Update: 13 April 2017 added Wayne Murphy comment.
Peter Donaldson from Westoz Productions has produced a short doco on the history of surfing on Rottnest Island. It includes interviews with veteran surfers.
Click on this link to view the video Rottnest Island – Strickland Bay Surfing Pioneers
Wayne Murphy (journalist/author Ireland) – Nice little production. Would have also liked to seen some recognition of the fencing and dune rehabilitation work undertaken by Rottnest ranger Charlie Hansen (RIP) and the Offshore Board Riders at Strickland Bay included as well. Charlie was the driving force for getting the environment back in good order. By the 1980s the surrounding cliff area was almost fully denuded of local shrubs because of surfers, myself included, traipsing everywhere and stashing our boards in the bushes. Now the local flora is flourishing despite all the extra human traffic. Empty waves are the endangered species there now, ha!
I actually grew up on Rottnest in the 1960s and went to school there. My Irish parents were the licensees of the Quokka Arms. We lived out back of the pub. I began surfing Strickland in 1973 after graduating from Mary Cove and inside Salmon Bay. Strickos was my first proper reef break to learn about power and waves of consequence. In the late 1970s I disappeared to Cactus and the Eastern states for ten years or so. When I returned to WA in the late 1980s I resumed working at the Quokka Arms, then with the Rottnest Island Authority. The changes at Strickland Bay were most noticeable. That’s when Kieran Glossop and a few of us formed the Offshore Board Riders. The dune rehab work there commenced not long after. Strickland Bay is a special place for many people. Long may it be.
Photo: 1976 Mike McAuliffe surfing Stark Bay at Rotto. Ric Chan pic.