Way Back When Ep 23 | Wacky times at Trigger Bros Surfboards

Flood waters down East Creek

Just before the turnoff to Pt. Leo, East creek travels under Hastings–Flinders Rd and in the wet season can be seen as a virtual flood plane on the Red Hill side of the road.

These waters are channeled into a narrow fast flowing creek as it heads down towards Pt Leo. Following a brief geographical survey carried out by Wilko’s Outback Adventures the first group of volunteers lined up keen to go. They started at the bridge on the main road.

Gordon Smith, John Jolly, Peter Wilkinson, Sean Coleclough and Phil jumped in on some well chosen battered old surfboards soon to become finless as the troop bounced from 1 tree stump to the next, over the mini-falls and literally through the blackberry patches. These saw some of the team later wearing gloves.

Coming around a blind corner Wilko spotted Sean trapped under a log and was luckily able to release his leg rope before he drowned. Here’s what happened in Phil’s words.

There were 5 of us that started up at the main road but only traveled 30 metres before getting stuck on a barbed wire fence. Our legropes were a massive mistake as they got caught on everything. We had another two attempts to get in, but only succeeded from about half way up Pt Leo Rd, 100 meters above the rapids shown in the fuzzy old photo. As we approached there was a deafening roar and no escape, Gordon was in a real panic so we just went for it. The next obstacle was a massive foam ball blocking our way. We held off for a while then Pete let go and got sucked into it. He was completely gone when out of the middle his head popped up covered in blackberry vines. The rest of the journey was a cruise and 5 minutes later we were on the beach.

Ten years later the young crew decided to give it a go from below the rapids. It had risen 4ft from the time we first checked it and was really raging when ST jumped in and disappeared. I quickly followed Simon who came up boardless some 100 meters down stream. We teamed up and completed the trip together. The next day the water level was back to normal enabling us to find his board wedged under a tree root 6ft below the flood peak. Twenty five years later Simon still says it the scariest thing hes’s done and fortunately no one has been dumb enough to do it again.

For a few years Phil organised working bees to clear some of the blackberries and debris. They did about 5 trips down over a 3 year period with Tony Reid, John Taylor, Gus and Kane Tankard and the young brigade of Simon Trigger and Nick Clarke having a crack. If only their mothers had known. At one stage Mark Harrison had to jump in and rescue Gus who was pinned against a log . Refining surfboard design through trial and error our new East Creek model creek model had no fins or leggie and thankfully no lives were lost.

Guinness World Record

My old panel van suffers the strain as Phil stacks the boards to break the Guinness World Record in the 1st car park at Gunna during a lighter moment of the Wavelength East Coast pro won by our own surfer shaper Garry Taylor.


But is it art ?

Max “2 Straight” McPhee’s art installation titled “Man and Dog” nominated for listings at the McClelland Sculpture Survey awards bears an uncanny resemblance to Wilko and his faithful companion Jep.

Unidentified Surfing Object

Phil always believed anyone can learn to surf !


The Pot Belly Stove Episode

It seems ludicrous looking back to the mid seventies and the front window of the Trigger Bros Chelsea store highlighted with Blaze fireplaces but those are the extraordinary steps brother Phil would go to to secure a deal. Had Phil outsmarted himself, we now owned 10 very heavy Pot Belly stoves taking up valuable floor space . Phil, Wilko, Cocky and myself all took one home but we still had 6 to go. Larry Pope did the sign writing on the window and after three to four months this chapter in running a Surf Shop was closed.

Ian Cochranes Pot Belly Turbo 10 is still working perfectly some 40 years later.