Dream job for surfer
DONAVON Frankenreiter is living the dream – but the surfing troubadour still views the dream as a job.
‘‘My nine-to-five job is I surf at nine and I play music at five. It’s like a nine-and-five job,’’ Frankenreiter says, laughing.
The Hawaii-based singersongwriter, known for his iconic moustache, is paid by Billabong to promote surfing as a lifestyle rather than a competitive sport. It’s a way of life that many could only dream of but Frankenreiter admits he works hard to keep it alive.
‘‘I love playing music and I love surfing but I have to keep my sponsors at a point where they see value in sending me around the world. I feel like I am enjoying every moment but there is pressure to keep it going,’’ he says.
Frankenreiter, his wife Petra and sons Hendrix and Ozzy have called the Gold Coast home for the past month as he embarks on a 30-show tour playing free gigs across the country for Corona Extra and La Casa Artist Residency.
Having his family on tour is a treat Frankenreiter relishes.
‘‘I get really depressed sometimes when I am on the road and I am not with my family. I tell people that when I go home, it feels like I am on vacation,’’ he says.
‘‘I am only home in Hawaii for four months of the year. When I’m home, it’s incredible.’’
While he lives the dream, Frankenreiter admits there are still pieces missing from his puzzle.
‘‘I feel like I am always searching for something. I never feel complacent,’’ he says.
‘‘Surfing and music keep me coming back. I never get bored. I never walk on stage or ride a wave and say, ‘I have done this before, I know what’s going to happen’. It’s almost like getting given a present every time, not knowing what it is and opening it up.’’
There’s a ‘‘living in the moment’’ theme to Frankenreiter’s fifth album, Start Livin’, released last year. Among the album’s folk-infused songs and honeythick vocals is the track A.I. – a heavy-hearted tribute to Frankenreiter’s good mate, professional surfer Andy Irons, who died in 2010.
‘‘He was the closest I have ever been to somebody who has died. It hit me in a hard way,’’ he says.
‘‘I don’t want to catch myself complaining about traffic or lines at the airport. Who cares. Just be so stoked where you are at that moment and enjoy it so much with the people you are around because you never know what could happen.’’
The 40-year-old says he is focusing on enjoying every moment he can with his kids and wife.
‘‘I don’t ever want to catch myself being negative because you have to enjoy where you are at,’’ he says.
‘‘The theme of the record is to slow down and enjoy every moment. I am not a preacher. What I sing about is really honest and it’s really me.’’
Frankenreiter’s tour sees him stacking two to three gigs into a day from Fridays to Sundays so he can have weekdays off.
‘‘Since they are free concerts and a lot of them are in local pubs, it wouldn’t work to play on a Wednesday. It’s so cool to do free concerts for the fans,’’ he says.
Frankenreiter says basing himself on the Coast has been ideal for his family.
‘‘We have a lot of friends here on the Gold Coast and it makes sense to be in the middle of everything while Quikie Pro is on,’’ he says.
‘‘We set camp and pretend we have moved (to Kirra) for seven weeks.
‘‘It’s great, the family get comfortable and they can go from here up to Burleigh and down to Byron.’’