
West Coast
West Girls
Yallingup

Editor’s note: From 1953-57 Ray Geary and his surfing mates were members of the City Beach Board Club. It may be WA’s first board club and was the fore runner to the City Beach Surf Riders Club formed in 1961.

Images: 1976 Arty Sherburn’s WASRA membership card. Images courtesy of Arty Sherburn.

1970s WASRA membership card Arty Sherburn collage_photocat

Regular intra & inter club competitions provided the platform for surfers to compete and gain contest experience and rise to National & International levels, if talented enough. WA’s Ian Cairns was invited to compete in the 1970 World Surfing Titles held at Bells & Johanna beaches in Vic.

Rivalry between the Clubs was fierce in surfing competitions and social footy matches.

Successful clubs held fund raising social functions and were sponsored by local surfboard manufacturers and business organisations. They provided members with Club outfits (parkas, board shorts, t-shirts) and membership cards.

Warrain Board Club in conjunctions with media sponsors held an annual Paddle Through Perth board paddling race.

Images: 1965-69 Paddle through Perth images. Images courtesy of Len Dibben & surf journo Doug White & The Sunday Times.

Top: (Left) 1965 Paddle race contestants leaving Barrack St jetty. (Right) 1969 Doug White’s Wavelets report on ’69 paddle race.

Bottom: (Left) 1968 Paddle race contestants passing under Narrows Bridge & heading to Crawley Bay. (Right) 1968 Surfboard Manufacturer Len Dibben presenting 3rd place award to Kim ‘Dish’ Standish with Don McDonald in background.

1965-69 Paddle Through Perth images 3 collage_photocat

Most of the clubs were located in the metro area, however there were country clubs at Albany, Bunbury & Yallingup.

Some metro board clubs had the foresight to acquire Club shacks in the SW. West Coast,

Yallingup & Dolphins board clubs had club shacks at Caves House Yallingup.

Photo: 1962 West Coast Board Club shack with Laurie Burke’s FB Holden & the Ghost’s Holden panel van out front. Photo courtesy of Brian Cole.

1962 Yalls WCBC shack L Burke's FB Holden & Ghost's Holden panel van - Brian Cole pic img268

Photos: 1964 Board club shacks at Yallingup. Photos courtesy of Ernie Potter.

(Left) Dolphins shack. (Right) Yallingup & West Coast club shacks.

1964 Club shacks at Yalls Ernie Potter pics collage_photocat

North End, Southern Surf Riders & Southside board clubs had club shacks at Prevelly Park Margaret River.

Photos: Margaret River board shacks. Photos courtesy of Bill Mitchell & Murray Smith

(Left) 1964 Southside shack foundations. (Right) 1967 North End shack.

1960s Club shacks Margaret River 1 collage_photocat

Within the Club environment there were also Surf Teams sponsored by Surfboard Manufacturers. While sponsored Surf Teams were recognised, the individuals still competed for their Club in State Rounds.

Photo: 1965 Len Dibben Surf Team at Leighton Beach. Photo courtesy of Len Dibben.

L-R Rod Slater, Dave Richards, Jeff Jowlett, Steve Farbus, Teena Christon, Peter Stephens, Art Sherburn & Doug White.

1965 Len Dibben surf team Leighton Beach L-R Rod Slater,Dave Richards,Jeff Jowlett,Steve Farbus,Teena Christon,Peter Stephens,Art Sherburn,Doug White-Len Dibben pic 01

CLUB HISTORY (in alphabetical order)

City Beach Board Club 1953-57.

In 1953 Ray Geary (age 16) from Wembley started the City Beach Board Club with Graham Killen, Johnny Budge, Brian Cole and some keen surfing mates. Ray and the boys were former members of City Beach Surf Club. The owner of City Beach Tea Rooms gave the Club approval to dig out sand below the Tea Rooms and make an enclosure for Club meetings & surf board storage.  The Club had no President or Treasurer and did not hold surf competitions. Club members just surfed and had fun. Club members paid one-pound per year to cover costs of padlocks & chains etc on the enclosure. Ray was a sign writer and printed City Beach Board Club logos on t-shirts & trench coats for members.

The club folded in 1957 when club members started travelling to SW & NW waves.

Photos: 1954 Beach display article and Ray Geary, John Budge & other CBBC boys at City Beach. Images courtesy of Mandurah News, Ray Geary & John Budge.

1950s-cbbc-memorabilia-picmonkey-collage4a

City Beach Surf Riders Club Inc. since 1961

City Beach Surf Riders Club Inc.(CBSR) was formed in 1961 by Peter Docherty & Viv Kitson (18 year old students ex Floreat). CBSR’s Barry King (Juniors) and Zac Kochanowitsch (Mens were WA’s first State Champions in ’64. In the late 60s Whisky-a-Go Go nightclub sponsored CBSR. The club is still operating today.

Images: CBSR memorabilia courtesy of Ron Moss & King family.

(Left) 2000 CBSR life membership Ron Moss.

(Middle) 1967-68 Bruce King with club memorabilia & FJ Holden sponsored by Whisky-a-Go Go night club.

(Right) Mid 1960s CBSR membership card & Competition Team sew-on badge & 1967-68 CBSR Club Calendar.

1960s cbsr memorabilia 6 collage_photocat

Cottesloe Board Club

Dalkeith surfer Peter Dyson was a junior member of the Cottesloe Board club in the early 60s before he defected to the Yallingup Board Club in 1966.

Peter de Bruin – In 1969-70 Cottesloe board club was re-formed by a breakaway group who were former members of Tarni Board club. The first meetings were held at the Quakenbush household (Earl and Guy). I was the first president of the newly formed club.

Dolphins Surf Riders Club

Photos: 1960s Dolphins Surf Riders Club emblem & signed t-shirt. Photos courtesy of Jim McFarlane.

1960s Dolphins memorabilia collage_photocat

Surfari Board Club 1963-66

Surfaris were set up as a purely social like-minded group of Cottesloe surfers in 1963 before folding and dissipating into separate ways in 1966.

Surfari members included Noel Sweeny, John Ventouras, Bill Oddy, John Balgarnie, Ray O’Neil, Trevor Baskerville, Russ Chapman, Trevor Orr, Graeme Copley, Barry Cain, John Pozzi & Michael Bibby.

Noel SweenyIt was great times for us all. John Ventouras, Trevor Baskerville, Russell Chapman, Bill Oddy & I still get together once or twice a year over coffees and loads of bullshit at Lido in Cottesloe.

Miami Surf Board Club

Photos: 1965 State & Club Womens Champ Teena Christon with her trophies and Tom Collin’s 2nd Club Mens Champs trophy.

1965 Miami Board Club Teena's & Tom's trophies collage_photocat

Mid-Way Board Club

Photos: 1964-65 Mid Way Board Club’s Arty Sherburn with his Dibben & Cole surfboard & home-made Mid Way Board Club wettie. Photos courtesy of Arty Sherburn.

1964-65 Arty Sherburn & Mid Way wettie collage_photocat

North Coast Surf Riders Club

North Coast Surf Riders Club was formed by ex Scarborough surfers Robin Sutherland, Greg Laurenson and Mike Wynne in 1969.

Errol Considine – My brother Jeff was the first President of the Club… and he designed the first club logo & cut the silk screen at home for the t-shirts – which were chocolate brown with an orange logo….both very cool colours then. I think Jeff & Gooselegs came up with the ‘69’ thing – naughty boyz!

I remember one North Coast Club comp on a Sunday at Halls Head with perfect 1-2 foot long left handers….it was a big swell and Southerly wind…and bloody freezing – that was before they built the groynes at the nearby mouth of the Mandurah estuary….have never seen waves at Halls Head again!!– Place getters Mike Wynne 1st and Bob Monkman 2nd.

Russell Quinliven, from Scarborough was a Junior member….I remember the boys got Russell (who was about 12 or 13, or maybe 14) really drunk at a club Sunday arvo keg….we took him home to Scarborough in Jeff’s Mini and kicked him out near Luna Park and I vividly remember him.

Photos: 2015 the late Russell Quinlivan modelling the North Coast ‘69’ t-shirt. Photos courtesy of Peta Quinlivan.

2015 North Coast Surfers 69er T-Shirt IMG_001

Tarni Board Club

Tarni and City Beach board clubs held regular inter-club surfing comps and an annual footy match at Yanchep Oval.

Images: Howard Smith images courtesy of Sunday Times surf journo Doug White and Howard Smith.

(Left) 1969 Howard Smith elected President of Tarni Board Club. (Right) 2011 former Tarni President Howard Smith holidaying in Maldives with Ken Howie on the right.

1969-2011 Howard Smith Tarni & City Beach collage_photocat

West Girls Board Club

In 1963 Cottesloe surfers Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott & Stefanie Meyers were members of the West Girls Board Club. This was WA’s first all girl’s board club.

Images: 1960s West Girls Board Club members. Left: Stefanie Meyers, Right: (Top) Jeanne Abbott (Bottom) West Girls & others at 1964 (first) State Titles held at Yalls. Images courtesy of Jeanne Abbott & WA Newspapers.

1960s-west-girls-board-club-picmonkey-collage

Yallingup Board Club

Yallingup Board Club (YBC) was formed in the early 60’s by a group of mainly Cottesloe based surfers. Colin Cordingley was President of YBC and an inaugural member. Cordingley Surfboards sponsored Yallingup Board Club.

Photos: YBC courtesy of A Orloff Studios Fremantle, Tina Wilson, Colin Morris & Peter Bothwell.

Top: 1964 undefeated YBC Club photo & club parka.
Bottom: 1960s Colin Morris’s YBC membership card & 1966 front door step YBC shack at Yalls on demolition day.

1960s YBC memorabilia collage_photocat

Interest in Board Clubs started to wane during the 70s with surfers moving down south and to other region’s seeking solitude in the waves.

Coming soon 1960s WA Board Clubs Part #2 Photo Galleries

—————————————————-

 

Gallery
0 comment

KIDS IN PARADISE – Surfing City Beach in the 1960’s by Ross Utting

Ross Utting grew up in Floreat & surfed City Beach with his mates from a young age. In the late 60s, early 70s he was a Blaxell Surfboards team rider and State schoolboys & State open men’s finalist.

These are Ross’s ‘Kids in Paradise – Surfing City Beach in the 60s’ recollections.

Its school holidays in December 1962 and there are a bunch of kids, surfing all types of coolites off the City Beach groyne. The kids are aged between 9 & 12 years and are burnt black by the sun. Some are lying prone on their boards angling across the nice shaped waves, while others are trying to stand up but are spinning out. There is Norm (Dot) Kitson, Mick (Midge) Semple, Barry (Baz) Day, Craig (Ern) Henfry, Steve (Simmo) Simpson (dec’d 2010), Ross Sarson, Phil Moriarty and heaps of others. After a while the “stand ups” get tired of spinning out and try to glue homemade wooden fins into their coolites, only to see them get eaten away by the glue. Eventually we jam the fins into the coolites and hold them in place by pouring melted wax into the gaps and “we are away”.

We “survive” our days at the beach by collecting bottles and cashing them in for the deposit at Johnson’s kiosk in front of the old surf club. On days when there are no bottles, we troop the 200 metres up to Simmo’s place in Branksome Gardens and his Mum makes us bread and jam.

Photo: 1939 City Beach surf lifesaving club and Johnson’s kiosk in foreground. Photo courtesy of Cambridge Library – Local Studies.

1939 Old Surf Club with Johnson's Shop to the left - Cambridge Library pic

Some of the boys leave their coolites under the City Beach Tearooms, but this is fraught with danger, as Norm Kitson found out when “little Eric” (son of tearooms proprietor Eric) took to his board with a kitchen knife in a moment of boredom.

I lived in Floreat, with Baz Day originally at the back of us and Peter Docherty (co-founding member of City Beach Surf Riders Club) next to him. The Moss Brothers were a few houses up our street and Norm Kitson a couple of blocks away. In 1963 Peter Docherty built boards for Baz Day and his brother Bill. Baz’s board was coloured yellow & was a balsa 7’6” and Bill’s 8’, incredibly short for the time. Bill didn’t surf much so I got to use his board a fair bit.

In that year we saw our first surf movie at the Regal Theatre, “Gun Ho”. Unbeknown to us, on the other side of the world, Brian Cole, an old City Beach boy, is sharing a six pack with surf movie star and legend Miki Dora, on the beach at Malibu.

Photos: 1986 Malibu California. Photo credits Ross Utting.
Top: Miki Dora wall at Malibu Beach California.
Bottom: Malibu Point & Pier

1986 Malibu California USA Ross Utting pic collage_photocat

Photo: 2009 City Beach surfing legends Ron Moss (CBSR Life member) and Peter Docherty (CBSR co-founder) holding the Docherty/Cordingley perpetual trophy at City Beach. Photo credit Jim King.

Editor’s notes: The trophy was shaped from surfboard stringer timber by Dave Ellis at Cordingley Surfboards in Subiaco. Baz Day won the Docherty Trophy a couple of times, but Ross was the last to win it in 1969. He claims to have been undefeated for 46 years.

2009 Ron Moss Peter Docherty with Cordingley Trophy

In 1964 I got my own board, a 9’8” Bill Wallace, and shortly thereafter all the boys got boards. Mine cost 25 pounds at Cordingly Surf Shop in Hay St Subiaco. We used to leave our boards in the black dirt under Simmo’s house and drag them across Jubilee Park to the beach because they were too heavy to carry. Simmo used to piss on them regularly so we shifted them across the street when the resident (Chapman) built storage racks for us in his backyard.

During summer we rode our bikes to the beach at 3.30am to be ready to hit the water at first light. We had to do this because the early morning swimmers came at about 6am and from then on mostly we weren’t allowed to surf off the groyne. Sometimes between 7 & 8am we could get back in the water for a while. In those days wave quality off the groyne (pre alterations) was excellent and very consistent.

Also, in those days the beach between the 2 groynes (City Beach & Floreat) was more of a bay, and in the afternoons when the sou-wester was strong, there was a good wind wave in the middle of the bay.

Once the summer passed we virtually got the beach to ourselves and Warren (Wonk) Sommerford (dec’d), the beach inspector, used to allow surfers next to the groyne as long as there were no swimmers. But we used to push the boundaries and he was always running out of the old surf club building shaking his fist at us.

Photo: Mid 60s surfing City Beach groyne. Norm ‘Dot’ Kitson & Ross Utting entering the water. Photo credit Tom Collins.

mid 1960s City Beach Norm Dot Kitson & Ross Utting Tom Collins pic

During the non-summer school holidays we got incredible surf at times and whenever it got good Terry Jacks (dec’d) was always there. He was an incredibly powerful surfer and was our idol. I recall one day of perfect conditions at a solid 6’ and breaking way out past the groyne. Terry just tore it to shreds. He was virtually taking off on the south side of the groyne and passing well in front of it. We had never seen anything like it. It was just Terry and us kids, he was a legendary surfer, one of the best in Australia at the time & looking back, probably world class. I don’t think Terry ever worked. His parents had a house just off the Boulevard near Floreat Forum Shopping Centre.

My greatest moment in surfing came years later, must have been 1969/70, I was sitting on the steps back at Yallingup contemplating a morning surfing perfect 8-10ft Margaret, when Terry came & sat next to me & said “you surfed well this morning, handled the size no trouble at all”. Wow! After that I fancied myself as a big wave rider for a while, that is until Fred Annersley dragged me & a couple of others out at Margaret on a solid 12ft day, I survived, but after that I resolved “Nah, you can leave me out of that”.

When the waves were no good at City Beach we used to try & get a parent to take us to Scarborough. Threepenny Reef (North Scarborough) and Brighton were our favourites. My Mum used to hate having 6 or more boards stacked on the car. These were simple times, surfing was an incredible adventure and was never better fun.

In late 1966 Brian D’Arcy (deceased early 1970’s) conned his Dad into taking Phil Moriarty, Craig Henfry and me to Yallingup for a few days. We camped under the melaleuca trees and Brian’s Dad cooked on an open fire. We surfed on our own at Yallingup the whole time. We saw only 2 other people in 3 days, Mark Waddell and Brian (Beast) Boynes. They surfed elsewhere but slept at Yallingup.

Photos: 1967 Floreat Park. Photos courtesy of Utting family.
(Left) Glen ‘Roy’ Carroll, Ross & David ‘Bull’ Moss Yallingup bound in Bull’s Morris Minor. (Right) Ross with new 8’10” Cordingley stringer-less surfboard at his Floreat home.

1967 Ross utting CBSR pics collage_photocat

After a time, us young blokes became aware of the City Beach Surfiders Club, primarily through the distinctive red board shorts of its members. Eventually we were recruited. I think Ron Moss and Baz Day nominated me. After serving 3 months’ probation, I was accepted into the Club in early 1967, at age 15. Couldn’t wait to get my Club outfit of board shorts and parka in the distinctive red with white and black trim. Cordingleys had the design of the various Clubs outfits and you simply placed an order through them.

Club meetings were held on Sunday nights at various members homes, in a storeroom under Floreat Forum Shopping Centre and for a short time at Mathews Netball Centre. We were expelled from the Netball Centre for making too much noise after a meeting deteriorated into a game of British Bulldog on the slippery wooden indoor netball court. Meetings were always undisciplined affairs, with the highlight being the showing of surfing footage of members on the Club’s projector.

The gathering place for Club members was the City Beach Tearooms and the young blokes used to hang around the shop waiting for a lift to the best waves in the metro area. Joining us juniors in the Club were the Waddell brothers Gerard (Spewy) and David (Goona), Michael (JJ) Martino, Geoff (RE) Marshall, Glen (Roy) Carroll and a bit later the Bettenay bros.

Photo: 1966 City Beach Tea Rooms with ‘Simmo’ drying himself in front of Rob Halliday’s Fiat while talking to Russell Hately . Photo credit Trevor Burslem.

1966 City Beach Tea Rooms - Trevor Burslem

“Oldies” in the Club included the King bros, Moss bros, Cleaver bros, Franks siblings, Steve (Sheepdog) Cockburn, Rob Farris, Norm Bateman, Bob Halliday, Reg Gillard, Phil Henderson, Duck Craigie, Russell Stranger, Howard Johnson (dec’d), Kevin O’Dwyer (dec’d) & Brian Brown (dec’d). Although they were only a couple of years older than us, at that age it seemed like a generation. They taught us a lot & not all of it good, let me tell you.

Ultimately, the popularity of the Club scene faded & by 1968/69 many of us were heading to the South West waves around Yallingup at every opportunity. The wave quality and power of the south west made surfing exciting again.

Baz Day and I are still surfing Yallingup Main Break on yellow boards after more than 50 years. That first yellow Docherty board from 1963 must have left an indelible impression.

Photos: 2015 Yellow surfboards at Yallingup L-R Baz Day & Ross Utting. Photo credits Bruce King.

2015 Yalls yellow boards Baz Day & Ross Utting collage_photocat

Ross has travelled & surfed widely. He has a holiday home in the South West and surfs Yallingup regularly.

————————————–

 

 

Gallery
4 comments

1960-70s Surfing Coolites at City Beach by Craig Blume

Craig Blume – Caveat before I start – I apologise now for missing out a lot of guys and events that occurred during the mid 60’s and early 70’s, but hopefully someone can fill in the holes so we get a great capture of the time.

These are my recollection of the early coolite days at City Beach from the mid 60’s-70’s.

What a fantastic time, free flowing spirits, evolution in the air with surfboard materials and sizes changing from wooden/balsa 10 foot plus down to Craig Bettenay’s 4’8” fibreglass, as mentioned in other articles. I think Craig also had a smaller green board made to trial which he referred to as the “Derringer”.

My first memory of surfing City Beach is as a 10-11yo in 1964/5. A mate and I would hitchhike from Wembley to City Beach along Cambridge Street /Oceanic Drive, hired inflatable rubber mats either off the beach or from the small blue kiosk in front of the old orange surf club, surf all day or until the nipple and gut rash became too painful.

In 1966 we moved to south City Beach, near Jeff “RE” Marshall’s place in Branksome Gardens. From that point on for the next few years I spent most of my time learning to surf a coolite near the groyne. I remember being in awe of the older guys surfing on fibreglass boards weaving thru kids on coolites and cheering the Surf Life Saving Club guys when they became unstuck on their wooden skis.

In the 60’s the City Beach coolite riders were a small close knit bunch of guys, extremely competitive and enthusiastic, with most attending City Beach Primary and High School, who were encouraged and mentored, at some stage, by equally enthusiastic members of the City Beach Surf Riders Club Inc. (CBSR).

Photo: Mid 70s Craig’s dog “Spike Milligan” guarding his coolites & foamies. Photo courtesy of Craig Blume.

1960s Coolites & Foamies guarded by Spike Milligan - Craig Blume

Surfing Coolites at City Beach Groyne

Most mornings around dawn, when there was surf, there would be a few CBSR crew on fibreglass boards and coolite riders, like the Howe brothers – Alan (Fagan) & Craig (Thurston), Bettenay brothers -Greg (Boris), Stewart (Big Silk) & Craig (Little Silk), Ross (Log) Lawrence, Ross (Duck) Craigie, Chris (Bum Dip) Warrener, David (Errol) Wishart), Grant (Shorty) Arnold, myself and other local school kids surfing off the groyne. (I believe ‘Pixie’ Moss gave some of these coolite riders the endearing title of – “Tiny Tits Little Shits” – that’s another story.)

Typically, the sequence of events was – the fibreglass board riders would tell us coolite riders to stop hassling and f!!k off and then, around 6am, the early morning “tubby club” would slowly arrived for their splash, chat and swim near the groyne and be given a whole bunch of profanities and encouraged to move away from the groyne to avoid being hit and giving all the surfers the shits. The same happened after school at 6pm when the Fremantle Doctor (sea breeze) was in.

I remember one time when there had been no surf for a while, so the north City Beach boys made a sacrifice to “Huey” to bring waves by burning a coolite. The surf eventually did come up, but unfortunately Stewart Bettenay burnt his foot badly during the sacrifice ritual on the molten coolite polystyrene foam and consequently was sidelined and out of action for some time.

Photos: 1969 surfboard riding City Beach groyne. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.
(Left) unidentified. (Right) Stewart Bettenay.

1969 surfing City Beach groyne unknown & Stew Bettenay collage_photocat

Coolites, Skegs and Swimmers

The interaction between coolite riders and swimmers to my recollection was initially sort-of tolerated because they didn’t have skegs, only two small rounded foam 1” keels running along the bottom near the rail, which didn’t hurt if you got run over, although it made them difficult to control and ride standing-up. I am not saying there wasn’t the occasional conflict when a swimmer got hit by a coolite.

Initially, if my memory serves me well, there were two types of polystyrene foam surfboards – Hardies coolites, which were available to general public and another – a foamy for Surf Life Saving Clubs use.

Before either of these foam boards could be surfed without serious chaffing they needed to be painted with exterior water based paint, many a coolite was melted and wrecked by using oil based paint.

Next, installing skegs in coolites – fantastic innovation, it improved their performance and manoeuvrability, usually started with cutting up wooden plank from a fruit crate and shaping it to mimic the latest skeg designs being used in new fibreglass boards.

Then precisely measuring and cutting a slot in the coolite to just fit the skeg and pouring melted bees wax around the skeg to hold it in.

Installing skegs allowed surfers to experiment and pull-off more radical manoeuvres, tube riding, radical turns, re-entrys etc, and cultivated an environment of ultra-competitive aggressive surfing styles like Howie’s and the “Silks”, it also favoured the brave in front of the rocks, especially goofy foots like Howie, and defined pecking orders – rewarded the committed and wrecked the hesitant.

Photo: 1975 Craig Blume & Craig Howe with fibreglass surfboards at City Beach. Photo courtesy of Craig Blume.

1975 City Beach Craig Blume & Craig Howe - Craig Blume pic

“RE’s Law”

I remember hassling and guys dropping in on waves off the end of the groyne intensified to the extent surfers and surfboards were getting wrecked on the rocks. I don’t exactly remember when RE’s Law was proclaimed, but it established a surfers etiquette between the locals – 1st out had priority, 2nd out had the next wave, and so. Once you caught a wave you went to the back of the queue. This law, like all laws, worked if everyone knew it and abided by it, which was most of the time, but fell apart quickly resulting in an exchange of abuse and unnecessary tension in the surf and on shore. When it worked, there was great vibe in the water, guys would be cheering each other on, pushing each other to go harder and bragging how far they surfed down into the bay.

Surfboards and swimmers don’t mix

With the coolite’s increased manoeuvrability due to skegs, it allowed surfers to get closer and further around the nose of the groyne and inside most swimmers which escalated the conflict with swimmers to a whole new level. Because – on the one hand if the fin hit an obstacle, the groyne or swimmer, it would usually rip the skeg and surrounding foam out, resulting in time out the water for repairs. On the other hand if the obstacle was a person, they would be pissed off.

In these early days if you couldn’t get back on your coolite quickly and get away from the swimmer there would a confrontation usually on the shore, due to no leg ropes.

I remember one time my board supposedly hit this fat tubby club swimming obstacle. When I went to pick up my board this guy was going to punch my lights out, however Keith “Woolly” Hawkins (a Leederville surfer who went on to glass Energy Surfboards with Ken McKenzie at Margaret River) had other ideas and came to my rescue and reversed the situation. Thanks Woolly!

Beach Inspectors

The increase in surfboard rider/ swimmer confrontations saw the City of Perth introduce a “swimming area” and restrict surfing times near the groyne to before 6am and after 6pm and beach inspectors to manage it. The first beach inspector I encountered was Warren “Wonk” Somerford (dec’d), a guy not to be messed with, took his role very seriously, no surfboards in the swimming area near the groyne between 6am-6pm, one warning to get out, next time your board was confiscated for a time he thought was appropriate.

Another beach inspector was John “Harbo” Harbison (dec’d) who also took his role seriously, but practically, he strictly enforced no surfboards in the swimming area near the groyne between 6am-6pm, if there were swimmers in the area, otherwise you could surf.

Photo: 1973-74 Beach Inspector John ‘Harbo’ Harbison herding a topless girl off the beach. Photo courtesy of WA Newspapers.

1973-74 CB Beach Inspector John Harbo herding topless girl off beach

Restricted Surfing Times

Restricting surfing times meant you had to be in the water before dawn to beat the “tubby club” and Beach Inspector. This resulted in guys sleeping on beach near the groyne, in the surf lifesaving club’s boat shed (on the beach side of “West Coast Highway” which ran passed the City Beach and Floreat groynes to Scarborough), and camping under a clump of big melaleuca trees behind the City Beach Tearooms, colloquially referred as ‘The Pad’, to get into the surf early.

Many great times and yarns were had around these campfires. There would be someone with a story about their surfing ventures or romantic encounter etc. Whilst everyone was engrossed in these stories or asleep they would on some occasions be sprayed with the contents of canned food and soft drinking which were put in the campfire, as joke, without being pierced and explode.

Fishing off the groyne

Fishing off the groyne was another area of conflict for surfers. Sunrise and dusk are the normally the best time to fish and coincidently before 6am and after 6pm were the times we were permitted to surf coolites near the groyne. Most fishermen cast their fishing lines away from the surfers around the end of the groyne for obvious reasons. On some occasions, however, there would be a passionate European fisherman who would cast their hook, line and sinker over the guys in the water, which would result in a barrage of abuse and profanities coming from the surfers with the occasional assertive person snapping the line off as it came near them. Inevitably someone would get hooked up and on one occasion I was the unfortunate one, getting hooked in the thigh resulting with fisherman losing his gear to the surf, once I managed to snip the hook-eye off, push the barb through the skin with a lot of swearing while pulling the hook out.

Mentors – CBSR Club Members

Most of the CBSR members were incredible enthusiastic dedicated surfers who won many Interclub, State, National and International surfing competitions. Others helped the club function and enjoyed the camaraderie.

The world was our oyster with advice from members like:-

Ron (Pixie) Moss, talented surfer with many attributes – enjoyed pushing coolite riders off their boards in front of the groyne, teaching groms how to fill in time while waiting for the surf to happen by instructing us how to play poker, pontoon, slippery sam etc for money in the City of Perth SLSC boat shed and “Pad”, etc.

Timon (Tiny) McKay – Great story teller, instrumental in transporting the “Tiny Tits Little Shits” to surf comps and surf breaks, putting up with Howie and me dropping around to his and Browneye’s house in Hasting St, Scarborough unexpectedly etc

Brian (Browneyes) Mawby-Brown – for providing advice on cars, driving, surf spots and put up with us visiting unexpectedly, etc

Bruce (Lumpy) King, Kevin (DO) O’Dwyer, Phil Henderson etc – dropping around Tiny’s and Browneye’s house with stories about surfing trips, cars, girls and the night before, etc.

In finishing I would like to especially thank Jim King for having the drive and foresight to gather and publish stories of surfing history in WA.

** see related material**

1960-70s Coolite surfboards – Wednesday 2 March 2106

1970-80s Foamie surfboards – Saturday 5 March 2016

Gallery
0 comment

1960-70s Coolite surfboards

**Updated 6 March 2016** by Ashley Jones.

Ashley JonesIn my original draft on Coolites, I stated that Chris Dermer and I started on Coolites in the early 60s, then much later it was with Chris Reynolds that I started modifying Coolites with the aluminium stringers and ply twins as knee boards. This then progressed pretty quickly into stand up modified Foamies.

———————————————————-

Coolite is a generic Australian term for any one of a number of small, inexpensive polystyrene beaded-foam surfboards. It was the introductory board for thousands of pre-teen surfers in the 1960 & 70s.

Young surfers (or their parents) could buy a coolite for a fraction of the price of a conventional urethane foam/glass/resin board. The average coolite was five feet long and 20 inches wide, with one or two long, narrow finlike runners along the bottom. And they were allowed inside the surf club patrolled “no surfboard” zones.

Many grommets were broken-hearted after an amateur attempt to reshape and glass their coolite. The styrene foam reacted badly to polyester surfboard resin and would dissolve into a horrid white paste.

1950s PRE-COOLITES

In the late 1950s WA surf pioneers Barry ‘Joe’ King and Brian Cole rode homemade 9ft triple stringer polystyrene (Coolite) surfboards glassed with epoxy resin.

Photo: 1958 Yallingup Barry ‘Joe’ King with his homemade epoxy surfboard.

1958 Yalls Barry (Joe) King partner with Brian Cole in King & Cole Surfboards in 1961 - John Budge pic img591A

COOLITES

Young Cottesloe surfer Ashley Jones first started his obsession surfing coolites as a kid with his mate Chris Dermer in the early 60s.

Ashley Jones – We started with modified coolites or as they were originally called ‘Senior Board’. The first coolites we rode as kids had little marine ply twin fins and an aluminum stringer rebated into the bottom of the board. These we used as knee boards. ** see update 6 March 2016**

Photos: 2012 Ashley Jones surfing Smiths Beach on a Coolite slab during cyclone Iggy. Photos courtesy of Jim King.2012 Ash Jones surfing Smiths on Coolite Cyclone Iggy collage_photocat

In the late 60s & early 70s Craig Bettenay was one of WA’s greatest exponents of the Coolite foam surfboard.

Craig Bettenay – I was lucky enough to learn on a foamie because it was so much shorter and more manoeuvrable than a malibu. We shaved off the runners and put in wooden fins. They surfed much better than mals and I had my first surf at Yalls on a coolite in ‘68. I was 11 and I got caught out the back by what seemed like a monster wave. I threw my coolite away and started to panic before one of my brothers grabbed me and took me in on his coolite. (Source 1993 Mark Thornley Wet Side News).

Photo: 1967 Craig Bettenay (age 10) with a modified coolite at his City Beach home. Photo courtesy of the Bettenay family.

1967 Craig Bettenay Age 10 with modified coolite at City Beach home DSC00022

Loz Smith – I remember seeing young Craig ripping City Beach groyne waves on the remains of a broken coolite in the late 60s.

Stewart Bettenay – City Beach brothers Craig & Allan Howe and my brother Greg made the fibreglass fins for our modified coolites.

Craig Howe – The Coolite days were so much fun, I’m sure my brother Alan got one of the first coolites in W.A. When they arrived in Sydney, my aunt who lived in Manly, send one over to my brother for this birthday, I remember that I wanted one!

Ross Lawrence – Great times surfing City Beach groyne with Greg, Stew, Craig, Craig Howe and Craig Blume on coolites before daybreak until 6am when beach inspector Wonk Somerford would move us out of the swimming area. If we didn’t comply he would wait till you paddled in and then confiscate your Coolite.

Mal Leckie – My brother and I lived in Perth, right near the City so we had to take our coolites to City Beach on the bus. We had plywood single fins glued in. At first it was free, but then MTT decided that surfboards had to pay a second fare and their definition of a surfboard was whether it had a fin or not. So we made T shaped plywood fins that went right through from the deck and we could take them out and hide them in our bags for the bus trip to save the extra fare. That worked OK unless you were lying down on the board and hit the sand – some lower pain resulted haha. About that time we discovered the split pin.

Here is how I remember them. Measurements could be way off – you know how things you remember change size as you get older, like how big your house was etc.

Image: Drawing of 1965-66 coolite by Mal Leckie….thanks Mal!

1965-66 coolite drawing by Mal leckie1

Jeffrey ‘RE’ Marshall – Circa 1966 I put a sail on a Coolite. I used a piece of dowelling for a mast, secured with string from the top of the mast to nails pushed into the sides,back and front of coolite. My Mum made up two sails, a main sail and foresail. I laid down under the sails and sailed it from down the front of my place at City Beach about 2km south of the groyne to the north side of the groyne. I did it because I was bored. I made skegs from 5 ply marine grade for a few crew, used a red hot butter knife to cut a slot in the coolite, then fixed them in with Bees wax. We used to shape the bottoms of the coolites, take the two rungs off and shape a concave near the nose.

Bill Gibson – In late 60s I was known as ‘Backwash Bill’ at Scarborough. I used to ride the back wash way out to sea on my coolite. I remember my first coolite. Everyone was painting their coolites, so I decided to paint mine. I found some red ‘Kill Rust’ paint (turps based) in the shed. I didn’t know anything about coolite foam and got out the paint brush and was ¾ way through the paint job when I noticed it smoking up. I got out the water hose & sprayed the coolite. It finally dried with ‘critter holes’ all over it. It dried like a rock and the deck looked like hunks of ironstone. I got my first sea ulcers from that coolite. It took the skin off my knee & middle of my foot on both legs…my first sea ulcers. Coolites were so much fun!

Little Big Eyes

In the late 60s young Frank ‘Little Big Eyes’ McVeigh (dec’d) started surfing on coolites at City Beach before progressing to fibreglass surfboards.

Images: 1967 Frank with his coolite at City Beach. Still frame image from CBSR Super 8 Movie Film.

1967 Frank McVeigh 'Little Big Eyes' at City Beach - ex CBSR movie film

Ron ‘Pixie’ Moss

In the ’60’Ron ‘Pixie’ Moss of Floreat was a talented body surfer and board rider on Malibu & coolite surfboards. In 1977-78 Ron joined the City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club and rode a coolite to victory in a SLSC surfboard competition held at Trigg.

Image: 1972 Newspaper cutting ‘Coolites at Trigg Point’ article by surf journalist Doug White (dec’d). Image courtesy of the Sunday Times.

1972 Coolites - Jim King ex Sunday Times 1

** see related material**

1960-70s Surfing Coolites at City Beach by Craig Blume – Wednesday 2 March 2016

1970-80s Foamie surfboards – Saturday 5 March 2016