January/February/March 2018

Redhead Beach sunrise clouds ships and chop 10/3/2018

Redhead Sunrise Ships and Chop 10-03-18

Redhead Beach sunrise 19/2/2018

Redhead Beach sunrise 19-02-18

30/1/2018 Peter Keelan sent me some great surfing photos taken at Leggy Point

Peter Keelan Leggy 2010

Peter Keelan Leggy Point

Peter Keelan Leggy Point 2017

Pete’s collection of fine channel bottom surfboards, all of these are made by master board maker Sam Egan

Peter Keelan with his Channel Bottom Boards

23/1/2018 Redhead First Creek has stopped flowing, never seen that before, sure need some rain.

Redhead first creek dried up 23-01-18

1920’s Arial photo of Blacksmiths Breakwater and looking past Swansea Heads from hunterlivinghistories site. A lot has changed since then, just out to sea past Caves Beach you can see the reef break we surfed that became the breakwater know known as Spoon Rocks.

Blacksmiths Breakwater 1920s

1989 BHP Newcastle Surfing Comp signed poster, some fine names on there.

1989 Newcastle BHP Comp poster


October\November 2017

Sea Slug Swansea 21/11/2017 Like a garden slug with wings only bigger

Sea Slug Swansea 21-11-17

Walking the dog on Redhead beach 12/11/2017

Shadows walking on the beach 12-11-17

Jimmy Lewis SUP Paddle goes as good as it looks.

Jimmy Lewis SUP Paddle 21-10-17

Redhead Beach early morning soft colours 15/7/2017

Redhead Beach in colours 15-07-17

Redhead Beach clouds 14/10/2017. Stuff happening in the sky.

Redhead beach clouds 14-10-17

Redhead Beach pollution 1/10/2017. The worst case I have ever seen, this “algie bloom” has been pushing up on Redhead Beach for 5 days. No idea where its coming from. Surfing in it not recommended.

Polluted Redhead Beach 01-10-17

July/August 2017

Huge surf Redhead 20/8/2017 About as big as is gets here.

Big seas Redhead 20-08-17

A huge wave pushes over the beach and up the dry Redhead Beach Second Creek bed then comes back down 20/8/2017. A day to be careful walking on the beach.

Big wave up 2nd creek 20-08-17

Big surf again. Redhead Beach 19/8/2017

Big Wave Redhead 19-08-17

Rock shelf Redhead Bluff

Redhead Bluff rock pool 20-10-14

Big, cold wild waves Redhead Beach 1st July 2017

Big waves Redhead Beach 01-07-17

May/June 2017

A wet start to the June long weekend 10/6/2017 The clouds seemed alive.

Redhead Beach Clouds 10-06-17


Fisherman in sea mist Redhead Beach 27/5/2017. The land temperature was about 5 and the water was 18 degrees so when the water hit the beach it created a bigamist.

Redhead fisherman in sea mist 27-05-17

Redhead Beach pearl like sun 31-05-17

Redhead Beach pearl like sun rising 31-05-17

Redhead Beach sand sculpture 03/06/17 Mother Natures own Picasso on the beach

Redhead Beach sand sculpture 03-06-17

Redhead Bluff 24/5/2017 pink early morning glow after a  thunderstorm.

Redhead Bluff Stormy Morning 24-05-17

Last nights Chardonnay on the beach. Early morning Redhead Beach 7/5/207 The tide had come in and gone back out and the glass of chardy remained upright and half empty.

Wine glass in the sand 07-05-17

Redhead Beach sun rise 23/04/2017. The sun shining through and over a low cloud bank and the only set of waves to come through.

Redhead Beach sunrise 23-04-017

March/April 2017

Mark Richards and me with my photos at Surf Art exhibition for Surfest around 2008

Mark Richards & Crow at Surf Art exhibition

From DPI Fisheries – Regarding Drones detect sharks at Redhead Dec/Jan 2016-2017

Thanks for the comments on your shark encounter. We at Hover UAV were the drone operators conducting the shark surveillance. We spoke about your need for a siren on the drone for immediate alerting to water users at the time of your encounter. Since we have developed such a siren that will immediately alert water users of a hazardous shark.
You may also be interested in this video that shows your second encounter with a Bull shark shortly after the first.

Drones detect sharks at Redhead UTUBE:

The drone trial alerted me and others in the surf when sharks were about. I hope drone use is implemented into beach patrols as often and in as many places as possible – Crow


Storm coming 22-03-17. I looked out the front door and noticed Mother Nature wasn’t happy.

Storm Clouds Redhead 22-03-17

Red Sky in the morning – Shepherd’s warning – followed up by 10 days of bad weather. Redhead beach 13-03-17

Red Sky Morning Redhead beach 13-03-17

Redhead Beach unknown surfer 4/6/2011. I took this one 6 years ago but I cropped the original photo to show up the surfer better, in an awesome pit.

Redhead surfer 4-6-11


Redhead Beach 7th March 2017. A wild storm overnight heaved up the “pog” lying on the bottom of the ocean and whipped up a wild batch of horrible brown foam and dumped it on the beach. As Frank sang it … don’t you eat the yellow snow cause that’s were the husky’s go.

Redhead Beach pog 07-03-17

Hopefuly the last of the too hot weather days this season. The sun coming up hot Redhead Beach 16th February 2017.

Hot day ahead Redhead Beach 16-02-17

December 2016/January/February 2017

The first Stand Up Paddler?

The following article appeared in Surfer Magazine in January 1988, words and photo by Robert Beck. The photo shows Bob Ah Choy at Waikiki standing up using a paddle taking photos of tourists surfing. The article states Bob has been doing it for 2 years and took over from his brother Leonard who did it for 10 years, probably making the him the first  SUP rider starting around 1976.

The first stand-up paddler

The first stand-up paddler

Redhead Beach sunrise cloud burst 7/1/2017

Redhead beach clouds at sunrise 07-01-17

Redhead beach clouds at sunrise 07-01-17

Sam on SUP Black Neds Bay Swansea 4/1/2017 swapped his rod for a paddle for a change.

Sam on SUP Black Neds Bay

Sam on SUP Black Neds Bay

Redhead Beach Shark spotting Drone Trial.

The shark sighting arial drone trial at Redhead Beach has proved helpfull today and hopefully will save lives. I was out in the surf at 08:30 Tuesday 20/12/2016 when I saw a 3 metre shark just a few metres away, just behind the break about a 100 metres out from the Shark Tower. Lucky I was up on my SUP and could see the dark shape lurking below nearby and I dont think I would have seen it sitting on a surfboard. I started to paddle in and alerted the only other nearby surfer and we paddled in together. The government funded drone trial had just started for the day and one of the operators was running down to the waters edge to alert us. They also had just sighted the shark. The Drone operators then put an alert on their shark phone app and when the Life guards arrived soon after to start work they were already aware and immediatley launched the jet ski to search for the shark. Hopefully the drone can operate longer hours and alert people in the water with a siren if the Lifesavers are not present.

Photo taken from Drone as in Newcastle Herald 22/12/16

Shark & Crow from drone 20-12-16

Shark & Crow from drone 20-12-16


July/August 2016

Early morning paddle out at sunrise Redhead Beach 30/06/2016

Redhead beach early surfer 30-08-16

Redhead beach early surfer 30-08-16

The memory of the event below was inspired by Gaye Sheathers book Rock This City

The Beauty of the Star

Around 1979 The Star Hotel in Newcastle had live local bands on every night, no cover charge, you just walked in and tried to get a beer. The place would be packed and getting near the bar was hopeless, sympathetic punters who already had a beer would pass your money up and pass your beer down but never move from their coveted position for several reasons. Firstly they could get beer, secondly the bands played behind the bar so they had the best vantage point and thirdly there was no dance floor so girls danced on the bar. It was all happening then until some bean counters had it shut down.

Local band Rimshot had a gig on a quieter Monday night and to attract a crowd they had an idea, a dance contest with a surfboard prize for the “best” dancer. A real surfboard made by the bands guitarist. There was a good crowd and a few tidy dancers in bikinis up on the bar keen to win the prize.

The band were ready for the last set and the girls ready for a dance off and in the door walks a dude and on his arm a pretty brunette in a trench coat. He was definitely a dude as he had a stingy brim derby hat on and a double breasted knee length coat and wore a grin like the cat on the mushroom with the hookah in Alice in Wonderland. (that … was a kids book??) He pops her up on the bar, as you do, and she drops the trench coat and whoaaa ikarumba, ruby red lipstick, knee high boots, short shorts and a see through blouse tied up in a knot.

And the band starts playing probably the most appropriate song for the occasion – an extended version of The Doors Roadhouse Blues. The other girls are dancing up a storm but this beauty had it in the bag. Every time the guitarist hit the whammy bar she would shimmy from head to toe, needless to say the whammy bar got a fair workout and she won the dude a new surfboard, but I don’t think he surfed or cared that he didn’t.

This kinda night don’t happen much now but it did then.

Rimshot 1979 Marks Point Hall

Rimshot 1979 Marks Point Hall

Another great local Newcastle band Pamdemonia 1979

Pamdemonia 1979

Pamdemonia 1979

I love the Surfer magazine Extra pages, January 1990 shows a Mal rider called Sasquatch which can only be Steve Irwin in a confontation with a crocodile. Photo taken by Martin Tullemans.

Steve Irwin Jan 1990 Surfer Extra

Steve Irwin Jan 1990 Surfer Extra

There’s a book just out that is great reading – a must for all Newcastle Live music fans  with photos of bands and venues, it captures what a great era we were lucky to have taken in and listened to so many great bands.

Rock This City – Live Music in Newcastle, 1970’s – 1980’s

by Gaye Sheather published by Hunter Press.

Rock this city book by Gaye Sheather

Rock this city book by Gaye Sheather

My 2 best rock moments I can remember were at a Zappa concert (of course) at the Sydney Horden Pavillion 1976. Waiting for the band to come on the house lights dimmed and the band were tuning up and doing a sound check. The guy in the seat next to me turns to me pie eyed and says ” F@#$ there good!!!” I wondered how good he would think they were when they started playing. Moments later Sal Marquez the trumpet player was confidently strutting along the edge of the stage a drink in one hand and trumpet in the other casting an eye over the audience. Someone yells out “you betta be able to play that thing!” Sal takes a calm sip from the plastic cup, leans over backwards his head almost touches the floor and raises up slowly bringing the trumpet to his lips leans into the mike and let rip with a huge burp which fills the room. Of course he could play that thing!

Bright Green Water. Redhead duck pond 3/8/2016

Green Water Redhead duck pond 03-08-16

Green Water Redhead duck pond 03-08-16

Redhead Beach surfer in a chunky swell 31/7/2016

dhead kneeboarder 31-07-16

Redhead Beach surfer 31-07-16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11/7/16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11-07-16

Redhead Beach fiery sunrise 11-07-16

Lake Macquarie surfer Terry with the surfing legend Donald Takayama in Hawaii back in 2011. Donald, who has since passed away was a great surfer, a USA champion several times, one of the best surfboard makers and from all accounts the nicest of blokes you would meet. Terry was lucky to meet up with Donald staying at the same hotel in Hawaii and got to surf with him and share his quiver of longboards and ride some waves with Donald and his Hawiian mates.

Terry and Donald Takayama

Terry and Donald Takayama

Channel Bottom Surfboards

Surfboards with channels on the bottom (just one channel and more of a concave) were probably first made in the 1950’s by Bob Simmons and Dale Velvy and then again in the 1960’s by Greg Noll, but they first became popluar after Redhead’s Col Smith rode them in Hawaii in 1977. The idea was they moved the water out the back of the board faster and also gave more control with the extra edges.

The first modern channel bottom boards were designed and made by Jim Pollard for Shane Surfboards in 1976. Jim had Newcastle boys Col Smith and Steve Butterworth riding quivers of his rounded 6 channel boards, the first lot Col used at Bells beach with some success.

1976 Jim Pollard rolled channel bottom surfboard used by Col Smith at Bells Beach

Jim Pollard channel bottom 1976

Jim Pollard channel bottom 1976

Col Smith then took a quiver of Jim Pollard’s boards to Hawaii in 1977 and impressed the world with his surfing on them and then they became popular.

Col with Jim Pollard’s boards the night before Col was bound for Hawaii in 1977

Col Smith Hawaii Boards 1977

Col Smith Hawaii Boards 1977

Col riding Pipeline on Jim Pollard Channel Board 1977

Col Smith Tracks Poster 1977

Col Smith Tracks Poster 1977

Col Smith and Jim Pollard celebrate Col’s success riding Jim’s Channel Boards in Hawaii

Col Smithand Jim Pollard

Col Smithand Jim Pollard

Col returned from Hawaii and started working at Redhead with Martin Littlewood now Delta Designs Margaret River and started making boards with 6 channels with harder edges, Martin’s idea was from the Clinker Hulls of wooden boats and how stable they were in the water. Col then worked for a few other manufacturers such as Sam Egan and Free Flight’s Phil Myers and also shaped boards himself at his home.

Col Smith in his shaping bay at Redhead 1979

Col Smith shaping channel boards 1979

Col Smith shaping channel boards 1979

A Martin Littlewood Delta Designs 6 channel around 1981. Note the outside channels are longer

Delta Design Channel 1980

Delta Design Channel 1981

Lots of other shapers then were making boards with channels, notably Alan Bryne who spent a lot of time surfing with Col Smith. Around 1984 Col visited Martin Littlewood in Margaret River and they designed asymetric channel boards based on the windsurfers Martin was making.

Col Smith Asymetric at Margaret River

Col Smith Asymetric at Margaret River

Also noteworthy that around the early 1970’s the Campbell brothers introduced double concaves with three fins on their Bonzer model, the outside fins being a shallow wide base keel design which helped channel water out the back. Around 1981 Simon Anderson developed the Tri fin using 3 fins of similar size. SInce then most boards made have 3 fins and double concaves, but some guys still ride the channel bottom designs.

Col Steve and Al and their contribution to good surfing are now sadly missed, Martin Littlewood and Phil Myers are still making channel bottom boards.

May/June 2016

Rainbow over Swansea Channel 17/03/2016

Rainbow Over Swansea Channel 17-03-16

Rainbow Over Swansea Channel 17-03-16

A strong swell has been pumping into Newcastle and still continues 5 days later. Redhead beach surfer early 08/06/2016

Redhead Beach 08-06-16

Redhead Beach 08-06-16

Blacksmiths Beach grinding swell lines 08/06/2016

Blacksmiths Beach 08-06-16

Blacksmiths Beach 08-06-16

Blacksmiths Beach – surfer Tony Solaris 08/06/2016

Blacksmiths Beach Tony Solaris 08-06-16

Blacksmiths Beach Tony Solaris 08-06-16

Surfing Culture in Newcastle. This article below (click the link) was published I think in a Newcastle Uni magazine sometime in the late 70’s. I kept a copy as its quite funnny, sorry I don’t know who Duckboy is, the guy who wrote it, a non Novacastrian of course:

Surfing Culture in Newcastle

Arial view of Redhead 1976 from an old slide – Lots of changes in 40 years – no Industrial Estate , no north side housing estate, caravan park in progress, and the second creek before it got dried up.

Redhead arial view from plane 1977

Redhead arial view from plane 1977

A golden start to Mothers Day. Early morning at Redhead Beach 8/5/2016

Redhead Beach gold morning 08-05-16

Redhead Beach gold morning 08-05-16

Mark sent me this photo of this most beautiful colourful fish. This one and a few others were caught from Swansea Channel and released. I identified it as a Yellow-Green Wrasse from the book Australian Sea Fishes and in it states killing such a rare and beautiful animal is hardly excusable. They go through many colour phases when growing up and the males end up a more greeny-blue colour and the females are yellow.

Yellow-green Wrasse

Yellow-green Wrasse

Storm cloud Redhead Beach 1/5/2016 it passed by with only a few lightning flashes and a bit of rain.

Storm cloud Redhead Beach 01-05-16

Storm cloud Redhead Beach 01-05-16