In February 1978, Phil, Peter Wilkinson and I had set off together to the Island for a State round to be scheduled at Woolami. It looked certain that the comp would be postponed so Pete suggested quietly sneaking off to Express Point. Upon arrival we spotted some high quality 6 to 7ft hollow waves wrapping into the black reef with only 3 guys out. Waxed up and in the line up within 10 minutes, Phil wearing his distinctive yellow wetsuit, what a museum piece that would make today. (No wonder it was a promo from Brooko at Piping Hot.)
Phil at Express Point in his distinctive yellow wetsuit
We were absolutely stoked on the session until Wilko literally fell out of the sky, and to Phil’s surprise landed on him in the barrel on an 8 footer. Phil survived but Pete with a damaged body and board paddled in, luckily he was able to shoot a roll of film. Apparently Pete had run a little too close to the boil and been sucked back over the falls. In recent years we all give Pete a wide berth, as I swear he’s as blind as a bat when he surfs at Leo.
Not known for his tube riding Phil had a couple of rippers on this day and strangely even though we rated Blacks so highly we only ever surfed there on half a dozen occasions at most. Our young shaper at the time Ian Cochrane on the other hand skipped out of work every time that the barrel at Blacks was on during his short surfing career, while in the eighties it was Garry Taylor’s turn to pay regular visits to Barrys beach and Express.
Phil in one of his many Tubes of the day