This section of information was supplied by the following people Terry Dessaix, John Dessaix, Rex Allum, Tony Smith.
Cross references by Midget Farrelly, Bob McTavish

Surfing at Dee Why.

The core group were made up of

Doug Andrew
John Cormack
Barry “Cholly” Cardiff.
Bruce Coppard
Warrick Phelps
Dave Maloney
Robbie Mills
John Palatzzie

The “Surf Club Members” were a core group of what was then known as paddle boarders. In the early 60's surfboard development was pretty well non existent or at best in it’s infancy. The main construction of a board were plywood frames which would then have several coats of lacquer to provide the waterproofing.  They were made off a mold which was 10’6” in length and the shape would be similar to a Malibu board we still see today.


1956 Mike Doyle & Bob Cooper visited Aust for the Melb Olympics. They did an exhibition of the Malibu surfboards.  These boards were named after (Malibu) beach.


In the summer of 57-58 Doug Andrew had a Malibu shaped by Phil Jarman a local surfboat builder from Balgowlah heights. Boards were built with plywood glued to timber ribs like boats as opposed to being shaped. The lacquer was not 100% waterproof so a “bung” was installed to release any water after each surf. By the end of the 57-58 summer Doug Andrew started to be able to control the direction of the board this became known as cornering. As a result Doug was able to start surfiJohn Dessaixng Dee Why Point on a board for the first time!  Others had to wait until the summer of 58-59 as no one surfed through the winters. 

In the summer of 58-59 John Dessaix received his first plywood Malibu board for Christmas.

By the end of that summer the Malibu movement had started, with surfers from different beaches ordering Balsa Malibu’s.  In those days it would take more than 6 weeks for a new board to be produced.

In 1958-59 Renyolds Yater and Bob Cooper visited Sydney with Polystyrene foam Malibu’s. They also spoke about “Balsa” pre-empting polystyrene as a medium used to make boards in California and so Balsa boards became popular around Australia.

In the early part of 1961 Dee Why Point became a magnet for local surfers looking for a greater challenge from standard beach breaks that the other beaches offered. Dee Why was also very central to Brookvale being just over the hill.  Brookvale was quickly becoming the board manufacturing hub of the northern beaches, which also serviced most of Sydney. At this time board makers were in their infancy.

Barry Bennett
Gordon Woods
Barry Wallace
Scott Dillon
Danny Keyo
Greg McDonough

All these companies manufactured boards in Brookvale and most of these where in Harbord Road. The concentration of board manufacturers was like a magnet for the more experienced, or “hard core” surfers.  Dee Why had a special convenience about it; - shops, plenty of parking, even the cubicles with the way they offered shelter no matter which direction the wind was coming from and finally there was the way the beach and headland was formed.  Dee Why itself is a natural amphitheatre offering unobstructed viewing of the “Centre” left handers and the “Point”.


In March 1961 Renyolds Yater and Bob Cooper were together with Bob Evans and Barry “Cholly” Cardiff  planning a Surfing Safari to Noosa.  Two 15 year old’s from Dee Why, John Dessaix and Bruce MacManus were also invited to go.


There was another group of young guys know as the “Dee Why Surfers” who took up the spot on the grass opposite the shops including Crawfords Fish & Chips/Milk Bar.  Later the corner shop became known as “Arthurs Corner” (approx 1962).  The difference between the surfer crew was that they didn’t belong to the D.Y.S.L.S.C

They were made up of;


Bruce (Lovedog) Mc Manus

Tony (Smuts) Smith

Glenn Martin

Rex Allum

Peter and Ed Cornish

Dave Ferguson

“Choco” Ferrier

Chris Cannings

Ross Brown`

David Chidgee

Malcolm Poole

Chris Crozier

John Stewart

John and Terry Dessaix

David (Makka) Mc Donald

Doug Andrew

Phil Rose

Phil Carney


Midget Farrelly became a regular surfer at Dee Why for approximately three years. It was during this time that Midget was nominated for “President” and was voted in, in the summer of 1961.  Before the club was formed the local surfers wanted competitions between each other. The first meeting was held at Laurie Shorts parents house at Bilgola Beach. A subsequent meeting at Dee Why Surf Club saw the foundation committee members voted for. This was in November 1961.


This lead to the formation of the Dee Why Surfing Fraternity. Present at the meeting were;

Barry "Cholly" Cardiff



Laurie Short

Doug Andrew

Kevin Platt

John & Terry Dessaix

Eddie & Peter Cornish

Dave McDonald

Bruce MacManus

John Hasting

Chris “Sheep” Addison

Robbie Mills

Rex Allum

Arthur Murray.

Contests started from that point on.  There was “A grade” of 12 people and a “B Grade” made up the rest.



With the influence of the Californian surfers and the first American Surfer magazines appearing, our desire to form a competitive group of surfers was overwhelming. The “A Grade” were the surfers who were used in the inter club competitions, between other clubs as they formed in pursuing years.


The competition team was; Midget, John Dessaix, Doug Andrew, Peter & Eddie Cornish, Phil Carney, Kevin Platt, David McDonald, Bruce McManus, Chris Cannings, Robbie Mills & Arthur Murray.


How did we get the name Dee Why Surfing Fraternity.  There were several alternatives including Boardriders Club, Surfing Club, etc However it was when Midget suggested “Fraternity” and subsequentially explained that it meant brothers The name “Fraternity” was unanimously accepted.


This lead to two major events happening during this period.

There was a gentleman named Mr McDonagh from Harboard who was playing around with construction and design, he made two boards. One was a Blue 8’10 semi sausage made of Polystyrene foam and the other was a Green 7’6 fibreglassed koolite mini gun.  Shaped to have a pointed front and back.


These boards were purchased from Mr McDonagh by John & Terry’s father for approximately 27 (pounds) and were delivered to DY beach in 1958-59 summer. They were the first lightweight surfboards on DY beach. John Dessaix owned the blue one and got the nickname “Bluey” and Terry owned the Green board.


The significance to this is that it happened at Dee Why first.



DYSF had competitions with other clubs, these were predominantly “Windasea” and Maroubra. The contests were held at DY, Long Reef and Maroubra. On most occasions DY would win.


That lead to the TEAL Trophy (Trans Eastern Australasian Lines).  Which was held by D.Y.S.F for eight years running.  The last known sighting of the TEAL trophy was at North Styene Surf Club. There was talk that it was seen Byron Bay in the 70’s.  (Get image of trophy from YDY Video)
In summer 1962-63 the kids surfing in the Basin become known as the Basin Babies.
Col Gow, Col Steele Jim Sasse and Greg “Smoke Cool” Parker, Stephen (Beaver) Johnson, Ian (Wimpy) Smith these were all younger kids on the beach Barry King, Kenny Scriven, Henry Addison, Ross Jackson, Ken Sasse, Tony Bradshaw.


Bob McTavish and Kevin “The Head” Brennan, Kevin Platt (would visit from other beaches to surf the point and hang around with what were called “Frat Members”)


1964 Chris Cannings asks Col Gow & Col Steell to join the “Fraternity”

They were;-August 26 1962, Warren & Col Gow & Frank Pithers.
The Basin babies graduated to Dee Why Point in the summer of 1964.


Terry’s green board was used extensively by the core group, where it was ridden until it  basically disintegrated.


The Surf Club Closed Ranks – Check Bombora DVD for information
Why did it close ranks?
What was the feeling from within the Surf Club?


From the summer of 1959 to the summer of 1962 Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club closed ranks on members becoming free surfers, some of the “core” group moved back to the SLSC system.  Only a few retained their individuality.  Namely John Cormack.

Between 1959-1962 surfing became a popular sport and as the schools were close to Dee Why there was a mass migration of student surfers from Manly Boys High and St Augustine’s totalling approximately 100 surfers. This had a flow on effect and created a new modern group of surfers who rode 8’10” boards. Dave Brown cut the nose of his board to make it an 8’ 10.  This new breed started consistently doing turns and manoeuvres.

Out of this new breed of surfers there were a few standouts who became the new “Modern Surfing Group”.

Peter & Eddie Cornish
Ian Carey
Glenn Martin
Chris Cannings
Arthur Murray
Geoff Andrew
Wayne Lyndon
Tony “Smuts” Smith

DY then had a local community of surfers.  Made up of these core groups.
“The CORE Group”
“Arthurs Corner”
“The Basin Babies”
“Modern Surfing Group”


In 1961 Doug Andrew was the absolute driver of free surfing at DY beach.
By 1962 there was a massive amount of things happening in the local area.  These things happened to keep DYSF in the forefront of surfing in Australia.

In 1961 the first “American Surfer” magazine arrived on Dee Why beach.

Being the ultimate free thinker Midget then went on to develop new styles of surfing,
Such as;

“the left go right in the tube turn”

“Quasimodo” adopted into tube riding because no-one had ever crouched before.

And most importantly he “walked the plank, principally by shuffling down the deck.

Most of these manoeuvres were done at Dee Why Point.  Dee Why Point became famous in local history for surfing Malibu’s.

1962 Robbie Mills (what did he do)

1962-63 Nat Young from the Collaroy club visits Dee Why Point on several occasions and surfs with John Dessaix. Nat took elements of Midgets surfing technique and applied his own style to it, the result was to take surfing to a new level and open up a different path for other surfers to emulate.

We now have two distinct levels of surfing;

Midget’s which could only be looked at as a strict Hawaiian style of surfing mixed with the Californian “Dewey Webber” style of surfing. Reading the wave and hot dogging.

The next style of surfing which Nat developed took surfing to it’s radical level of
“Owning the Wave”

Examples of this were;

Walking the plank in a cross legged style

Riding the front part of the board in the curl and using the full length of the board to maximise speed on the wave face.

A quote from Nat at the time was “there’s no danger you are in control”

Midgets fame drew surfers from other beaches to Dee Why like a magnet.

Many surfers came and went, but a surfer known as Arthur Murray stayed at DY.
(Terry why is Arthur Murray important?)

At that point in time the competitiveness between other beaches became paramount, which meant that you didn’t go and surf at other peoples beaches.  You stayed within your own club.

1963-64 two major events occurred in Australian surfing.

The Americans visited Australia in the form of the 64 world titles.  (Who were they, check Bombora)

A core group of Australian surfers saw what the American’s were capable of and decided not to follow them but to devise a whole new approach to surfing in general.

The most instrumental person in all of this was Bob McTavish.  While Midget and Nat were off winning world titles, Bob McTavish developed a “Vee” bottomed surfboard with a square back at the Keyo factory in Brookvale.  This was developed while surfing at Dee Why.  McTavish was influenced by two American surfers Joey Cabell (expert at surfing the front end of a board) and Micky Dora             Ref Bob McTavish.

By the summer of 1965 DYSF now had the complete package of how surfing was to be and was at the forefront of the surfing evolution/revolution. This diversity of styles made DYSF a powerhouse in local surfing competitions.

This is best validated in the DYSF core group of high quality surfers which was lead by;
Mick Dooley and Mick was supported in making DYSF invincible by the style and competitiveness of Doug Andrew.  Enough said about natural surfers.  Because in fact a lifesaving force of the DYSF success story lied with in their six top goofy footers.
Love Dog
Ian Carey
Chris Crozier

In 1966 there was one dominating force which setup amongst the natural footers of the general beach group.  The power shift moved to David “Lance” Mc Donald.

Dave McDonald invented three major things within the core group
The Standing Head Dip
The extended Stall Position of a Malibu back inside the tube
To take Nat’s invincible attitude of “Owning a Wave” to a new level which meant control of a wave at any cost.  The goofy footers copied this and got better at it.

1965-66 someone was looking over our shoulder, “Wind-n-Sea”.  Went about trying to get as many top surfers from other beaches as they could to try to beat the DYSF.

The America’s cup of surfing “trophy” was a Polynesian Paddle called the Teal Trophy.

The word Teal stood for Tasman Empire Airlines and was a gift from the airline at the time. This had the DYSF name on it for nine years in a row, 1962-1969.

The last known information was that it was stolen from North Steyne.


Judy Trim