New Zealand Surfing - - Enrichment - Words by Jules Craft, im­age by Cory

Sum­mer. Ah what a won­der­ful melody it brings to the ears to hear that word. The wa­ter is fi­nally warm enough for the city folk to move back on to the coast, the Wainui store is steam­ing through a thou­sand piz­zas a minute, the off­shore breeze blows most of­ten, and ev­ery­one seems to find just enough time off work to en­joy one or two sun soaked lo­cal beach bar­rels. At times sum­mer can seem like the clos­est thing to heaven on earth and that’s why we love it. It’s why we covet it, and it’s why we wait so pa­tiently through the cold of win­ter’s souther­lies. The best part about be­ing some­one who lives next door to an ocean with surf is that in sum­mer you can plan your hol­i­days to take place in your own back­yard, es­pe­cially if your back­yard is New Zealand! Win­ter is for the epic In­done­sian mis­sions, Schapelle Corby trips to Bali with your boo­gie bag, and maybe across the ditch escapes, but sum­mer…. sum­mer is about get­ting amongst this sweet piece of land we call Aotearoa. This last sum­mer New Zealand beaches have been fir­ing. It seems like you can’t log in to Face­book with­out see­ing one of the bros in a creend­ing keg. It’s fair to say the boys have been charg­ing whether it’s out at some mag­i­cal Northen Piha bank, a sneaky sand spit around the Coro­man­del, or an un­known point in the deep south, it doesn’t mat­ter ev­ery­one’s been killing it. The best part of the whole thing is that 95% of the time these waves have been break­ing right onto our door steps. There is noth­ing bet­ter than hav­ing your lo­cal line up go­ing off! Ev­ery sum­mer there’s at least one mag­i­cal ses­sion, you know what I’m talk­ing about, it’s no longer peak tourist sea­son, the hol­i­days are nearly over, and ev­ery­one’s pre­par­ing to head back to work, uni, or school. Then out of nowhere the tasti­est bank of the en­tire year pops up right in front of your home. Next thing you know your pad­dling out hoot­ing to the same guys who you have been surf­ing with you en­tire life; watch­ing the guys who have taught you ev­ery­thing in the wa­ter still smash­ing it harder than any­one. I’ve al­ways “got a lot to learn” when I re­turn.

I’ve al­ways taken Gis­borne for granted, al­ways thought only of leav­ing. This year be­ing in Hamil­ton has awak­ened a re­al­i­sa­tion with how much I love my home town. Trust me I had a stinga of a time in the Tron, the bar 101 jun­gle has treated me well, and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion has been a de­light, but now when I think of Gis­borne I al­ways get this feel­ing of nos­tal­gia that draws me home to sum­mer. Gis­borne sum­mer! Need I say more? Home with the people you grew up with, bikini clad Brazil­ian fe­males who horde the 'Stock Route' ac­cess to the beach, and of course the nasty com­bi­na­tion of Rhythm and Vines plus Bay­watch. This sunny sea­son I sussed a sum­mer job work­ing on the Bay­watch squad. The Bay­watch team have all eaten the same break­fast as Ric, they're a group of G.C’s. Be­ing the rook­ies this year meant Kale and I copped a bit of shit from se­nior man­age­ment, but they were still the sick­est team to work for. Ev­ery­one loves a good sum­mer fes­ti­val, bak­ing in the sun, sneak­ing in al­co­hol, us­ing your sleep­ing bag, lis­ten­ing to blast­ing mu­sic, grimy dancing, and los­ing your mind only to find it a few days later ac­com­pa­nied by a se­vere hang­over. Sum­mer fes­ti­vals al­ways en­sure an epic time and the team on Bay­watch were all about pro­tect­ing this rep­u­ta­tion. Putting in all the hours nec­es­sary so ev­ery­one can get a cheeky groove on and sur­vive the five day trauma that comes with par­tic­i­pat­ing. It was so cool to see a team of lo­cals re­ally putting in the el­bow grease so that the whole thing ran smooth and a glo­ri­ous time was en­joyed by ev­ery­one. Man I love hav­ing a sum­mer job. Af­ter Uni I'm go­ing to miss the days where all year I only had to surf, go to school, and get a sum­mer job to pay for my munchies. Speak­ing of re­turn­ing, this year I got to wit­ness a gen­er­a­tion of ocean dwellers re­turn home in cel­e­bra­tion of their best friend’s wed­ding. Dur­ing this pe­riod of my hol­i­days I had a bit of spare time and I was look­ing for­ward to get­ting a sniff in on the ac­tion that was about to be thrown down, so I of­fered my ser­vices as bar ten­der at Ains­ley and Jonas Te Aho’s wed­ding. The scene was set by a gi­gan­tic white mar­quee tent on the front lawn of Kim’s (Ains­ley’s fa­ther) lawn. This house over­looks none other than Wainui beach, the place where both Ains­ley and Jonas grew up surf­ing, hav­ing re­turned to cel­e­brate this time with friends and whanau. It was crazy to see the fam­ily spirit the af­ter party had. Here were a gen­er­a­tion of East Coast kids who were all con­nected by the ocean and the ex­pe­ri­ences they no doubt shared over many a Gizzy sum­mer be­fore they parted ways. The coolest part was even af­ter sev­eral years of people be­ing apart they were all still the tight­est crew out. And dam could they cel­e­brate. With at least five dif­fer­ent D.J’s there was no famine of skunky house mu­sic tunes that’ll keep you mov­ing to the break of dawn. Jonas’ D.J cre­ation of munch munch yummy yummy had brought in a net­work of sneaky sick mu­sic mak­ers. The kaimoana was fresh and in large sup­ply, pre­vi­ous div­ing mis­sions hav­ing been a mas­sive suc­cess, and yes the bath tub was full to the brim with ice cold brews and bub­bly. All you could ask for at a cel­e­bra­tion. Sim­ply put sum­mer is the raddness. It’s a time when ev­ery­one re­turns home to re­lax and en­joy the place that raised them. This last sum­mer has been my best one yet and it’s thanks to all the leg­endary bunch of people who I have met as a re­sult of grow­ing up by the ocean. Ev­ery­one loves a Kiwi sum­mer and we are some of the luck­i­est people alive to be able to ex­pe­ri­ence it.

Surf­ing in the chilly wa­ters of Dunedin must be a chal­lenge, how did you first get into surf­ing?

Well my Dad bought me my first surf board but It was when my Mum got to­gether with Scotty James that I re­ally got into my surf­ing. I started when I was five and I re­mem­ber surf­ing in two spring suits and be­ing ab­so­lutely freez­ing but I think I was hav­ing fun. Then Scotty gave me my first fi­bre­glass surf­board for Christ­mas when I was seven and I had a su­per fun surf that day. From then on I have had lots of good, fun surfs in­clud­ing a few trips to Bali and other places. Look­ing for­ward to the next trip to Bali in June.

Not only are south­ern wa­ters cold, the surf is con­sis­tently big, this must be daunt­ing or does it just harden you up faster?

The good thing about St Clair (the main beach I surfed) is the chan­nel, no mat­ter how big it is, there was pretty much al­ways a wave there so that was a good place to have just around the cor­ner. As for the wa­ter it is not that bad with a good wet­suit but it feels freez­ing when you are putting a wet 4/3mm wetty and gloves, hood and booties on in win­ter. I re­mem­ber putting hot wa­ter in my booties to warm them up be­fore I put them on and hav­ing a jug of hot wa­ter to have a hot shower af­ter. That was the hard part al­though the waves were awe­some.

What about Sharks? Con­sid­er­ing St Clair is the only beach in NZ with a shark warn­ing bell. Does that worry you?

Nope I have never seen one in the sea wild but I heard that my mate Jack Mcleod had a visit by one! I think it swam un­der him and I wouldn't like that! But I have never seen one. You need to look out for the seals though they come up and bark at you and they give you a bit of a fright.

Where have you scored your most mem­o­rable surf?

I would have to say prob­a­bly the surf break Mur­der­ers I have surfed that when it was pump­ing when I prob­a­bly couldn't even do a cut back and I re­mem­ber see­ing Scotty get a sick bar­rel from The rock half way down the point. There are many other awe­some ses­sions lots and lots of them.

Dunedin surfers have the best Board­rid­ers club rooms and a core nu­cleus of amped mem­bers that keep surf­ing re­volv­ing down those ways. How is it hav­ing those fa­cil­i­ties and the older guys to in­spire and sup­port you?

When I was in Dunedin I loved the South Coast Board Rid­ers and the club rooms, and my mates there, Jack, Ja­cob and the other guys that I spent time surf­ing with. It was re­ally good to have sup­port from the club for petrol money when I was go­ing to Christchurch and do­ing the comps there - it was good hav­ing them and R & R Sport who helped me out and re­ally got be­hind me.

Word has it you shaped, and fin­ished this board you are pic­tured rid­ing here.

Yes this is the first board I have fin­ished by my­self and it is cool see­ing MY board sit­ting in the cor­ner of my room think­ing I made that. I love mak­ing and help­ing shape and glass boards but this one was the first board I have re­ally done my­self. I think I will make a few more - I am go­ing to make a copy of a Fire Wire board - the one with the weird nose and big con­claves in the nose and tail. I for­get the name of the model but they look so much fun. As for the board I just made, it hasn’t had much use as it doesn't re­ally have enough foam in it for me.

Have your mates been lin­ing up to get one of your crafts?

No not re­ally, I don't want to make some­one else a board be­cause it will be far from per­fect and I just like shap­ing for my­self at the mo­ment. Thanks to Sam Parsons for let­ting me use his fac­tory and his tools. When I want a good board I know he can make the per­fect board for me, as he does for all his cus­tomers.

You were re­cently spotted rub­bing shoul­ders with some leg­ends of the sport, care to drop any names?

I met Si­mon An­der­son at an Aus­tralian Surf Expo 2014 in Bris­bane - it was cool to get a photo with him. When I am around Coolan­gatta you see lots of pros es­pe­cially at this time of the year when the Quik­sil­ver Pro is on. I nor­mally see Mick Fan­ning and Joel Parkin­son, out and around the wa­ter as well.

You've be­gun com­pet­ing in na­tional surf comps, shaped, rid­den and been pub­lished on your own board, whats next in this young groms life?

I would want to be­come a pro free-surfer, like ev­ery other grom­met and travel the world do­ing photo shoots. If that plan fails I want to be­come a pi­lot, I think that is the most real­is­tic op­tion with what I want to do in my life, but you never know! I have had lots of help from my step dad Scotty, Mum, Dad, the whole fam­ily and some great spon­sor­ship from Far King ac­ces­sories, Live Eye­wear, Gas Fins, and Sam at Parsons Surf­boards. Also my school who have put me in a Sports Ex­cel­lence Pro­gramme, big thanks to these guys for the help and sup­port!!!

Meet Dunedin’s 15 year old Xavier David­son Camp­bell, our lat­est ris­ing grom who not only spends all day in the wa­ter like all as­pir­ing groms, he shapes his own boards! Hav­ing re­cently moved from our south­ern wa­ters on the main­land across the ditch to the Goldy, Xavier has all the in­spi­ra­tion one could ever need in the lo­cal line­ups ev­ery day, and is look­ing to the skies for his fu­ture in more ways than one, read on!

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