1974 State Surfing Titles held at Guillotine Surf Break

In the early 1960s members of the West Coast Board Club used a rough old fisherman’s track to access the Gallows. The WC boys dobbed in 10 shillings each and paid 20 pound to local bulldozer driver ‘Boodge’ Guthrie to upgrade the track. They later got Boodge to extend the track to Guillotine and they started surfing there too.

For more history on the West Coast Board Club and the discovery of Guillotine refer to Surfing Down Surf book.

A round of the State Surfing Titles was held at the Guillotine surf break in 1974. Photo-Journalist Ric Chan covered the event for the Independent Newspaper and took these images. However, Ric cant remember being there, so we can’t ask him for the results!

Did Baz Day or Kanga Cairns win the blue ribbon Open Div?

Photo: 1974 WASRA President Doc Naylor & competitors meeting at Gracetown turn-off on Caves Rd. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Cowaramup Rd img098

Photo: 1974 Guillotine line-up. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Guillotine img094

Photos: 1974 State Title officials. Ric Chan pics.

Top: (Left) Doc Naylor. (Right) Len Dibben. Bottom: Len Dibben with judges and assistants.

1974 State Titles Guillotine officials collage_photocat

Photo: 1974 unidentified surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Ttiles unknown - Ric Chan

Photo: 1974 Barry Day surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Barry Day img 097 (3)

Photo: 1974 Ian Cairns surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Ian Cairns - Ric Chan 018

Photo: 1974 Chris Fullston surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Chris Fullston img097 (4)

Photo: 1974 Russell Catto surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles Russell Catto img086

Photo: 1974 Trevor ‘Kenmac’ Kenyon surfing in State Titles. Ric Chan pic.

1974 Guillotine State Titles img097 (2)

Photos: 1974 competitors & spectators at State Titles. Ric Chan pics.

1974 State Titles Guillotine spectators 2 collage_photocat



1968 Yallingup – Invitational Event at the State Championships

In 1964 Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly (NSW) won the World Mens Title at the first World Surfing Championships held at Manly Beach NSW. Midget won from Californians Mike Doyle & Joey Cabell.

Photo: 1964 Midget surfing Manly on his way to winning World Mens Surfing Title. Photo courtesy of Keith Campbell (former WASRA President).

1964 Midget Champion at Manly

In 1968 former Australian world surfing champion ‘Midget’ Farrelly was invited to WA to compete in a special Invitational Event held in conjunction with the State Championships at Yallingup on the LWE in March 1968.

The field for WA’s Invitational event included Midget, prominent WA surfer Terry Jacks, former South Australian Barry Young and representatives from most states.

Image: 1968 Midget arriving at Perth Airport for the Invitational event. Newspaper image courtesy of the Daily News.

1968 Invitational Comp Yalls - Midget Farrelly

There was a big crowd in attendance to watch Midget surf at Yallingup. He bought rounded pintail surfboards to the event and WA surfers saw the new design from the East Coast for the first time. It introduced another advance in WA surfboard design.

Photos: 1968 Yalls Midget Farrelly & spectators at the Invitational Event. Photos courtesy of Sally Jones (nee Gunter).

Top: (Left) Midget with WASRA President Ron ‘Doc’ Naylor. (Right) Midget descending steps to the beach.
Bottom: (Left) Midget heading out to surf in Invitational event. (Right) Midget returning to the beach with his rounded pintail surfboard.

1968 Yalls Midget Farrelly invitational Event Sally Jones collage_photocat

The invitational event was held in sunny offshore conditions at Yallingup. Midge rode the lefts in his smooth controlled style. Terry Jacks was frothing and went for it. At the conclusion of the event many spectators thought Terry had won the event, but Midge’s name was already engraved on the trophy and that was that!

Some of Terry’s supporters kicked up a bit of dust, but it was in vain.

Images: 1968 Midget Farrelly at the Invitational event. Still frame images courtesy of City Beach Surf Riders Super 8 movie film.

1968 Yalls Invitational event Midget Farrelly collage_photocat

Image: 1968 Terry Jacks surfing in the Invitational event. Newspaper image courtesy of the Daily News.

1968 Invitational Comp Yalls - Terry Jacks1


Peter ‘Spook’ BothwellMidget had just got back from Hawaii and was full of stories about Joey Cabell and his pintails.

Barry ‘Baz’ YoungBesides me, for the Invitational, another surfer from interstate was Alex Chobinoff (NSW) who had been here for 6 months roughly like myself. I placed third in that Invitational as well as coming 2nd to Spook in the State Titles. It was pretty small that day and I gambled and surfed the ‘Bunbury Break’, which was named because of the crew of Bunbury surfers who surfed it more than most. It’s now known as “The Cove”. Whilst Midget and the other 4 competitors hassled each other at Main Break I got a little lucky where I was.

When Midget arrived for the contest and pulled 4 Pintails out of his car we were all flabbergasted. The Press on what was happening design wise over East was very limited and I’m pretty sure no one had heard about boards that had pointed tails. It seemed weird to have a tail shape that looked the same as the nose. There was a lot of disbelief and almost jeering as he walked past the big crowds lining the steps and beach with one of these strange designs under his arm on the way to the water. I think he thought about not staying for the Invitational, but the WASRA contest directors talked him around and tuned a few crew to keep their opinions to themselves for the rest of the weekend.

I have been surfing in the Maldives twice now in recent years, at the same time as Midget and his wife, and he still surfs pretty good for age 71.

Photo: 2015 Former WA Surfboard Manufacturer Tom Blaxell with 1964 World Surfing Champ Midget Farrelly in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Tom Blaxell.

2015 Maldives Tom Blaxell and Midget farrelly at Pasta Point

In 2001 Surfing WA made a presentation to Midget Farrelly at Yallingup Beach.

Photos: (Left) 2001 montage presentation to Midget at Yalls designed by Quindalup’s Loz Smith. (Right) 2006 Midget & Loz Smith at Jack Egan photo exhibition held at Vasse Felix Winery.

2001 & 2006 Midget Farrelly & Loz Smith images collage_photocat


The state championships were held in good offshore conditions at Yallingup over the March long weekend. Members of most WA Board Clubs competed in the Titles. Finalists in the divisions went onto represent WA at the National Surfing Titles held in NSW in May 1968.

Editor’s NoteA month after the State Titles finalist Arty Sherburn nearly died when he was stung by a blue bottle jellyfish while surfing at Cottesloe. He was unable to take his place in the WA State Team and compete in the ’68 National Titles in NSW.

Images: (Left) 1968 Cover of WASRA program. (Right) Preview of State Titles at Yalls. Images courtesy of WASRA & the Daily News.

1968 State Surfing Titles Yalls media 2 collage_photocat

Images: 1968 State Surfing Titles at Yalls. Images courtesy of the Daily News & Trevor Burslem.
(Left) Media preview of the WA Titles. (Right) Jim King competing in Open Division.

1968 State Ttiles Yalls Jim King 3 collage_photocat


Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell (age 19 years) from Sand n Sea board club won the Open Mens. Competing in 6ft surf Spook beat former South Australian Barry Young and Arty Sherburn the Southern Surfriders champion. Surprisingly, John Balgarnie & 1966 champion John Staley were eliminated in the semi-finals.

Ian Cairns from Southern Surfriders was the outstanding junior surfer & won the Junior Title from Phil Taylor & Ian ‘Moochie‘ Strongman.

Dave Williams won the Senior Title.

Maureen Farrell won the Womens Title.

Images: 1968 State Surfing Titles at Yalls.
(Left) Media review of the WA Titles courtesy of WA Newspapers.
(Right) Contest spectators & judges scaffolding on the beach. Photo Jim King.

1968 State Titles Yalls 4 collage_photocat


Peter ‘Spook’ BothwellThe 67 titles were when I thought I could win and was surfing at my peak. I didn’t get out of my heat, John Staley went on to win. In 68 I was over it (the competitive hype) and more relaxed. I thought John Staley was surfing good enough to win in 68, but he got over anxious like I did in 67 and was knocked out. My other memory was that everyone who surfed went in it. A bit like a festival.

I next went into a state contest in 76, after not surfing much for a few years and the crowd and competitive crew numbered about fifty. The atmosphere had changed, still seriously competitive, but the wider social interest went for a time.

Barry ‘Baz’ YoungIt was borderline whether I was eligible to compete in the main event (State Titles) because you had to have been living in WA for 6 months and I got Arty Sherburn and John Staley to say I had been here that long, but I think I was about a week short.

I had been called up for National Service and came to the West to surf as much as possible before going in. I ended up doing my Draft medical in Bunbury, and swallowed silver foil in the hope it would show up as a spot on my lung (it had worked in the Big Wednesday movie) but they never remarked on it. What they did notice was my very large surf bumps on my feet. I had gone to the medical in suede Desert Boots, which were the rage at the time and they asked me if I could wear leather boots, and I said I doubt it, so they got me to try a pair on, and I faked pain enough that they didn’t sign me up….relief! We had been losing about 3 or 4 soldiers a day in different skirmishes in Vietnam and I didn’t want to be part of it. I remember I hitched back to Yallingup and went out and had just the best surf. A big weight had been lifted from my shoulders.


With a big LWE crowd in attendance it was not surprising that some anti-social behaviour occurred at Caves House pub on the Saturday Night.

Image: 1968 Media report on an alleged brawl at Caves House pub. Newspaper cutting courtesy of the daily News.

1968 Caves House Yalls pub brawl

A fun long weekend surfing & socialising in the South West was had by all.


John Balgarnie’s surfing memoirs

Talented goofy footer John ‘JB’ Balgarnie (born 10 July 1946) began his surfing life at Trigg before moving to Cottesloe in the early 60s.

He won his first state title at the WA Winter Championships held at Scarborough in 1966. JB competed successfully at the state level from the 60s until 2010 when he won the ‘over 60s div’ at Whale Bone Classic longboard contest held at Isolated Reef near Cottesloe.

In between those contest wins, JB did a lot of surfing and help design WA’s first artificial surfing reef at Cable Station near Cottesloe.

Image: 1960s contest winner John Balgarnie surrounded by the spoils of victory. Image courtesy of Wet Side News mag.

1960s John Balgarnie Profile 1993 Wet Side News

These are JB’s surfing memoirs.

Contest Achievements

Contest results as shown on trophies.
1966 winter championships……1st place open
1968 6PR WASRA open surf riding comp…..1st place open
1970 state round…..1st place open
1982 Australia day titles…..1st place masters
1985 spring titles….3rd place masters
1985 winter titles….3rd place masters
1990 wet dreams WASRA….1st place masters
1994 state round…..3rd place masters
1995 state titles….2nd place masters
1996 1st state round…..2nd place masters
1996 2nd state round…..2nd place masters
1996 3rd state round……2nd place masters
1999 whalebone invitational….2nd place over 50s
2000 over 50s Cottesloe longboard….2nd place
2009 whalebone over 60s…..2nd place
2010 whalebone over 60s….1st place
Note: I have three more trophies with nothing written on them,
they could be two seconds and a first at Phillip Island Vic.
I have not been in a contest since 2010.

Image: 1966 WA Winter Championships held at Scarborough (JB won Senior Men’s Title). Contest report #1 courtesy of Surfabout Magazine Vol 3 No.7.

1966 WA Winter Champs at Scarborough ex Surfbabout Magazine Vol 3. No 7. IMG_01

Image:1966 WA Winter Championships held at Scarborough (JB won Senior Men’s Title). Contest report #2 courtesy of Surfabout Magazine Vol 3 No.7.

1966 WA Winter Champs at Scarborough ex Surfbabout Magazine Vol 3. No 7. IMG_02

JB represented WA at National Surfing Titles held in on the East Coast.

Photo: 1966 WA State Team at Crescent Heads Country Club. L-R John Balgarnie (front), unknown girl, Boz Cummings, Mike Bibby, unknown, John Staley, Neil Peglar, Arty Sherburn, Barry Young, Murray Smith & unknown girl & boy. Photo courtesy of Barry Young.

1966 Crescent Heads Country Club L-R J Balgarnie,girl,B Cummings, M Bibby,unknown,J Staley,N Peglar,A Sherburn, B Young, M Smith & girl. B Young pic

Surfing history.

My first experience of surfing was at Trigg Point around the age of 13 years old, 1959. In those days only a few surfers would be surfing the point. When one of the surfers fell off his board I would retrieve that board and paddle it back to the surfer. When retrieving boards I learnt how to paddle and later how to surf after buying one of Trigg boards.

My first board was a Wallace 8’6’’ balsa that I kept at a friend’s house at Trigg for about a year, until moving it to Cottesloe and keeping it under the Cottesloe Pavilion, which began my surfing life around Cottesloe area.

My next board was a Gordon Woods 3 stringer 9’3” then a couple of King Cole boards until I snapped one at South Point and Colin Cordingley offered me free boards to ride for the Cordingley surf team. During my Cordingley association I met Greg Laurenson who was shaping for Cordingley’s. From that time on Greg shaped all my boards under Cordingley’s label and later under his own board building business. My association with Greg’s surfboard designs was exciting, new and innovative. I can remember riding my first twin fin board with Greg standing on the reef to see what happens to the fins during a full bottom turn, it was exciting times. After the very sad death of Greg I began to surf on Mt Woodgee surfboards and still do today.

Photo: 1970 Yalls State Titles L-R Peter Holzman, Ron Waddell, Rod Slater, Rob Sutherland, Steve Cockburn, Giles Geiger, John Balgarnie, Peter Dyson, Bruce King & Greg Laurenson in front. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1970 Yalls State Titles P Holzman,R Waddell, R Slater, R Sutherland, S Cockburn, G Geiger, J Balgarnie, P Dyson, B King & G Laurenson - R Chan img424

In 1975 WASRA started a ‘Build a Reef’ campaign for the WA coast. JB was involved in the campaign with Geoff Berry.

Image: 1975 WASRA ‘Build a Reef’ campaign pamphlet. Image courtesy of Arthur Sherburn.

1975 WASRA build a reef campaign - Arthur Sherburn pic img233

JB is an architect and was involved in the planning of the artificial reef at Cable Station near Cottesloe.

Artificial Reef (Construction completed December 1999).

My interest in an artificial reef came from discussions with a friend in Victoria who is a marine engineer and knew the conditions of Perth, being the lack of good banks and hence good surf. It was discussed that if only we had good sand banks to give us more surfing locations the help the ever increasing crowd conditions.

My friend from Victoria, Geoff Atkins came across a thesis by Walker on artificial reefs proposed in Hawaii as part of his studies on marine engineering. This thesis gave us the means to use his proposal and adapt it to Perth conditions by means of submitting a proposal to the government.

The proposal was put together with a friend of mine, Geoff Berry and was a very preliminary submission to raise some finance to hopefully get approval and build the reef. Professor Sylvester from the WA University being from the Marine Engineering Department submitted within our report to give us some credibility to that report.

Unfortunately nothing much happened and the report sat “dead in the water” for a few years. The next interesting development with the help of Keith Campbell from Trigg was a meeting with Mike Board being the Local Member of Government to discuss the artificial reef. Mike Board was looking for a project to help the community and the artificial reef was just what he was looking.

A committee under Mike Board was chosen being myself and another Keith Campbell from the Cottesloe area representing surfing together representatives from the surf life-saving, fishing, University of Marine Engineering and Local Government. The committee would meet to discuss what needed to be accomplished for the construction of the reef and to acceptable to the Government. The very first task was to select a site for the reef. Cable Station was selected because the area had a stable beach area being the existing shore line reef and an existing reef off the coast that could be enhanced with little or no effect on the environment.

Once the site was selected contour surveys were taken for a scale model to be constructed by the University Marine Engineering Department to test all legitimate aspects of the reef proposal. Over a number of years all the testing, costing and method of construction was completed though it wasn’t all easy going. When the committee hadn’t met for a while, a newspaper friend of mine would run a story on the reef and that article would seem to result in the committee meeting again.

To my surprise and after a considerable length of time the proposal for the artificial reef was accepted by the Committee together with Government funding for the construction of the reef.

So the reef was now going to be built though it was Keith Campbell and myself that pushed for the reef to be a longer breaking reef than proposed by the University Marine Engineering Department of WA. Again I was surprised that our proposal to lengthen the surf break was accepted and I can only think it was the very good relationship we had within the committee to get this reef up and working.

My only regret it that no one has taken the concept of the artificial reef and developed it to be used on the open beach areas. I have spent a lot of time getting this reef up and working for the only reason that someone could then run with a proposal on the open beach areas. I would think it’s not so difficult to construct an artificial reef that would change the swell directions producing good surf banks without harming the environment. At the moment we have no sand banks in the summer time, so when we have swell it just closes out making conditions basically terrible for surfing.

Places I have surfed.

I have surfed throughout Australia especially Phillip Island whereby I would spend each summer while studying architecture. Further I have surfed all of the east coast and been part of the Australian titles in Queensland and NSW. My surfing experience on Philip Island started in 1968 and has been ongoing to this day. I spent so much time on the Island I became a member of the Phillip Island Board Club and to this day have friends from the island.

My favourite surf break is Woolamai on Phillip Island as it’s the most perfect beach break you can imagine. The sand banks are so perfect and consistent year in and year out that the locals have named each of the sand banks eg, Anzac alley to name one.

Apart from Australia I have surfed Hawaii on three occasions being the North Shore and the Honolulu area, California coast, Indonesia surf spots eg, Mentawai Islands, Bali, Lombok etc and the Maldives on several occasions.

Photo: 2010 John surfing Pasta Point in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of John Balgarnie.

2010 Maldives pasta point John Balgarnie Img_1

These days.

These days I surf around the Cottesloe area through winter and travel over east or down south during the summer months with the occasional trip overseas. Next year in June I plan to go to the Mentawai Islands on a two week boat trip with friends from Phillip Island.

Photo: 2009 Reunion at City Beach. L-R John Balgarnie, Dave Cummins, Jamie Doig & Geoff Berry. Photo credit Bruce King.

2009 Reunion J Balgarnie, D Cummins, J Doig & Geoff Berry - Bruce King

To date I have never surfed Europe, South Africa or Tasmania, though I would like to surf Europe for the experience and hopefully will one day soon

That’s it, my condensed surfing life. Hope you find the above interesting.



1970s Scarborough surfing identities – Len & Gordon

In the 1970s Len Laskewicz & Gordon Crowther were good mates living in the Scarborough area. They shared a love of surfing and chased waves on metro and SW beaches. The boys also enjoyed socialising and spent a lot of time enjoying themselves at parties on Yallingup Hill.

Lenny had a good surfing pedigree. In the 60s he was member of the Len Dibben Surf Team and placed 3rd in 1966 State Titles behind Murray Smith & Dave Williams.

Photos: Early 1970s Len Laskewicz surfing at Trigg Point on his Len Dibben single fin. Photo credits Ric Chan.

1970s Trigg Pt Len Laskewicz compilation2

Gordon was the quieter of the two lads. He loved his surfing down south but avoided the competitive side of surfing.

Photos: Early 1970s Gordon Crowther surfing Trigg Point. Photo credits Ric Chan.

1970s Trigg Pt Gordon Crowther compilation2


1966 Surfing in the South of WA – Rob Farris

In 1966 young surfer Rob Farris from Subiaco wrote an article about a trip down south with Dave Beamish, Craig Brent-White, Brian Brown, Steve Cockburn & Bruce King. His article was published in a Commonwealth Bank Gazette.

Image: 1966 Rob’s SW surfing article courtesy of Commonwealth Bank Gazette. (Zac Kochanowitsch featured in top pic)

1966 Rob Farris SW Surf article Bankwest Gazette1

In 1970 Rob Farris was a contest judge at the State Titles held at Yallingup.

Photo: 1970 Carol (assistant)& Rob (judge) officiating at State Titles held at Yalls. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1970 Yalls State Titles Judge Rob Farris & assistant - R Chan img410