Youth – Alex McAlpine

Get to know the Central Coast slab-hunter.


Above: Not the shot that ran in the mag, but another example of Alex’s increasing prowess in the heavy stuff. Photo: Ryan Mattick

The Youth interview is back! It had been a while between drinks, what with issue 200 not having the regular next-gen department and there being delays with issue 201, but you know the drill – each issue the four guys or gals who scored a shot in that mag’s “Youth” department gets interviewed on the site. And the first of four from #201 – who was photographed in the below schlab that ran regrettably small – is Alex McAlpine. Take it away, Alex:

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Above: A glorious angle of one of Oz’s favourite slabs. Alex in prime position from the print pages of Riptide #201. Photo: Luke Shadbolt
Alex-McAlpine headshot

Photo: Stuart McAndrew

I’m 18 years old and I’ve lived in The Entrance all my life. These days I work in retail. I finished school last year with a pretty healthy mark and started studying Environmental Science at uni this year in Sydney, but I later decided I wanted to take some time off study to pursue other interests. It has been a pretty good year so far! I’ve recently had an interview for the fireys [fire department] so hopefully I get into that for a casual job for a year or two while still surfing a fair bit.

Alex-McAlpine Jake-Nelson
Photo: Jake Nelson

As a bodyboarder living around here it’s cool. There are a lot of older guys that bodyboard and will encourage you to get out there as much as you can. The lineup is pretty easygoing most of the time. My best mate Smokey (Brentyn Plows) got me into bodyboarding when I was about 13, down at the local surf club. He’s a recently turned videographer and we’re still good mates so he’s been filming a bit, which is good. I’d say the heavier waves around here have influenced the way I surf in terms of control more than anything. If you can hold a good line in the heavy stuff I think it helps your surfing all-round.

Alex-McAlpine Brentyn-Plows
Photo: Brentyn Plows

The heaviest wipeout I’ve had was probably Good Friday [during Riptide’s 200 Hours project]. I went over with the lip on a pretty solid one… well, I was actually between two lips – while Scott Arena was under me, gunning it for the end section. The last thing I saw was him fully committed for a backdoor so I pulled back a little, thinking it wouldn’t be too bad. Then I saw the top of his wetsuit as I was going over, did a full somersault and landed on my back really hard. I didn’t hit the reef luckily. I paddled back out not thinking much of it, but all the guys couldn’t believe I was fine. When I saw the photo later on it’s one of the craziest wipeouts I’ve had for sure.

Alex-McAlpine Jake-Nelson1
Photo: Jake Nelson

The younger groms are definitely stepping it up [on the Central Coast] for sure and most of them are pretty focused on style too. There’s a solid crew of pretty good younger photographers [aged] between 16-22 and they all have different styles of shooting, which is cool to see at a young age. It’s not hard to find someone who’s keen to shoot most days. Bayley Meyer and Jake Martin have been ripping on the boog for 16-year-olds and, for me, I think they’ve been ripping the most out of all their mates. Jake “Bones” Gibson has been giving it a good nudge in the bigger stuff and is always pretty keen to surf, but probably Cutty [Jordan Putland] has been pushing me to surf better the most. He’s been ripping.

Alex McAlpine Clay Elliot
Photo: Clay Elliot

I guess Michael Novy is a big influence to all of the younger generation around here. He’s definitely been a big influence on me, as well as Keegs [Adam Keegan] and [Ben] Holland. There’s also Heydon Bunting and Nick and Matty Rushton. Those were the guys to really pioneer Indies and start surfing it really well. They were a bit before my time, but there are some good stories and footage of those guys charging. Brad Jackson was my favourite to watch out there though. Not many young guys would have heard of him, but he’s got so much versatility – he can be ripping in one-foot waves when most older guys won’t surf and still dominate in slabs. He’s so humble too. These days, generally, I think Ben Player is really the best right now. He’s staying active with the world tour, making clips, getting mag coverage, keeping his sponsors happy and still ripping. Nick Gornall has been dominating freesurfing and Mitch Rawlins’ surfing is just crazy good. They’re probably my favourite Aussie guys for sure. That’s not to mention Jerry Houston and Hubb who have been doing it right for ages too.

It was pretty cool surfing with Adam Keegan [during Riptide’s 200 Hours project]. He kinda just paddled around everyone at the start and left his Queensland buddies, like Joe Clarke and Cade Sharp, at the back of the pack! But he got some really sick ones and was really friendly to everyone. He put me on to one of the best waves I’ve had out there and was just frothing for me – a super nice bloke and deadset legend.

Alex McAlpine Maddog1
Photo: Ryan Mattick

Like any grom I guess I’d like to make it big, get paid and chase bodyboarding for sure. One day I’d maybe like to win some tour events and I guess have few mag spreads to look back on when I’m older. I’m pretty happy just doing it for fun now, but if I got a good opportunity I’d fully go for it.

Thanks to Found Bodyboards for hooking me up with the best gear, to Rippy for running that shot and Shaddy for shooting it! Yew!

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