Youth inductee #2 in Riptide’s 201st issue is WA youngster Noah Symmans.
Above: The shot of Noah that got a sweet, sweet print home. Photo: Jack McManus
Photo: Danny Miles
I live in a small town called Albany [ed: 418km south-east of Perth]. The waves are so sick down here, but they’re kinda fickle and they’re all so far out of town which sucks. Every wave’s at least a 20-minute drive, plus sometimes a two-kilometre hike up and down steep mountains. This is pretty shit because I can only surf on the weekends, which is a bit of a disadvantage on other kids around the state who can basically surf everyday. But the good thing is it’s hardly ever crowded, like, I can hardly stand a crowd with more than 10 people. Besides surfing, Albany has been a pretty boring town to grow up in. People always say it’s such a cool place when they come down, but apart from surfing and skating there’s not much to do other than party, which I’m not really into just yet. I’ve just recently turned 16 and I’m currently in Year 10 at school. I’m finding it pretty cruisy. My plans are to keep at it and get some sort of degree in Marine Biology or Media as they’re pretty much the only things I find interesting at school.
Photo: Danny Miles
My brother and his mates bodyboarded when they were my age and I always did what my brother did. So I’d surf the shorey on a piece of shit board we got from the tip when I was around eight. I got into other sports for a while, like footy and basketball, but after losing interest in those I got back on the boog. I started taking it more seriously in the past three years and it’s what I get the most enjoyment out of. I haven’t really got to surf anything over six-foot down here, but the waves I surf have definitely influenced the way surf. Big and powerful waves are known to my area, but a lot of three-to-four-foot wedges are too. So surfing wedges has influenced the way I ride a bit, always looking for sections to hit rather than stalling for the barrell. I haven’t been in too many sketchy conditions. I’ve been out at a pretty heavy beachbreak several times when the swell has been way too big for it to handle. I’d see a good one and get straight out there, not realising I’m about to cop several sets on the head and get thrown around, almost ending up on the reef on the inside. Other than that I haven’t had any too bad hold-downs or come close to drowning (touch wood).
Photo: Eamon Zuvich
I haven’t got the chance to surf many of the well-known waves of WA. I’ve surfed Box once and it was pretty gnarly. I got a few smaller ones and that satisfied me enough to start stepping it up a bit more. But I haven’t really had many opportunities to surf Box or Northies, etc. Gas Bay is a pretty good wave to get your confidence up at a reef as it’s pretty mellow, but yeah, other than that I haven’t scored many big sessions at well-known breaks.
The main influences on me as a little grommy were the Tension crew. Nowadays Lewy Finnegan, George Humphreys and Davis Blackwell probably influence me the most. I can watch their clips from when they were my age and see where I have to be if I want to make it in bodyboarding. I hardly ever get to see any pros in the water to be honest. The first time I met Ryan Hardy I had a coaching session with him and he’s the friendliest guy I’ve ever met and is pretty humble about his surfing too. I’ve done a couple coaching sessions with him since and he has helped my surfing a lot – telling me what I need to change and how I need to change it. He’s a legend. There are a few [younger] guys killing it at the moment including Lee Wilson, Dan Steel and Blake Gerrard. They’ve all got their own style and they’re all sick dudes. Some younger guys are Lochie Breaky and Finn Haslau, who I love surfing with because of how much we push each other.
Photo: Jack McManus
Oh, man, sharks are always on my mind. Where I live the water’s pretty cold and there are heaps of salmon so there are a few big fellas out there. I’ve only ever seen one shark and I hope it stays that way. I’ve been in the water multiple times when guys think they’ve seen a massive shadow or a fin, but that’s really it. Every time I surf along I’m shitting myself haha.
Photo: Jack McManus
I want to take bodyboarding as far as I can. It gives me the most enjoyment so I just want to be at it for as long as I can. I get my licence in less than a year so hopefully I’ll be surfing a whole lot more and making some trips around the coast. Getting some sick footage would be cool. All I need is a keen filmer/editor to hopefully get a nuts clip together. I was pretty stoked to get my shot run [in Riptide]. I held on to the shot for a while so it’s good to finally see it in print. Getting a few more shots run would be sick and getting some more sponsors would get me more motivated. I’d love to one day compete in a World Tour event, but even States and Nationals make me stoked on bodyboarding. My aim is to just keep improving and see where the sport takes me.
Photo: Jack Sherriffs
Big thanks to Riptide for giving me this interview, Darren and Zena at Good Earth Surf Shop, Wezza at Pride Bodyboards, and mum and dad for spending countless hours driving my mates and I around for surfs.
Photo: Troy Giuffre