1970s Huzzawouie surf break

Huzzawouie (Huzza’s) reef break is located in Cowaramup Bay at Gracetown in the South West. It works on a large swell and is sheltered from the prevailing south west winds. Huzza’s has been surfed since the early 60s.

For more background & earlier images click on this SDS link – 1960s Vintage Huzzawouie Images

Photo: 1970s Cowaramup Bay southern surf breaks. L-R South Point, Huzza’s and Boris’s. Photo credit Jim King.

1970s Cowaramup Bay J King pic

Photos: 1970 Celebrities at Huzza’s beach. (Left) WA model Jane Priest (Right) WA surfboard manufacturer Tom Blaxell.
Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.

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Photos: 1970 NZ surf photographer Ric Chan preparing to paddle out at Huzza’s on Blaxell single fin board. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.

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Surf photographer Ric Chan took the following water shots with his water proof Nikonos camera.

Photo: 1970 Huzza’s water shot of take-off zone. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1970’s Huzza’s water shot of unidentified surfer. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photos: 1971 SW surfers Al Fixter and Ian Mitchell surfing Huzza. Images courtesy of Country Surf Mag & photographer Rob Farris.

1971 Huzzawouie Al Fixter & Ian Mitchell - Country Surf Mag - Rob Farris

Photo: 1973 Mick Black cuttie at Huzza. Photo credit Ric Chan

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Photo: 1976 Huzza’s line-up. Photo credit Ric Chan.

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Huzza Cliff Tragedy
In 1996 a tragedy occurred at Gracetown when five adults and four children were killed in a cliff collapse while watching a school surfing carnival held at Huzza’s. The victims were sheltering underneath a rock overhang at the base of the limestone cliff during a rain storm when the cliff collapsed without warning. A memorial to the victims has been erected at the site.


1970s Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach was the hub of metro surfing & social life in the 70s. Local surfers had their own surf shops, surf board clubs (North End, Scarborough, Boomerang & Contacio) and hotels (White Sands & Scarborough). The Scarborough Hotel built 1938 was demolished in mid 80s.

Photo: 1974 Scarborough Guest House replaced by Observation City Hotel. (now known as Rendezvous Hotel Perth, Scarborough). Vance Burrow pic.

1974 Scarb Guest Hse now Observ City Vance Burrow IMG

Photos: 1976 Scarborough Beach front. Ric Chan pic.
Top: (Left) busy beach break (Right) Scarborough car park looking north towards Threepenny reef.
Bottom: (Left) Gay Gordon hamburgers (Right) Ric Chan’s gold coloured Kombi parked in front of Gay Gordon.

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Photos: 1970s Ric Chan’s rental house at Scarborough. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Firefighter controlling burn-off next to Ric’s place (Right) Ric & his red Jaguar next to his Scarborough rental.
Bottom: (Left) Mick Black (Right) Ric Chan on front verandah.

Steve CockburnRic worked as a DJ at The Sheraton Down Under Bar & Gobbles Night Club in Wellington Street Perth. I lived in a flat under his rented house at Scarborough while I was an architectural student & would often go into the clubs (gratis). Ric would come in about 4 am each morning, usually with a lovely women companion and would stomp on the wooden floors & often woke me up.

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Photos: 1970s Surf industry personalities. Ric Chan pics
Top: (Left) Scarborough water shot. (Right) Murray Smith & Unidentified surfer.
Bottom: (Left) Tom Blaxell Surfboards Osborne Park. (Right) Gary Greirson Surfboards Osborne Park.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing #1. Steve Hannett bottom left. Other surfers unidentified. Ric Chan pics.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing #2. Steve Hannett bottom left. Other surfers unidentified. Ric Chan pics.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing legends. Ric Chan pics.
Top: Terry Jacks (dec’d) on the beach and surfing.
Bottom: (Left) Hume Heatley (dec’d). (Right) Terry, Hume & unidentified.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #1. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Greg Laurenson (dec’d). (Right) unidentified beach girls.
Middle: (Left) Charles ‘Chuck’ Stewart (dec’d). (Right) Ric ‘flower power’ Chan.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #2. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Coffin Cheaters. (Right) unidentified beach girls.
Bottom: (Left) fashion photo shoot unidentified girl. (Right) unidentified beach girl.

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Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #3.
Top: (Left) Steve Mathews (Channel 9) with unidentified Band. (Right) Unidentified girl in Mini Minor – Ric Chan pics.
Bottom: (Left) Blue Nicholson, Prive Morris, Micko Gracie & Rex Biddle with Prive’s Fiat in Scarborough Beach Rd – Peter Mac pic. (Right) Dolphins Board Riders footy team at Deanmore park – Tom Blaxell pic.

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1980 National Scholastic Surfing Titles in WA.

In 1980 the National Scholastic Surfing Titles were held in WA for the first time. The contest was run over a week in the SW at Moses, Lefthanders & Smiths surf breaks. The event was sponsored by radio station 6PM & Pipelines Legrope Co.

A strong contingent of 100 talented school boy & girl surfers from around Australia competed at the Titles.

The NSW team contained future World Champions Mark ‘Occy’ Occhiluppo & Damien Hardman. The WA team contained Mitch Thorson, Damon Eastough, Mike McAuliffe, Dave Macaulay & John Shindig. Squizzy Taylor represented South Aust.

This coverage of the event is based on comments from WA contest official’s surfboard manufacturer Tom Blaxell and WASRA President Keith ‘Jock’ Campbell and photos from photo journalist Ric Chan.

Tom Blaxell – Contest Official & Sponsor

Other members of the West Australian contingent from memory were Steve Hannett, Sean Murphy, Shaun Atkinson & Matt Branson.

The fact that Occy and Hardo went on to become World Champions, illustrates that the Aussie Scholastics can be the breeding ground for true world beaters.

In those days we were struggling to get surfing recognised as a genuine school sport. There was no such thing as official surfing during school time, and some of the school administrators wouldn’t even acknowledge the competition, which of course was held out of school time.

The most extreme case was when the head of Christchurch Grammar School refused to accept the Champion surf school trophy after their team had won the State Schoolboys Title in 1965 and likewise the head of Scotch College later on.

I was a sponsor as well as officiating at the event. You can see the Blaxell Aboriginal logo on the back of one of the comp vests.

Contest officials and competitors were housed at the Four Squares Holiday Camp in Vasse.

Photo: 1980 Contest officials & competitors at the Four Squares Holiday Camp. Ric Chan photos.

Top) Competitors and Sponsor & Contest Official Tom Blaxell
(Bottom) Contest Official Margo Blaxell & competitor’s mess hall.

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Keith ‘Jock’ Campbell – Contest Organiser.

There were about 60 kids from all over Australia and they were booked into one of the Church Camps in Busselton (Four Square Holiday Camp – Vasse) as a base. We had organised a couple of 23 seater’s and a couple of 14 seater’s to cart the crew around in.

Each morning in the breakfast room I would announce the day’s contest venue. It was a good week surf wise with most of the usual breaks featuring.

One day when it was big “I announced that those who want to surf 6 foot waves – get in the 23 seaters, those that want to surf 8 foot waves – get in the 14 seaters and those that want to surf 10 foot plus Margies – get in the mini minor parked out front!”

When they arrived at MR main break there were 3 blokes out and who should be taking off on a 10ft plus one but Tony Hardy, who off the record was the master of the game at Margies at the time. He Tony Hardied it and the crew headed for the WC!

From memory I think Occy was either a 15 or 16 year old and armed with a 5’6″ twin fin, he charged an 8 foot set wave. Not deep on the take-off but for a first up wave he set the pace for the day and continued to do just that for 20 years.

Another incident from the event was a ‘tug of war’ between teams using a leg rope as the rope.

There were three or four to a team and one crew got it to about 6m before it snapped and Damon Eastaugh took the full brunt of the recoil. It was a major concern and very painful. The only good part of it was that the bloke it hit, was probably the toughest 15/16 year old on the planet at the time. If you see Damian around ask him as I would think it is one of those things you never forget!”

From an historic point of view I reckon this was probably as significant as the ‘Margaret River Thriller’ and other events I assisted with.

It was a massive logistics exercise for that time and I had a good crew of volunteers. I only had one concern and that was how the hard core Margie crew would entertain 100 schoolies tearing up the waves in their area. Surfers were fairly protective of their surf and environment and surfing was arriving as a bona fide sport which was less than popular by the majority.

I had limited dealings with Rob Conneeley in 1978 when I ran my first Australian Open event, but this was a different kettle of fish.

I lobbed on the doorstep of his health food shop in Marg’s to seek his advice on the best way to avoid any drama.

He was pretty straight forward, as he tended to be. He simply said basically “respect the locals, respect the environment and respect the ocean”.

I told the competitors of the rules to the game and that Robert was our connection. Robert was either or close to a legend at the time and still is I guess, so the kids took it on board and went out of their way to behave.

It was the start of the formation of Margaret River as the home of big time surfing in WA and Robert’s part in that and his support should not be overlooked.

Robert always stood back from the organization of events, but one always knew he had a presence and if you ever see the tape of the Margaret River Thrillers competitors meeting in 1985, you will hear me read out the Rules of the Margaret game Robert told me in 1980.

Photos: 1980 Contest officials at Smiths Beach for the Finals. Ric Chan pics.

(Top) Contest organiser Jock Campbell. (Bottom) unidentified & Bill Girdwood talking to officials.

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Photos: 1980 Contest officials at Smiths Beach & Yalls. Ric Chan pics.

(Top) Contest car park scene & Jock Campbell. (Bottom) Bill Girdwood with competitors at Yalls.

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Photos: 1980 Contest surfing Smiths Beach. Ric Chan pics.

Competitors unidentified.

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Photos: Contest surfing Smiths Beach. Ric Chan pics.

(Top) WA’s Mitch Thorson. (Bottom) unidentified.

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Contest Results

U/19’s  1. M Eymes NSW. 2. P Burnett NSW. 3. M McAuliffe WA & others shared third place.
U/17’s  1. M Thorson WA. 2. M Lyons NSW. 3. D McAullay WA & others shared third place.
U/15s  1. D Hardman. 2. S Taylor SA. 3. Occy NSW, J Shindig WA, S Bedford-Brown & others shared third place
Womens  1. J Gill NSW. 2. M Ducat Q. 3. Spiers NSW & Harrison Vic.
Kneeboarders  1. M James NSW. 2. T Branigan Vic. 3. Astra NSW & Ogborne WA

On completion of three rounds and the finals, contest presentations were held at the Naturaliste Motor Hotel in Dunsborough.

Photos: 1980 Contest sponsor Helen Hattrick & contest official Bill Girdwood presenting awards to U/15 boys finalists. Ric Chan pics.

Top: L-R Mark ‘Occy’ Occhilupo NSW, Damien Hardman NSW, Squizzy Taylor SA, John Shindig WA.
Bottom: L-R Mark ‘Occy’ Occhilupo NSW, Damien Hardman NSW, Squizzy Taylor SA, John Shindig WA, WA’s Stuart Bedford-Brown receiving award from Helen Hattrick.

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Photos: 1980 Contest presentations girl finalists. Ric Chan pics.

(Top) Michelle Ducat Qld receiving award from Helen Hattrick.
(Bottom) Michelle Ducat Qld & Bill Girdwood, Unidentified finalists with Helen.

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In 1984 Carine Senior High School won the Rip Curl Shield, the state scholastic surfing trophy for the best team performance.

Image: 1984 victorious Carine SHS surfing team with sponsors, officials & their headmaster. Image courtesy of the Stirling Times and Tom Blaxell.

1984 Carine SHS surfing award - Stirling Times




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.


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