A local story
The story of Northland surfing
The Whangarei surfing community, that mushroomed in the late 1950s and early 1960s was made up, of not only locals, but plenty of implants too,.......people like Barry Chappe'lle, who immigrated up to Whangarei around 1962 from Hamilton, and quickly implanted into the local surf commmunity, and became one of the founding fathers............
shortly after, we had Bruce Ryan and Brian Barnes, up from Auckland who became the for-runners of multiple southerners, who permanently hung around our shores......Bruce eventually hooking up with local girl Maxine Klink...... (Maxine still attends the current surf reunions, with many other surf girls of the time).........and Bruce going on to become one of our top surfers
'61-'63 was an explosive time of growth for the Whangarei surfing commmunity, Rod Haywood (who still has his original Atlas Woods board....bought in '62 .....amazing!), Fred Osborne..... Dick Robinson, Billy Pritchard, Tui Wordley, and of course 'the Edge bros', Ross, Don and Terry, Betty Harvey, Warren Patterson, Peter Delarue, and Phil Mischewski, were doing all the pioneering along with Harrold Watson and 'Terry Knew' at that time.......with some even heading off to Aussie.......and bringing back, the very latest in surf fashion and surf design ('levi' jeans, and t-shirts with one stripe on them,....and 'murf the surf' t-shirts...and sandshoes ...how cool ! )....notably Roddy Finlayson and Kit Steer.....later 'lee' jeans would become the in thing...........and skateboarding hit us big time......Barry Chappe'lle still has his skateboard...sheeesh, what a legend
The surfclubs were going gangbusters as well....Waipu Cove and Ruakaka building up a significant rivalry, as were other Clubs like Orewa and Red Beach and of course, those powerful west coast clubs........The Hutton Bros, Brian, Terry, and Wayne, becoming the Ruakaka core, along with Brick Taylor (who first taught me to stand up in 1959 on those old hollow surf skis), Phil and Mike Cooney, the Codlin Bros, Mike King, Jonny Bruce, Brett Knight (who remembers that huge Knight family....Brett worked for his dad as a chippy..he always had a great tan i remember..envious i was ..ha!!), Dennis Sterling, Jim Keir and others.....most of whom, later, became very competant surfboard riders
Waipu Cove Surfclub was growing fast also, but a strong swing in both clubs saw their members entertaining dual interests around '63 (notably, clubbing and surfing), and many found themselves, showing more interest in surfboards, than surfclubs.......and as the years progressed we would also see some top surfers come out of rhe Waipu Cove surfclub also....notably Tim Frazerhurst and Harvey Lee, although many other competant surfclub surfers were scratching at their heels, Brice Beaston, Chris Frazerhurst, Norm Baker, Tui and suchlike
Once Aucklanders, Bruce, Brian and Ann hit our shores, we saw the floodgates open, and many Aucklanders and suchlike (from all over), were fast becoming local fixtures, ...like Dave Green, the Worsfeild sisters, and later on Steve Wheeler, Mark Wheeler, Phil Clarke, Graham Allen, Graeme Gantely and Waipu Cove regulars, Billy Carson, John Black, Tony Redmond, Tony Reid, Mike Cade, Tony Ogilvie, Peter Morse, Steve Wheelers older brother Lyall, and of course, Tim Murdock and all his regular crew of Jim Carney, Wayne Parkes, Pete Tremain, Mike and Bob Tinkler, Robbie Bambury, Taff Kennings, Dave Carter, and others.........the presence of the Auckland crew bringing very high quality surfing into our midst and promting us to greater heights......our club ('Tatahi' founded in '65) would, later in the years, challenge that Auckland dominence
Not to forget all the girls showing a great interest in the sport....with very competant surfers like Ainsley Knight, Leslie Ward, Elaine 'uggs' Andresson, Josie Armatage, Jane Aitken, sisters Liz and Anne Worsfold, and more ...often showing up the men....if the Tatahi records are anything to go by...Ainsley beat Bill Durham!!.........Robin Hill, Sue Daumiller, Mary Mar, Dianne Wallace, Sue Lane, Pauline Cameron, Michelle Flower, either getting their own boards, or showing great interest in Surfing
Also, at that time, local surfing was majorly swelling its ranks, and although we were constantly finding new surf spots,.... like Pataua, Sandy Bay, Whananaki, Ocean Beach, Langs bch, Mangawhai Heads......and further abroad, like Shipwreck Bay, Taupo Bay and suchlike......some were brave enough to join the Matich Bros (Nick and Johnny), and head for the west coast ........braving the odd sneaker sets that marched thru at regular intervals..........our boards being, a sterotype of 9ft 4ins, single fin, heavy 10 ounce fibreglass, and boards a hammer couldn't dent.......but more often than not....dented us.......and no legropes.....how many times did we have to swim in from 'out the back'......sheeeesh
Swelling the ranks were Gina Kane, Tom Pickens, John and Ross Blomfield, Keith Walsh, Murray Jacks, Derek Brott, Mal Egginton, Laurie Langridge, Michael Cleverly, Ted Meridith, Colin Hannah, and all the King boys now involved, Mike, Brian, Trevor and Denis and sister Pat of course......so it was just surf, surf, surf.....thats all we thought of.....(well....except girls of course..ha!).......our cars even had murf the surf or suchlike, painted all over them.... and there was some real cool big old cars showing up...like Chevs and Studibakers, and Pakards, Plymouths, and Chryslers....as well as minis and the suchlike. Peter Delarue became the kingpin, in his brand new Mini Cooper S....which I passengered in many times,(and with 'Ding' Robinson and Bily Prichard)....what an awesome car that was.
The momentum was so great, that the surfing community started to splinter into tight groups, although we were all aware that we belonged to the same family....the surfing community,....and in 64'-'65 we started the big exodus to Aussie....Geoff Smith being one of the first, joined in later years by Billy Player, Greg Alach, the King bro's, Drew Campi, Tony Kivell, and Craig Rice, Dave Boyd and many others...and some going further abroad at that time,..like Dick Robinson and Phil Cooney
Ian Mclean, Ian Butt, myself and others did the the awesome trip down to Gisborne, in Ian's old truck 'Clive' ....which was awesome.....as well as Tui's truck 'boris' making that trip down south also, a big 'Surf Safari' took place for that crew as well......they were awesome times and seeing Wayne Parkes beat John Mcdermont at Gisborne, started a whole new competitive arena......Whangarei developing some nationaly competitive surfers like Colin Lowe, Allan (Dak) Mcdonald, Ken Behre, Viv Treacy, Tim Frazerhurst, Doug Ferguson, Roger Crisp, Tich Williams, and Jonny Ayton coming to the forefront over the years....even a local surf team was heading down to ((that awesome place) Gisborne,.... with competition in mind..Tim, Chris, Dak, John and Peewe Blomfield, Ian Butt, John Clements,Ken Beehre and the smooth Bruce Ryan
Max Atkins, Tony Scott, Jim Nash, Goldy, Ken Harrison, Con Fowler, Colin Coutts, Paddy Kelly, Brice Beeston, Eric Harrison, John Ivey, Tom Milligan, Mike Baker, Gary Orevich, Neville Ray, Bill Durham, Brian Clarke, John Ward, Robbie Smith, Peter Cispin, Ray Ward, Eamon Hamilton, Dave Skullan, Rick Cleverly, Dave Powell, Guy Franks, Dennis McCartain, Mark Uffindell, Dave Godfrey, John Clements, David Fitzpatric (Fitz), and Sheldon Wordsworth, became part of the growing surf community with some great surfing developing among the ranks.....many of these guys unintentionaly formed little groups, and often went to the beach together in convoy .....often 3 car maximum, or you didn't get a wave to yourself....ha!....on this website, we often see a photo of multiple cars camping somewhere like Shippies for instance.....and also......amongst those names above...i need to mention.... were a few super standouts
Ken Behre, Dave Boyd, and Billy Player entertained us with their 'neti who' (goons) jokes,....and Herman Decrot was just an all round nice guy who constantly made us laugh......"bullshit" was his famous phrase, when someone did an awesome re-entry
We found that we developed a group of fringe surfers as well....who may not have surfed, but became part of the surfing folklore, by default....people like Max (Junior) Alach, Terry Knight, Mike Hamilton, Nigel Boyd, Byron Boyd, Dave Ryan, Dave Lane, Jonny Calder, Chris Baker and others.........many a nite was frequented by them, in our digs, (by any of the above mentioned that is)....and boy, did we have some dodgy digs over the years....Maunu road digs....who could forget that one!!
In later years (and earlier years), many started making surfboards also....or were involved in the surf industry in some way, like Clem Davies, Butch Frobisher, Colin Lowe, Dick Robinson, Graham Allen, Les Hutchins (huck), and Clive Smart(extra textured), Viv Treacy and Kevin Molloy(Blue water surfboards) to name a few,
That aside.......these girls below definitely made up,....... and became part of the 60s-70s local surf family, and manufactured local history,(and became folklore) as much as any of the guys (even some by default)...Pauline Wilson, Mary Alach, Kay Hutton, Judy Knight, Jan Philpott, Elaine Crook, Patsy Enright, Lorraine Cotteral, Dianne Dunning, Nola Durham, Paula Haywood, Margaret Pou, Jacky Adams, Jenny Brott, Bev Crane, Maxine Robinson, Deliah Connigan, Anna Brown, Trish Tate, Leslie Donnelly, Sue Plaisted, Karen Steele, Kiri Pou, Rhonda Alach, Brenda Hill, Margaret Player, Robin May, Terry Lupton, Annette Hanson,and many other awesome chicks.....and Irene Clark.... getting super stoked....like we all were.....
Bruce Frazer, and Dave Boyd starting a leather shop...myself building stereos, and plenty of custom made (altered) cars (kinda..hot rods) were happening
As the decade was rounding off, we started getting regular visits from Aussies.......3 that graced our Northland shores, surfing classic Pataua, Waipu Cove and Shippies were Ken Rouw (legs), Bob Hagner and Wayne Charlton......all exceptional surfers...we still continue the relationship to this day.......'legs' coming over to our last 2 reunions ...and who could forget our lovable Aussie ....'Tats'
The surfing ranks were swelling fast at the mid to later part of the 60s.....Eddie Aitkin and his awesome sisters showing the way, the Monkhouse girls, Brenda Ward, Julie Ferguson, Julie Davenport, and Julie Bryan...who went on the guru trail....like most of us
As the hippie physcodelic world hit us in the early 70s, you were either married (or about to), travelling, finally settled down in a long term job, or starting your own business..........meaning.........the hay days have passed and we've finally passed the batten on to a new generation
Theres many other names i could mention (and many iv'e forgotten)....Jenny Rutherford, Claire Marinkovich, Harriot Randolf, Maria Jacks, Marika Lenards, Shirley Scampton, Pamela Grayson, Karen Buckley, Bev Marinkovich, Sandra Wade, Linda Teasdale, and who could forget Sandra Smith, Lambie Leaf, Marcelle Mansfield, and Coralie Smith
Below is a visual story (made 13 yrs ago) of Mike Cooneys early life story and introduction to a surfing world,.....and his first surfing friends and their escapades,...... including his own earlier escapades