2019 Yallingup Malibu Classic | Huge surf almost wiped out first ever Yallingup Malibu Classic

Yallingup Malibu Classic founder Loz Smith and Indian Ocean Longboard Club president Paul Bourke reminisce about the surfing event's 35 year history. Visit facebook.com/yallingupmalibuclassic/ for more information.
Yallingup Malibu Classic founder Loz Smith and Indian Ocean Longboard Club president Paul Bourke reminisce about the surfing event's 35 year history. Visit facebook.com/yallingupmalibuclassic/ for more information.

The first time the Yallingup Malibu Classic was held in 1984, 10 to 12 foot sets almost wiped out the event.

Yallingup Malibu Classic event founder Loz Smith said there was a long queue to the Yallingup toilets that morning once they realised how big the surf was, they were not even sure if anyone would be brave enough to hit the water.

There were 107 people who paid $10 to compete in the first event, but because of the huge surf only 35 people paddled out.

"It was scary, it was massive" Mr Smith said.

The event was supposed to be held on a Saturday, but a storm front hit the coast delaying the start to Sunday.

"We had a big party night at the Yallingup Hall before the comp, everyone was hungover in the morning," he said.

"We had hired the hall to have a party afterwards, it was a big night and jam packed, I was still cleaning up the mess with Terry Jacks at two in the morning.

"I ended up crashing out at Robbie Malcolm's place, which was a house on the hill, when I woke up with a whole lot of other bodies on the floor, I thought I could hear thunder from the storm.

"It was actually the swell crashing. It was really scary because the ocean and sky were grey and you could not see the swell coming in from that far out.

"I walked down to the beach in a panic with Harbo the competition judge, I looked at Harbo and said, 'it's a bit too big Tone.'

"'Nah we running it,' Harbo said through his teeth."

Mr Smith said everyone taking part in the classic was nervous because most people had not ridden a longboard for 10 years or more and of the size of the swell was massive.

"I was probably the most nervous I had a lot to lose, all the cost and money was on my shoulders," he said.

"I walked over to my car put my wetsuit and grabbed a longboard I had found at the old Yallingup tip.

"I jumped in at the back of the granny's pool to paddle into the middle of the bay to get out the back, that was the most fearful time of my life.

"It was the biggest surf I had ever seen in my life and the biggest swell I had ever paddled out in, I was very nervous getting to where I thought was out the back.

"When I rose over the swell I could see the entire garden of Caves House and the steps, you got quite a bit of elevation out there.

"I bravely took a wave in and didn't get very far down the face when it took me out - I was pretty lucky and happy to come in.

"I made it up the steps, Harbo was there, I said to him, 'this is great the contest is on'. He replied, 'yep you're in the next heat.'

"I didn't even take my wetsuit off and I was back out. I got cleaned up on the reef I still have a scare on my elbow where I hit my funny bone, I lost all feeling in my right arm.

"It was a great day and amazing that only three boards were broken.

"I have some great memories of that weekend, some people would probably have mixed memories from being severely wiped out that day."

This year's marks the 35th anniversary of the Yallingup Malibu Classic, which will be held from November 30 to December 1, 2019.

For more information about the event please visit facebook.com/yallingupmalibuclassic/.