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smorgasboarder<br />

SURF<br />

2023<br />

#57<br />

magazine<br />


YANN FaTrAS<br />





Celebrating<br />

48 YEARS<br />

Celebrating<br />

45 YEARS<br />

Gerringong | 90mins south of Sydney<br />

Online<br />

+<br />

In-store<br />

Australia’s Largest Independent Surf Shop.<br />

Proudly Family Owned & Run.<br />

w w w . n a t u r a l n e c e s s i t y . c o m . a u<br />

S H O P O N L I N E<br />

1,000+ surfboardS swiMwear heaven IN-STORE VEGO CAFE

30<br />

52<br />


#57<br />

2023<br />

60<br />

76<br />

12 NEWS<br />




30 YANN FATRAS<br />

52 TRAVEL<br />

60 ROAM<br />

70 BEN ROSS ART<br />

76 SKATE (B-RAD)<br />


98 ALOHA BARRY<br />

smorgasboarders<br />

Editorial | Amber O’Dell<br />

amber@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0420 615 107<br />

Editorial & Advertising | Dave Swan<br />

dave@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0401 345 201<br />

Social Media | Phoebe Swan<br />

phoebe@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0459 705 404<br />

New Zealand | Jiff Morris<br />

jeff@smorgasboarder.co.nz<br />

0220 943 913<br />

South Australia | Jimmy Ellis<br />

james@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0410 175 552<br />

Design | Horse & Water Creative<br />

mark, val, helen, taylah, sarah<br />

mark@horseandwater.com.au<br />

Accounts | Louise Gough<br />

louise@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />


YANN FaTrAS<br />

smorgasboarder<br />

SURF<br />

2023<br />

#57<br />

magazine<br />




BEN ROSS<br />

our cover<br />

photo: walkandseemedia<br />

(Yann Fatras)<br />

surfer: Jared Mell<br />

get involved<br />

Stories, photos, ideas, new and<br />

interesting surf-related stuff you<br />

want to share? Drop us a line on<br />

editorial@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

get your fix<br />

1. Subscribe - the mag is still<br />

free - you just pay for delivery. 4<br />

editions per year - $25 annual<br />

subscription (Aus and NZ)<br />

2. Call in to one of the businesses<br />

featured in this mag - they’ll have<br />

some free copies.<br />

3. A full list of stockists are online<br />

smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

4. Download or read it online at<br />

smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

Smorgasboarder is published by Huge C Media PTY LTD ABN 30944673055. All information is correct at time of going to press. The publication cannot<br />

accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements, or unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. The opinions and words of the authors<br />

do not necessarily represent those of the publishers. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohibited without prior permission.

CuStom<br />

surfboards<br />

since 1969<br />

Twin Pin<br />

the darren<br />

COWES 03 5952 2578<br />

147 Thompson Ave, Cowes<br />

SMITHS 03 5952 3443<br />

225 Smiths Beach Rd, Smiths Beach<br />

www.islandsurfboards.com.au<br />

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greg Hogan<br />

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STORES, BIG W &<br />



Variety<br />

is the<br />

spice<br />

of life<br />

It’s an age-old idiom that dates back to the 1800s. It<br />

originates from a line within a poem called The Task<br />

which was written by English poet William Cowper<br />

in 1875. And it is a proverb that has stood the test of<br />

time. It’s meaning being, if you keep doing the same<br />

old thing, over and over again, it will get tedious,<br />

monotonous and even boring.<br />

It captures one of the great truths about human<br />

existence, being the fact there is a great richness in<br />

diversity and pursuing different interests. Life is far<br />

more interesting when we try different things and vary<br />

our experiences.<br />

This belief has been verified by numerous scientific<br />

studies that show variety leads to increased<br />

satisfaction. Repeated exposure to a stimulus over<br />

time reduces its ability to excite. The effect is known<br />

as hedonic adaptation. Exposing yourself to different<br />

stimulus that excites increases feelings of euphoria.<br />

So where are we going with all of this? From the getgo,<br />

our ethos at Smorgasboarder has been to produce<br />

a magazine that celebrates a diverse array of board<br />

sports and surf lifestyle pastimes that we enjoy. It is<br />

part of the reason we have never identified ourselves as<br />

a shortboard surf magazine, or a longboard one for that<br />

matter, or a SUP mag or a skate mag. We enjoy doing<br />

all of these things. We figure life would be pretty boring<br />

if you only partook in just one past time.<br />

Shortboard when the conditions are right, longboard<br />

when it suits, paddleboard to mix things up, skateboard<br />

when the ocean is windblown and snowboard<br />

whenever you can. And if the opportunity presents<br />

itself, go wakeboarding, learn to foil, wing surf and<br />

broaden your horizons to everything and anything. And<br />

being surfers, there’s also a love for the great outdoors,<br />

camping, glamping, secluded getaways, fishing, hiking<br />

and mountain biking. That is what Smorgasboarder is<br />

about, variety in all its magnificence.<br />

With that said, in this edition we feature one hell of<br />

a talented French videographer, showcase the work<br />

of an Australian artist, interview the inaugural winner<br />

of Australia’s first skateboard competition, travel to<br />

Papua New Guinea, step inside some amazing surf<br />

shacks, check out a troopy that is something different<br />

altogether and provide an exposé of the latest shapes<br />

from Australia’s immense number of talented surfboard<br />

artisans. So, please enjoy, and if there is something you<br />

would like us to feature more of, or perhaps something<br />

we have not yet shone a light on to date, please let us<br />

know. This is your magazine.<br />

Get in touch at editorial@smorgasboarder.com.au.<br />

The Smorgasboarders

photo: walkandseemedia (yann Fatras)

see the wood

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Love the sea. SeaZinc.<br />

www.seazinc.com.au<br />

Perfect Swell<br />

The first of<br />

its kind<br />

Covering six acres and offering up a pretty<br />

staggering variety of waves, the world’s largest<br />

surf park just had its grand opening an hour from<br />

São Paulo, Brazil.<br />

The gigantic wave pool is a part of the newly opened Boa Vista Village,<br />

and is nothing short of astonishing. Then again, what can you expect<br />

from the world’s leading surf park and wave technology company,<br />

PerfectSwell.<br />

Of course, while we couldn’t help but be enamoured with the wave<br />

pool, Boa Vista Village doesn’t just stop there. The innovative project is<br />

a result of a huge collaboration between high-income Brazil-based real<br />

estate developer JHSF and inventor and developer of PerfectSwell and<br />

SurfStream wave technology, American Wave Machines.<br />

Nestled in the Brazilian countryside, the main component of the<br />

development is actually a residential hub boasting a club house, beach<br />

resort, commercial shopping area, 18-hole golf course, international spa,<br />

equestrian centre, tennis courts and town centre – with each and every<br />

one being anchored to the central wave pool.<br />

Director of operations and JHSF wave manager, Eduardo Grinberg, said<br />

Boa Vista Village surf park caters to everyone, from beginners to surf<br />

champions who are always searching for a place to train.<br />

“These waves are the real deal. Everything that happens in nature,<br />

happens in PerfectSwell.”<br />

During the development’s grand opening celebration in late July, JHSF<br />

hosted a classy pool party and flew in plenty of world-champion surfers<br />

such as Olympic gold medallists Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore to<br />

carve it up and test the surf park to its limits.<br />

If anyone knows their waves, it’s these two. While Italo commented<br />

about the wave pool’s amazing training potential for those who surf high<br />

performance, Carissa simply said, “It was insane, so much fun, honestly<br />

exceeded expectations. I have not stopped smiling, and I probably won’t<br />

until tomorrow.”<br />

While many are dubbing the wave pool at Boa Vista Village as the<br />

world’s biggest and best, it’s also probably the world’s priciest.<br />

Nonetheless, big projects like this one reinforce that surf facilities are<br />

becoming a more mainstream feature in international developments, and<br />

we are more than excited about that.

news<br />

surf watches<br />

Turning tides<br />

Although many of us have spent years honing in our skills to read the<br />

waves – sometimes it’s just convenient to have a little device on your wrist<br />

that does all of that for you.<br />


Contact Peter 0417 727 875 peter@kpsgroup.com.au<br />

Recently, many of the Smorgasboarder crew have gotten into surf watches. And<br />

while our stance on these handy devices is that they should not replace your<br />

instincts, but rather confirm them, we have to admit they are pretty neat. It’s just<br />

astounding how detail oriented some of these watches can be, from displaying<br />

local tide data to tracking the number and calibre of waves you’ve surfed.<br />

While some of us are a bit sceptical, we can’t help but be fascinated about the<br />

new technology emerging in the world of surfing, so here are a some of the most<br />

advanced surf watches we could find that especially piqued our interest.<br />

nixon<br />

High Tide<br />

$319.99 AUD<br />

As lightweight and sleek as it is handy, the High<br />

Tide has plenty of useful functions and a clear, bold<br />

screen that makes it easy to read when you are<br />

amongst the waves or out after dark. The watch’s<br />

main feature is that it comes with pre-programmed<br />

locations that display precise sunrise and sunset<br />

times, tidal information and moon data.<br />

While you can only choose from 550 beaches<br />

worldwide, we were stoked to know that over a<br />

third of those surf breaks are from Australia and<br />

New Zealand. So, if you’re surfing in this corner<br />

of the world, you should be able to find a beach<br />

near you. Of course, we are a stickler for product<br />

sustainability, so it’s a huge bonus that the watch is<br />

made from recycled ocean plastics too.<br />

In addition to being small, light and durable, this surf<br />

watch stands out from the rest thanks to its GPS tracking,<br />

which is super helpful for people wanting to find their<br />

way back after trekking to uncharted surfing, running and<br />

swimming spots. However, we think one of the Search’s<br />

coolest features is it’s detailed surf statistics, which tell<br />

you everything you need to know about your latest surf<br />

session from your top speed to your wave count and the<br />

distance you’ve paddled.<br />

It’s real-time surf conditions are also impressive too,<br />

with graphic depictions of tide charts, wind and swell<br />

data, location maps, moon phases and sunrise and<br />

sunset times. Of course, you also get a ton more global<br />

tide locations (1400 to be exact) and lots of other useful<br />

functions like an alarm, stopwatch and synchronisation<br />

compatibility with the Rip Curl Search App and website.<br />

rip curl<br />

Search GPS 2<br />

$499.99 AUD<br />

garmin<br />

Instinct Solar<br />

Surf Edition<br />

$799.00 AUD<br />

You really couldn’t ask for a more high-tech and<br />

all-encompassing surf watch. I mean, some of<br />

the stuff they built into this thing is just insane. In<br />

addition to countless bells and whistles like visual<br />

tide data, ocean conditions, GPS tracking, weather<br />

information and surf activity (just to name a few) the<br />

Instinct Solar also has a heap of sporting and health<br />

features, such as a heart monitor and alert system, a<br />

sensor that gauges how well your body is absorbing<br />

oxygen and a stress calculator.<br />

As the name suggests, the watch even has a solarpowered<br />

battery complete with a solar intensity<br />

measurement system and a power manager where<br />

you can view how various settings and sensors<br />

impact the watch’s battery life. You can tell this<br />

watch was custom built for people that are out on<br />

the water all day.<br />

1/12 The Terrace,<br />

Brunswick Heads NSW<br />

p: 02 6685 1283

news<br />

A decade of<br />

surf and smiles<br />

When you take on plenty of 6000 km<br />

return trips, venturing off into every<br />

little nook and cranny from the Sunshine<br />

Coast down to the South Australian<br />

border, there are some places that just<br />

stay with you.<br />

Here at Smorgasboarder, The Rivermouth Café<br />

and General Store is a favourite of ours. Nestled in<br />

Tomakin, a small seaside village on the south coast<br />

of New South Wales, the venue exudes a healthy, hip<br />

and beachside vibe and has often been a welcome<br />

sight for us during our travels.<br />

As you can imagine, we were stoked to hear that the<br />

café is reaching its 10th anniversary later this year,<br />

and it was an absolute pleasure for us to sit down<br />

with the venue’s owner, Katrina McDonald, to chat<br />

about the amazing community they have fostered<br />

over the years.<br />

Katrina simply said it has been a pretty special<br />

decade for The Rivermouth, and they have no idea<br />

where the time has gone.<br />

“We have had some super busy summers with the<br />

holiday makers and ongoing local support from the<br />

community combined with the travellers that come<br />

to the Eurobodalla Coast and our beautiful area in<br />

Tomakin.<br />

“Great stories have been heard and talked about<br />

next to all of our surfboards and memorabilia on the<br />

floor. Lots of memories come back, mainly the old<br />

boys and how they used to ride similar boards.<br />

“It would be amazing to actually find out how many<br />

people have come through the doors day in and day<br />

out, including travellers and our local supporters.”<br />

Readers may remember the last time we caught<br />

up with the beloved café all the way back in edition<br />

49. In 2020, we were met with shocking photos of<br />

stark red skies and the ashy remnants left over from<br />

bushfires that ravaged through the south coast of<br />

New South Wales.<br />

Thankfully, the town of Tomakin was spared, and<br />

despite the lingering issues that the flames brought,<br />

both the café and the locals pulled together to<br />

support the unfortunate areas where other homes<br />

and businesses were not so lucky.<br />

When talking to Katrina, it’s made clear that both<br />

the community and The Rivermouth are thriving, and<br />

have remained strong despite the many trials and<br />

tribulations they have been through.<br />

“We copped some testing times through a couple of<br />

Covid19 lockdowns and bushfires. I didn’t know if I<br />

could pick things back up physically and mentally,<br />

but here we are, going into the 10th year.<br />

“I would like to thank our staff, friends and the locals.<br />

I also wouldn’t be here without my family’s ongoing<br />

support and everyone that has stepped into and had<br />

a little piece of the café.”<br />

As one of these loyal visitors, we highly recommend<br />

stopping by The Rivermouth if you are in the area.<br />

And even if you aren’t, we assure you the venue’s<br />

warm atmosphere and fresh, mouth-watering food<br />

are well worth the detour.<br />

The café even stocks a healthy stash of<br />

Smorgasboarder magazines, which we all know are<br />

best enjoyed after a surf and in an amazing café with<br />

a coffee in hand.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />



readers photos<br />

Just noticed Leighton Clark advertised my new board in your mag.<br />

Thought I might share a photo of it in action (with me) whilst on<br />

holidays. He'll probably not be too impressed I added side bites.<br />

F1's surfbreak Muli Meemu Atoll July 2023.<br />

if this does get published please add my thanks to the locals<br />

Ali, Ibrahim, China, Hameed and crew.<br />

Cheers,<br />



alk<br />

he<br />

lank<br />

Yes, they’re all coming out of the<br />

woodwork to walk the plank<br />

(points for the number of puns used?).<br />

Jokes aside, Mark Riley’s balsa workshops have<br />

proven a real hit. So many people from all walks of life:<br />

male, female, young and old are signing up to custom<br />

craft their very own beautiful wooden surfboard and<br />

experience the sensation of riding something they have<br />

built with their own two hands.<br />

This ripper is by a bloke by the name of Gene, who also<br />

happens to be a chippie - great little fish and wave to<br />

boot. Lumbering along nicely :) .<br />

Balsa surfboard kits, one-on-one<br />

tuition sessions and workshops<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

16<br />


email: outereye@gmail.com | phone: 02 6655 7007<br />


WIN!<br />

Surf<br />

IS FREE<br />

Competitions<br />

Winner!<br />


Beautiful boards require racks that don’t detract from the<br />

presentation. You want to see the boards not what’s supporting them<br />

and that is why Ghost Racks created their near transparent, super<br />

strong acrylic rack system. The appeal is undeniable and the reason<br />

why the racks have taken the world by storm.<br />

The good folks at Ghost Racks now make every kind of rack<br />

imaginable from surfboard racks to skateboard racks, corner racks,<br />

horizontal, vertical, multi-angle, free standing and overhead options…<br />

you name it they have it. Better yet, Ghost Racks cater for a diverse<br />

array of board shapes and fin setups too, so your board doesn't<br />

get jeopardised. We love them so much at Smorgasboarder we are<br />

offering up a set of Ghost Racks for one lucky reader in every edition.<br />

A massive congratulations to lucky reader<br />

Colin Mcmahon, the proud new owner of<br />

a beautifully shaped wooden surfboard by<br />

none other than Shapes by Steve O.<br />

By now you know that, here at Smorgasboarder, we love giving<br />

away free stuff. That is why in our last edition we gave our readers<br />

the chance to score a 7’2” hollow wooden surfboard hand-crafted<br />

by Stephen Halpin – one of the most innovative and eco-friendly<br />

board shapers we know.<br />

We were touched to discover that the winner of this edition’s<br />

random draw was Teresa Mcmahon, who entered the competition<br />

to win the board for her husband, Colin. When we reached out to<br />

him, he said he was very grateful for the win and to have such a<br />

beautifully crafted board.<br />

“I have had three surfs on the Stephen Halpin’s board, and it gets<br />

better each time. Even from my first outing I could tell the board is<br />

very easy to paddle and catch waves on.<br />

“The interest in the board from others has also seen a steady<br />

flow of comments about how impressed they are around the<br />

workmanship and design of the board.<br />

“I have been out in mainly knee to chest high shore break and the<br />

most noticeable is the speed of the board from take-off and how<br />

well it holds the line. It also allows me to execute solid smooth<br />

bottom turns with ease.<br />

“I am looking forward to each surf I have with this board, as<br />

the more I surf with it the more I discover about it. It<br />

is performing way above any expectations I had,<br />

and I am excited to have it.”<br />

Congratulations Colin! We are so stoked to<br />

hear that you like it.<br />

Once again, a massive thank you to<br />

everyone who entered, signed up to our<br />

newsletter and visited our socials. You’re<br />

all legends.<br />

Things you need to know…<br />

We’ll pick a winner on Tuesday 31st October 2023, so you have<br />

plenty of time to enter.<br />

We will announce the winner on our Instagram via an update to<br />

our GHOST RACKS COMP post.<br />

This competition is open to Smorgasboarder readers worldwide.<br />

The prize will be your choice of either a vertical or horizontal<br />

wall rack from the Ghost Racks surf range. We will even post<br />

the racks to you at their expense! This is a game of chance.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

18<br />

how to enter<br />

This is a game of chance.<br />

Go to our Smorgasboarder<br />

Instagram page:<br />

a. Follow our Smorgasboarder Instagram page<br />

b. Like the GHOST RACKS COMP post<br />

c. Share it on your Instagram page<br />

d. Tag Smorgasboarder and Ghost Racks on your<br />

shared post<br />

It’s that simple.

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


One and the same<br />

If<br />

waves were roads and<br />

surfboards were cars – who is<br />

responsible for an accident?<br />

It is an interesting parallel, but when you think<br />

about it, can’t most of the unspoken rules of<br />

surfing be traced back to how we approach<br />

courtesy, fairness and fault while driving?<br />

As the Christmas holidays near, the streets and<br />

waves of many coastal towns will soon see an<br />

influx of holidaymakers looking to soak up the<br />

sun at our beautiful beaches. Inevitably, traffic<br />

will build up, and streets and surf breaks will<br />

become congested.<br />

In that setting, imagine a car travels through<br />

a green traffic light but becomes stuck in the<br />

middle of the intersection due to the queued<br />

traffic. The lights change. Another vehicle who<br />

now has a green light and right of way drives<br />

through the intersection and collides with the<br />

queued vehicle causing injuries to both drivers.<br />

Then, imagine perhaps a similar surfing<br />

scenario. A surfer on a wave has right of way.<br />

Another surfer paddling out sees the surfer on<br />

the wave heading to their left and consequently<br />

heads right to avoid a collision. The surfer on<br />

the wave however then cuts back, gets caught<br />

in the wash and hits the surfer paddling out.<br />

Both scenarios are similar, despite being on<br />

land and at sea, but the question still remains –<br />

who caused the accident?<br />

The first car by blocking the intersection? Or<br />

the second car by failing to avoid the queued<br />

traffic despite having the right of way? Is the<br />

second driver entitled to simply assume that<br />

all others will comply with the road rules at all<br />

times? In terms of the surfer on the wave, do<br />

they always have right of way? What happens<br />

if the surfer on the wave partially loses control<br />

of their board in the wash (even with a legrope<br />

on)? Was it the fault of the surfer on the wave<br />

or the surfer paddling out?<br />

To understand who is responsible when<br />

surfing, what if we looked to the rules and<br />

regulations of driving? In Queensland,<br />

the road rules are set out in the Transport<br />

Operations (Road Use Management – Road<br />

Rules) Regulation 2009, which covers how<br />

Queenslanders should drive in a safe manner<br />

on a day-to-day basis – from how to safely<br />

perform a U-turn to how to parallel park safely.<br />

Other States and Territories around Australia<br />

have similar, but not the same, legislated road<br />

rules.<br />

Many cases over the years have considered<br />

the liability of drivers who have failed to comply<br />

with the road rules. The principal case being<br />

Sibley v Kais (1967) 118 CLR 424. In Sibley, the<br />

Plaintiff looked to the right before entering an<br />

intersection and being struck by an oncoming<br />

vehicle from their left. The Plaintiff argued that<br />

the Defendant breached the “right hand rule”<br />

(that at unprotected intersections vehicles must<br />

give way to the right) and should be held liable<br />

on that basis.<br />

While undoubtedly a relevant factor, the High<br />

Court held that a breach of the right hand rule<br />

(or indeed other road rules generally) does<br />

not determine who caused an accident. The<br />

paramount consideration is whether the driver<br />

acted reasonably in all the circumstances. This<br />

means that drivers must not simply assume<br />

that other drivers will drive according to the<br />

road rules.<br />

When two vehicles are entering an intersection,<br />

they are both obligated to take reasonable<br />

care and remain vigilant. In some situations,<br />

this may extend to anticipating the negligence<br />

of others or even irrational behaviour by<br />

pedestrians.<br />

For example, in Manley v Alexander (2005) 223<br />

ALR 228, a driver was found to be negligent<br />

after impacting with a pedestrian lying on a<br />

roadway at 4:00 am. There, the High Court<br />

found that had the driver been paying attention<br />

to all that was happening on or near the road<br />

they would have seen the pedestrian and<br />

avoided the impact.<br />

However, there are limits to what a driver<br />

has to do to avoid liability when others are<br />

acting unpredictably. It will often depend<br />

on whether the driver has any reasonable<br />

opportunity to take steps to avoid the accident<br />

from occurring. More recently, in Lim v Cho<br />

[2018] NSWCA 145, a driver was found not<br />

to be liable when their passenger leapt from<br />

the moving vehicle and suffered catastrophic<br />

injuries.<br />

Ultimately, these types of cases are very<br />

fact-dependent. There is often no clear<br />

answer and no consistent recollection of the<br />

accident by witnesses. In most instances,<br />

even where claims succeed, there is usually<br />

an accompanying reduction for contributory<br />

negligence to reflect the injured driver’s relative<br />

contribution to the accident.<br />

What is clear is that, similar to driving, surfers<br />

are not entitled to simply assume others will<br />

surf safely – they must remain vigilant and if<br />

they anticipate danger, they must respond to<br />

it. So, maybe the rules of driving and surfing<br />

aren’t so different after all?<br />

schultzlaw.com.au<br />

i<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

P: 03 9587 3553<br />

E: rory@okesurfboards.com<br />


1/1-7 Canterbury Rd, Braeside, VIC 21

controversy<br />

words: dave swan<br />

So, the topic of today’s conversation is knobs. And no – I’m not talking about the world’s<br />

greatest surf wax. This is about that special group of people who seem to simply enjoy<br />

being unpleasant in life.<br />

So, the topic of today’s conversation is knobs. And no – I’m<br />

not talking about the world’s greatest surf wax. This is about<br />

that special group of people who seem to simply enjoy being<br />

unpleasant in life.<br />

Concerningly, knobs seem to be steadily growing in number<br />

and can be found in all walks of life, across all ages, all sexes,<br />

professions, all industries and all pastimes. Unfortuantely,<br />

surfing is no different!<br />

Here at Smorgasboarder, we have strict No Knobs Policy<br />

enshrined in our world domination business plan. It states,<br />

‘We shall be free from knobs in their many forms. They serve<br />

to only bring us down. Knobs are prohibited from working in<br />

our organisation. We do not wish to do business with knobs<br />

in any shape or form. We will endeavour to avoid knobs at all<br />

costs. We will never become knobs.’<br />

So, if you too live by a No Knobs Policy, one gem of wisdom<br />

you can now take to the bank knowing our stance on<br />

knobbiness: if a person or business is featured in the hallowed<br />

pages of Smorgasboarder, they’re clearly not knobs! Of<br />

course we must stress, hand-on-heart, that this truth in no<br />

way implies that surfers or surf business who haven’t yet been<br />

in our mag are knobs. We’re confident they will most likely be<br />

very nice people we just haven’t been met yet. (However as<br />

they say, ‘Squirrels are just rats with good publicity’, so you<br />

never know, there might be the odd logical conclusion to jump<br />

to... But I digress!)<br />

So, why do knobs exist? And how can we remove them from<br />

our lives? Am I a knob?<br />

Why do knobs exist? Honestly, I don’t know.<br />

Most likely to challenge the rest of us to be<br />

more patient. Do knobs indeed realise they<br />

are knobs? Or are they just oblivious?<br />

Perhaps they do know<br />

they are knobs but<br />

simply don’t care<br />

because of some<br />

personal traits.<br />

If so, what<br />

could these<br />

traits be?<br />

One common trait across knobs seems to a keen sense<br />

of self-importance which manifests itself in both a lack of<br />

consideration for others and a rather overinflated ego. The<br />

person who’s rude to waiters or cuts you off in traffic on<br />

purpose, for example. Another such trait is that knobs tend to<br />

often be the tight-arse who don’t shout a round. (Note: even<br />

if youre not a fully fledged knob, never be a tight-arse. It’s a<br />

one-way ticket to knob-dom).<br />

So, assuming you can effectively spot one, how do we<br />

remove this narcissistic, selfish, too cool-for-school, tightwad<br />

from our lives?<br />

Simple. Call them out on it. They don’t like it.<br />

Yes, it is important to be diplomatic and endeavour to<br />

tactfully inform them that they are indeed a knob – we’re not<br />

calling for confrontation and conflict here - but as my dad<br />

always said, “silence is golden but sometimes it is yellow.”<br />

Once called out, one of two things happen: They decide to be<br />

a better person and less knobby, or they stop interacting with<br />

you. Either way, a win!<br />

Now that I have provided what I believe is the singular best<br />

method to eradicate knobs from your life, we get to the next,<br />

even more important part of this: how to avoid becoming<br />

a knob yourself (as the affliction appears to be highly<br />

contagious).<br />

These are the top eight tips to avoid this fate:<br />

1. Do not hang out with knobs.<br />

Knob on knob is a no go.<br />

2. Do not force your views on others.<br />

Accept that everyone is different and they are entitled to<br />

their own opinion. You may have a certain perspective<br />

and another person may have a different perspective.<br />

Just because it is different, does not make either right<br />

or wrong. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see their<br />

point of view. Different views make for an interesting<br />

world and - as we said earlier in our editorial foreword -<br />

variety is the spice of life. Living life in an echo chamber<br />

only ensures you become one-eyed and insular.




3. Don’t be authoritarian.<br />

It’s unhealthy. No-one needs to conform to your way<br />

of thinking or doing things. If there is one thing the<br />

pandemic has taught us, it’s that. Censuring people’s<br />

views and opinions, no matter how contrary they may be<br />

to your own, is a sure-fire way toward a dystopian future.<br />

4. Be respectful.<br />

While respecting people’s personal opinions, also make<br />

sure to respect their personal space, respect their time,<br />

respect their feelings and respect their property. In short,<br />

be considerate.<br />

5. Take responsibility kindly.<br />

‘If it is going to be, it is up to me.’ If you want to get<br />

ahead and live a certain life, that it is up to you to realise<br />

that goal and not someone else’s job or charitable<br />

responsibility to get you there. If you can bring others<br />

up with you, even better, but at very least don’t step on<br />

anyone else to get ahead.<br />

6. Pay your way.<br />

Don’t leech of others’ good natures. Be<br />

generous and again, be respectful.<br />

7. Don’t be a hypocrite.<br />

Never expect of others what you<br />

wouldn’t do yourself. Ensure your<br />

behaviour doesn’t contradict what<br />

you claim to believe or feel.<br />

8. Be kind<br />

The end.<br />

If, reading this piece, you feel<br />

excited, armed and ready to rid<br />

yourselves of some unpleasant<br />

knobbiness in your life, that makes<br />

us very happy. If however, reading<br />

this piece, you find yourself<br />

mildy offended, perhaps some<br />

self-knob-searching might<br />

be required? We know that<br />

obviously, as loyal<br />

Smorgasboarder<br />

readers, it’s definitely<br />

the former, but just<br />

in case, always<br />

remember the<br />

golden bit of<br />

advice “Offence is<br />

taken, not given…”<br />

Live knob free good people!<br />


PH: (08) 8386 0404<br />

smorgasboarder<br />


smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

OPEN<br />

BE OUR<br />


7 DAYS<br />

Sticker packs<br />

available at the<br />

Smorgastore<br />

And of course, if you do like the sound<br />

of our Knobs, you can purchase Knobs<br />

Surf Wax at the Smorgasboarder<br />

store. Good bumps and sticky as.<br />



# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Across the ditch<br />

Apologies, following our trip there earlier this year we can’t but help continue featuring photos<br />

of this most magical surf break. In case you don’t recognise it, it is Raglan on the North Island<br />

of New Zealand, home of Mickey T (Mike Thompson Custom Shapes and Raglan Longboards).<br />

Head left and follow the rainbow.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Across the ditch<br />



You wake up one morning in September and things are<br />

just, well, different!<br />

That anticipation of warmer weather is nearing. It’s early,<br />

but now the sun is up before I am. I still need a hoodie<br />

first thing, but that won’t be for long.<br />

As you’re grabbing hold of the last opportunities to<br />

partake in winter snow sports, you can’t help your<br />

attention being diverted to the summer activities just<br />

around the corner. Whether your game is hiking, biking,<br />

wake, SUP or surf, spring is in the air and summer is on<br />

its way.<br />

“When do we take the winter snowboard racks off the<br />

top of the truck?”, replace them with Ocean & Earth<br />

foamies for carrying the 10ft Adventure 60/40 SUP or<br />

Torq surfboards down the coast. Sure as sh#t, as soon as<br />

you do the ‘change-up’ along comes one of those classic<br />

spring snowstorms that sees the town blanketed in a lateseason<br />

covering, reminding us all that we don’t control<br />

any of it. Oh well, keep out the 159 Jones Stratos for a<br />

few more days of snow play.<br />

Spring-time is a “bitsa”… bits of this and bits of that.<br />

As I did yesterday, you can go and do some fast morning<br />

laps on the groomed corduroy before it turns to spring<br />

corn mid-morning. Or you can pop over the saddle, into<br />

the back and side-country for some touring once things<br />

have softened up. The 158 Season Pass splitboard is<br />

just perfect for those variable spring conditions that<br />

have softer powder patches intersected with wind and<br />

sun effected open ridges and roll-overs. Once you’re<br />

done, you boost back down the hill and get on the bike<br />

for some laps or just a casual ride around the lake edge<br />

to earn yourself a couple of beers at our local –Altitude<br />

Brewery.<br />

Without even realising I’d done it, I got home yesterday<br />

and in the last of the afternoon sun I pulled out the<br />

SUP’s and started prepping the little ding repairs that I<br />

neglected to do at the end of last summer. All of a sudden<br />

I’m searching the shed for my FCS surf leashes, finding<br />

my Volcom change-poncho in the process, but also<br />

searching in vain for my left Ripcurl surf bootie that I had<br />

obviously not put back in the water sports bin.<br />

Spring allows us to do so much. I remember that saying,<br />

that spring is all about “new life” – you know the picture,<br />

with the little lambs and their wiggly tails.<br />

It’s not just new life, more so a new lease on life.<br />

Hmmm… maybe I won’t take the snowboard racks off<br />

just yet!<br />

www.nzshred.co.nz<br />

NZ SHRED<br />


Across the ditch<br />

for those<br />

out in the<br />

elements<br />

100% NATURAL<br />


Whether you’re in the surf, snow, or<br />

mountain bike trails, playing outdoor<br />

sports, or a tradie doing the mahi, this<br />

is made for you. Sweat and waterresistant,<br />

perfect for all skin types.<br />









seasap.nz<br />

# 56 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Across the ditch<br />

Beachstreet<br />

“Beachstreet Surf Shop is a core surf shop, locally owned and<br />

operated, just up from Fitzroy Beach.<br />

We stock surfing products for all types of wave riding. Home to local<br />

brands Lost in the 60’s and Blacksand.<br />

Also offering trade ins, ding repair, hire equipment and stand-up<br />

paddle and surf coaching.<br />

Beachstreet Surf Shop, it’s all about surfing!”<br />

+64 6-758 0400<br />

chip@hotmail.co.nz<br />

Raglan Holiday Park Papahua<br />

“Six kilometres from a surf beach and five minutes walk to town over foot<br />

bridge. Whether you have come to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this<br />

idyllic New Zealand beach town or are a surfer seeking some world class<br />

wave action, Raglan Holiday Park is the perfect place to stay.<br />

With vehicle access by a lone road bridge, this virtual island has its own<br />

sandy beach, boat ramp, takeaway store, huge playground, skate park<br />

and picturesque walk bridge conveniently linking the Raglan Holiday<br />

Park to the Raglan Town centre. Our peaceful and well maintained<br />

campground has all the facilities you will need to make your stay as fun<br />

and relaxing as possible.”<br />

raglanholidaypark.co.nz<br />

You can book online or email<br />

stay@raglanholidaypark.co.nz<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

28<br />

Real Surf<br />

“Real Surf is a locally owned and operated Core Surf Store<br />

specialising in surfboards, wetsuits, hardware and rentals. Come<br />

check out our new store just down the road at 5/56 Kingsford Smith<br />

St, Lyall Bay, Wellington.<br />

We’re open seven days a week with a friendly and experienced team<br />

ready to help out with your next purchase!<br />

Alternatively check out our website for the latest products and sale<br />

deals at www.realsurf.co.nz or find us on social media.”<br />

+64 4 387 8798<br />

www.realsurf.co.nz<br />

team@realsurf.co.nz<br />

SUPcentre<br />

(Not Just A Stand Up Paddle Board Store)<br />

“What began as a specialist Stand Up Paddle Store over 10 years ago, has<br />

now grown in to one of New Zealand’s best SUP, Surf and Wing-Foil stores.<br />

Not only do we have a unique store in the heart of Newmarket, Auckland,<br />

but we also have a fantastic website. So no matter where you are located in<br />

New Zealand you can shop online and we will get what you need to you.<br />

We still carry a huge range of Stand Up Paddle Boards, Paddles, Fins<br />

and SUP Accessories. However, now you’ll also find a wide range of<br />

Surfboards, Surf Fins, Leashes and Wetsuits. Or if Wing Foiling is your new<br />

passion then check out our quality range of wing foil boards, wind wings,<br />

foils and foiling accessories. Whatever you need, visit us instore or online.”<br />

+64 9 520 3366<br />

www.supcentre.co.nz<br />


Across the ditch<br />

MOANA<br />

SUP and Surf<br />

Your stand up paddleboarding specialists<br />

Moana SUP and Surf is Nelson’s iconic little surf<br />

store, locally owned and operated with a full range of<br />

SUP, Surf and foil boards. Moana SUP & Surf offers<br />

expert advice to get you geared up for paddling.<br />

The sister company Paddle Nelson, offers a range of<br />

unique paddling experiences for all to enjoy, including<br />

our latest and greatest Night SUP Guided Tour.<br />

We ship nation wide.<br />

Shop 2, 623 Rocks Road,<br />

Moana, Nelson, 7011<br />

boards@moananzsup.co.nz<br />

027 285 0772<br />


WHAT<br />

COMES<br />


Yann Fatras<br />

words: dave swan and amber o’dell<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


d indeed any creative endeavour for that<br />

atter, that professional training is a doubleged<br />

sword. While it can be beneficial to<br />

veloping technical skills, it can also erode<br />

e’s unique creative flair.<br />

There’s an argument when it comes to the arts<br />

and indeed any creative endeavour for that<br />

matter, that professional training is a double-<br />

hy is it that some of the most incredibly<br />

edged sword. While it can be beneficial to<br />

developing technical skills, it can also erode<br />

lented artists one’s and unique photographers creative flair. have never<br />

Why is it that some of the most incredibly<br />

en formally trained? Does formal training<br />

talented artists and photographers have never<br />

been formally trained? Does formal training<br />

cite a certain incite a certain homogeneity where where over time over time<br />

you become conditioned to approaching it like<br />

everyone else, in turn detracting from the<br />

u become conditioned to approaching it like<br />

eryone else and detract from the organic<br />

ture of self-taught creativity?<br />

nn Fratas is a case in point. This incredibly<br />

lented videographer has never undergone<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

organic nature of self-taught creativity?<br />

Yann Fatras is a case in point. This incredibly<br />

talented videographer has never undergone<br />

formal training and yet his innate skill behind<br />

the lens is there for all to see. We recently<br />

caught up with him to talk how he became so<br />

enamoured with film and photography and the<br />

path that led him here from his home in Paris.<br />

rmal training and yet his innate skill behind<br />

e lens is there for all to see. We recently<br />

32<br />

ught up with him to talk how he became so

Ther<br />

matt<br />

edge<br />

deve<br />

one’<br />

Why<br />

tale<br />

been<br />

and<br />

Yann is born in France, a country revered around the<br />

world for its deep, rich history in the fine arts. For<br />

as long as he can remember his world has been<br />

immersed in the arts – everything from music to<br />

painting and photography. The one constant growing<br />

up and into his adult years was that he was always<br />

surrounded by artists. His father and brother were<br />

musicians and many of his friends became highend<br />

photographers, so it was only natural that he<br />

too would develop a keen interest in the same. Yann<br />

picks up the story.<br />

“Art has always been really present in my life. Music,<br />

painting, photography, I love all of them.<br />

“Growing up, I always had a camera in my hand, and<br />

I guess that is where it all started. I have always like<br />

photographing people but like randomly and really<br />

organically. I think that’s where my vision comes<br />

from, it’s very natural. I don’t like too much setup as<br />

it detracts from the instinctive nature of photography<br />

and videography. I’ve always shot that way.”<br />

In many ways, Yann was drawn to the camera as a<br />

means of capturing life’s memories. He felt compelled<br />

to capture those special moments in his life with<br />

friends and family so they had a keepsake for ever<br />

and a day. It was these very friends that soon noted<br />

his talent behind the lens.<br />

“People started saying that they really liked what I<br />

was doing, so when we arrived in Australia I decided<br />

to step it up a bit. I got a better camera and then more<br />

better cameras, and then three years ago I decided<br />

to really do the whole leap into that side of things and<br />

get into it commercially.”<br />

It is here that we need to take a step back and<br />

understand what fate befell Yann for him to undertake<br />

his journey to our distant shores.<br />

“I was a very high-end pastry chef, working in<br />

massive hotels in Paris. My career was on the rise<br />

and I was preparing for a world contest of sugar art.<br />

But just before the competition, I had this motorbike<br />

crash and it crushed my body entirely. I was 25 at<br />

the time.”<br />

Yann was hit by a truck that had run a red light. It<br />

crashed directly into his side, what we Australians<br />

know as a T-bone accident.<br />

“I broke my back and half my bike. My whole leg<br />

was crushed and my hand was almost detached. It<br />

was a massive motorbike crash – like something that<br />

shatters your life for real. I very nearly died.”<br />

After a long recovery and learning to walk again over<br />

the course of two years, Yann returned as a pastry<br />

chef but constantly being on his feet all day after<br />

such a catastrophic accident took its toll on his body,<br />

but not his mind.<br />

“It pretty much broke my career, but I didn’t care<br />

about that aspect because I knew that something<br />

would happen. Since that day, I’ve always told myself<br />

to not plan too much – to go with the flow, but, go<br />

hard with the flow.<br />

inci<br />

you<br />

ever<br />

natu<br />

Yan<br />

tale<br />

form<br />


Yann was born in France, a country revered around<br />

the world for its deep, rich history in the fine arts.<br />

For as long as he can remember his world has<br />

been immersed in the arts – everything from music<br />

to painting and photography. The one constant<br />

growing up and into his adult years was that he<br />

was always surrounded by artists. His father and<br />

brother were musicians and some of his friends<br />

became well known artists, so it was only natural<br />

that he too would develop a keen interest in the<br />

same. Yann picks up the story.<br />

“Art has always been really present in my life.<br />

Music, painting, photography – I love all of them.<br />

“Growing up, I always had a camera in my hand,<br />

and I guess that is where it all started. I have always<br />

liked photographing people but like randomly and<br />

really organically. I think that’s where my vision<br />

comes from, it’s very natural. I don’t like too much<br />

setup as it detracts from the instinctive nature of<br />

photography and videography. I’ve always shot<br />

that way.”<br />

In many ways, Yann was drawn to the camera<br />

as a means of capturing life’s memories. He felt<br />

compelled to capture those special moments in his<br />

life with friends and family so they had a keepsake<br />

forever and a day. It was these very friends that<br />

soon noted his talent behind the lens.<br />

“I have always liked photographing<br />

people but like randomly and really<br />

organically. I think that’s where my<br />

vision comes from, it’s very natural. “<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


“People started saying that they really liked what I was doing, so when we<br />

arrived in Australia I decided to step it up a bit. I got a better camera and<br />

then more better cameras, and three years ago I decided to really do the<br />

whole leap into that side of things and get into it commercially.”<br />

It is here that we need to take a step back and understand what fate befell<br />

Yann for him to undertake his journey to our distant shores.<br />

“I was a very high-end pastry chef, working with some of the best chefs in<br />

Paris. My career was on the rise and I was preparing for a world contest of<br />

sugar art. But just before the competition, I had this motorbike crash and<br />

it crushed my leg and arm. I was 23 at the time.”<br />

Yann was hit by a truck that had run a red light. It crashed directly into his<br />

side. It’s what we Australians know as a T-bone accident.<br />

“I broke my bike in half. My whole leg was crushed and my hand was<br />

almost detached. It was a massive motorbike crash – like something that<br />

shatters your life for real. I very nearly died.”<br />

After a long recovery and learning to walk again over the course of two<br />

years, Yann returned as a pastry chef but constantly being on his feet all<br />

day after such a catastrophic accident took its toll on his body, but not<br />

his mind.<br />

“I had this motorbike crash<br />

and it crushed my body entirely.<br />

I was 23 at the time.”<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


“It pretty much broke my career, but I didn’t care about<br />

that aspect because I knew that something would happen.<br />

Since that day, I’ve always told myself to not plan too<br />

much – to go with the flow, but go hard with the flow.<br />

“If something happens, go with it. That brought me to not<br />

plan too much in my shoots. I always tell my assistant to<br />

make a shot list but learn to change things around to suit<br />

the moment – to be organised but also go with the flow.<br />

That’s exactly how I handle my life, and that’s what this<br />

accident brought me.”<br />

It’s an inspiring outlook on life, and one you can instantly<br />

see through his steely gaze. Yann lives his life with zeal<br />

and passion. You can see his commitment to this ideal<br />

and I must confess, hearing Yann utter these carefully<br />

chosen words, and the manner in which he expressed it,<br />

gave me goosebumps. It is surely a reminder to us all to<br />

live our life in the moment because we so readily forget<br />

this simple ethos.<br />

“Since that day, I’ve always<br />

told myself to not plan too<br />

much – to go with the flow,<br />

but go hard with the flow.”<br />

Following the accident Yann and his girlfriend considered<br />

their next steps and decided to “change life” which<br />

entailed a move to Australia.<br />

“Aurélie was a massive support. We kind of made the<br />

same decision together and wanted to see where life<br />

could take us. We wanted to do what we love and start<br />

enjoying every day, so we decided to pack up only what<br />

we needed and sell the rest.<br />

“We spent two years in Byron and then came up here to<br />

the Sunshine Coast. We have lived here for 13 years now<br />

and have two beautiful daughters, Léna and Charlie, aged<br />

nine and four.”<br />

Through this period Yann launched his business<br />

WalkAndSea Media where he is a visual storyteller/<br />

videographer extraordinaire working with businesses the<br />

likes of Suzuki, Surfing Queensland, Surfline, Pangea<br />

Maps, Heads of Noosa brewery and various fashion and<br />

lifestyle brands. One of the projects he has been working<br />

on most recently is with Travis Fimmel and the new beer<br />

brand he co-founded called Travla.<br />

“I love when people get together and bounce ideas off<br />

each other, and I learnt a lot working alongside such a<br />

creative person.”

Following his shoot with Travla, when Yann and I<br />

caught up, he informed me he was soon to jet off<br />

to Sri Lanka. Ohh, the life. Jokes aside, you can tell<br />

how hard Yann works and as they say, the harder you<br />

work, the luckier you become.<br />

“I got contacted by the producer of the film, which is<br />

a Sri Lankan guy that used to be a programer in New<br />

York and is now back in Sri Lanka with his wife and<br />

kids. He sponsors some of the riders that we were<br />

filming in Sri Lanka along with a crew of surfers that<br />

were part of the Sri Lankan Olympic team. They are<br />

really good surfers. I am leaving soon to shoot over<br />

there. It’s going to be something really big I think.<br />

“We will then travel a bit with the film. We are going<br />

to use our network to show it in as many destinations<br />

as possible, in particular Sri Lanka, here in Noosa and<br />

hopefully in San Franscisco and France.<br />

“Our main goal is to promote that country because<br />

it’s amazing. It’s got incredible surfers but no money<br />

to promote them.”<br />

The trip sounded incredible, and as some of these<br />

photos lay testament, it was. Yann forwarded a few<br />

of the photos before we went to print.<br />

With such a diverse array of clients, I asked whether<br />

this presented particular challenges to him and<br />

whether it also entailed investing in an extensive<br />

amount of different gear.<br />

“One thing that a friend and a very good artist told me<br />

when I started pursuing videography commercially<br />

was, ‘Mate, you’ll have to find a line and keep it.<br />

People need to recognise you for that line.’ I fully<br />

heard him, but I disagreed straight away because I<br />

didn’t think that it applied to who I am.<br />

“It could be that it worked for him, because when<br />

you think about painting, it’s true, you don’t want<br />

to paint with oil and suddenly you paint with water<br />

colours or something else – people need to recognise<br />

your style. But with photography and videography,<br />

because we show the world, we have to be able to<br />

show every part of the world and every category of<br />

the world. So, I don’t want to be put in a box. I think<br />

we live in a world where we need to be adaptable.”<br />

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# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


This brings me back to my original point about<br />

being true to yourself and what feels right to you, as<br />

opposed to perhaps the conventional approach.<br />

“I grew up doing this. I may not be formally qualified<br />

but I have been to the school of life. I guess that is why<br />

my perception and intuition is different to someone<br />

that has learned it at university. I didn’t want to get<br />

into school, or learn how it’s done, because I didn’t<br />

want to lose that organic vision because I felt that’s<br />

what makes it interesting.<br />

“I love to plan my shoots, but I leave room for the<br />

unplanned side of it too. I like the organic nature of<br />

the unplanned and being in the magic of the moment.<br />

“However, that is something that you can’t have in<br />

Hollywood. There’s massive money at stake and<br />

every single step has to be written down. It kind of<br />

breaks the magic of the moment.”<br />

Considering the trash fire that has erupted in<br />

Hollywood at present, perhaps this pursuit has been<br />

wisely avoided by Yann. In case you are unaware,<br />

chaos has ensued as a result of big production<br />

companies beginning to entertain the idea of using<br />

AI to substitute the distinctive talent and imagination<br />

of writers and actors, who are already tethered by a<br />

system that values profit conservatism over creativity.<br />

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# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

44<br />

“It’s not really the gear, it’s what<br />

you do with it. Don’t get me wrong,<br />

I’ve got really good gear. I’m<br />

working with the Sony A7S III and<br />

R IV, and it gets me amazing videos<br />

and photos, but if you give that to<br />

someone that doesn’t know how to<br />

use it, they will give you sh*t.”

Considering where many creative industries<br />

(mostly the ones with a big commercial bosses<br />

behind the helm) are heading right now, it seems<br />

that art in all its forms is straying more and more<br />

away from challenging, fresh and unique brush<br />

strokes and more and more towards commercial,<br />

and what some may describe as boring, plain<br />

money-making crap.<br />

This is why, in an industry of painstaking,<br />

controlled perfectionism, Yann’s organic shots<br />

are just insanely refreshing to look at.<br />

This leads me to Yann’s gear, which is always a<br />

topic of interest for aspiring videographers and<br />

photographers alike.<br />

“I have been using Sony gear for quite a while.<br />

There’s something to it, and the form factor is a<br />

big deal. I’ve got all my gear in that brand, so it’s<br />

always felt silly to change just because of a trend.<br />

“Sony is comfortable, but Canon and Blackmagic<br />

are also amazing. Anything is good as long as<br />

you know what you’re doing. I just keep Sony<br />

because I love the form factor and the fact that<br />

it’s a bit smaller. Their lens range is also amazing<br />

and good for what I’m doing. It’s perfect both size<br />

and quality wise.”<br />

As Yann reaffirms though, great gear doesn’t<br />

necessarily make for great work. Personally,<br />

I have a set of tools at home but I can assure<br />

you my wife does not even remotely consider<br />

me a tradesman. I am possibly more like Frank<br />

Spencer. Our younger readers won’t even know<br />

who he is but suffice to say, clothes may maketh<br />

the man but tools certainly don’t maketh the<br />

tradesman.<br />

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# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


“It’s not really the gear,<br />

it’s what you do with<br />

it. Don’t “I love get to plan me wrong,<br />

I’ve got really good<br />

gear. I’m working with<br />

the Sony S3 and it gets<br />

me amazing videos and<br />

photos, but if you give<br />

that “It’s not to really the gear, someone it’s what you do with it. Don’t get that<br />

doesn’t know how to use it, know they will give you sh*t. how to use<br />

it, it they too will look crap. Give will it to someone give who knows how to you<br />

sh*t.<br />

my shoots but I<br />

leave room for the<br />

unplanned side<br />

of it too. I like the<br />

organic nature of<br />

the unplanned abd<br />

being in the magic<br />

of the moment.”<br />

me wrong, I’ve got really good gear. I’m working with the<br />

Sony A7S III and Sony R IV and it gets me amazing videos<br />

and photos, but if you give that to someone that doesn’t<br />

“People talk about the colour science of say Sony and<br />

Canon, and yes, of course they’ve got different science,<br />

but give it to someone that doesn’t know how to edit, and<br />

edit, and both Sony and Canon will look amazing and vice<br />

versa. I think it’s just about always knowing the gear.”<br />

In terms of water housing, Yann uses SeaFrogs.<br />

“What I love about my SeaFrogs is that, in the housing,<br />

there are these little details like a pump that goes into it<br />

so you can create a vacuum seal inside it. I’ve never had<br />

any fog, which is amazing for me. It’s also got an LED for<br />

leaking, so if any leaking happens you can see it straight<br />

“People<br />

away. That was a game<br />

talk<br />

changer for me.<br />

about the<br />

“When it comes to the form factor, it’s a little smaller<br />

than the rest but that’s a good thing. I have been in really<br />

hardcore situations, and I’ve never had any issue with it,<br />

colour so I’ll keep working science with it. I’ve always said I’ll stay of with say<br />

the team that works. If I wasn’t happy at one stage, I<br />

would have gone for something else.”<br />

And this brings us to surfing. As we are all aware, there<br />

Sony is great surf and in France. Most Canon, of us have heard of Biarritz, and<br />

Hossegor and Lacanau, but how far are they from the<br />

French capital?<br />

“I was pretty much a holiday surfer and snowboarding,<br />

yes, and skateboarding of course was the link between those they’ve<br />

times. It’s<br />

only since I arrived in Australia 13 years ago that surfing<br />

became a entire part of my life routine.<br />

“We mainly surfed all through summertime and then<br />

got snowboarded different during the wintertime because science,<br />

it’s very<br />

easy to access. Going to the snow takes six hours by<br />

train, but it goes pretty quick. I’ve always been into<br />

that stuff and getting the cameras for it. I shot a lot of<br />

but skateboarding give too.” it to someone<br />

that doesn’t know how 47 t<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //

This explains how Yann became an avid<br />

surfer, snowboarder and skater but I<br />

was curious as to how his relationship<br />

with the two top blokes behind Thomas<br />

Surfboards, co-founders Thomas Bexon<br />

and Jake Bowery, developed.<br />

“That’s the thing, like everything that<br />

I love doing, I need to understand the<br />

“I met beginning Jake of the when idea and then I I really was living here at<br />

get the whole concept of what I like.<br />

the Sunshine That’s why I work with Coast. surfboards, When we first came<br />

that’s why I do all of this stuff.”<br />

here, I was always in the water. I met<br />

both him and then Thomas back when<br />

Jake was still a glasser at Classic Malibu.<br />

“I’ve always been around Thomas and<br />

Jake, we actually all had babies around<br />

basically the same time. They’re my<br />

best friends. Jake’s daughter, Lilly, is<br />

incredible too. She blew up completely<br />

because of her series on Netflix. She’s

I must confess I have always envied those who reside in a place where<br />

surfing and snowboarding are a stone’s throw away. Living on the Sunshine<br />

Coast, I may be close to the surf but the snow is a couple of days drive.<br />

This explains how Yann became an avid surfer, snowboarder and skater,<br />

but I was curious as to how his relationship with the two top blokes behind<br />

Thomas Surfboards, co-founders Thomas Bexon and Jake Bowrey,<br />

developed.<br />

“I met Jake when I was living here at the Sunshine Coast. When we first<br />

came here, 10 years ago, I was always in the water. I met both him and<br />

then Thomas back when Jake was still a glasser at Classic Malibu. We have<br />

stayed very close friends ever since.”<br />

That explains the relationship, but I was equally interested how a talented<br />

videographer ended up working with them at the Thomas Surfboards<br />

factory. I thought to myself, surely this guy can’t be a surfboard shaper too.<br />

Many of us are lucky to possess one talent let alone a myriad of gifts.<br />

“No, I’ve made some boards, but nothing professional. I’m not a shaper.<br />

I’m surrounded by amazing craftsmen, and I will never say that I am a selfshaper,<br />

but if you give me a blank, I can make a board that works. It’s so<br />

good to see it under your feet when you are surfing.<br />

“That’s the thing, like everything that I love doing, I need to understand the<br />

beginning of the idea and then I really get the whole concept of what I like.<br />

That’s why I work with surfboards, that’s why I do all of this stuff.<br />

“Plus, when I’m surrounded with all of these guys it’s hard to not enjoy it.<br />

There’s always something happening, there’s always an idea coming up<br />

that’s so cool and then boom, it brings you some other vision. It’s so good<br />

to work with these dudes and be surrounded with that. I don’t want to leave<br />

that any time soon.<br />

“Anyhow, I don’t shape for them, but I cut boards for them one day a week.<br />

I was a furniture maker for about three years of my life.”<br />

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50<br />

“The main thing for me now is just to<br />

really get into the organic flow of life.<br />

That’s the main thing that I want to<br />

bring with me – to just enjoy it.”<br />

There he goes, another bloody talent. While I thoroughly enjoyed this<br />

interview, his never-ending list of talents was starting to piss me off.<br />

As always Yann was as humble as could be.<br />

“Yes, I worked as furniture maker. That was after my accident when I<br />

was in the transition of becoming a full-time videographer. One of my<br />

dreams was to work with timber. So, I did that a bit, learned the CNC<br />

machine (automated cutting machine used in furniture construction<br />

as well as pre-shaping surfboard blanks) and that lead me to getting<br />

involved with Thomas and Jake.”<br />

As for the future, Yann will continue to pursue what comes naturally<br />

and go with the flow.<br />

“I just want to keep doing what I want to do at the moment. It’s been<br />

a few months since we had all of those issues last year (Covid). The<br />

main thing for me now is just to really get into the organic flow of life.<br />

That’s the main thing that I want to bring with me – to just enjoy it.

“I could stay from dark to dark in my studio, editing a<br />

real good piece, and I’ll be the happiest man, but the<br />

next day I could be out all day in the water, and that<br />

will be my happiest day.<br />

“I’m really trying to say to people that I go with the<br />

flow, I go organically. That’s the main thing that I want<br />

people to understand about me is that I’m hard to put<br />

in a cage. If you let me follow my stuff, something<br />

good will happen and then we can work together.”<br />

For those on the Sunshine Coast who are interested in<br />

checking out some of Yann’s still photography work<br />

he has a photo exhibition in Noosa on the 28th of<br />

October at L’air Studio in Noosaville. For his portfolio<br />

of videography and still work, you can check it all out<br />

at walkandseemedia.com or go to his Instagram<br />

handle walkandseemedia.<br />

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urfing th<br />

travel<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


travel<br />

e dream<br />

As the chilly winds and crisp swells start to melt away, now<br />

more than ever is a great time to get out there and celebrate<br />

the sunshine in a place you maybe haven’t before.<br />

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travel<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

54<br />

Despite being a vibrant country with one of<br />

the highest concentrations of islands, coasts<br />

and reefs on earth, Papua New Guinea<br />

(PNG) is an incredibly underrated holiday<br />

destination – especially when it comes to<br />

surfing experiences.<br />

Sure, PNG has an abundance of consistent<br />

swells, gentle winds and perfectly shaped<br />

reefs, but the true surfing luxury of the island<br />

comes from its uncrowded world-class surf<br />

breaks. In fact, the southwestern pacific is<br />

one of the few places where you have the<br />

freedom to carve up some the best waves on<br />

earth without all of the competition.<br />

This is because, in contrast to other crowded<br />

surf destinations, PNG does away with<br />

all possible wave congestion by having a<br />

progressive surf-management plan that limits<br />

the number of people allowed at each surf<br />

break, which is a surfer’s ultimate dream,<br />

really.<br />

Now that the southern hemisphere is entering<br />

spring, peak surfing season is just starting<br />

to emerge in PNG. As it is located just south<br />

of the equator, the island benefits from north<br />

pacific swells during the northern hemisphere<br />

winter months, meaning visitors to the island<br />

are able to take advantage of the swells and<br />

experience challenging surf that often ranges<br />

from three to six feet.<br />

Adventuring to PNG is not just about the<br />

surfing, however. In addition to thick tropical<br />

jungles, high mountain ranges, fascinating<br />

WWII wrecks and spectacular coral reefs, the<br />

island also consists of around 850 tribes who<br />

speak over 839 different languages.<br />

Needless to say, the archipelago makes for<br />

an outstanding cultural experience.<br />

The surf and culture of PNG is truly as<br />

incredible as it is underrated, which is why<br />

we have taken the initiative to list some of<br />

the best experiences in the country, courtesy<br />

of our good friends at Perfect Wave – a<br />

surf travel business that have spent years<br />

finding the perfect swells and epic trips for<br />

adventurous surfers.

travel<br />

Nusa<br />

Island<br />

Retreat<br />

For surfers wanting<br />

somewhere uncrowded,<br />

easy-going and remote.<br />

perfectwavetravel.com<br />

Located on a sandy point and surrounded by an<br />

untouched private beach, Nusa Island Retreat is<br />

a collection of island-style bungalows that cater<br />

for up to six people, with the premium selection of<br />

bungalows being situated over the crystal-clear water.<br />

As the original and ultimate PNG surf resort, Nusa<br />

Island Retreat has an emphasis on relaxation and<br />

style while providing access to an excellent mix of<br />

surf breaks. The variety of waves, some challenging<br />

and other user-friendly, ensure Nusa Island Retreat is<br />

popular with both longboarders and shortboarders.<br />

Pikinini, for example, boasts an extremely fast, heavy<br />

barrelling and shallow right-hand coral reef break that<br />

can peel for up to 200 metres.<br />

The retreat is the most accessible, comfortable and<br />

stylish destination in PNG with the best bar and<br />

dining. As the resort is only a couple of minutes<br />

away from the capital town of Kavieng, visitors have<br />

plenty of access to activities such as fishing, diving,<br />

kayaking and mountain biking.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


travel<br />

Rubio Plantation<br />

Retreat<br />

Perfect for those that don’t<br />

mind a little bit of adventure.<br />

perfectwavetravel.com<br />

Tucked away in the middle of a rainforest, Rubio<br />

Plantation Retreat is an idyllic stay that features<br />

rustic, traditional bungalow accommodation set on<br />

a 76-hectare plantation on New Ireland Province – a<br />

mostly unchartered surf territory.<br />

As well as a private beach, the retreat has a consistent<br />

A-Frame break directly out the front in addition to surf<br />

spots that range from mellow, longboard swells to fast<br />

and hollow reef passes. There are also plenty of great<br />

opportunities to explore the wild coast by land or by<br />

boat.<br />

The local chefs of Rubio Plantation Retreat serve three<br />

hearty meals a day as well as home-made breads<br />

and pastries with tea and coffee being available at all<br />

times. As cocoa beans are grown on the plantation,<br />

chocolate is the resort’s specialty.<br />

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travel<br />

Vanimo<br />

Surf Lodge<br />

An authentic PNG experience if<br />

ever there was one.<br />

perfectwavetravel.com<br />

Vanimo Surf Lodge is a collection of four<br />

traditional beachfront huts that blend<br />

perfectly with the surrounding town and<br />

positioned right on the island’s surfing<br />

frontier. Each lodge has enough space<br />

for 3 to 4 people, with plenty of extra<br />

room for surfboards and gear.<br />

Directly opposite the lodge is Lido<br />

Point – a peeling right-hander that can<br />

break up to 200 metres and is super<br />

consistent during the summer months.<br />

In addition to a wide limestone reef that<br />

offers a great combination of walls and<br />

barrels, Lido’s Left, another popular surf<br />

spot, is only a 250 metre walk away.<br />

The meals provided at Vanimo Surf<br />

Lodge are all cooked traditionally and<br />

made from fresh and locally sourced<br />

seafood, meat, chicken and vegetables.<br />

The lodge even grows its own red paw<br />

paws, which guests are welcome to<br />

help themselves to.<br />

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travel<br />

PNG<br />

Explorer<br />

Charter<br />

An exploration into all of the<br />

wonders that PNG has to offer.<br />

perfectwavetravel.com<br />

After flying into Kavieng in the north<br />

eastern archipelago of New Ireland<br />

Province, visitors can transfer straight<br />

onto a comfortable, airconditioned<br />

boat called the ‘PNG Explorer’.<br />

This charter is a 23-metre live-aboard<br />

boat kitted out with six spacious<br />

cabins, a loungeroom and plenty of<br />

storage for surfboards and gear. In<br />

addition to supplying two high speed<br />

tenders, surfers will also get access to<br />

two jet skis, making it even easier when<br />

traveling to the countless surf breaks<br />

scattered throughout the country.<br />

The PNG Explorer Charter gives an<br />

all-encompassing perspective of the<br />

island and access to everything from<br />

diverse coral reefs and secluded<br />

beaches to natural springs and cultural<br />

dances lit by fire.<br />

Perfect Wave certainly know what they<br />

are talking about when it comes to<br />

unlocking the many wonders of PNG.<br />

As travellers and surfers themselves,<br />

they provide honest advice, helpful tips<br />

and a variety of places to stay – each<br />

with access to the many surf breaks<br />

scattered throughout the archipelago.<br />

For those interested in celebrating the<br />

summer months with a trip to PNG,<br />

or anywhere else for that matter, we<br />

recommend checking out their website.<br />

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travel<br />

Adventure<br />

awaits<br />

Australia & USA World Surfaris Pty Ltd | Perfect<br />

Wave PNG Trekking Adventures | Waterways<br />

Travel | PNG Japan Ltd | Indies Trader Marine<br />

Adventures | Uruna Bay Retreat | Nusa Island<br />

Retreat | PNG Surfaris | Tupira Surf Club | Soul<br />

Safaris Surf Travel | Rubio Plantation Retreat (New<br />

Guinea Eco Tours Ltd) | Vanimo Surf Lodge<br />

Empowering<br />

Communities<br />

Since 1989<br />

sapng.com @surfi ng_png<br />

surfi ngpapuanewguinea<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


words amber o’dell<br />

With<br />

the<br />

grain<br />

roam<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

60<br />

Surfing and camping go<br />

hand-in-hand, don’t they?<br />

Not just because some of<br />

the best camping spots sit<br />

adjacent to great surf,<br />

but because surfers are in<br />

their element in the thick<br />

of nature, whether that<br />

be on land or out at sea.<br />

For Robbie Marshall, camping and surfing<br />

have always been closely connected<br />

through a passion for working with timber<br />

and travelling way off the beaten track.<br />

In fact, you could say that he is most at<br />

home when he is whittling away a timber<br />

surfboard in some uncharted part of the<br />

Australian bush with his hand-modified<br />

Troopy by his side.<br />

As the founder of Soul Arch Surfboards,<br />

he certainly knows what he is talking<br />

about when it comes to shaping reclaimed<br />

timber. Some readers may even remember<br />

the last time we caught up with him in<br />

2018, when he was perfecting his process<br />

of crafting wooden surfboards using<br />

purely recycled building materials.<br />

Robbie continues to create some of the<br />

strongest and longest-lasting wooden<br />

surfboards available out of his workshop<br />

in Moruya, New South Wales. However<br />

we were incredibly curious when we<br />

discovered that he has since been<br />

expanding his horizons and channelling<br />

his craftmanship into the industry of metal<br />

and diesel engines.<br />

Robbie said his appreciation for working<br />

with timber first came along after he<br />

started making foam surfboards.<br />

“I tended to always add my own cedar<br />

stringers or fins, so naturally after about<br />

10 years of shaping I totally switched to<br />

making timber boards. You spend a lot<br />

less time fixing and more time surfing with<br />

timber boards.<br />

“Before surfing, I spent a lot of time out<br />

in the bush when I was younger. I had my<br />

first cruiser about 20 years ago and now<br />

things have gone a bit full circle, which is<br />

refreshing.<br />

“When I first pulled my 1974 FJ45 out of<br />

a paddock it had a timber tray on it. That<br />

is when my mate, Dave from Treehouse<br />

Shapes, suggested that I make a timber<br />

canopy for it. I couldn’t leave that thought<br />

alone,” he said.<br />

“The four-wheeldriving<br />

flame is<br />

burning pretty<br />

bright at the<br />

moment. It’s great<br />

to be able to access<br />

hard to reach places<br />

with no one else<br />

around and include<br />

the whole family.

oam<br />

There is a reason why ute modifications such as canopies are rarely<br />

made from timber. Most people that work with cars will know that<br />

carving, shaping and polishing wood is labour intensive, finicky,<br />

expensive and requires an entire new set of skills in comparison to<br />

working with aluminium or steel.<br />

But if anyone could fashion a neat, multipurpose space on the tray<br />

of a Toyota Land Cruiser out of reclaimed scraps of timber, it’s<br />

Robbie. Turns out, just as the inner workings of a wooden surfboard<br />

need to be carefully designed to enhance performance, weight and<br />

aesthetics, so too does a canopy for a ute.<br />

In fact, Robbie said that the Troopy’s camping modification was built<br />

using much of the same methods and materials that he uses for his<br />

surfboards.<br />

“I know how strong bent and laminated timber is, so that’s how<br />

I built the structural components of the frame. Then, there is two<br />

millimetres of cedar bent over the frame, then three millimetres of<br />

plywood and finally an Australian walnut veneer exterior. The canopy<br />

is fibreglassed on the outside and in between each layer with epoxy.<br />

“I have tested it pretty hard and it’s really handling well with no<br />

movement or cracking. The wooden canopy is similar in weight<br />

and strength to alloy but with no welds to crack. The combination<br />

of a good layup technique and fibreglass allows it to hold together<br />

perfectly.<br />

“For me, the main advantage was the cost, as I had my own<br />

materials and could supply my own labour,” he said.<br />

When it came down to the design of the build, Robbie clearly thought<br />

of everything. Not only does its finish look as smooth and pristine<br />

as a surfboard’s, but its sides are also tucked in for greater fuel<br />

efficiency with added rails that allow for a built-in roof rack for a<br />

canoe, swag or surfboard.<br />

After 11 months and countless hours, Robbie completed the canopy<br />

at the beginning of this year, and has already put it to the test with<br />

plenty of family trips the snowy mountains of Victoria, where he<br />

woke up to sprawling views and got to appreciate the crazy wooden<br />

patterns found in area’s native snow gums.<br />

Robbie said, just like surfing his own hand-crafted surfboards, driving<br />

and camping out of something he built has been very satisfying.<br />

“The four-wheel-driving flame is burning pretty bright at the moment.<br />

It’s great to be able to access hard to reach places with no one else<br />

around and include the whole family.<br />

“The highlights are definitely the Victorian high country, that place is<br />

amazing. There was a trip that myself and my better half did in some<br />

pretty morbid weather. We woke up in the snow, but it was so nice and<br />

warm in the canopy,” he said.<br />

Clearly, everything is a lot more rewarding after you have done it in a<br />

beloved, hand-modified 49-year-old Troopy.<br />

Despite spending a few busy years bush-bashing in the countryside<br />

of Australia, Robbie is excited to be getting back into the groove of<br />

creating for Soul Arch Surfboards, and said he will continue to put a ton<br />

of work into getting his timber surfboards perfect as he experiments<br />

with his craftmanship in both the worlds of camping and surfing.<br />

“It’s definitely time for me to make some more timber boards and throw<br />

them on the timber canopy and showcase what I do.<br />

“I will continue to work on some more camp solutions. Hopefully I’ll be<br />

able to offer something down the track, the first camper has definitely<br />

made for a solid blueprint.<br />

“I have collected a ton of timber over the years. It is a great thing to be<br />

able to breathe new life into old, recycled timber. There’s a lot of heart,<br />

soul and warmth to it,” he said.<br />

@soularchadventures<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


oam<br />

A path to<br />

seclusion<br />

words amber o’dell<br />

Winter may have<br />

now drawn to a close,<br />

but that doesn’t<br />

stop us yearning for<br />

isolation amid the<br />

untapped wilderness<br />

– especially now<br />

that we can get out<br />

there and enjoy the<br />

pleasant warmth<br />

of our coastal<br />

hinterlands.<br />

Ahh the serenity. In our increasingly<br />

busy lives we all must pause, press the<br />

reset button and get as far away as we<br />

possibly can from the daily grind. Of<br />

course, in our opinion, there is no better<br />

way to do this then by going for a surf<br />

or escaping for a few days to one of the<br />

many Unyoked cabins we have become<br />

enamoured with.<br />

In this edition, which also acts as our<br />

own personal celebration of spring, we<br />

thought to head down to New South<br />

Wales to the lush coastal hinterland of<br />

Kiama – a small coastal town two hours<br />

south-ish of Sydney.<br />

photos supplied courtsey of @the.wandering.boys

oam<br />

# 56 // smorgasboarder //<br />


oam<br />

Das<br />

Tucked within the hinterland of<br />

the Illawarra region of New South<br />

Wales, just two hours south of<br />

Sydney, this cabin is a perfect<br />

recharge for when your energy<br />

levels are feeling a bit low. Das<br />

is only 20 minutes away from the<br />

bustling coastal town of Kiama<br />

– close enough for a quick surf<br />

trip, but far enough away to feel<br />

the pleasant weightlessness of<br />

isolation. There couldn’t be a<br />

more perfect stay for springtime.<br />

$283 weeknights<br />

$363 weekends<br />

Price per night in AUD. Two-night minimum<br />

Friday/Saturday. No doggos.<br />

Single week night price an additional $30.<br />

Check in 3pm. Late check out at 11am –<br />

because sleep ins.<br />

What’s Provided?<br />

Bedding<br />

Gas stove<br />

Fan<br />

Towels<br />

Bar Fridge<br />

Plates<br />

Solar Power<br />

Fire Pit<br />

Hot Shower<br />

Picnic Table<br />

Composting toilet<br />

And, TP<br />

# 56 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

64<br />

Expedition<br />

Packing List<br />

Shoes<br />

Mosquito<br />

repellent<br />

Water bottle<br />

Sunscreen<br />

Flanno<br />

Spreadsheets<br />

Anxiety<br />

Busyness<br />


oam<br />

As you probably know by<br />

now, Unyoked are experts in<br />

bespoke getaways that focus on<br />

nurturing people’s creativity<br />

and clarity. However, in<br />

addition to giving you a healthy<br />

dose of fresh air, these retreats<br />

also provide the isolation we so<br />

desperately need from the hustle<br />

and bustle of everyday life...<br />

Of course, to get there you need to drive past some of the<br />

most phenomenal surf breaks in Illawarra, so we highly<br />

recommended stopping in for a cheeky surf before trekking<br />

through the serene farmlands, mountains and grasslands of<br />

Wollongong that look like something straight out of a fantasy<br />

novel.<br />

Don’t stress though, despite being peacefully isolated and<br />

nestled in a pine forest clearing a fair bit above sea level,<br />

the cabin is only a 20-minute drive from the coast and all of<br />

those tempting surf spots.<br />

Unyoked has always been spectacular at granting access<br />

to these beautiful, wild places that have been previously<br />

inaccessible. Co-founder of Unyoked, Cam Grant, said their<br />

mission since day one has been to help people have access<br />

to these isolated, natural places more often.<br />

“There’s a few pieces that go into achieving this. Two of<br />

them, stay with us now, are physical and financial access.<br />

“Physically, our pioneering business model and obsessive<br />

design of our cabins make it possible for people to relax,<br />

think and be free in previously inaccessible and uniquely<br />

immersive natural locations in the same time it takes most of<br />

us to get to and from the office in the morning.<br />

“Financially, we’ve intentionally designed every piece of this<br />

thing to make it accessible as possible, while still allowing<br />

us to operate as required to create this unique experience<br />

in addition to providing our hosts with an appropriate level<br />

of income for the access they grant us all and the work they<br />

put in to do so.<br />

“We’re proud to have only ever put our prices up once in six<br />

years, despite increases in cost. But we’re all too aware that<br />

there’s a long way to go to making things truly accessible for<br />

everyone. We believe in a world where we all see and use<br />

nature like we do the gym, and we’re trying hard to make it a<br />

reality,” he said.<br />

As you probably know by now, Unyoked are experts in<br />

bespoke getaways that focus on nurturing people’s creativity<br />

and clarity. However, in addition to giving you a healthy dose<br />

of fresh air, these retreats also provide the isolation we so<br />

desperately need from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.<br />

While we often consider seclusion quite a negative thing,<br />

being isolated in the wilderness actually yields endless<br />

benefits for our minds and bodies. With more and more<br />

studies of this nature being conducted every day, we<br />

know now that these advantages range from everything to<br />

improved sleep quality, mood and brain development to<br />

reduced blood pressure, anxiety and stress.<br />

Simply, humans are proven to thrive after being somewhere<br />

far off and deep in the thick of nature, and there’s no better<br />

way to experience that then your own private cabin in the<br />

uninhabited coastal tropics of New South Wales.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


urf<br />

hacks<br />

By Indoek (designer), Matt Titone (editor) and gestalten (editor).<br />

Words: Amber O’Dell

We travel around a lot in our editions, but even on adventures to the<br />

most far-off and glorious places on earth, there will always be that<br />

pull towards home. For surfers, it’s often a cosy place to spend time<br />

on dry land when they’re not riding waves, and as both volumes of<br />

Surf Shack demonstrate, they can take many, many forms.<br />

From city apartments, rural cottages and island bungalows to<br />

canyon cabin hideaways, converted surf vans and beach homes – if<br />

anyone could make a coffee table book full of houses interesting,<br />

its surfers. Contained within each Surf Shack volume is a diverse<br />

photographic compilation of surfer’s homes and the myriad of<br />

unique stories and trinkets found within each of them.<br />

As soon as you pick up one of these volumes, you can instantly tell<br />

how much passion went into them. Not only is their contents written<br />

like a love-letter to surfers and their quirky lifestyles, but the books<br />

themselves ooze quality, from their satisfying linen binding to their<br />

super stylish aesthetic and design. Whether you’re into the surfing<br />

lifestyle or not, Surf Shacks Vol. 1 and 2 are addictive reads, and<br />

describe themselves best through their blurbs.<br />

“Surfing is a way of life that’s<br />

dominated by the tides as much as<br />

by day and night. And every surfer<br />

has their own retreat – a place to<br />

crash and relax away from the water<br />

or the daily grind.<br />

“Individuals create these spaces to meet their needs, whether it’s a<br />

weekend bolt-hole beside the sea, a permanent base in the city or<br />

something in between.

“A person’s home says a lot about them and that’s<br />

especially true for surfers. This eclectic group of<br />

people live their lives close to nature, dictated by the<br />

swell of the surf – a lifestyle that shows in how they<br />

create their spaces… effortless environments filled with<br />

natural materials and found objects picked up on farflung<br />

surfing adventures, each home as characterful as<br />

its residents.”<br />

Through personal anecdotes, in-depth interviews and<br />

beautiful photography, these collections are a rare<br />

glimpse into the homes of your everyday surfers. Vol.<br />

1 especially explores the lives of a surfing legend with<br />

a mid-century modern bungalow in California, a board<br />

builder that resides in a converted bus, a Japanese<br />

yoga instructor with a hideaway in the woods and a<br />

magazine founder settled in a 1920’s home atop a cliff<br />

near Bondi Beach.<br />

Vol. 2 is more of the same (which is a good thing!) and<br />

includes surfboard designer Hayden Cox’s minimalist<br />

family home in Sydney, artist Geoff McFetridge’s<br />

ranch-style home in Los Angeles, fashion designer<br />

Cynthia Rowley’s cosy home in Montauk and many,<br />

many more. In fact, each volume has 288 pages worth<br />

of content, so you’ll hardly run out of stories to peruse<br />

any time soon.<br />

Through these surfer’s record collections, backyard<br />

gardens and painting studios we not only see their<br />

unique personalities (and their handy tips on how<br />

on earth to store a collection of surfboards in such<br />

tiny spaces), but also a universal love for the surfing<br />

lifestyle, which is a really nifty thing to have placed in<br />

the middle of your coffee table.

These treasure hunters set out<br />

to create awesome pieces of<br />

art from lost things – which they<br />

certainly did. Using materials<br />

such as weathered fiberglass<br />

boat pieces, nautical ropes,<br />

reef-crusted surfboard fins,<br />

fishing weights and even<br />

discarded sunglasses, they<br />

managed to create mosaics and<br />

sculptures that any other surfer<br />

would die to have hanging up in<br />

their homes.<br />

Indoek<br />

Of course, behind every cool series of books is<br />

an even cooler group of passionate and creative<br />

people. Best described as a company that celebrates<br />

coastal culture through many avenues, Indoek was<br />

founded in 2011 as a blog, before branching out into<br />

various passion projects such as films, books, product<br />

collaborations, art shows and photo series.<br />

Born out of a passion for the ocean (and a slight<br />

frustration with an industry that tends to misrepresent<br />

them), the company’s goal has always been to elevate<br />

surf culture and champion the creative personalities<br />

who have shaped it over the years.<br />

Similar to their Surf Shacks Series, Indoek has dabbled<br />

in other creative endeavours such as a book called ‘On<br />

Surfing: A Collection of Interviews with Surf Luminaries’<br />

and a project called ‘27 Frames’ where the brand<br />

sent 27 disposable cameras out to professional surf<br />

photographers to see what they could do with the oldfashioned<br />

ways of taking photos (spoilers: they can do<br />

a hell of a lot).<br />

The company doesn’t shy away from being that little<br />

bit quirky with their projects either. In 2013, Indoek set<br />

out to document the ‘herculean figure’ of Australian<br />

professional surfer Owen Wright by showcasing<br />

every single dimension of his body with a video<br />

and an interactive website. This experiment, named ‘The<br />

Anatomy of Owen Wright’, set out to study his tall build and<br />

enormous presence and how it breaks the stereotype of<br />

more diminutive professional surfers.<br />

Indoek’s physical space in Ventura County opened at the<br />

beginning of this year and represented a new chapter<br />

for the brand. The space takes the form of an art gallery<br />

and a creative hub for locals, with one of the company’s<br />

most recent exhibits, FOUND, being a collection of works<br />

by Jim Olarte, Mark Cunningham and Cooper Root that<br />

use materials combed from the shores of California and<br />

collected over decades.<br />

These treasure hunters set out to create awesome pieces<br />

of art from lost things – which they certainly did. Using<br />

materials such as weathered fiberglass boat pieces, nautical<br />

ropes, reef-crusted surfboard fins, fishing weights and even<br />

discarded sunglasses, they managed to create mosaics and<br />

sculptures that any other surfer would die to have hanging<br />

up in their homes.<br />

Indoek have so many other brilliant creative ventures<br />

spurred on by their love of surfing and the coast, so if<br />

you want to check out their other projects, they are all on<br />

display on their website.<br />

indoek.com<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


ENJOY<br />

THE<br />

RIDE<br />

Interview by Amber O’Dell<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


One glance at the pastel colours and<br />

delightful characters in Ben’s artwork<br />

and two things are made abundantly<br />

clear ~ he bloody loves what he is<br />

doing, and everything is good.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


According to Ben Ross, a regular day of his life in the<br />

Northern Beaches of Sydney goes something like<br />

this – he wakes up, takes the dogs for a walk, surfs, has<br />

lunch, paints, surfs again, draws, sends emails, watches<br />

a movie and falls asleep. What a life.<br />

As a creative, optimistic and easy-going guy, we were<br />

incredibly stoked to have the chance to pick Ben’s<br />

colourful mind, and knew we were in for quite a ride<br />

after he accurately described his artistic career as a<br />

full-time vacation where people pay for his brain.<br />

“Sure it’s a lot of work to be able to afford to be a<br />

full-time artist. There are a lot of meetings, emails,<br />

handshakes and the other normal things that a<br />

business owner does, but to be paid to draw and paint<br />

what’s in your brain – it’s definitely worth it.<br />

“I think the best thing about being an artist would<br />

have to be the respect. I was a builder for 10 years<br />

constructing people’s dreams and not once did<br />

they really respect you or treat you in a manner<br />

that was well respected. As an artist, the respect is<br />

unbelievable, but I suppose that comes with doing<br />

what you love and getting the best you can for your<br />

client.”<br />

Ben’s love for what he does certainly shines through<br />

his artwork. To put it simply, he paints summer, and<br />

that doesn’t just mean he draws sunny days, palm<br />

trees, sandy beaches and surf (although, he captures<br />

those very well too).<br />

Along with his simplistic 70’s Byron Bay style, every<br />

one of his pieces oozes calm, happiness and fun, and<br />

depicts a world full of charming characters that are<br />

not afraid to slack off and take their time enjoying the<br />

world around them.<br />

His art definitely speaks to those who crave simpler<br />

and more easy-going times, which is perhaps the main<br />

reason why his colourful perspective on life has taken<br />

the world by storm over the last couple of years.<br />

Despite having enjoyed drawing for as long as he can<br />

remember, Ben said his bright, feel-good art style<br />

only took hold recently after going through a not-sosummery<br />

time of his life.<br />

“When I was a builder I hated life and tried to jump off<br />

a cliff. Ultimately I failed, but the boys thought that we<br />

needed to get away, so we went on a boys surf trip to<br />

USA and Mexico. I was running out of money quick,<br />

so I decided to hit up a few bars in San Diego to see if<br />

they wanted me to draw for them.<br />

“I was put onto a woman in London that wanted a<br />

caricature in yoga poses all over her studio. I drew<br />

myself, and a few downward dogs later Benny Cools<br />

was born. She hated it and didn’t pay me, but that’s<br />

where my caricatures came from, so thank you to that<br />

woman. It’s been almost four years now and I haven’t<br />

looked back.<br />

“I went to Mexico after that and started painting and<br />

drawing my caricatures everywhere. The biggest<br />

inspiration for my style of art was Mexico, if you’ve<br />

never been I highly recommend, it’s such a clean and<br />

art filled place, it feels like the country is still in the 70s<br />

and pastel colours fill the city streets.”<br />

When it comes to Ben’s pleasing colour choices, you<br />

can pretty much trace every pastel shade back to the<br />

yellow sand, blue sea and pink sky of Mexico. After<br />

borrowing inspiration from the unique coasts he has<br />

visited and drawing from his memories of growing up<br />

surfing and watching movies like Point Break and Fast<br />

“As an artist, the respect is<br />

unbelievable, but I suppose that comes<br />

with doing what you love and getting<br />

the best you can for your client.”<br />

Times at Ridgemont High, Ben designed his iconic<br />

laid-back art style and the caricature that started it all<br />

– Benny Cools.<br />

This cartoon alter-ego was the first summer-loving<br />

character in a long list quirky personalities that are<br />

now seen all over the world in almost every medium<br />

you can think of. Ben is certainly not one to turn down<br />

a new art project, and said almost every job excites<br />

him as he enjoys every aspect of what he does.<br />

“Animations are always good as I don’t have to do<br />

much, it’s all the animator. I’ll draw a few scenes, send<br />

it off and a few months later the animation is in front<br />

of me. Word of advice for the youth looking to get into<br />

art – do animation. There is so much work, you get<br />

paid well and there is f#ck-all animators in Australia,<br />

so there’s a massive market. If you do, hit me up, I’ll<br />

employ you.<br />

“Murals are always more fun as I’m working onsite. I<br />

can have a beer with the owners and just talk shop. I<br />

do enjoy murals a lot more as you can really engage<br />

with the public, you’ll see a lot more smiles and that’s<br />

the reason I’m in the game.”<br />

Many of you have probably seen Ben’s colourful<br />

scenes plastered all over social media and starring<br />

on everything from shirts, shoes and beer cans to<br />

shopfronts, vans and giant wall murals. Big brands<br />

clearly love the positivity and colour behind his<br />

art, as he has a reputation for collaborating with<br />

internationally known names such as Platypus,<br />

Lululemon, Taco Bell, Triple J, Boss Coffee, Dickies,<br />

Rollie Nation and, as he will explain, some of the most<br />

iconic sports teams in the world.<br />

When asked what it’s like to work side-by-side with all<br />

of these huge companies, Ben said they are incredibly<br />

amazing to collaborate with, and even teased that he<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

74<br />

“Big brands know my art and<br />

what I’ll produce for them,<br />

so they rarely ask for me to<br />

change or do anything. They<br />

just give me a budget and let<br />

me do my thing, which I love.<br />

The best way to work is when<br />

there are no restraints.”

has a few interesting stories about many of them that<br />

he can’t spill here.<br />

“Big brands know my art and what I’ll produce for them,<br />

so they rarely ask for me to change or do anything.<br />

They just give me a budget and let me do my thing,<br />

which I love. The best way to work is when there are no<br />

restraints.<br />

“I would have to say the best I’ve ever worked on would<br />

be for Carlton Football Club, as I’m a mad Carlton man.<br />

It was unbelievable to paint at their new facilities at<br />

Ikon park. Seeing all the boys train and shaking hands<br />

with the elite was a dream come true. I recently just<br />

painted at the MCG with Carlton and Great Southern<br />

Bank, which was another dream I never knew I wanted.<br />

“I’m currently on the way to the States to paint Kansas<br />

City Royals. It’s going to be a massive dream come true<br />

to paint for the MLB. I recently finished an art series<br />

card collection for Major League Baseball and drew<br />

clubs from all over the state. To be asked to draw for<br />

the Yankees was unbelievable for me. Almost every day<br />

is an adventure with the art world. I love it.”<br />

It’s no wonder why all these companies flock to intwine<br />

their brands with the summery, feel-good vibes of<br />

Ben’s art. Amid the stress and bustle of today, his<br />

simple and joyful perspective helps others to stop for a<br />

second and get lost in fun scenes and pastel colours,<br />

which is an impressive feat in itself. In our humble<br />

opinion, the world definitely needs more art like Ben’s.<br />

Of course, we couldn’t help but ask him about our<br />

favourite form of escapism – surfing. As you can<br />

imagine, we were incredibly stoked when Ben said he<br />

has a collection of 15 surfboards and rarely strays away<br />

from riding his favourite twinny.<br />

“Oh, I love to surf, I get out at least once a day, at the<br />

moment I’m riding a 6”6 Christenson Twin. It’s one of<br />

the most fun boards I’ve ever ridden and rides superfast<br />

down the lines and turns so smooth. I always feel<br />

like I’m Mikey Feb (February) out there.<br />

“I surf in Newport all the time. It has unbelievable waves<br />

and so many epic little groms doing some massive<br />

tricks. Australia is in good hands if this is the norm. I<br />

grew up surfing the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria,<br />

down Gunnamatta way and occasionally popping into<br />

the ever so versatile Point Leo. Unbelievable people,<br />

but there’s only really one good wave a month. It would<br />

be the best surf in the world if it was always on.<br />

“The sled I use at the moment is Christenson Twin Lane<br />

Splitter. I have a few Haydenshapes boards, with my<br />

favourite from him at the moment being a new series<br />

that isn’t getting much love – the Atelier. It’s a short<br />

board shaped like a mal, and it’s so fun and catches<br />

everything.”<br />

It’s not hard to see where Ben gets all of the inspiration<br />

for his art. He seems to never stop chasing all of the<br />

fun, weird and wonderful experiences that come with<br />

living along the coast, even if it takes him to the other<br />

side of the world. Ben said, as long as he can keep<br />

surfing, drinking, running, swimming, traveling and<br />

getting paid to paint and draw, his life is good.<br />

“I have some massive collaborations coming out this<br />

summer so keep an eye out, I’m very excited about<br />

these. I’m also writing a book at the moment, it’s really<br />

just about the struggles and stories behind being an<br />

artist. I have a solo show coming out early next year as<br />

well which will be a massive dedication to the soul that<br />

helped me get here.<br />

“With my art style I try to put people at ease, I was<br />

going through a really rough time when I first started<br />

drawing these caricatures and they have helped me<br />

through a lot. I really just want to keep illustrating<br />

calmness to let people know that life may be sh#t, but<br />

enjoy the ride. Stop for days and smell the roses.”<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


B-RAD<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

76<br />

Brad at North Ryde Skatepark 1981

As a former Australian Skate Out<br />

champion, past president of the<br />

National Skateboard Association of<br />

Australia, international skatepark<br />

designer and licensee of merchandise<br />

for mobile phone game sensation,<br />

True Skate, it’s fair to say Brad Shaw<br />

has accomplished a bit in his lifetime.<br />

words dave swan<br />

With that said, he’s pretty unassuming,<br />

I simply knew him as the dad of one<br />

of my son’s mates. Funny how you can<br />

meet and greet someone on so many<br />

occasions without knowing the weird<br />

and wonderful journeys of their past.<br />

Brad and I were watching our sons play<br />

footy a few months back and chatting<br />

away when our conversation turned to<br />

surfing and skating. I was curious as to<br />

why he was so knowledgeable about<br />

both, and that lead me to enquire as to<br />

what it is exactly he does for work. His<br />

answer prompted me to invite him for a<br />

coffee the following week and get the<br />

full rundown. Little did I know he was<br />

what I would refer to as a ‘living legend’<br />

of the Australian skateboard scene.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


One of Brad’s latest creations,<br />

a new skatepark in Singapore<br />

Brad was involved<br />

in the early days<br />

of skateboarding<br />

in Australia, back<br />

when Bahne Super<br />

Flex Skateboards<br />

were the craze<br />

circa ’74.<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

78<br />

Building ramps in Mumbai, India 2002<br />

Brad Keirle Park, Manly 2003<br />

Brad was involved in the early days<br />

of skateboarding in Australia, back<br />

when Bahne Super Flex Skateboards<br />

were the craze circa ’74. He picks up<br />

the story.<br />

“I got into skateboarding basically<br />

around the same time as everyone<br />

else. I was around ten living in<br />

Sydney. The skateboard craze that hit<br />

Australia was massive after fibreglass<br />

skateboards with urethane wheels<br />

and some skating movies came out.<br />

It was a crazy time. Every kid in the<br />

street was riding skateboards.<br />

“I was into it for a couple of years,<br />

and then I stopped for a bit until<br />

about ’78. It was around this time that<br />

I went to this skate shop, Skateboard<br />

World, and was just blown away<br />

by how much skateboards had<br />

evolved. They were all so modernised<br />

and so much better to ride with red<br />

translucent wheels and wider trucks.<br />

“I pretty soon got back into riding<br />

with my neighbour. We used to skate<br />

these little banks around Sydney that<br />

were obfuscated drains and definitely<br />

not for skateboarding – places like<br />

The Boat Ramp and Harris Park Bowl<br />

were fun, but challenging. This is<br />

when I built my first skate ramp in my<br />

backyard.”<br />

By ’78, the pool skating craze<br />

had made its way from Venice<br />

Beach California to Australia, and<br />

introduced Brad to a whole new<br />

dimension of skateboarding. His<br />

go-to place, along with a bunch of<br />

his mates, was Pymble Pool, a huge<br />

eight-foot-six-high empty pool.<br />

“There were like 30 other local guys<br />

that went there. Everyone knew<br />

everyone because it was the only<br />

spot in Sydney. It was like the one surf<br />

break in town. It was a lot of fun but<br />

had four feet of vert and was scary.<br />

“When that closed, Manly Skate City<br />

opened up and it had all of these<br />

fibreglass ramps. This was a big step<br />

up because it was a smooth and<br />

a proper skatepark. The same 30<br />

guys would skate there for the next<br />

couple of years before another one<br />

opened up in 1980 where I lived in<br />

North Ryde, Sydney. It was a crazy,<br />

massive, concrete thing with bowls,<br />

halfpipes and banks. I was fairly<br />

kinked, but it was my local.”<br />

Brad left school at 16 and started<br />

working at Skateboard world<br />

in Burwood, where he also got<br />

sponsored as a team rider. When<br />

Brad was 17 he moved to Cronulla<br />

and soon discovered a love for<br />

surfing. During that period skating<br />

took a bit of a back seat as he<br />

didn’t have a car and there were no<br />

skateparks nearby. In ’83 he headed<br />

over to California.<br />

“I went to California for a month<br />

with Dave Mock and stayed down<br />

in Solana Beach with Chip Morton.<br />

He was the manager of the Del Mar<br />

Skate Ranch – the main skatepark

where the likes of Tony Hawk and all<br />

of these top pro skaters went. Back<br />

then, Tony was just 14 years old and<br />

a little skinny thing, but you could<br />

already see that he had something<br />

special.”<br />

Now, even if you don’t know much<br />

about skateboarding, it is likely you<br />

recognise this name. Tony Hawk is to<br />

skateboarding as what Kelly Slater<br />

is to surfing. Both are renowned all<br />

over the world as some of the all-time<br />

greats in their chosen sports.<br />

“I lived in California for basically<br />

seven years. I was mostly surfing in<br />

that time. The Del Mar Skate Ranch<br />

closed around ’88, so there was<br />

nowhere to skate anyway except<br />

some backyard ramps.<br />

“One of the guys I surfed with there,<br />

Rick, owned a restaurant up the road<br />

which I worked in for a few years .<br />

He grew up surfing Rincon, which is<br />

an amazing right point break, but he<br />

also used to surf a place called The<br />

Ranch which is a private 10-kilometre<br />

coastline with premium surf breaks.<br />

It’s extremely hard to get to and surf<br />

though.”<br />

For any of our readers who are<br />

unaware, The Ranch is, from a surfer’s<br />

perspective, one of the most coveted<br />

stretches of California coast just north<br />

of Santa Barbara. As it is private<br />

property, the only way to access it is<br />

by boat, or by way of invitation by<br />

someone who owns a parcel of land<br />

in the area.<br />

Envisage undeveloped hills<br />

overlooking a near perfect, consistent<br />

surf break with an empty lineup.<br />

Whether it be myth or legend, The<br />

Ranch is considered to be Valhalla to<br />

many surfers. Back in the 80s, it would<br />

have been even more so. That said,<br />

I have never been, so I can’t speak<br />

with firsthand knowledge. Needless<br />

to say, I was pretty envious of Brad’s<br />

experience. That is until he mentioned<br />

my nemesis, the one thing that brings<br />

out the Chicken Little in me.<br />

“My friend Rick was also friends with<br />

a surf legend named Ray Kunz. He<br />

worked on the gate at The Ranch,<br />

so we got free entry whenever we<br />

wanted. There was hardly anyone<br />

else there most of the time, which was<br />

great, although it was always a bit<br />

eerie because the water was cold<br />

and there was all this kelp. We were<br />

always there quite late too and I was<br />

very paranoid about sharks.”<br />

B-<br />

RAD<br />

Brad at Ryde Skatepark 1985<br />

Back then, Tony was just 14 years old and<br />

a little skinny thing, but you could already<br />

see that he had something special.”<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Ray and Ric<br />

My Ranch access buddies<br />

There, he said it, sharks, and not any old sharks, this<br />

is where the mighty great white shark is seemingly in<br />

abundance. The Ranch is close to the area colloquially<br />

known as The Red Triangle, a roughly triangularshaped<br />

region off the coast of northern California<br />

where around thirty-eight percent of recorded great<br />

white shark attacks on humans in the United States<br />

have taken place — about eleven percent of the<br />

worldwide total. Anyhow I digress, apologies for<br />

my paranoia, back to Brad’s story.<br />

“We would surf at The Ranch and at Rincon a lot.<br />

Rincon, you know, is amazing. It is pretty rare to<br />

find it uncrowded, but it just has these perfectly<br />

shaped waves – probably the best I’ve ever<br />

surfed. We would see Tom Curren out at these<br />

spots sometimes. Surfing there was a real<br />

highlight of my time in California.”<br />

Towards the end of ’86 Brad moved back to<br />

Australia, albeit for only a couple of months.<br />

He had well and truly caught the travel bug<br />

and yearned to return to the United States for<br />

more adventures.<br />

During his time back home, there was a<br />

Coca-Cola skate-out event in Manly.<br />

Specifically, it was the Coca-Cola Pro-Am<br />

skateboarding competition series held at<br />

skateparks around Sydney for the first<br />

time in Australia. Long story short, even<br />

though Brad regarded himself as more<br />

of a ramp skater (and this being a street<br />

competition), Brad won the Manly<br />

regional comp.<br />

“Street skating is when you hit little jumps and boxes.<br />

Back then, it wasn’t like today where it’s so technical. It<br />

was basically just a small bunch of little portable ramps<br />

– no big bowls or half pipes. Anyhow, they had all these<br />

regional events, including one where you could qualify<br />

for a grand final of the Australian Coke Skate Out<br />

championships in Australia’s Wonderland. Even though I<br />

was a ramp skater, I ended up winning the whole thing.”<br />

I must at this point of the story inform our readers Brad<br />

wasn’t all too forthcoming with these details. I had to pry<br />

it out of him, such is his humility.<br />

Brad headed back to the US again for a couple of years<br />

before returning home to Australia around ’87 where he<br />

encountered a bit of a snag in his back-and-forth jaunts<br />

to America.<br />

“I was coming back to California via Hawaii when<br />

immigration went through my stuff and found that I had<br />

a diary note saying I had worked in the US the year<br />

previously. Basically, I got busted by immigration. I<br />

could have gone against a judge and pled my case,<br />

but I wasn’t going to risk it, so 12 hours later I was on a<br />

plane back to Sydney.<br />

“My visa was cancelled for five years. I couldn’t get into<br />

the US. I wanted to go back there though, it was great<br />

– I had friends, a job and a life there. So about three<br />

months later I figured out I could get in via Mexico. I’d<br />

been there before, I knew you could just walk over the<br />

boarder without ID, so that’s what I did.<br />

“I flew into Cabo San Lucas (in the Baja California<br />

peninsula in northwestern Mexico) and then got a flight<br />

back up to Tijuana (near the US border). It was like a<br />

45-hour trip, which was crazy. I had some friends meet<br />

me at the border and I just walked right over it and got<br />

picked up on the other side. I was there for over a year<br />

# #56 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />

80<br />

Brad surfing Drakes at the Ranch, California<br />

Pic by Rick Doyle

Brad headed back to the US again for a couple<br />

of years before returning home to Australia<br />

around ’87 where he encountered a bit of<br />

snag in his back-and-forth jaunts to America.<br />

Brad surfing Drakes at the Ranch, California<br />

Pic by Rick Doyle<br />

illegally, went back home to Australia<br />

to see my family for Christmas, and did<br />

the same thing all over again for another<br />

year.”<br />

Ahh yes, my son’s friend’s dad is a<br />

criminal. Jokes aside, I think almost<br />

everyone around our vintage has<br />

possibly worked illegally while abroad in<br />

their younger years. ‘Things were different<br />

back then,’ we tell our kids, justifying<br />

why we broke the law. We certainly<br />

wouldn’t do it nowadays and advise our<br />

children not to do the same – responsible<br />

parenting 101.<br />

In between his California visits, Brad<br />

started being involved with a shoe<br />

company called Airwalk. This Southern<br />

Californian sport-lifestyle brand was<br />

intrinsically tied to action sports and<br />

music, and in those days was markedly<br />

bigger than the likes of both Vans and<br />

Skechers. It was through working for<br />

Airwalk, Brad got to meet Tony Hawk<br />

and a bunch of the pro skaters that were<br />

then on the Airwalk team.<br />

“In ’92 my father died, so I came back<br />

to Australia to help my mum out. I started<br />

working for Airwalk here for a while as<br />

a national team manager for their skate,<br />

snowboard surf and BMX divisions.<br />

Airwalk had the biggest action sports<br />

team in Australia, so we toured with Tony<br />

Hawk around Australia doing the Big<br />

Day Out Tour.<br />

“My good friend named<br />

Sin was head<br />

designer at<br />

Airwalk, which<br />

was how I<br />

came up with<br />

one of the<br />

iconic Airwalks<br />

shoes called<br />

the Vic.<br />

The Airwalk shoe Brad named the Vic<br />

I stopped working for them in 1997 when<br />

I broke my leg snowboarding.<br />

“Then, around ’98, me and a couple of<br />

other guys I knew created the National<br />

Skateboard Association of Australia,<br />

which I became president of for over ten<br />

years. We did a lot of skateboard events<br />

– everything from national titles and street<br />

events to all sorts of competitions, judging<br />

and coaching.”<br />

In 2002<br />

and<br />

2003,<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Brad carving it up today<br />

at the Alex Headland Skatepark<br />

SMP Skatepark in Shanghai, China<br />

Brad during construction of the<br />

Rizhao Skatepark, Shandong, China<br />

Rizhao Skatepark, China<br />

Brad with his sons Noah and Mark<br />

and their True Skate boards<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


In 2002 and 2003, Brad<br />

went to India to design<br />

and build skate ramps.<br />

Beach break in Rizhao, China<br />

Brad went to India to design and<br />

build skate ramps. He would<br />

spend the next five years in China,<br />

namely living in Shanghai and<br />

Nanjing, travelling with his wife<br />

and another business associate and<br />

endeavouring to spread his love of<br />

skateboarding and building parks.<br />

However, this was well before<br />

skateboarding was introduced into<br />

Olympics, so its popularity was<br />

nowhere near what it is today. Very<br />

few in China skateboarded back<br />

then, but nowadays there are some<br />

300 skateparks. Indeed, it was<br />

around 2005 when Brad managed<br />

the SMP skatepark in Shanghai – the<br />

biggest skate park, not just in China,<br />

but in the world at the time.<br />

While he was in China in 2006,<br />

Brad also surfed with his buddy<br />

Graham McKnight at Hainan Island<br />

in the south and Rizhao in the north.<br />

“They had perfect, peaky point<br />

breaks and clear, warm water.<br />

When I surfed Rizhao, I was the only<br />

westerner around.<br />

“I’ve built and<br />

designed a lot of parks<br />

in China over the years,<br />

and indeed all over the<br />

place. Around this time<br />

I was involved with the<br />

Chinese Extreme Sports<br />

Association judging<br />

“I think I was the first person to surf<br />

comps and running<br />

events.<br />

this beach break. People were in<br />

awe. I think they were just wondering<br />

what this foreign guy was doing.”<br />

In 2007, it was back to Australia, this<br />

time living, skating and surfing on<br />

New South Wales’ far south coast<br />

in Ulladulla. However, when Brad’s<br />

mum got sick he moved back to<br />

Sydney with his wife and son.<br />

“Around 2008 I was also a private<br />

investigator for a while, mostly doing<br />

surveillance work. I remember I was<br />

watching a very important person’s<br />

house once who had death threats<br />

against him. The neighbours had lit<br />

fire bombs in the house next to his<br />

accidently. Woops.<br />

“In 2009, Cary Pogson and I started<br />

my skatepark business, Sk8Scapes,<br />

which I still have today. We<br />

started building skateparks around<br />

Australia. I was actually still doing a<br />

lot of stuff in China back and forth.<br />

That’s when, in 2013, we got the<br />

contract to build one in Guangzhou,<br />

which ended up being the biggest<br />

skatepark in the world. It’s about<br />

15,000 square metres, over three<br />

football fields, and it’s in the middle<br />

of ten universities and 160,000<br />

students.<br />

“I’ve built and designed a lot of<br />

parks in China over the years, and<br />

indeed all over the place. Around<br />

this time I was involved with the<br />

Chinese Extreme Sports Association<br />

judging comps and running events.<br />

“All last year I was busy building a<br />

big skate park in Singapore. I am<br />

also setting up a skatepark company<br />

in India with a few guys. My wife<br />

is Japanese, so we will launch my<br />

business in Japan very soon as well.<br />

Brad has not only been busy with<br />

skating in the real world, he has<br />

also taken a keen interest in the<br />

virtual world being the international<br />

licensee for merchandising for a<br />

<strong>digital</strong> skateboard game.<br />

“The game is called True Skate. It’s<br />

become the number one skateboard<br />

game in the world with over two<br />

hundred thousand users a day, so<br />

it’s just massive. The parent company<br />

from Melbourne, True Axis, also<br />

does True Surf, which is a huge<br />

game as well that sponsors the<br />

World Surf League.<br />

“There is also going to be a<br />

snowboarding and BMX game<br />

down the track, as we are planning<br />

to have a complete action sports<br />

portfolio. True Skate is probably the<br />

most serious thing I am working on at<br />

the moment because it’s such a big,<br />

global opportunity.<br />

“We are currently in talks with the<br />

International Olympic Committee<br />

about our game’s e-sport platform,<br />

because the Olympics is reportedly<br />

going to undertake e-sports very<br />

soon.”<br />

It is clear Brad has quite a few things<br />

on the go. Almost as many things as<br />

boards in his impressive skateboard<br />

collection which dates back to the<br />

sixties, but that’s a topic for another<br />

story down the track.<br />

Like I said earlier on in this story,<br />

it’s funny what you find out about<br />

someone who you feel you’ve<br />

known for years when you have a<br />

chat watching your kids run around<br />

a footy field. Brad Shaw, it is both<br />

a privilege to know you and share<br />

your story.<br />

sk8scapes.com.au, trueskate.com/<br />

merch<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


hand made<br />

the blank pages<br />

20 23<br />

smorgasboarder<br />

words dave swan<br />




So, why get your board made by a local surfboard<br />

shaper? Aside from the assured craftsmanship, i.e.<br />

you know who made it and where it comes from,<br />

there’s the ensuing relationship that can be forged in<br />

the process. A relationship that can develop through<br />

time that will see you receive tailor-made boards<br />

crafted specifically to the way you like to surf and the<br />

waves you ride. In my opinion, you just can’t get the<br />

same experience by buying something off the shelf.<br />

In terms of the relationship that can develop, it is hard<br />

to describe it to someone who hasn’t undertaken<br />

the process. The best way I can convey it is through<br />

sharing the following conversation between my<br />

daughter and the incredibly talented Chris Garrett.<br />

Hopefully Chris doesn’t consider this too intrusive.<br />

Being so humble, I am sure if I asked him, he would<br />

dissuade me from doing so, but for me, it just speaks<br />

volumes about what I am talking about, and indeed<br />

what a wonderful human being Chris is. It is also<br />

incredibly important to point out Chris’s views of<br />

myself, which are of course 100% true and accurate. I<br />

am a top bloke.<br />

# 56 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Phoebe: AHHHH I LOVE MY BOARD!!! Oh<br />

gosh. Mum and dad just gave it to me. I cried.<br />

So very nice and I feel so very privileged that<br />

it’s one of your boards! I am so thankful, it’s<br />

absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to ride it.<br />

Ahhh thank you, thank you, thank you so much<br />

Chris. I feel very spoilt and very lucky, but I just<br />

love it.<br />

Phantom (Chris Garrett): Hey Phoebes, it was<br />

an absolute delight to make this for you and I’m<br />

stoked that you love it so much. It’s even more<br />

special as it’s for your 21st and I have great<br />

respect for your dad. Dave & feel humbled to be<br />

a part of this momentous occasion. Wishing you<br />

all the best for the years ahead and welcome to<br />

the phamily. Love & light xxx<br />

Phoebe: Well, I am absolutely proud to be<br />

welcomed into the Phantom family. The<br />

board goes unreal thanks once again. XXX<br />

Then a few weeks later.<br />

Phoebe: Aahhh CHRIS I LOVE MY BOARD. Ohh<br />

I just had the best surf and that board just keeps<br />

getting better. It is so fun and I just am so stoked.<br />

I love it so much!! Just want to say a huge thank<br />

you again.<br />

Phantom: Hey Phoebe!!! That is such a lovely<br />

message and thank you for taking the time to let<br />

me know. This makes my heart sing…it doesn’t get<br />

better than that! Thank you, thank you, thank you<br />

XXX<br />

And there you have it. Truth be told when I read<br />

these messages it brought a tear to my eye.<br />

When I picked up the board (it was a surprise<br />

present for Phoebe’s birthday), Chris greeted<br />

me and hugged me, he was just so excited about<br />

building the board for her. I just love this guy.<br />

We have shared so many laughs and had so<br />

many great chats through the years of producing<br />

Smorgasboarder. I didn’t know Chris before we<br />

started the mag and now I love him like family. I<br />

cannot speak highly enough of him as a person<br />

and as an incredible surfboard artisan and artist.<br />

As for the board itself, Chris and I decided to<br />

present Phoebe with something a little out of the<br />

ordinary. After all, smorgasboarding is all about<br />

variety and experiencing new things. It is 9’2” (a<br />

little longer than what she is used to riding) with<br />

the added length for getting some momentum<br />

on the predominantly gutless Sunshine Coast<br />

waves. It is a quad, again IT IS built for speed to<br />

get some momentum and boy does it fly. And it<br />

is made with a super lightweight EPS blank and<br />

6-ounce fibreglass cloth. It of course also features<br />

Chris’s incredible artwork. Naturally, if you’re<br />

going custom, you want it full custom, particularly<br />

if you’re intending to celebrate a milestone event.<br />

Chris may have semi-retired, but I wasn’t going<br />

to miss the opportunity to get a board from him,<br />

albeit for Phoebe, although being her dad I am<br />

of course authorised to ride. Chris is amongst a<br />

few shapers on my bucket list I have to acquire a<br />

magic board from. Thank you once again sir for<br />

the experience and the board which is so quick it<br />

almost moves faster than the eye can see. Or, as<br />

the old jungle saying goes, ‘Phantom is quick like<br />

lightning.’<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


Gut Slider<br />

Review by Peter ‘Slug’ Slater<br />

Been surfing since my parents bought me a Scott<br />

Dillon pintail mal for Christmas in 1970 when I<br />

was 13, I’m 66 now. 53 years later after a knee<br />

replacement in 2017, and with a knee that won’t<br />

bend much, I was in a place where I thought my<br />

salt water therapy days were over, until I read an<br />

article about the Gut Slider boards made by Ocean<br />

Foil, Keith ‘Robbo’ Robinson in Nambucca Heads.<br />

I contacted Robbo to ask a few questions and to<br />

talk all things surfing. Now courtesy of Robbo and<br />

Bart Watkins of ‘Boards by Bart’ in Maroochydore I<br />

now have two Gut Slider boards. My ‘Torpedo Gut’<br />

board from Bart I first got in the water in February<br />

this year, just in time to get smashed by the big<br />

swell that came in. Then the ‘Gut Slider’ from<br />

Robbo arrived in June so I’ve had a month surfing<br />

that. They are both similar boards, but with definite<br />

design diferences. Robbo is continually evolving<br />

the Gut Slider design and shaping nuances to suit<br />

the unique style of surfing on your guts.<br />

So, what’s the difference between stand up surfing<br />

and surfing on your ‘guts’?<br />

Apart from the obvious, the main things I’ve had<br />

to adjust to (and I still am refining my technique to<br />

this new style of surfing), is that there is no ‘pop<br />

up’, no back foot that can be loaded up to steer<br />

the back end of the board and no front foot to load<br />

up to accelerate down the line. The board gets<br />

steered by using hands on the rail back from the<br />

nose, leaning hard with the inside hip and using<br />

feet as outriggers to enable hard turns.<br />

The nice thing about the take off is that you can<br />

paddle into and ‘take off’ ridiculously late due to<br />

not having to deal with the pop up process. It’s<br />

something I discovered by mistake due to paddling<br />

into a wave that was literally breaking on me as I<br />

took the drop. Lying on your guts means you can<br />

ride out the buffet of the wave breaking on you<br />

as you drop and then trim toward the shoulder or<br />

back up into the green water pocket. Deliberately<br />

padding into something that is breaking has ended<br />

in tears, I have gone over the handle bars a couple<br />

times but that’s just a part of the fun of what we<br />

do.<br />

In conversation with Robbo<br />

regarding the unique technique of<br />

Gut Sliding resulted in his advice<br />

to trim immediately along the face<br />

as you feel the waves momentum.<br />

That was something I’ve learnt to<br />

get right the hard way after going<br />

over the falls a couple times as a<br />

result of trimming too early and<br />

getting sucked up the face of<br />

the wave. A main difference in<br />

technique is to break the golden<br />

rule of looking where you intend<br />

to go as you pop up. But riding<br />

the Slider I’ve learnt to look and<br />

aim at the bowl, rather than<br />

the wave wall, and then look to<br />

target where you want to go.<br />

This gives the board momentum<br />

and avoids the steep face of the<br />

wave sucking the board over the<br />

falls before the board has some<br />

speed to utilise the boards<br />

design characteristics.<br />

Another technique that is unique<br />

to riding on your guts is to use the<br />

feet/legs as outriggers to assist<br />

with turns and slowing the board<br />

to tuck into the steep section<br />

of the wave face. This is advice<br />

Robbo gave me and a technique<br />

I’m yet to get wired. How to surf the<br />

Gut Slider boards is still very much<br />

an evolving learning curve combining<br />

my already known techniques while<br />

adding new techniques and deleting<br />

pre-known concepts that are now not<br />

possible due to not having the ability<br />

to weight up the back foot in turns.<br />

My surf hero was/is Jeff Hakman —<br />

‘Mr Sunset’. Right from the time I first<br />

learnt to stand up to now I always try<br />

to emulate his huge bottom turn. A Mr<br />

Sunset Bottom turn is so far out in front of the wave<br />

that the inside rail scraps on the sand on the beach<br />

before driving back up into the pocket :D.<br />

I’ll make some comments about the design of<br />

the Gut Slider style boards but I’m definitely no<br />

authority on board design theory and concepts.<br />

Both boards are similar length, width and thickness,<br />

6’2” x 23” x 3”. As they are both custom shaped<br />

for me, my personal physical details were factored<br />

in by Bart and Robbo. I’m 5’7” and 98kg, hence<br />

both having reasonable volume. When discussing<br />

with Robbo and Bart pre-shaping the boards, the<br />

only design request I had was that the board be<br />

reasonably easy to paddle and able catch smallish<br />

to medium sized waves. I’m more than happy now<br />

to watch the young chargers take on anything that<br />

is over five foot.<br />

the Main design<br />

difference<br />

between the<br />

two boards is:<br />

The Torpedo<br />

Gut by Bart<br />

is epoxy, has<br />

a rounded<br />

nose like<br />

a mini mal<br />

and wide<br />

fish tail<br />

with about<br />

55 litres of<br />

volume.<br />

The rails have a<br />

soft chime shape<br />

with double<br />

concave from the<br />

mid section to the<br />

tail. Fin set up was<br />

originally a quad.<br />

I’ve had Bart put a<br />

rear fin block in for a<br />

central stabiliser fin.<br />

The Gut Slider<br />

by Robbo is PU<br />

with a rounded<br />

pin nose and tail. The<br />

rails have a very defined<br />

chime edge.<br />

The edge of the chime makes the<br />

effective surfing bottom of the board<br />

as 19” wide, hence when the board is<br />

going rail to rail in turns the board is<br />

behaving as a 19” wide board rather<br />

than a 23” width. Slight concave<br />

in the nose to flat mid section and<br />

then double concave from mid to<br />

tail section. Fin setup was a thruster.<br />

With the Ocean Foil boards Robbo<br />

supplies a leg rope, Slider fins are also<br />

specifically designed for the board<br />

and a Darc stabiliser rear fin.

Both boards are lightning quick when straight lining<br />

along the face. I was surprised at how fast they<br />

really are.<br />

I’ve changed around the fin setup on both boards a<br />

few times to experiment with what seems to work<br />

best, especially in the conditions we get on the<br />

Sunny Coast and specifically as my ‘home’ break is<br />

Geriatrics Reef near Alex Surf Club. The fin setup I<br />

like is Semi Keel fins with the small Darc stabiliser<br />

in the tail. I surfed the boards just as a twinny but<br />

I found that the tail seemed to be sliding a bit too<br />

much and I need the stability of a rear fin just to<br />

keep the twinny setup honest.<br />

I bought a set of Raido keel fins from a local Sunny<br />

Coast fin manufacturer and they are great.<br />

The photos attached show as best as I can the<br />

design characteristics of each board. I don’t have<br />

many photos of me actually on a wave as my wife,<br />

Yvee, who is the official Gut Slider photographer<br />

and not a surfer, keeps saying to me “Do<br />

Something when I’m taking photos”. I’m not sure<br />

Yvee has yet captured the concept of how surfing<br />

works :D.<br />

Those of us who are now in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,<br />

the original surf tribe, owe Robbo a huge thanks<br />

for coming up with purpose designed boards that<br />

enable us to keep doing what we love. I know<br />

Robbo is flat out making Ocean Foil Gut Sliders at<br />

his shop in Nambucca Heads. Robbo is fantastic in<br />

his customer service, before shaping my board he<br />

would contact me to discuss exactly what I wanted<br />

and after it was delivered to me he reached out to<br />

talk about any questions I had. He was great passing<br />

on his experience and ideas on the unique technique<br />

of how to get the best out of the Gut Slider style of<br />

surfing.<br />

I’d love to call out to anyone on the Sunny Coast<br />

riding a Gut Slider style board to contact me on<br />

Facebook messenger so we can get together and<br />

exchange thoughts and surf war stories. Maybe the<br />

birth of the ‘Sunshine Coast Gut Sliders’ is imminent.<br />

Peter ‘Slug’ Slater<br />

0414559797<br />

# 57 // smorgasboarder //<br />


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