Andrew Lester Shark Island

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Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby doclach » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:56 am

Prelude: The world is a big place and the cycles of life are sometimes astounding. Around 7 years ago Andy was teaching bodyboarding in Cronulla. Having amped on his riding for some time and wanting to get some tweaks sorted with my own riding, I booked in a lesson. To say I was amped would be an understatement to say the least. I was heavily into racing bikes at the time and what I hadn’t counted on was a mate with the sickest custom naked 900 you’ve ever seen putting himself through a bus. In that scene you lose a lot of crew, but you never how each one is going to affect you. Sometimes you’re OK, sometimes you’re not.

Having written Dave’s obituary and gone to the funeral on the same day I was booked in with Andy, it turned out I was basically a mess. I thought of pulling the pin, but that is no respect to someone of Andy’s stature, so I hardened up and headed to the Nulla.

Andy was pretty friggen amazing that day – he took me through what I wanted to sort like the pro he is, letting me take some moments when I needed to but never fussing or whatever, just attending to the subtleties of elbow placement, bodyweighting and so on.

Bodyboarding is sometimes our only refuge in times of pain as only a bodyboarder knows and this was one of those times.

The level of respect for Andy as a person I’ve had since then can’t really be put into words, just to say it’s pretty epic when a rider you look up to for their ability, skill and sheer balls also turns out to be a genuine human (in every sense of the word) as well. That being said, doing Andy’s interview has felt very personal.

Introducing one of the legends in Australian bodyboarding history, Andrew Lester.

Doc: Hey Andy,

Man there are a lot of people stoked you’re back on the scene representing Turbo and hitting some comps. There is a rundown on where you’ve been at in the Rippy newsletter so readers can cover the basics of where you’ve been and where you’re at ... er-is-back
How would you describe your feelings in stepping up to the SIC again?

AL: When it was first mentioned that I might be getting a run in this year’s event I was really nervous. I hadn’t ridden out there on a Bodyboard in a while. But after surfing this past swell out there I feel good about it. More comfortable about it.

Doc: Turbo are massive supporters of bodyboarding at every level. How is it being a rep for them on the East Coast of Oz and being so involved with the industry again?

AL: I am so so stoked to be back within in this sport and to be with a company like Turbo. They are one of the original board companies and I am really proud to be with them. I look forward to the future with them. I am really enjoying my role as sales rep. I am learning as I’m going and the stores have been great. The new seasons range looks so good. I can’t wait to ride them.

Doc: You’ve been riding Shark Island for most of your life, apart from its obvious heaviness, what is it about the break you feel fascinates people so much?

AL: Firstly I think the name. The word shark has a fear element attached with it, so when you say Shark Island to someone there is an emotional attachment to it. Also the way people can have such a good view of the action from the safety of Cronulla point. You don’t need to know anything about bodyboarding to know what a good wipe-out is or when someone gets spat out of a 6ft pit that it’s a good thing. The general public can get involved without knowing the details of the sport.

Doc: The Island is a mind-altering place to ride. When you’re deep in the pit there, how much are you right in that very moment and how much are you anticipating what is to come further down the line – what do you think about deep in the guts of the bitch when she’s heaving and wants to eat you up and grind you onto that unforgiving reef?

AL: You are definitely in the moment when you’re in the barrel out there. Things can change very quickly. If your concentrating down the line you’ll miss what’s happening in the moment and likely to hit a step, catch a rail and go over the falls. The Island can make even the best bodyboarders catch a rail and look average. You need to go of your instincts out there.

Doc: What is the worst take-down you’ve had there?

AL: I hyper extended my back a few years ago. I remember it was about a week before the Tahiti comp. It wasn’t a big day either, 4-6ft range. I had all tingles going through my legs. I had to get physio everyday before I went to chopes.

Doc: And is there a ride at SI which is embedded in your mind where you felt you really owned the wave and gave some of her own back?

AL: Not really where I thought I owned it, but there is a wave that stands out in my mind. It was on the second day of the 2001 SIC. I came into surge and it was all bubbling around me. I bounced over dry rock at surge and made the barrel. I feel I learnt more from that one wave than from all the years before or since. The wave is still so vivid in my mind, like it happened yesterday.

Doc: To me, amongst many other things, you’re the master of stalling to go deep into the pit and getting the timing just right. Where are some places that you’ve looked down the longest of gun barrels?

AL: I went on a trip a few years back to northern Sumatra which had some long barrels. I surfed the super bank which was fun. You can get some long barrels at north point too. I’ve never been to g-land or desert point.

Doc: What initially inspired you to step your riding up and go professional?

AL: I always wanted to be a professional rider. There was nothing that happened to make step it up. As you get into competitions you want to win. When you’re free surfing you want to be the best out there. That is what I wanted and the rest fell into place.

Doc: Sickest event in the Super Tour back in the day?

AL: Pipe was always very special. The cloud 9 event we had was really good too. Yeah cloud 9 was one of the sickest.

Doc: You’re one of my all-time fave riders, and same goes for a lot of other people I’ve spoken to over time. How does it feel to have affected so many bodyboarders and indeed the sport itself in such a positive way over the years?

AL: Thanks Doc. It’s cool to hear that. Now that I have finished my career I can reflect back on it. When you’re going through it you don’t think about your impact you might have on others. I am really proud of my career and I am really happy that I have had a positive impact on the sport. If I inspired other bodyboarders to improve their riding than that is great. Like the guys before me who inspired me, there are guys know who are inspiring future generations.

Doc: What mix of Prone/DK/Stand-up Boogie are you riding?

AL: When I am bodyboarding it’s all prone. I ride a surfboard often too. I really enjoy the surfboard. I am learning all over again and i think that competitive nature comes back. I want to keep getting better.

Doc: What boards are you running in your current quiver and what are your current faves?

AL: I’m riding the Turbo IV. It might sound byest but honestly they are the best boards I have ever ridden.

Doc: What dimensions and core compositions are you finding hot for your riding at the moment?

AL: I have a 43” PP and a 42” FRC. I am more than likely going to ride the 42” in this year’s Island comp.

Doc: And how about accessories – leash, fins and wetsuits?

AL: Leash I have a Turbo bicep coil. Fins I’m in Allys. Orange and Black. For a wettie I am in by far the best wetsuit I have ever worn. Reeflex. Mercury.

Doc: D.O.B height and weight?

AL: 02/10/80, 5’11”, 85kg.

Doc: Fave breaks – local and overseas?

AL: Shark Island, mystics and Pipe, cloud 9.

Doc: What would be the biggest wave you’ve taken on?

AL: It was a wave at Pipe about 12-15ft. Not huge but big enough.

Doc: Do you have a crew you hang with in the water?

AL: Alex Leon, Ringa, Ben Hall, Ben Williams, Alex Mills, Chucky, Bros, Kane Cox.

Doc: Best boat trip?

AL: By far was one to the Mentawis. Really good mix of riders. There was Dave Ballard, Ben Player, Ryan Hardy, Mitch Rawlins, Mitch Hall, Tyson Williams. Chris White filming and Tim Jones taking photos. We had sick waves and was just an insane trip. They were all ripping and we just had an insane time.

Doc: Who are some of your fave photogs?

AL: Phil Gallagher is my fave for sure. I really like that he thinks outside the box and comes up with amazing shots. Tim Jones was a great photographer too. Still is.

Doc: Board history – any chance you can remember and name the boards you have had under you over time? Fave ride ever of all of them?

AL: The Turbo IV 42”. I rode it 3 days ago at pumping Island. That is definitely my fave board now!

Doc: Scariest moment on the boog?

AL: My first season in Hawaii, about my third surf out pipe and one of our good mates Andrew Tumbridge gets belted at backdoor duckdiving. He comes up with a huge hole in his forehead and busted lip. Blood all over his face yelling for someone to help him. I took him up to the lifeguard tower and waited with him till the ambulance to arrive. That scared the shit out of me.

Doc: How would describe the boog scene in Australia at the moment and where do you see it heading?

AL: It seems to be very strong. I have been to a couple of Aussie tour events and there were so many guys ripping in them. We have 3 magazines who are all getting really good issues. It is really moving along well. It is definitely heading in the right direction.

Doc: What do you reckon BB needs most at the moment?

AL: Time. It would be great if we got a big corporate sponsor to come in and invest millions to grow the sport. Unfortunately I don’t think that will happen. In time we’ll be able to fund it ourselves. When I was a pro rider the only clothing brands were no friends and rejected. Now there are more than i could name. We have wetsuit companies. As long as bodyboarders continue to buy bodyboarding brands all we need is time. We are creating jobs for bodyboarders. This is something past generations have missed out on. Now we have bodyboarders making decisions in bodyboarding brands and there making the decisions based on, sure what’s best for there brand, but ultimately whats best for bodyboarding.

Doc: What do you love most about the BB culture?

AL: It’s relaxed and laid back. There is a sense of brotherhood within the culture. Everybody’s looking out for each other.

Doc: Who would you like to give a shout-out to?

AL: It would have to my beautiful girlfriend Bec. She has helped me overcome so many obstacles in these past four years. I have been able to achieve more than i would have ever thought possible because of her and I look forward to living out my life with her.
Also the team at Turbo, Gregg, Sam, Glenn and Matt for allowing me to be a part of the best bodyboarding company in the world. I can’t thank you enough for bringing me back into this sport.

Doc: And finally who are your sponsors?

AL: Turbo Surf Designs, Reeflex wetsuits and ally fins.

Thanks so much for your time Andy

Recent pics of Andy are like gold to come by, so it is thanks to one of my Tama crew, Nick Bannehr for this first pic from a recent swell at Shark Island:

Rider: Andrew Lester Photo: Nick Bannehr TBC

The following pics are all from Darryl Menzies who kindly took the time go through his hard-drive and sort some out for us/.Darryl has been shooting the Island for years and always manages to come up with the goods.

Rider: Andrew Lester Photo: Darryl Menzies

Rider: Andrew Lester Photo: Darryl Menzies

Rider: Andrew Lester Photo: Darryl Menzies
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby Dee » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:52 am

Nice interview :D he charges hard we have sum unreal footage of him from the island last weekend :D :D
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby adam.s » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:58 pm

King of the Carve
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby Conjob v1.1 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:05 pm


I remember getting The Pro Files with a Riptide subscription a while back and being obsessed with him and winny from it.
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby Boogs » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:35 am

Great words Doc, loved it.
Lester is a True Champion. Can't wait to see him shred in the SIC.
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby captain6230 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:53 pm

One of my all time favourite riders :lol:
has a different style, probably because hes not your average pro whos 5ft high, rake thin and stretches like an elastic band :lol:
definately gonna tune into the island this year
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby stevielloyd » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:20 pm

Lester kills it and surfs the pocket bullshit
The people in this industry that insist on being dodgy (insert naughty word) will suffer and I will laugh.
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby savage flame » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:26 pm

Lester shreds.
His few waves in Draw - East Coast section are incredible. Does one of the sickest carves.
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby SFVD » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:22 pm

Stoked he is back in the swing of things and on a Turbo. Hard to believe he is only 30 too.

I still have an old pro-model of his, pretty sure it must be a 2000 model. Navy deck, red pin, orange rails and white slick with chrome stamps.
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Re: Andrew Lester Shark Island

Postby captain_awesome » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:28 pm

whoa, that means bp and hardy are older doesn't it?

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