THE CRAFT KNIFE
CUTTING SHAPES THROUGH SUMMER
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!