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The last beer at Caves House

Yallingup’s Caves House hotel was closed for renovations in 2003/4. The reno’s took some time and there were complaints when it was still closed for NYE 2004/05. It seemed to drag on forever.

Former Surfboard Manufacturer and Surfing WA President Tom Blaxell was there with his mate Martin Dempsey to enjoy the last beer before the bar was closed for reno’s.

These are Tom’s ‘last beer’ recollections.

The builders had moved in and Martin Dempsey and I were fortunate to know the caretaker, who let us stay in the old wooden Annexe out the front of Caves House. The builders were going to hoe into the bar the next day.

The following picture features Dave Williams riding in 69 State Titles held at Yalls. The original photo appeared on the front page of the West Australian from memory. It was poignant to me because I met Dave as a member of the Dolphin Surfriders around 1966 and of course the pic features a dolphin.

Photo: 2003/4 Tom in the front bar on the night before bar renovations. In the background is the painting of Dave Williams & the surfing dolphin at Yallingup. Photo courtesy Tom Blaxell.

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Dolphins Surfriders Club had some movie footage of Dave and friends surfing Trigg Point in 59 on what would have been some of the first fibreglass boards imported into WA .

Dave sadly recently passed away, but will be fondly remembered by the many he touched with his ever abundant enthusiasm for life.

Photo: 2003/4 Tom and Martin on the same night in the front bar. It shows the last scratching’s on the darts blackboard before the bar was closed down for reno’s. Photo courtesy Tom Blaxell.

2003-4 Yalls Caves House Last scratchings from the Caves house darts blackboard proir to renovations - T Blaxell2

The Caves House caretaker, Woodsy, also put the shivers up me by telling me the ghost story of a lady called Molly, who apparently hung herself in a room upstairs. The story goes that she was there for her honeymoon, but became aware of her groom cheating on her and overcome with the grief of betrayal took her own life.

We went upstairs to the room, which overlooks the beer garden and I was overcome with a palpable haunted feeling. I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night because down in the deserted Annexe there were a lot of creaks and noises and my imagination was on high alert!

The other story of course is regarding the ghost track, which I have to say hasn’t given me the same feelings. Then there were the séances with Doc Naylor down in the Surfside cabins, seemingly communicating with Mick Henryon, the guy who drowned out at Yalls. A little spooky as well.

I remember there was a lot of annoyance from the locals about being displaced from their watering hole.

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1970s Surfing Transit Reef at Rotto

In the early 70s surf photographer Ric Chan accompanied members of the Greg ‘Pants’ Laurenson surf team on a day trip to Rotto.  Ric took water pics from a tinnie of team riders John Balgarnie (Cottesloe) and Phil Henderson (City Beach) surfing Transit Reef .

Photo: 1970s John Balgarnie & Greg Laurenson photo shoot on Rotto. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Photo: 1970s John Balgarnie surfing left at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1970s John Balgarnie cuttie at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Photo: 1970s John Balgarnie doing a spinner at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1970s John Balgarnie smiling for camera at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1970s Phil Henderson surf left at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1970s Phil Henderson cuttie at Transit. Photo Ric Chan.

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Photo: 1970s Phil Henderson cuttie at Transit. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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In the 70s WA Surfboard/Boat Manufacturer Tom Blaxell raced his 4.3m Surfrider power boats offshore.

Tom Blaxell: “I still hold the record for the most offshore power boat racing wins in WA. By co-incidence inaugural State Surfing Champion Alex ‘Zac’ Kochanowitcz has one of the Surfrider boats I built down south at the old North End Board Riders property at Prevelly.

Photo: 1975 Blaxell Surfrider power boat jumping waves at Transits. Tom Blaxell is behind the wheel with Trigg surfer Paul Cunningham in the back seat. Photo Credit Ric Chan.

1975 Rotto Blaxell Surfrider jumping waves at Transits Tom & Paul Cunningham in the back - Ric Chan IMG_0410

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1973 Celebrity pic

NZ surf photographer/journalist Ric Chan took this Celebrity pic at the 1973 Australian Surfing Titles held at Margaret River WA.

It features legendary Australian surfer Michael ‘MP’ Peterson (Qsld), Rip Curl surf co-founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic) and a host of WA surfing heavy weights.

MP was Australian Champion in 72 & 74 and  won many other major surfing competitions including the Bells Beach Classic. Although MP scored highly in the early rounds at Margs, fellow Queenslander Richard Harvey emerged victorious and Peter Townend was runner-up.

Photo: 1973 Aust Surfing Titles at Margaret River WA. MP (bottom left) is making his way through spectators to enter the water for his surfing heat. ‘Claw’ is on the far right in the hat. Amongst the spectators at the back of the pic are WA boys Len Laskewicz, John Balgarnie, Trevor Burslem, Tom Blaxell & Errol Considine. Fred Annesley and Colin Ladhams are on the right. Dave Ellis is at the front in the cap with his back to camera. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1973 Marg River Aust Surf Titles Michael Peterson (Qsld) Trev Burslem Tom Blaxell Errol Considine, Doug Claw Warbrick (Vic) - Ric Chan1

Let us know if you recognise others in this classic surf history pic.

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2015 Tom & Midget in the Maldives

Former WA surfboard manufacturer Tom Blaxell recently returned from a surf trip to the Maldives. While there he met up with former World Surfing Champion Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly from NSW.

Photo: 2015 Tom & Midget in the Maldives. Photo by Dara from Atoll Adventures.

2015 Maldives Tom Blaxell and Midget farrelly at Pasta Point

Tom: “We had great waves and I’m told some of the biggest swell to come through this year. Amongst the usual suspects like Russ Parry, Al Bean and Baz Young, I ran into Midget Farrelly who by coincidence shares some common things with me. When he won the very first World Surfing Title in 1964, it was the year I made my first board (at the age of 14). Part of the inspiration for that was a book my Dad gave me, written by Midget called “This Surfing Life“. It was all about how surfing was not just a passing craze, but an all-consuming passion that engulfs your life and your outlook on it. And here we are 50 years later still doing it and enjoying it.
1964 also happened to be the year surfing WA (then WASRA) was founded, and when I was President in 1994, we had a big reunion gig at the Continental Hotel in Claremont to celebrate WASRA’s 30th anniversary. Midget was invited over and was a keynote speaker at the event.”

Photo: 2015 Tom surfing in the Maldives. Photo by Dara from Atoll Adventures.

2015 Maldives Tom Blaxell at Pasta point

Photo: 2015 Al Bean ripping in the Maldives. Photo by Dara from Atoll Adventures.

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Photo: 2015 Baz Young cuttie in the Maldives. Photo by Dara from Atoll Adventures.

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SDS Administrator on Leave – August 2015

Hi everybody,

SDS Web/FB Admin is taking a well-earned winter break during August. Stories will still be posted once a week on a Wednesday.

All messages will be dealt with upon return.

Happy surfing!

SDS Admin

The following photo was taken in 2013 after a ‘talk fest’ at the ‘Foamlust Surf Festival’ held in Margaret River. L-R Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle (author of Surfing Down Surf book), Jim King, Tom Blaxell, Bill Gibson & Mick Marlin. Photo credit Laurence ‘Loz’ Smith.

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