The Margaret River Classic, now in its 36th year is one of the largest and longest running surfing events in Western Australia. It creates great support and positive interaction throughout the community, and attracts spectators and competitors from around Australia – in particular WA and the South West region. It is set in an idyllic location and each year the event grows in popularity and national recognition.

In the past the Classic has attracted big names such as Taj Burrow and Adam Melling, local legends such as Dave Macaulay, Mitch Thorson, the Paterson brothers Jake & Paul, Yadin Nicol, Creed McTaggart and Jack Robinson. (Source Surfing WA).

Thanks to the strong support from the Margaret River Board Riders, Surfing WA, and the local surfing and business community of Margaret River, have helped the Margaret River Classic become one of the highlights of the Western Australian surfing calendar.

In 1980 the Classic was moved from Margaret River main break to South Point Cowaramup because of adverse weather conditions. Contest results are unknown, but surf photographer Ric Chan was there to record the event.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic contestant’s autos in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: Female contestants rugged up in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: MR Classic officials entering heat details on contest board set-up in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic contestant Steve “Hog’ Hannett in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic unidentified contestant in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic contestant Damon Eastaugh in South Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic officials, contestants and spectators on the beach at Cowaramup Bay. Ric Chan pic.

Photo: 1980 MR Classic surf line-up at South Point. Ric Chan pic.

If you know the 1980 contest results, please let us know.

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Lefthanders (or ‘Lefties’) surf break south of Grace town has been surfed since the early 70s. State Titles and rounds of the National Titles have been held at the break.

There is some debate about who was the first to surf the break. WASRA credits Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell & Peter Dyson but Bob Monkman, Peter Mac, Micko Gracie & Bruce King also lay claims to being the first.

Murray SmithI remember in the mid 60s we were surfing Big Rock and Scarborough’s John Bartle walked up to Lefthanders and reported the break’s potential.

Living on the Beach

Lefthanders beach had some inhabitants in the early 70s. In 73’ Pat Bloomer and his American mates lived in a timber shack built on the beach and Frank ‘Little Big Eyes’ McVeigh lived in a beach cave for a whole summer. Both residences were located south of Lefthanders.

Beach Parking Facilities

In the early days, surfers walked along the beach from an old dirt car park located near the site of existing car park & amenities. Then in the early 1970s fisherman and/or surfers pushed through a sand track along the coastal sand dunes to Lefthanders. This dirt track and it’s rocky car park was closed by Dept of Conservation & Environment (DEC) in the late 70s for environmental reasons.

Bill GibsonI used to drive up to the break in my old Falcon. Sometime I would continue onto Ellenbrook. I wasn’t happy when DEC closed the dirt track to Lefties.
Murray SmithIn the 70s I used to drive right up to the break in my VW Beetle.
Pat BloomerAlthough the dirt track was primarily for 4wd, I used to drive my Kombi Camper up to Lefthanders.
Bruce KingSometimes we would drive to Lefties along the dirt track from Ellenbrook in Micko’s VW Beetle.

Today’s bitumen road & car park with toilets located north of near Lefthanders were built in the mid 70s. Surfers walk approx. 700 metres along the beach past a series of popular reef breaks to reach the waves at Lefties.

Photo: 1973 Chris ‘Feggsey’ Fullston and vehicle at former dirt car park located behind Lefthanders. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1973 Lefthanders Chris Fullston - Ric Chan IMG_0006

Photos: 1975 Lefthanders car parks. Ric Chan pics.

(Left) Original car park located north of surf break near Gracetown. (Right) Former dirt car park located behind Lefthanders line-up.

1975 Lefthanders caraprks 4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1975 Lefthanders wave line-ups. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders waves 8 collage_photocat

Photos: 1973-75 topless beach girls at Lefthanders. Ric Chan pics

1973-75 Beach girls Lefthanders collage_photocat

Photos: 1973-76 Beach people at Lefthanders. Surfing Craig Bettenay top right and Chris Reynolds bottom left. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 1975-79 Surfing at Lefthanders. (Top) Steve Hannett & Bruce Smith. (Bottom) Unidentified surfers. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Lefthanders surfing 8 collage_photocat

Photos: 1976-77 spectator & surfing at Lefthanders. Ric Chan pics.

Top Right: Surfing Tony Hardy, other surfers unidentified.

1976 Lefthanders surfing misc 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 1978 Aust Surfing Titles held at Lefthanders. Vehicles are parked in former dirt car park located behind the surf break. Ric Chan pics.

1978 Lefthanders Aust Titles 5 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980s Surfing at Lefthanders. (Top) 1980 Chris Fullston. (Bottom) 1981 Dave Macaulay. Ric Chan pics.

1980-81 Chris Fullston & Dave Macaulay collage_photocat

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Margaret River Main Break is internationally renowned as the premier surf break in the South West region. It is one of Australia’s most consistent big wave locations and hosts amateur & pro surfing competitions. The annual Drug Aware Margaret River Pro contest is telecast to a world-wide audience. Like other popular surf breaks, it gets busy during holiday periods.

Back in 70s’ State & National Titles were held at Marg’s, but it was pre the hordes (and FIFO workers) and uncrowded mid-week surfs were possible.

Surf photographer-journalist Ric Chan captured these quieter moments at Marg’s in 1976. Marg’s surfer Adrian Wilson has provided comments on some of the images.

Photo: 1976 Randall Owens & his Toyota Land Cruiser at early morning session Surfers Point. Photo Ric Chan.

Adrian WilsonRandall used to wear boardies and a wetsuit top….you may remember he wrote the surfing column in the Sunday Independent in the mid 70s.
He was a good surfer in big waves…goofy foot.
I recall one very large day…sets breaking in the middle of the bay…I think I was paddling out with Steve Randall…we saw Randall Owens take a very large left. He got about half way down the face, caught a rail then tumbled into the pit only to be sucked over the falls.
As you can imagine we were concerned for his safety…. especially as he did not surface for about 100m with his board long gone heading for the middle of the bay.
He survived, but retold the story many times over the years.

1976 Marg River line-up early morning - Ric Chan 006

Photo: 1976 Adrian Wilson surfing classic low tide right handers at Margs. Ric Chan pic.

Adrian WilsonThere were perfect small medium rights. I was riding a 6ft 8 inch shaped by Ian Cairns….those boards, about 20 inches wide and 3 inches thick with plenty of rocker were very suited to hard bottom turns and powerful surfing especially for bigger guys. Nothing like what the modern surfers can do (unless you were Kanga)…but a lot of fun…Ric Chan used to walk out on the reef and take photos.

1976 Margaret River Adrian Wilson Ric Chan IMG_0002 (1)

Photo: 1976 Chris Fullston surfing Marg River left. Ric Chan pic.

Adrian WilsonI reckon the goofy footer could be Chris Fullston. Chris and I used to surf together a lot in those days…he ripped at Margs riding boards that were ahead of their time……triple flyer pintails…very fast and good for slashing turns….exactly what Chris used to do. Chris got on well with Ric Chan….we used to see him at Margs early, after he had driven straight from Gobbles Night Club where he used to DJ at in Perth.

1976 Marg River Chris Fullston - Ric Chan IMG_0002 (2)

Photo: 1976 solid Marg’s Main Break. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Main Break line-up big - Ric Chan 008

Photo: 1976 Marg River Bombie. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Bombie - Ric Chan 007

Photo: 1976 Unsealed Surfers Point car park. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Surfers Pt car park  - Ric Chan 006

Photo: 1976 Craig Bettenay surfing Margs Left. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Craig Bettenay - Ric Chan 002

Photo: 1976 Tony Hardy surfing Marg’s Right. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Marg River Tony Hardy - Ric Chan DSC00038

Photos: 1976 Marg River surfers. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Dave Bailey. (Right) Mark Wells.
Bottom: (Left) Wayne Kissick & girlfriend (Right) Jeff Cedevic.

Adrian WilsonWhen I was a gremmie at Margs, Jeff Cedevic was part of a local crew that surfed the Point in the 70s. He was a great big wave surfer, having a classic back hand style. I can still picture his deep bottom turns on big left hand peaks…..from memory Jeff had a bad surf accident at Margs breaking his pelvis on a very large day. Jeff later moved to Tassie with his wife Chris ( Gary and Sadie Keys also made the move)….sadly Jeff died of cancer in Tassie.

1976 Marg River people - Ric Chan collage_photocat

 

 

The City of Busselton has introduced a SW surfing pioneer theme to new rubbish bin casings at Yallingup Beach.

Two bin casings now showcase vintage surf photographs by John Budge, Brian Cole, Cliff Hills, Mark Paterson and others.

Mark ‘Patto’ Paterson – “You know you have made it when you photo ends up on a rubbish bin”.

Photos: Surf Pioneer bin casings at Yalls #1 Photo credit Bruce King

2015 Yalls bin casing Surf pioneers 40 collage_photocat

Photos: Surf Pioneer bin casings at Yalls #2 Photo credits Bruce King

2015 Yalls bin casing vintage surf pioneer 41 collage_photocat

Photos: Surf Pioneer bin casings at Yalls #3 Photo credits Bruce & Jim King

2015 Yalls bin casing surf pioneer 44 collage_photocat

Photos: Surf Pioneer bin casings at Yalls #4 Photo credits Jim King

2015 Yalls bin casing surf pioneer 47 collage_photocat

 

 

 

There has been considerable chatter in Metro media regarding the name of surf breaks along the south Cottesloe marine park. In particular the name of Isolated Reef since it was misnamed Isolator on a wooden sign installed at the beach. Thanks to Post Newspaper for the media stories.

Veteran surfers are not happy that surf break names (and their history) are being changed over time.

Image #1. Chris Antill letter to the Post 27 June 2015. Image courtesy of Post Newspaper.

Isolated surf break Post News 27 June 2015

Image #2 Frank Gasch letter to the Post 4 July 2015. Image courtesy of Post Newspaper

Isolated Surf Break Post News 4 July 2015..

Image #3 Colin Morris letter to the Post 11 July 2015. Image courtesy of Post Newspaper.

Isolated surf break - Post Newspaper 11 July 2015