1983 Cowaramup Bay Shark Story by Tom Hoye

Preface to Tom Hoye Shark Story by Chris Warrener.

In 2012 Tom and I sat together at his place in Margaret River to do some interviews for the purposes of compiling “Hoye Stories”, which is the title to a ‘book’, I have not completed.

Over a 2-year period we had a number of ‘sit-downs’ to record his musings on matters related to surfing, shaping and Tom’s general history.

There are so many stories, some tragic, some enlightening, and many funny stories of his exploits, fun times, and people he has encountered during his journeys on planet Earth, and always well told by Tom!

The following ‘story’ is an account of an experience Tom related involving a very big white pointer shark in Cowaramup Bay, which when you think about it makes your skin crawl!

Thanks Tom, enjoy


Photo: 2008 Chris Warrener and Tom Hoye enjoying an ale at Settlers Tavern in Margaret River. Chris Warrener pic.

1983 Cowaramup Bay Shark Story by Tom Hoye

Back in the summer of ‘83 we had this long flat spell when I was living in the Bay (Cowaramup), and working in my shop ‘PE Surfboards’ in Margaret River.

I was coming home after work each day about 4:30, 5:00 and launching my sailboard on this south-easter, grovelling out through the Bay, then sailing between North Pt and South Pt on the outside, not much wind, it was really hot.

So on the 3rd day coming down the hill I looked at the Bay and thought ‘ah there’s not enough wind today’, then I looked at it a while, and it looked similar to yesterday so I rigged up my big sail and launched.

Then about half way out I thought “I should just turn around there’s no wind out here today and I’m just barely moving”, then this gust of wind came along and picked me up and I thought it’s going to be like yesterday and the other days, so I charged on out to where I was just outside the rocks at South Point.

And then it just went ‘boof’ – no wind, so there I was trying to sail down wind, mast forward, grovelling.

As I looked down toward Left Handers, I noticed the wind had gone offshore and light, and I went “oh no I’m gunna be in here till night trying to get back into the Bay because you have to tack and I’d be falling off because of the light wind.”

Photo: 1986 Tom Hoye carrying his windsurfer to the waves at Surfers Point, Margaret River. Tom Hoye pic.

I thought I would be swimming the rig back in, and I was just concentrating on trying to find a place to jibe with the rhythm of the chop, I had my sunglasses on so no glare, and I went across this sand patch, and I thought: “shit I thought it was about a 100’ deep out here”, and I thought “no it must be the sunglasses”, it was really still, with no swell.

I went through this slow motion jibe, wobbly and weird, and something just made me look over to the left, and I saw the silhouette of a shark, a perfect silhouette just coming round really fast up underneath me horizontally and it looked to be about 6’ long.

Then my mind just screamed HUGE, and then it went down the other side, and I looked at it and I thought it was only 6’ but it looked bigger because it was so close to me.

So I made the decision to just go straight in and try to crash land somewhere along the back of North Point.

I didn’t want to jibe with that ‘guy’ swimming around.

I was then pretty much convinced he was gone so I’m just chugging along and then I looked down, and there he is right underneath me going exactly my speed just going with me, “oh fuck”, he was following me, then he arced around and went behind me.

I could only see 180º ahead because if I tried to look behind I would wobble and fall over, so I started looking for him just below me, and I was freaking out. Then he came underneath me again, I see his nose first and as he comes into full view I realize, “oh shit he’s bigger than 6’ he’s 8’, he went along with me for a while and then circled around behind as before.

He continued to do the same thing, just swimming along with me but getting closer, and then on the 4th pass when he was underneath me I thought “holy fuck he’s longer than my board he’s a monster”, and when he started to arc around this gust of wind came across the water so I thought if I can hook into this gust of wind and squirt away from him, he’ll leave me alone.

I hooked into the wind, the sail filled up and I got into my harness, and then the wind just let me down and I got stuck in the harness, I rounded up into the wind while he was swimming around me I looked right into his eye, and there was a “full eye to eye hello, I see you, you see me”, just total recognition.

So now I’m down to my waist in the water, my sailboard’s pointing straight up, and I went right to the back of the boom and the sail fell over and I held it up from the back till the sail brought the nose around.  That’s like superhuman you can’t do that, not in a light wind, it just falls over but I just strained “ayarrh”, and grabbed it and got myself going again.

So I thought “fuck he’ll hit me for sure the next time”. I was really freaking out thinking to myself the next day’s headline – “surfboard shaper eaten by shark!”

By this time I was coming to the outer shelf at North Point. I knew exactly where he was coming from and I was looking at the spot where he had appeared before, then I saw this fish swimmer glimmer about 2” around, just a little flicker in the water. It went from a flicker to a shark’s head wider than the foot strap area in a “click” just like that, and he was coming up so fucking fast. Not coming up jaws-like, but coming up on that same plane that he was doing before but really fast.

It was just getting bigger as it came up thru the water and I shut my eyes.

I went all woozy and I don’t know how I didn’t fall off. I thought I was going to pass out, expecting the BANG, then nothing happened and I opened my eyes.

It looked like there was no water between us. I felt like I was on his fucking back, I think he was touching the bottom of my board with his dorsal fin, he was really close.

My sailboard was an 8’ 6”x 21½’’. The tip of his nose was a good solid 3’ in front of my board and there was 18” of shark exposed down either side of the board’s rails. His pectoral fins came out right where my straps were, his tail was out behind me.

Then, he slowly moved out from underneath me in the same pattern as he had been doing disappearing out the back.

By then I was over the reef and I landed on the rocks you launch from. I rammed the nose of my board into the back of North Pt, stepped out of the straps, walked up the board and onto the point dragging everything by the mast across the rocks crunch, crunch, crunch. I turned around to see where he was but I couldn’t see him.

Then I felt a little bit weak so I sat down on the rocks because the whole ordeal took about a half hour. I started shaking, and laughing uncontrollably as soon as I sat down.

I couldn’t stop myself shaking with this high-pitched hysterical giggle for what felt like about 10minutes. Then I sort of calmed down and sat there a while looking at the ocean, then put my gear on my head and started walking back to the car which was at the bottom of South Point.

About half way round the Bay I thought to myself I’m not even going to tell anyone about this because there was no one else there and it’s just too bizarre, no one would’ve believed me so I put my gear on my car and pulled up in front of the Gracetown Store to get some beers on the way home.

Remember now that 10 mins before this I’d told myself I wasn’t going to tell anyone about it.

As I opened the car door I started shouting the story out at the closed screen door of the store – there wasn’t even anybody in view.  I walked into the store about a quarter the way thru shouting out the story. There were 3 people standing in the store. They had this look of ‘what the fuck is this guy on about?’

The next morning when I got to my shop there was a fishing boat parked in the driveway, the guy wanted a boat repair. I asked what kind of fish he was catching and he said: “I’m a shark fisherman”.

I told him about seeing a shark yesterday afternoon, and he said “ah well if you saw one that big he’ll take one of our baits”.

About a week and a half later there was a picture of a big shark caught off Cape Mentelle in the paper. I instantly recognised him, I said to myself “oh that’s the guy who came by, I felt sorry for him.”

The shark measured over 4.5metres long and weighed one tonne.


Tom Hoye.



Three Bears surf break & track in the 70s

In August 1971 surfers George Simpson, Mick Pearce & Mark Rudenberg discovered Three Bears surf break at Kabbijgup Beach. The boys had seen waves breaking along the cliffs north of Yallingup and walked in from Sugarloaf Rock to find the surf break.

American expatriate surfboard shaper Tom Hoye named it MGM after the initials of the three guys who discovered the place, but Perth guys later renamed it Three Bears after the 3 surf breaks Baby’s, Mama’s & Papa’s.

Tom was the first surfer to drive into Bears. He forged a track to Bears from his backyard in Dunsborough, along paddocks and fire breaks to connect with the beach track behind d’Espeisses’ property.

Circa ‘72 Tom and Craig Brent-White used their 4WD’s to create a rough track to Bears through coastal scrub land at Yallingup. In ‘73 Ralph Redman used his 4WD to improve the alignment of the coastal track from Yallingup.

Then the floodgates opened and Bears became an established surf location.

This a collection of anecdotes & photos from ’70s Bears user’s………

George SimpsonWhen we walked in to find Bears Beach in ’71, there were no tracks and the ground was rocky with spiky shrubs. I broke my Dunlop thong in the first half hour. The torturous 10klm trek along the cliffs from Sugarloaf Rock to Yallingup took us 7 hours.

I recall a big day at Bears in ’76. My brother Michael, Peta Baker from City Beach and Tracy (who later became my wife) and I were heading up the track to Bears and we passed Tom Hoye and Dave Hattrick coming back. They told us it was too big to surf and the bombies were wild. We found it was big and breaking outside the Mama’s boil. There was no one else there and it took Michael and I ages to get out the back… we got two waves that broke right through from outside Papa’s, right through Mama’s into Baby’s and were unable to get back out. It was pretty wild!

Photo: 1972 George Simpson surfing Injidup Car Park on a Geoff Culmsee single fin surfboard. Photo by Ian Ferguson courtesy of West Country Surf magazine.


Tom Hoye – One afternoon, the boys came staggering into Caves House with raving stories of the perfect left-hander, saying, “You gotta go, you gotta go.” We trudged in at dawn to find a perfect 4 to 6ft left hander. A perfect day at Bears.

Photos: Tom Hoye in the SW.

Left: 1971 Tom Hoye outside old shack at Contos Beach, Margaret River. Gary Kontoolis pic.

Right: 1980 Tom Hoye surfing solid Baby’s. Photo (damaged) by Peter Davies.


For detailed Three Bears recollections from George Simpson & Tom Hoye refer to the Surfing Down South book published by Margaret River Press in 2014. Reprinted 2014.

Bears track pioneers

Craig Brent-White – Circa ’72 Tom Hoye and I used our 4wd’s to create a coastal track to Bears from Rabbit Hill at Yallingup. Glen Lance was a passenger in Tom’s car and Tony Harbison was in my car when we made the first track to Bears from Yalls.

Ralph RedmanIn 1973 I strapped a steel railway line on the front of my Toyota Land Cruiser and pushed a coastal track through to Bears from Yallingup. It connected with an old air strip Budge Guthrie had made on top of the cliffs using an overgrown mineral exploration track. Earlier Tom Hoye had put through a track to Bears from Yallingup, but it was no good as it was high on the hill and too rocky.

Photo: 1976 Ralph Redman surfing Mama Bears. Andy Jones pic.


Bruce KingMy version of the first surf session at Bears differs from George Simpson’s recollections in the SDS Book. 

I was with George and a few others the first time it was surfed. Craig Kalmund was also there and remembers arriving at the beach and George’s reaction was “F**k it’s a bit bigger today!” George was the first to enter the water and surf Bears. It was a classic day with the 3 distinct breaks, the bigger one outside, then the medium one, then the smaller break inside that’s why I called it “3 Bears”.

The area itself was referred to as “MGM’s” after the three George, Mark and Mick had walked from Sugarloaf to Yallingup a few days earlier. I remember them arriving back at Yalls and frothing about the waves they saw. In those days it was a walk along the cliffs from Sugarloaf & took about 40 minutes. Later on we worked our way into Bears in our cars from Rabbits at Yalls, sometimes spending the whole day just digging our cars out from the bog while trying to get up the sandy hill, no one had 4wd’s in those days.

Some days on the beach we had a real menagerie of people including Charlie “Dingbat”, Trevor “Yipyip” Anderson, Laurie “Pup” Nesbit, Ronny “Ratshit,” Steve “Horny” Campbell and other rascals. Charlie Dingbat and some of the others ran around naked. No one took water or any supplies, but hit the Dunsborough Bakery big time after a day’s surfing.   

Photos: 1973 Bruce King at Three Bears on Bill Oddy’s trail bike. Bruce King pics.


Stewart BettenayIn the early 70s my brother Craig & I walked into Bears from Sugarloaf twice on the same day. It nearly killed us as we surfed heaps and had no food or water. We knew Tom Hoye had found a way to drive to Bears in his FJ Holden but didn’t know where the track was. Then one day we saw the sun glinting off the windscreen of his car and we discovered that he was using a track along firebreaks from Dunsborough. When the coastal track was pushed through from Yalls to Bears we used that track.

Photo 1983 Stewart Bettenay surfing Mama Bears. Dave Sheen pic


Stewart Bettenay – Shortly after 3 Bears was being surfed by the next crew of surfers after the originals, a 17 year Craig Howe (Kalbarri and Gnaraloo pioneer) heard that the way to get there was from Sugarloaf Rock high along the cliffs, as there was no beach access.

Craig took this to be high up on the Ridge, so off he set by himself on a very hot March day. After 3 hours of walking and even throwing his board up on top of thick scrub and crawling along it, he finally arrived battered and scratched to be greeted by the sea-breeze. Surfers leaving the beach showed him the walk track back along the cliffs. Howie never got to go for a surf and described the experience as a “hideous journey” and never returned.

Photos: Mid ‘70s Trevor ‘Yip Yip’ Anderson (middle) and his mates surfing fun waves at Bears. Ric Chan pics.


Ross UttingShortly after news of Bears leaked out I walked in from Sugarloaf Rock along the cliff tops with Bruce King & Micko Gracie. It was a solid one hour walk, although Bruce reckons he could do it in 45 mins. When we got there Baby’s was 4-5ft & beautiful, but there were 3 other guys already there. We knew them so it was ok. We surfed it all day, but because it was so crowded (ha!), we tag teamed so that there was never more than 3 or 4 guys in the water at a time.

Between surfs, one of the other guys showed me a pool just north of the big rocks at the Baby’s end, it was packed with abalone. Being a bit peckish, because we took neither food nor water, we managed to prise a couple off the reef & ate them raw. I recall them tasting a bit like coconut.

The next day I returned, this time with Russell Stranger, Stewart & Craig Bettenay. The waves weren’t as good, but we were the only ones there. I was better prepared this time, still no food or water, but armed with a screw driver & a canvas board bag.  Between surfs I collected about 10 kilos of abs & shoved them in my board bag. Big mistake! Lugging a board under one arm & 10kilos of abs stuffed in a bag over my other shoulder for an hour, after being completely surf out, was hell.

When we got back to Greenacres Holiday Homes, where Russell was staying, we tenderised the abs with a tyre lever & Russell’s wife Anne crumbed them & we cooked them on the BBQ. We ate the lot. Beautiful!

Photo: 1976 Mamma Bears line-up. L-R Steele George, Joe Fimmano & Graham Waddell. Jim King pic


Mal Leckie – Surfside, Caves House and the Yalls carpark were the social pivot point for everyone who came down from Perth and most blokes slept there each night regardless of where they surfed each day.

At the end of each day most people would tell where they had been surfing and you built up a picture of who was going where. Mostly it was the same general area because of the swell. We knew everyone’s cars and you would see them driving along Caves Road or up to the Cape and turning off etc. Those were the days of thumbs up, thumbs down as you drove past each other haha.

I remember that we became a bit suspicious of a few guys who didn’t seem to have surfed anywhere; nobody had seen them and they weren’t talking at the pub. George was the one who stood out for his disappearing act as he was a prominent personality and usually very visible in a line-up, most often Margaret. Likewise Micko Gracie went quiet.

Those blokes kept the secret for a long time and went to all sorts of lengths to sneak away so nobody would follow. Even when three Bears was well known about as a break, how to get there was not. For a fair while I thought you had to walk there along the beach. I reckon it was ‘73 before most people knew where the track was.

Photos: 1972 Tom Blaxell Surfboards panel van on Bears track. Jim McFarlane photos.

Left: Greg ‘Egory’ McDonald, Bruce Elliot & Tom Blaxell on the Bears coastal track.

Right: Blaxell Surfboards panel van negotiating boggy section of Bears track.


Andy Jones – Bears wasn’t crowded those days, as a lot of guys didn’t know about Bears and a 4WD was required until mid 70s. You knew everyone in the water. Then Ralph Redman & Tom Hoye pushed through a new coastal track from Rabbit Hill at Yallingup to Bears. Ralph drove a Volkswagon buggy or a 4WD and I used my VW sedan to access the dirt track to Bears. Later Ray Knott, Craig Brent-White, Mark Moody, Al Bean, Pat Bloomer, Laurie ‘Pup’ Nesbit & I started surfing the Bombie and Three sisters (south of Bombie) on big swells. Peter Mac nearly drowned at Three Sisters.

Photo: 1976 David ‘Dappa’ Plaistead surfing Mama’s. Andy Jones pic.


Photo: 1976 Dave Seward surfing Mama Bears. Andy Jones pic.


Photo: 1976 Mark Moody surfing Mama Bears. Andy Jones pic.


Photo: 1976 Snowy from Eastern States surfing Mamma Bears.  Andy Jones pic


Photo: 1976 Ralph Redman surfing Mama Bears. Andy Jones pic.


Barry YoungIt was one of those classic autumn days. Ruler edged 4’ perfection and maybe 6 guys at Momma’s (my favourite) and after about 3 hours, although tired it was still too good to go in. I was praying for the onshore to kick in. By this stage only one other guy and I were out. He decides he has had enough and goes in. I stay out about another 20 minutes and finally some sort of light onshore wafts in. Not enough to really worry it but a good enough excuse. As I walk up the beach there’s the guy I had just been surfing with and his girlfriend. He’s sitting there with a cold beer in his hand and his girlfriend was kneeling behind him topless (as was often the case during the 70’s) and she is giving him a massage! As I walked by I couldn’t help but say to him…..” and I thought I was having a good day! “

Photo: Mid-late 70s. Barry Young surfing good sized Momma’s. Steve Russo pic.


Barry Young – I remember Taj as a 2-3 year old playing with his tractor and dump truck in the sand on the water’s edge at Bear’s while Vance and Nancy were playing in the waves. Apparently he loved bouncing down the Bear’s track in their car and knew that was part of the deal once they got there. They always had their eye on him and besides Nance didn’t stay out too long. Taj was really at ease and happy anyway making truck noises etc.

Photo: 1977 Nancy Burrow surfing Mama Bears 4mths pregnant with Taj. Burrow family pic.


Vance Burrow – I remember surfing 8ft Bears on my own hoping someone would turn up. It will never be like that again!

Photo: 1978 Vance Burrow 3 hour surf session at Baby Bears on a Tom Hoye surfboard. Burrow family pic.


Vance & Nancy Burrow – In the 80s Park Ranger Mike Bachelor used to police the Bears track checking for dogs illegally entering the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. He disliked dogs and used to stand on the Bears track with his arms folded checking surfers cars for dogs. He would tell us to leave with our dog Papaya, but there was no way we were leaving if the waves were good. We would say to him “is our dog violating National Park air space?”

Editor’s note: Richie Myers told me about a SW surfer who used to sit his dog in the middle seat of his ute with a cap on, to get past the ranger.

Photo: 1977 Vance & Nance Burrow’s ‘Huey’ the VW checking the surf and ‘Papaya’ the dog checking the camera. Burrow family pic.


Coming soon Three Bears surf break & track in the 80s.




Origin of Twin Fin Surfboards in Oz by Tom Hoye

Short boards with twin fins were introduced to Australia by Santa Cruz surfer/shaper Tom Hoye in 1970. He built the first OZ twin fin at Barry Bennett’s board shop in Brookvale NSW.

Tom Hoye moved to South West WA in 1971 and started making surfboards in a small shack next to Surfside at Yallingup. He then moved his surfboard factory to Smiths Valley in 1972, Cowaramup in 1977 and Margaret River in 1980.

Photos: (Left) 1971 Tom Hoye at fisherman’s shack Contos Beach Margaret River. Photo Gary Kontoolis (Right) 1972 Tom Hoye Surfboards Yallingup sticker. Image courtesy of Grant Mooney.

1970s Tom Hoye in SW collage_photocat

Tom has been producing quality surfboards at Precision Equip Surfboards in Margaret River since 1980.

These are Tom’s ‘origin of twin fin in OZ’ recollections.

This is the way I remember the twin fin story. In the late 50s American surfboard shaper Dale Velzy did the first twin, it was ‘58 I think. It was a full size Malibu. I saw a picture of it in the 60s when I was working for O’Neill’s. It had stinger fliers 3/4 down the rail, pin tail with twin fins, so first stinger, also. Too far ahead, didn’t catch on.

Image: 1965-66 Tom Hoye surfing Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz California. Photo by Dave Singletary.

Photo & text sourced from Images of America, Surfing in Santa Cruz by Thomas Hickenbottom with the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Published 2009.

1965-66 Tom Hoye surfing Steamer Lane USA - Images of America book 2009 IMG_0497

In 69 just as I was getting ready to leave California and immigrate to Australia. Corky Carroll started using a twin fin. So I decided to take one with me to Aust.

I brought three shapes with me, all were around 3” thick down rail with tucked edges and full length rocker.

  1. 5’4” twin fin, 13” nose, 20” wide, 14” rounded sq. tail with a 10” block, fins too far back at around 8”, bottom was a full length  vee, no concaves.
  1. 6’0” single fin, 12” nose, 20” wide, 13” round tail, bottom was a nose vee to a disc concave (deep) edge around the concave front foot back, exiting out the tail as single.
  1. 6’8” single with a trailing keel that came from the back of the fin, 6” long 0” to 1” high at the very end of the tail. 12” nose, 19 1/2” wide, 12” diamond tail with an 8” block, bottom was entry concave to vee with concaves either side of vee (deep) exiting out the tail as duals.

I had been in Aust for around 1 month. Bought a truck drove it to the Palm Beach caravan park and built a camper inside. On my first day looking for a job, I went by Dee Why point and it was 6′ and clean one guy out, decided to surf before looking for work, and I tried out the new twin. The guy in the water was Terry Fitzgerald and we were sitting deep in front of the swimming pool, not really twin fin country.  I got some good waves but from the first one I was thinking that I was not really into the twin trip, no drive off the bottom.

After we got out of the water Terry noticed the twin fin and asked about it. He said he shaped for Shane Surfboards, and I said I shaped and was looking for work. I told him I didn’t really like twin fin because it had no drive, and showed him my other shapes, raving about my 6’8”because it worked so well. He couldn’t get his mind around the bottom shapes and rocker at that point and didn’t identify with my other shapes.

I ended up getting a job with Bennett Surfboards taking over from Bob McTavish. Two weeks later surfing the ‘butter box’ at Long Reef, Terry came paddling up and turn his board over and said “check this out, I really like twins.” From there the whole thing took off.

I put a trailing keel, like my 6’8”, behind my twin on my 5’4” and it worked much better, still not enough drive. I don’t know why I didn’t think of three equal fins at that point! In retrospect, probably because the twin fins were too far back in the first place.

Photo: 1970 Tom Hoye with Twin Fin from Bennett Surfboards. Photo courtesy of Bennett family.

This image was used in an advertisement for Bennett Surfboards which appeared in Tracks Magazine issue #1 1970.

1970 Tom Hoye and Twin Fin with Bennett Surfboards. Bennett family

I ended up shaping around 300 shapes for Bennett, most were twins and custom orders. I talked to a few of the guys who had ordered boards, I told them what I thought about twins, showed them mine with the little keel, no one went for it, they all just wanted two fins because that was the current thing. Also at that point in time the little trailing keel was looking different, if not a little unusual.

By the time I got to W.A. (Easter holidays 1971) I still had a 5’10” twin but didn’t use it much. I surfed the south west for a week, met the half a dozen surfers that were living here. It was a good week swell wise. The next week I started working for Tom Blaxell and was into shaping mostly single fins for Margaret’s and the south west waves.

Photo: 1971 Tom Hoye & Tony Hardy shapers for Blaxell Surfboards in Osborne Park Tom Blaxell pic.

1970 Tom Hoye & Tony Hardy Blaxell shapers Osborne Park Tom Blaxell pic

Da Claw

I have been surfing 5 fins (Da Claw) since 1981. The best fin configuration I have used in the last 50 years (and I have tried heaps of different configurations) I was stoked to see Kelly Slater using 5 fins at Margaret’s Pro Comp in 2012.

From the start I have never tried to sell them to other surfers because they are harder to build and thrusters work well, but I liked them so much that I had a Da Claw cartoon designed and I produced Da Claw t-shirts in 1984 to try and get people to think about it in their own mind. A few of my friends got my old ones, a few people ordered them in the 80’s, 90’s and started using Da Claw, but mostly just me.  Around 2006 Margaret River surfers started being interested when WA surfing legend Jeff ‘Camel’ Goulden borrowed my 8’4′ and charged south side around 8 to 10 foot. Then in 2012, Kelly Slater used 5 fins at Margaret River in a pro contest.  Today I have Da Claw stickers for the boards because they represent 70% of my production.



Images: (Left) 1984 Da Claw cartoon design. (Right) 2008 Tom with 6’10” Da Claw board. Images courtesy of Tom Hoye.

1981 Da Claw sticker & 2008 Tom Hoye & Da Claw board 1 - collage

South West surfer Wade Jancey has been riding a Tom Hoye designed twin fin since 2001.

These are Wade’s comments and photos.

In 2001 I pulled an old twin fin from the rafters for a novelty surf. It had been my second fibreglass surfboard and I hadn’t surfed it for 13 or 14 years. After my first wave I realised that my opinion of it as a bad board was probably driven by my being a bad surfer back in the day. It was fast and super loose and I loved it. It did, however, slide a little too much for my liking. After a few more surfs and loving it I decided to get a twinnie custom made. The old girl was very decrepit after living outside for the best part of a decade and some of my juvenile ding repairs involving poly filler. I did a little research and found out about Tom. He struck me as the most likely to do a decent twin fin as he had actually shaped the things.

After a “quick chat” with Tom and showing the old board to him, he built the Raging Red Rocket. Tom modernised the rails, incorporating more of an edge at the back and a true down rail instead of the 50/50 that was on most of the rails on the first board. He also talked me into the small keel. Apparently this is how he shaped them originally, prior to Mark Richards winning his World Titles when most people no longer wanted the keel. The board came from a 6’10” blank I believe as Tom wanted to use the flatter part of the blank and not the built in rockers of contemporary blanks. He also deepened the channels slightly, although they are still a long way from a deep six. Tom put his usual concave to flat to vee with double concave bottom in it, then pushed the channels through that. My first surf on it was at six foot Margaret’s Mainbreak.

The board has been a truly magic beast. It has surfed knee to triple overhead waves. It is super fast and responsive, yet never spins out if laid on rail or pushed hard in a cutty with the back foot. It has held me in good stead in barrels up north and down south, although, to be fair, they are waves without a ledging take off that then barrel rather than take off and pull in type waves, but that’s probably more my deficit than anything to do with the board. For many years it was my secret weapon as for a good decade I was on a high volume 5’10” before Slater made shorter, thicker, wider trendy. The proof of Tom’s design is that over the years six people who have surfed it have had copies of it made, the most recent completed early this year.

Wade Jancey.

Photos: Wade’s 2001 Tom Hoye designed twin fin with keel fin. Wade Jancey pics.

2001 Tom Hoye twin fin with keel fin - Wade Jancey pic

Photo Gallery

Photos: Tom Hoye pics courtesy of Chris Warrener.

(Left) 2008 Tom at Precision Equip surfboard factory in Margs. (Right) 2009 Tom receiving Surfing Industry Award at Surfing WA Award night held in the city.

2008-9 Tom Hoye factory & award collage_photocat

Photos: 2000s Tom Hoye hand crafting surfboards at Precision Equip Surfboard factory in Margaret River. Photos courtesy of Tom Hoye & Chris Warrener.

Tom Hoye factory 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 2010 big wave surfer Jim Connolly with his 12ft Precision Equip surfboard. Tom Hoye pics.

Top: (Left) Jim Connelly picking up new stick. (Right) Tom Hoye with Jim’s 12ft board

Bottom: Jim charging on the 12 footer at big Margaret’s.

Tom Jim Connelly is a work away guy and friend of Camel’s. He’s in Hawaii at the moment & in his words “getting the best and biggest waves of his life”. I have been storing his12 footer for around 2 years. Jim has given Campbell Chambers and Robbie Bruce approval to use it on large swells if they want. It was made for Cow Bombie, but hasn’t made it out there yet. Jim is one of those guys that likes big shapes and big waves.

2016 Jim Connelly 12ft PE surfboard at MR collage_photocat

Photos: 2016 Tom Hoye hand crafted surfboard shapes. Tom Hoye pics.

TomThese are the current shapes I have just finished.

2016 Tom Hoye surfboards 4 collage

You can contact Tom at Precision Equip Surfboards Lot 4, 1 Burton Road Margaret River.

Ph. 97572585 or 0428224402    Email:




Smiths Valley – Living in the 70s by Peter Jebb

In the 1970s some city based surfers and their friends moved into old farm buildings in Smiths Valley at Yallingup.

City Beach surfer Peter Jebb & his partner Mary Anne lived in a wooden cow shed before moving into a limestone house in the Valley. They lived in the Valley from 1972-76.

Photos: 1970s Peter & Mary Anne family pics. Photos courtesy of Peter Jebb.

Top: (Left) Peter & Mary Anne with son Charlie. (Right) Peter & Mary Anne on a visit to Perth.
Bottom: Peter’s mum in chair, Peter & Mary Anne at Peter Dyson’s place in Elsegood Ave Yallingup.

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These are Peter’s recollections.

Cow Shed

In the early 70s my girlfriend (later wife) Mary Anne and I lived in an old wooden cow shed in Smiths Valley. There was no water or electricity in the shed. We stored water in containers filled up at Yallingup.

We had an old food safe that used to get raided by possums. The night after I possum-proofed it, one of the little buggers took umbrage to that and bit the hell out of my toe during the night.

There were no beds or bunks, we slept on a mattress on the floor. It was a dark and lonely place at night, but also very quiet. Bit romantic really, candlelight, bush noises, young and in love…not too many cares in the world!

The cow shed had a big opening rather than a door and windows, it was pretty much open to the elements.

In those days there were still sawmills operating just out of Busselton and they had huge waste piles of jarrah, including planks that were uneven thickness and sizes. I remember grabbing a pile of these planks and enclosing the shed a bit in a very slap-dash way.

We accessed the cow shed via a dirt track which came off Caves Rd and weaved around behind a coffee rock cottage and ended at our place.

The following photos taken in 2015, show that the wooden cow shed has had a serious upgrade from the time we were there. The rough weatherboard cladding looks great, but that’s been added to the shed since our time.

Photos: 2015 upgraded wooden cow shed. Photos courtesy of Jim King.

2015 smiths valley cow shed collage_photocat

Limestone House

In 1972 we moved into a limestone house in Smith’s Valley located approx 300-400m north of the old Coach House. We took over the house after an old school mate Lloyd Zar (RIP) and Amber Crossland moved on.

We inherited Lloyd’s goat Rada Rani which he used to walk into Busselton on a lead. The goat would chase me around the verandah!

Not sure how long they’d been there, but they may have taken it over from previous occupants George Simpson, Christine Brennon & others.

You would probably remember Amber (and her boobs) floating around on her surf mat out the back at Yalls with her sparkly eyes and big smile. Sister of Robbie from Victoria who the older guys knew.

We just rented the place – it was owned by a mineral sands mining company who bought it to allow access to potential mining in the valley. We tried a couple of times to buy it but they weren’t interested in selling at the time. Pity. At least the mining didn’t happen!

Our limestone house was a bit rough with no running water. When it was last painted, whoever did it, left the photos from surf mags taped on the walls and painted around them!

There was a huge fig tree on the southern side of our house. The tree was very old and had occasional small fruit.

Photos: 1970s limestone house in Smiths Valley. Photos courtesy of Barry Middleton & Peter Jebb.

(Left) 1971 Previous occupants George Simpson, Chris Brennon, Geoff & Owlie. (Right) 1972 Peter & Mary Anne’s rental house.

1971-72 limestone house smiths valley 1 collage_photocat

At the time there were only four places on that side of the road between Canal Rocks Rd and the top caravan park: the mud brick ‘Lobsterpot’ restaurant run by Hans Kopp (cnr Caves Rd and Canal Rocks Rd), the old Coach House, our place and a coffee rock house further north near our old cow shed.

Some of the crew living in the coffee rock house during my time were John ‘Boy’ Malloy, Jack Kotala and his girlfriend Lee, Helen (Spotty), Dave Hattrick – always a pretty busy place.

When we first moved there, Tom Hoye was making surfboards in the wooden shed at the side of the old Coach House, that’s now very flash after Craig Brent-White spent a lot of money on it and did it up. Craig’s brother Drew lived with us in our old limestone house for a while.

Editor’s Note: Craig Brent-White & Peter Kidd lived in the limestone house in 1970.

David ‘Dapper’ Plaisted, Al Fixter, Dave Seward lived across the Valley in the old Coach House.

On a still day you could hear Dapper and the boys in the Coach House talking crap and laughing across the valley. When the surf was up they’d just whistle and I’d grab my stuff, trot over and off we’d go (Dapper, Al Fixter, Dave Seward & others).

In the following photo taken in 1972 from the front veranda of our place, you can see the shed where they made boards and also Canal Rocks Rd in the background.

Photos: 1970s Smith Valley & Smiths Point. Photos courtesy of Peter Jebb & Jim King

(Left) 1972 Smiths Valley photo taken from Peter & Mary Anne’s front verandah. (The board making shed & Coach House are top left). (Right) Mid 70s Surfing Smiths Point.

1970s Smiths Valley & Smiths Point 2 collage_photocat

My first son was born in Dec 1974 and we kept living there for a while after that but it got a bit hard washing nappies and stuff with no running water so we moved to Vasse in ’76 and then to the Kimberley.

I can’t remember what happened to the house when we left. I wish we’d bought the place which was owned by the Mining Company. Great spot.

Editor’s notes:
1. The limestone house is now a private residence. It has been renovated and is still in use..
2. The coffee rock house was purchased by Doc & Carol McDermott in 1976. They have renovated and still live in the house. The McDermott’s remember Peter & Mary Anne from the 70s.

Al Fixter

In 1975, Pete Bothwell, my sis Robyn, Mary Anne, Charlie and I went to NZ where Pete and I did Horticulture Diplomas at Massey University in Palmerston North. I’ve still got the Diploma certificate which, unfortunately, had a typo in it which omitted the ‘c’ in ‘Faculty’ in the heading ‘Faculty of Horticulture’! So we left the farmhouse in the capable hands of Al Fixter who was happy to get out of Dapper’s place where there was a whole lot of smoke coming out of the chimney that had a decidedly green tinge. Anyway, Al’s preferred way of relaxing was to meditate and do yoga and, left to his own devices, got into some concerted practice while we were away. When we came back, you should have seen the guy: his eyes were so clear they shone and he was just so calm and happy. The serious yoga practice saw him supremely flexible on top of his natural fitness from surfing regularly. He was already a pretty good surfer, but I can remember watching him at Car Park after we got back and he’d taken it to another level, so smooth and graceful and looking like an extension of the waves – beautiful!

Photos: 1976 Al Fixter at Injidup Car Park. Photos courtesy of Ric Chan.

(Left) Al Fixter surfing solid Inidup. (Right) Al Fixter with Sunrise Surfboard made by Dapper.

1976 Al Fixter & Sunrise surfboard at Injidup collage_photocat

EJ Holden station wagon

When we took over the house, we also inherited an EJ automatic station wagon (I think abandoned by Lloyd’s brother John) which looked in good nick, it started but wouldn’t go. It took me a while to work out that there was a hole in the hydraulic line to the transmission. I replaced the line and away she went! I was so rapt I foolishly celebrated by taking it for a run (without plates!) to surf a beach break south of Margaret River main break. On the way back out I almost ran head-on into the Ranger coming the other way. He straight away put on his flashing light and turned around in pursuit. Due to the narrow road it took him a while to do a U-turn and I gunned it into the car park at Margaret’s and promptly bailed out, grabbing my board, wetsuit and toolbox and mingled with the crowd. The Ranger must’ve been no fool and realising nobody would be fessing up, just went back up the road and waited as it was the only way out. I realised this so just got a lift back to Yalls, cursing my foolishness. I went back to the Margaret River shire yards the following week and spied the lovely old EJ sitting in the compound. Fearing repercussions, I didn’t make any moves to recover it. Bummer!

Creek surfing

One winter after some heavy rain, a mate and I jumped on foamie surfboards and shot the creek (Gunyalgup Brook) all the way out to Smiths Beach. Good fun, especially frightening the shit out of the cows peacefully grazing near the creek!

Photo: 2013 Gunyalgup Brook running out to sea at Smiths Beach. Photo courtesy of Bruce King.

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Sunrise Surfboards

Dapper made Sunrise Surfboards in a wooden shed near the Coach House. I had one of Dapper’s old pintails. They were typically 6’10”-7’6″ long x 20″ wide with narrow tails suited for SW reef break peaks – good for the bigger stuff.

I reconnected with him when I moved to Esperance in 1981-82, he was making surfboards. His partner in the business, Alex Peterson, was a tuna fisherman and Dapper may have gone out on the odd trip with him. It was just like old times – bouncing around in Dapper’s car as he wildly sought out the best surf in the area.

I fished for tuna and shark in Esperance for about two years up until sometime in 1983 when I went back to University in Perth.

I love the little Sunrise Surfboard advert – they didn’t quite get the subtlety of the spelling and I’m not too sure what the sentence means!

Images: 1976 Sunrise Surfboards. Images courtesy of Mark Dumesny & WASRA Spring Titles Program.

1975 Sunrise Surfboards compilationB

For more material on living in Smiths Valley in the 70’s see George Simpson’s recollections in the Surfing Down Surf book.



1970s Sunrise Surfboards Yallingup

In the 70s former Cottesloe surfer David ‘Dapper’ Plaisted moved to Yallingup and started manufacturing Sunrise Surfboards. The surfboards were made in an old limestone coach house located on a rural property on Caves Road. The site had been previously used by surfboard maker Tom Hoye (Precision Equip Surfboards). Later it was used by Ken McKenzie (Energy Surfboards) before becoming part of Cape Naturaliste Vineyard owned by Craig Brent-White. See Surfing Down South book for more details.

Dapper (who now lives in the South West near Cowaramup) was the main craftsman but Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns also shaped some surfboards for Sunrise.

Margaret River surfer Adrian Wilson recalls Sunrise surfboards were typically 6’10”-7’6″ long x 20″ wide with narrow tails suited for SW reef break peaks.

Photo: 1975 Adrian Wilson at Margaret River with a Sunrise bum tail surfboard possibly shaped by Ian Cairns.  Photo credit Ric Chan.

1975 MR Adrian Wilson & surfboard - R Chan img549

The images below show a battle scarred 1973 Sunrise single fin, square tail, hand shaped by Ian Cairns, the Sunrise logo and Ian’s signature on the board. Images courtesy of Grant Mooney surfboard collection.

1973 Sunrise Surfboards compilationB

The images below show a 1975 Sunrise single fin, flyer swallow tail, hand crafted by Dapper and the board’s logo. Images courtesy of Mark Dumesny, Yallingup Siding. (bottom right) 1976 Sunrise Surfboards advertisement in WASRA Spring Surfing Title Program. Image courtesy of Sunrise & WASRA.

1975 Sunrise Surfboards  compilationB