Photo // Curtis Rejtano
Can you give us a little background info on how you got into bodyboarding, how long you have been doing it and where you’re from?
I got into bodyboarding when I was about 13 years old after my older brother 'Robbie' would drag me down to Boxy after school and on the weekends. After a few weeks of being forced into the ocean, I began to develop a taste for it. Eventually I would spend every spare moment I had in the ocean - i was hooked!
It was difficult trying to find the time to go surfing living in Nelson Bay and travelling an hour-and-a-half to and from Newcastle each day. I began waking up before sunrise, squeezing in an hour of surfing before catching the bus to school followed by a late afternoon session. Seven years later and I'm still amped and surfing more than ever.
Do you shoot photos and video as well? How'd this come about?
I'm always keen to get in the ocean no matter how terrible or flat the conditions may be. So most times when my mates and I will check the surf and it's flat, rather than go home, it's sick just to go and swim around with the gopro and take some photos. It has produced a few cool shots so far.
Keiki bash. Photo // Clark Little
What do you do when you're not in the surf?
When I'm not in the surf I'll be hanging out with my mates, my girlfriend, occassionally attending classes at uni and playing my guitar.
There seems to be an abundance of guys shredding in Newcastle lately. Is it hard to stand out from the crowd? What's your secret to getting some exposure?
Yeah there definetly is. I think it's pretty hard to stand out from the crowd because of how super talented some of the guys from here are. Just surfing 'good' simply isn't enough to be a 'standout' rider around Newcastle. Consistency, continual improvement, uniqueness in style and versatility in small and big waves are what I think are important in standing out. My secret to gaining exposure without the support of sponsorship is to always challenge myself in these aspects to surf at a higher level in a variety of different waves, not just at Boxy. Working with guys to produce videos and photos that display my surfing will allow me to gain exposure.
Boxy air reverse. Photo // Heath Lawless
Can you tell us one crazy story that people might not know about you?
It was my eighteenth birthday and a few of my friends and I were cruising through Newcastle on the way to a friends house in a less than reputable suburb for some beers. After an hour or so we decided to leave. As we drove off after about 20 metres we drove pass a few guys who my friend decided to yell out to. Just seconds later we noticed that the road became a dead-end followed by the sound of beer cans hitting the car. My mate driving the car turned around and was forced to stop as 20 big, hairy, footy shirt wearing deros surrounded the car. They started hitting the windows with fence pailings and wooden stakes smashing up the car. At this point we were yelling at our mate the driver to "Just drive! Drive!" but he would reply "What if i hit them?", fearing for our lives we argued "Fuck ém, just drive! Go!" One of the gnarlier looking guys had a wooden post and stood to the side of the car about to break the windscreen, as he did this the driver floored it and drove straight into it, smashing the windscreen. We'd gotten away and avoided possible murder haha.
What are your goals for the rest of the year in bodyboarding and life in general?
My goals this year are not simply just to "surf heaps". I aim to really challenge and continue to improve my surfing, travelling and surfing new waves and gain exposure through higher levels of clips and photos. Most importantly though, maintaining a good positve attitude towards bodyboarding and remembering not to prioritise anything over the fact that I bodyboard because of the pure enjoyment I get out of it.