james mitchell

New Zealand Surfing - - Out there Doin it -

Surfers are trav­ellers, so it only makes sense when it comes time to set­tle down into a ca­reer that you find a job that is as close to the ocean as you can get. Orig­i­nally from Mt Maun­ganui, James Mitchell is one such surfer that has worked his way across the planet, and coin­ci­den­tally found him­self work­ing around some of the world’s best waves. Grow­ing up in the Bay of Plenty can be a frus­trat­ing life as a surfer, the waves when they come can be world class, yet it’s the long pe­ri­ods of no surf that can drive a surfer nuts! So as soon as James left school he hit the road in­fected with a travel bug for two years which saw him visit places such as In­dia, Fiji, North Amer­ica, Mex­ico, Europe, WA, and across to the East Coast of Aus­tralia. A re­turn home to launch a ca­reer saw James head on down to Otago Univer­sity to com­plete a Bach­e­lor of Com­merce man­age­ment and mar­ket­ing, fo­cussing on in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, a de­gree that would later be­come a great as­set. Com­ing from the small wave area of the North Is­land’s east Coast, the south­ern coast­line re­ally cap­tured James and he fell in love with the iso­lated and raw na­ture of the Deep South. Af­ter his first year at Uni and hav­ing seen a few of the epic waves on of­fer he re­turned home to the Mount and worked his butt off all sum­mer to get the vi­tal gear in the form of a Jet Ski, sleds and tow boards, which could be utilised to score these un­tapped waves. Af­ter be­ing taken un­der the wing of Skep McLough­lin and shown the ropes, lit­er­ally, James be­gan to push his big wave and alas surf­ing to a whole new level with a crew of pas­sion­ate like­minded guys. He was so in love with the place he stayed on af­ter his Uni years work­ing for Kyle David­son’s forestry gang, a great man to have as a boss, cause when the surf was on, tools were down! Af­ter a few more years James had an op­por­tu­nity come up through Otago Uni to fur­ther his stud­ies over in Mex­ico, quite iron­i­cally very close to a surf break known as Pas­cuales and be­tween there and trips to Puerto Es­con­dido he honed his big wave bar­rel rid­ing. Af­ter the South Amer­i­can foray James once again scored a dream op­por­tu­nity as a surf guide in Samoa at Salani, where his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties were to show guests how and where to get bar­relled. Each sum­mer James re­turned home run­ning a juice bar down at Mt Maun­ganui’s Main Beach, which brought in enough dosh to see him head back to his new-found love of Mex­i­can bar­rels in win­ter. Due to head off for a sea­son in Hawaii James had a chance meet­ing with a guy back home, Troy Grif­fin, which com­pletely changed his plans and set in mo­tion his cur­rent ca­reer path. Troy was the in­ven­tor/ owner of those re­verse sling­shot bungees and he needed help run­ning the Sin­ga­pore oper­a­tion, which James took on and al­though he didn’t get surf in Sin­ga­pore, he could shoot across to Bali in the week­ends. Once that was com­pleted James again re­turned home look­ing to set­tle down when he found him­self once again only days later board­ing a plane bound for Chile to help train up the Sling­shot oper­a­tion there. The Chilean coast­line is lit­tered with epic waves es­pe­cially point breaks and it’s fair to say James made the most of this op­por­tu­nity in his time off. The nest six years of James’ life landed him in Brazil, a place he had gone to check out while in this part of the world, when he then saw an open­ing for the busi­ness. As Brazil didn’t ap­pear to have much in the way of en­ter­tain­ment ser­vices, he worked with a lo­cal con­tact to set-up the bungee through­out Brazil at events and surfed his way around as much as he could. Af­ter six years the hus­tle and bus­tle of such a highly pop­u­lated place be­came too much and he boarded a plane for Nias to score a fore­casted big swell, one that would get the blood pump­ing af­ter years in Brazil­ian beach breaks. James for a few years had been en­ter­tain­ing the idea of re­turn­ing to NZ to set­tle down and en­joy a more re­laxed pace of life, when he met up with his girl­friend back in Bali af­ter the Nias swell and saw the piece of land in Kuta, and im­me­di­ately thought that would be a pretty sick place to put a re­verse bungy. The wheels were set in mo­tion, ne­go­ti­a­tions with landown­ers and the red tape of­fi­cers took place run­ning smoothly enough, and James along with the help of Troy be­gan con­struc­tion of the pro­ject which opened eight months later. While the ini­tial set up stages saw James re­stricted in terms of head­ing off to chase a swell, he still man­aged to score epic waves around Bali it­self, which ain’t such a bad thing. But as the oper­a­tion smooths it­self out James can fol­low those fore­casted epic swells to wher­ever the best spot will be, time the peak of the swell and re­turn to work, surf stoked and ready to make bank!

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