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1960s Teena Christon – Triple State Women’s Surfing Champion

Teena Christon from Miami (now named Falcon) near Mandurah took up surfing at age 12. She learnt to surf on a 2nd hand plywood surfboard purchased by her father from a Mandurah hardware store. Teena mastered the plywood surfboard and moved onto a new Len Dibben fibreglass surfboard at Xmas time. Her surfing improved rapidly and she became a member of the Miami Surfinks Board Club.

Teena: “In the 60s my parents built and ran the Miami store located on Falcon Bay. I left Pinjarra High School at age 15 and became a professional fisherman like my father. I fished in the Peel Inlet at Mandurah. I worked for myself and put down nets at night and collected them in the morning. That left me most of the day to surf, go water skiing & skin diving.”

Photos: 1965 Teena with her Len Dibben board at Miami Beach. Photos courtesy Teena Christon.

1965 Teena at Miami IMG_001

In 64 Teena competed in WA’s first State Women’s Titles at age 14 and came third. She went on to win the next three Women’s surfing Titles and represent WA at three National surfing Titles.

State Womens Surfing Titles.

1964 Womens 3rd. Teena (Miami Surfinks) finished 3rd behind Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) in WA’s first Women’s Surfing Titles held at Cowaramup Bay (Huzza surf break). Jenny is John Shackley’s wife & Jamie Doig’s sister.

1965 Womens 1st. Teena (Miami Surfinks) defeated Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) & Stephanie Meyers (West Girls) at Yallingup.

1966 Womens 1st. Teena (Scarborough Boomerang Club) defeated Maureen Farrell (Yallingup) at Cowaramup Bay.

1967 Womens 1st. Teena (Scarborough Boomerang Club) defeated Jenny Shackley (Scarborough) & Maureen Farrell (Yallingup) at Yallingup.

Photo: 1965 Teena surfing to victory in WA’s Women’s Surfboard Championships held at Yallingup. Photo credit Len Dibben.

1965 Yalls Tina Christon surfing State Titles- Len Dibben pic

WA State Surfing Teams.

1965 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Manly in NSW.
1966 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Coolangatta in Queensland.
1967 Womens National Surfing Titles held at Bells Beach in Victoria.

Teena: “Ampol Petroleum sponsored WA Women’s Surfing titles from 1964 to 67. In 64 Ampol paid for the girls to stay at Caves House Yallingup with my mother as chaperon. In 65 & 66 Ampol paid for my mother to fly over east and chaperone the WA Women’s surf team. Ampol paid for everything.

At the 67 National contest at Bells, WA judge Doug White (surf journalist Sunday Times) told me he knew I had won my heat but he put me 2nd because he didn’t want to appear biased. I won the heat anyway based on the other judges’ scores. The semi-final was then called off as it was too windy at Bells. Later one of the guys told me it was on again at Torquay, so I raced to Torquay but was too late and missed the semi by 15 mins. I was not a happy girl!”

Teena was the first and may be the only female surfer to win three consecutive State Women’s Surfing Titles in WA.

Yallingup Board Club’s Carl Schumaker also won three consecutive State Junior Titles in the same years as Teena (1965-67).

In April 1965 Woman’s Day magazine featured an article on the Miami schoolgirl titled ‘Top of her Class’.

Image: 1965 Teena’s magazine article courtesy of Woman’s Day magazine.

1965 Tina Christon Womans Day report - Len Dibben pic

By 1965 surfboard manufacturer Len Dibben was sponsoring Teena and she was surfing for the Len Dibben Surf Team.

Photo: 1965 Len Dibben Surf Team L-R Rod Slater, Dave Richards, Jeff Jowlett, Steve Farbus, Teena Christon, Peter Stephens, Art Sherburn & Doug White. Photo credit Len Dibben.

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

Photos: 1965 Teena with surfing contest trophies and her Len Dibben surfboard at Leighton Beach. Photos courtesy Teena Christon

1965 Leighton Teena trophies IMG_001

Teena: “I practiced surfing mainly in winter because local beaches were always crowded on good summer days. I found winter surf near Geary’s shack at Miami as good as the best elsewhere. My only concession to the cold was a wet suit jacket, the top half of a skin divers suit.

When the Miami Surfinks Board Club disbanded in 66, I joined the Scarborough Boomerang Board Club”

In 1966 the local Mandurah Newspaper featured an article titled ‘Teena Tops the Fem’s’.

Image: 1966 Teena’s media article courtesy of Mandurah Newspaper.

1966 Teena Tops The Fems IMG_003

In 1967 Teena (age 17) gave up competitive surfing soon after winning her 3rd State Women’s Surfing Title. She moved to Exmouth and worked as a civilian on the US Navy base. She joined her father George who worked for Kailis Fisheries in Exmouth at the time.

In 1972 Teena travelled overseas and spent a year in Africa. She surfed Jeffries Bay. In 1973 she spent a year driving a Kombi overland to England via India.

After the overseas trip she moved to Vic and surfed Bells Beach. In 1979 Teena joined the WA Public Service and worked as a Finance Officer for 23 years until retirement in 2002 at age 54.

Photos: 1970s Teena’s overseas travel pics. Photos courtesy of Teena Christon.

Top: (Left) 1973 Johannesburg South Africa. L-R Sue Sims (Mandurah), Teena & Helen Loder (Vic). (Right) 1973 Paris France Teena.
Bottom: (Left) 1973 Afghanistan heading into a mosque L-R Helen Loder, Sue Sims & Teena. (Right) 1974 Perth Scotland Teena.

1970s Teena's travels pics IMG_002

In 2004 Surfing WA celebrated its 40th Anniversary at AQWA in Hillarys. Teena was invited to officially cut the Anniversary cake with WA politician John Quigley. There was an image of Teena and her surfboard on top of the cake.

2004 Surfing WA Anniversary function photos: (Left) Teena cutting the 40th Year birthday cake with politician John Quigley. (Right) Len Dibben, Teena & Murray Smith. Photo credits Loz Smith.

2004 Surfing WA Birthday compilation IMG_002

In 2004 The West Magazine ran an article titled ‘Swell Times 40 Years of Surfing in WA’. The article featured photos of Teena and other well-known WA surfing identities .

Cover Photo: 2004 L-R Teena Christon, Murray Smith, Len Dibben, Mick Marlin and Gary Vaughan. Photo courtesy of WA Newspapers.

2004 Surfing 40 Years West Mag

Teena lives in Halls Head near Mandurah. Her mother still lives in Falcon two doors down from WA surf pioneer Ray Geary.

WA surfing legend Dave Williams passed away 18 May 2015 after an illness. His funeral service and ‘celebration of life’ wake took place at the North Beach Rugby Club at North Beach on Friday 29th May. After the service, family and friends reminisced and farewelled Davo with a release of balloons in his favourite colour into the sky and an open mic session that reminded all of his renowned larikin sense of humour.

Surfing Down South 1950s City Beach clubbies Ron Drage, Dave Williams, Cocko Killen, E Mickle - John Budge pic img366

Surfing Down South 1950s City Beach clubbies Ron Drage, Dave Williams, Cocko Killen, E Mickle. Image courtesy of: John Budge

In the 50s Dave was a member of City of Perth SLSC and represented the State in National paddleboard races.

In the early 60s he was a member of West Coast Board Club and Dolphins Board Club and represented the state in National surf riding contests.

Dave was a big strong lad and a talented surfer, helping to pioneer surfing in the SW along with his closest mates. Dave has been credited with finding & naming Guillotine surf break with Kevin “Legs’ Merifield & Terry “Horse’ Williams.

Surfing Down South - 1957 Yalls Dave Williams & malibu balsa board. Photo: John Budge

Surfing Down South – 1957 Yalls Dave Williams & malibu balsa board. Photo: John Budge

INTRODUCTION TO SURFING: “My initial introduction to surf came at age 8 riding inflatable rubber “Surf Shooters” which were rented out at a kiosk at City Beach.

I joined the City Of Perth Surf- Lifesaving Club at age 15 as a cadet early 50’s along with several other mates.

My first surf-board was purchased while at Geraldton at a surf Carnival.

The board was made of ply & obviously a long way away from today’s sophisticated boards & I learned the hard way although it gave me a sound foundation to build on & most of my time was surfing at City Beach North side of the rock groyne.

As time progressed the initial structure of boards changed from 16-foot racing type ply through to the timber shorter boards which provided more precise manoeuvre ability.

The 1956 Olympic Games did not include Surf-Lifesaving on this occasion. I was fortunate to be included in the Western Australian surf team R & R [reel and rescue] where we came 2nd in the event.

On arrival at Torquay where the Surf carnival was held we got our first view of the original Malibu which the USA teams brought across to Australia & how it surprised us noting the extreme difference to our obsolete boards provided. i.e 16′ Planks. This was the new revolution & was hotly pursued through the following years.

We chased up several of our surfing friends sometime in early 1960’s & held our 1st general meeting at “The Orient Hotel” Adelaide Terrace Perth where we appointed Kevin Merifield President & formed our 1st Board Club name – West Coast Board Riders Club. There was a very good reason for this action as there were increasing incidents on our beaches with swimmers getting hit by loose surfboards at an increasing rate. We had no voice at the time & Leg Ropes were not in existence & we were getting into a situation where board surfing would be put under threat & the situation was getting pretty strong what with newspaper editorials & media attention. This was another reason why we ventured south where we had no problems with complaints.”

TRAVELLING SOUTH TO YALLINGUP: “We of course had never seen such surf in the metro area. Only the occasional storm locally would avail us of a more exciting wave here or there.

It was no surprise to call in to nearly every Pub on the Friday afternoon or evening & enjoy a round of beers & continue south again. Stop-offs at the following venues e.g. Armadale Pub, North Dardanup Tavern, Pinjarra, Harvey, Wokalup, Bunbury & onward to Busselton (time permitting). If time permitted we might have an odd jug at “Caves House” Bar, I do hear that at one time several travel signs appeared at our favourite camp area overlooking the Yalls-Lagoon.”

Refer to the Surfing Down South Book by Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle for more of Dave’s surfing recollections and antics.

Condolences to the Williams family.

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1964 WA’s First Surfboard Championships

Four young City Beach lads traveled down south to watch the first State Surfing Titles in ’64. The boys camped out, ate canned food and went surfing.

Graham McManus recalls he was age 17, “Our memorable week started when we drove on the Old Coast Road (parts were limestone track) to Yallingup for the Easter 1964 State Surfboard Riding Championship. With me were Ean Craigie a.k.a. Duck (age 16), Graeme Butler a.k.a. Butts (age 16), Jeff Harper a.k.a. Cousin (age 17). After the championships we surfed Yallingup, Gallows, Guillotine and Margaret River with only us dudes in the water”.

Rugged up and watching the first State Titles at Yalls are L-R: Graham McManus, Ean Craigie, Graeme Butler and Jeff Harper – Image courtesy of Graham McManus.

1964 Yalls State Titles Graham McManus, Ean Craigie, Graeme Butler & Jeff Harper - West pic

WA Aquatic Monthly magazine (April 1964) produced a six page article on the first Surfboard Championships held at Yallingup over Easter.

Some images from the mag are displayed below (Left) Fine trophies, a big crowd, great thrills and spills galore – that was Yallingup 64. (Right) Two competitors race in on a surging wave, with keen-eyed Judges (John Shackley, Bob Birch & Don Roper) watching their style from their observation platform high out of the surf. Images credit WA Aquatic Monthly magazine.

1964 Aquatic Mag Yalls State Surfing Titles article IMG_001

Photo: Media coverage (30 March 1964) of WA’s first Surfboard Championships at Yallingup Beach. Image credit WA Newspapers.

1964 28 March Alex 'Zac' Kochanwitsch Yalls state titles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1960-70s Trainer Bros

Scarborough brothers Ken & Brian Trainer were members of the Scarborough Board Club in the 60-70s.  Their father Percy Trainer was the inaugural President of WASRA from 1962-64. Ken Trainer also held the position of WASRA President in 1976. Both Percy and Ken have been awarded life membership of Surfing WA for services to surfing. Refer Surfing WA Celebrating 50 Years book for more details.

The Trainer family made their first trip to the South West in 1958 (Brian was aged 10). They stayed at Yallingup in Surf Side Store accommodation built by the Hammond family. The brothers spent a lot of their youth chasing waves in the South West. South Point at Cowaramup Bay was Ken’s favourite surf spot.

Photos: 1966-70 photo compilation of younger brother Brian. Top (left) 1966 Brian & Percy Trainer at Scarborough – Brian Trainer pic. Top (right) 1969 Brian with new Midget Farrelly stringer-less surfboard at South Point – Brian Trainer pic. Bottom (left) 1969 Brian at Geraldton – Brian Trainer pic. Bottom (right) 1970 Yalls State Titles L-R Neil Sadlier, Brian & Gavin McCaughey – Ric Chan pic.

1966-70 Brian Trainer compliation #1

Photos: 1977-78 photo compilation of older brother Ken officiating at WASRA functions. Top (left) 1977 Ken at Hang 10/WASRA School Surfing Championships held at Trigg- Ric Chan pic, Top (right) 1978 Ken at Aust Surfing Titles held at South Point – Ric Chan, Bottom (left) 1978 WASRA Awards Night L-R Peter Dyson, Ken Trainer, Mike McAliffe & John Shanahan – Ric Chan pic, Bottom (right) 1978 WASRA Awards Night L-R Peter Bevan & Ken – Ric Chan pic

1977-78 Ken Trainer compilation #1

 

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1977 Surfing Santa

In the 70s Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn was a member of the Sand-n-Sea Surf Riders Club and represented the state at seven Australian Surfing Titles as a board rider or judge.

Local freelance photographer Alf Sorbello came up with the idea of photographing Santa surfing at Scarborough Beach. He arranged a photo shoot with Sheepdog and provided the Santa costume and cotton wool beard. Sheepdog recalls “On the day the surf was small and the cotton wool beard got a bit out of control, being full of water and drooping. Otherwise it was a pretty uneventful day. Alf took a few photos then headed back to work”. An image from the photo shoot appeared in the Sunday Times.

1977 Sheepdog surfing at Scarborough in a Santa suit. Photo credit Alf Sorbello.

1977 Surfing Santa photo of Steve Cockburn by Alf Sorbello 061

1974 Sheepdog at an Australian Surfing Titles function held at Burleigh Heads Queensland. L-R Mike Mickelson, Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson, Sheepdog and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew (Qld). Queensland’s ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew went on to win the World Surfing Championship in 1978. Photo credit Steve Cockburn.

1974 Aust Titles Burleigh Heads Qld Mike Mickelson, Greg Laurenson, Steve Cockburn & Rabbit Bartholomew (Qld) - Steve Cockburn IMG