New Zealand Surfing - - Behind The Cover -

You­hear it when you travel, you read it in the travel mag­a­zines and on­line. New Zealand, our coun­try, has a rep­u­ta­tion as the most beau­ti­ful, serene and un­touched place on the planet. A visit to our shores is on most tourists 'Bucket List'. As lo­cals it is easy to take what we have for granted, so we thought from now on we would catch up with vis­it­ing surfers that we run into on our trav­els and get the word from them on their ex­pe­ri­ences while tak­ing in the waves, views and vibes of Aotearoa. It just might make you ap­pre­ci­ate how good we have it just that lit­tle bit more.

This is­sue we fea­ture Jonah Lake, a mu­si­cian/surfer from Swe­den, who has be­come a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to our shores playing gigs and surf­ing his way across Aotearoa.

You’re from Swe­den and have trav­elled to coun­tries such as Por­tu­gal, Nor­way, Sri Lanka, Ca­nary Is­lands, Australia and many more, yet you keep on mak­ing your way back to nz, what at­tracts you here?

New Zealand has ba­si­cally got all the good things from ev­ery na­tion I've ever trav­elled to and I've been to over 25 coun­tries. From the amaz­ing moun­tains to per­fect beaches, all the wel­com­ing friendly peo­ple, friendly lo­cals and great cul­ture. I never in my life thought I would visit such an amaz­ing coun­try as this. It's been a long-time dream since I was a teenager to visit New Zealand af­ter I first saw End­less sum­mer. I re­ally love the old school vibe of the vil­lages and the peo­ple. I've had many of the best waves in my life here and I lived 10 years in the Ca­nary Is­lands (the Hawaii of Europe), surfed Pipe, Su­per­tu­bos in Por­tu­gal, Hossegor in France etc. For me it's the long point­breaks and amaz­ing scenery that gets me go­ing. Good vibes, great beer and awe­some jams.

The world doesn’t hear much about surf in swe­den, how did you get into surf­ing and what's your lo­cal surf cul­ture like?

When I started out in the 90’s there was a tiny surf scene go­ing on. Prob­a­bly less than 100 surfers in the whole county. Now it has be­come a lot big­ger in­dus­try with surf camps, surf schools, surf­board brands, surf shops, shapers, surf mags and over­crowded surf spots. In fact, most surf spots in Swe­den are way more crowded than most spots I've

"Ev­ery coun­try has got ass­holes but New Zealand has got the least ass­holes per capita of all the coun­tries I've been to, and the friendli­est peo­ple per capita as well."

surfed in New Zealand which is crazy con­sid­er­ing the qual­ity of the waves in NZ are about 100 times bet­ter. We get good waves once in a while and when it's good in Swe­den it's EPIC and when it's epic in Swe­den it's like a shitty day in Manu Bay but the stoke among the the Swedes is be­yond be­lief in a good way. A cold day on the NZ South Is­land would be a pretty warm day dur­ing the 6 months of Swedish win­ter. I've surfed wa­ters be­low freez­ing point in -10ºC snow­storms, 2-foot mushy waves and close­outs with a smile on my face. I've al­ways been ad­dicted to the ocean and dreamed my whole life about liv­ing on an is­land surf­ing my days away. I was 11 years old when Point Break came out and that changed me in a good way. We did not have surf mag­a­zines, surf movies or any­thing as­so­ci­ated with surf­ing at that time so the only surf I ever saw on a screen be­tween 1991 and 1999 was the movies Point break, End­less Sum­mer 1 and 2, Blue juice, North Shore and In God’s Hands. We had no surf in­struc­tors, no one to show us how a duck dive was made etc. But the stoke was 100%. Elin and Jonas Tawharu are Kiwi ju­nior leg­ends and half Swedish by the way and they charge hard!

So how long have you been here in NZ and what have you ex­pe­ri­enced?

I've vis­ited NZ four times so far since 2011 and it's been a to­tal of 19 months. While liv­ing in a van with my girlfriend I've had the best time of my life, met the coolest peo­ple, had some of the best gigs in my life and surfed my brains out. All in all, it has been great. Ev­ery coun­try has got ass­holes but New Zealand has got the least ass­holes per capita of all the coun­tries I've been to, and the friendli­est peo­ple per capita as well. I went over to OZ for a week, got home­sick and went back to NZ. We've been mostly in Tu­tukaka coast, Taranaki and in the Raglan area. I reckon Taranaki is my favourite place in the world when it comes to liv­ing the good life, meet­ing awe­some peo­ple and surf­ing my dream waves. Raglan is my kind of vil­lage when it comes to party, jam, shop, hang out, go search­ing and catch the waves of your life, when it's not too crowded. Tu­tukaka Coast feels like home in many ways where we’ve got many friends and where we've spend a lot of time. They’ve got some of the friendli­est lo­cals, qual­ity beach-breaks, great fish­ing and easy liv­ing any Swede could wish for. Just driv­ing around NZ is a great ex­pe­ri­ence for a non-Kiwi. I'm nearly 40 and the other peo­ple we meet trav­el­ing in vans are around 20 so we feel like the grumpy old peo­ple some­times. Too many free­dom campers are fuck­ing up na­ture and that is wrong, so we tell them. We al­ways try to pick up ex­tra trash and clean up af­ter any­one who has left their mess where we are camp­ing. Some of our dream camp­ing spots are now gone/closed be­cause of new smart­phone apps and messy young campers and that is a shame. But we keep on search­ing and still find­ing amaz­ing places, meet­ing great peo­ple and lov­ing the NZ vibe. Thank you, all surfers and peo­ple of NZ, so much for your hos­pi­tal­ity!

Where have you scored the best surf dur­ing your stays?

Best waves? Hehe, I can't tell you be­cause I would get beat up by some lo­cals if I did hehe. But I've scored Manu, Indies, Ship­pies, Sandys, Whanga, Taupo and many spots in Taranaki, as good as it gets over the years. Too many great ses­sions to even start to ex­plain and so many spots I don't even want to men­tion where I've surfed with only a hand­ful of guys in dreamy con­di­tions. I surf on a 5´5” Mor­ris and a 6´4” sin­gle fin. Waves that will echo in my mind for­ever.

You’re a mu­si­cian and have played in many clubs, pubs and fes­ti­vals through­out NZ, your first al­bum ‘Free Soul’ has had over 1 mil­lion streams, and you’ve just re­leased your latest al­bum ‘Nev­er­land’ which was in­spired and I be­lieve ded­i­cated to your time and ex­pe­ri­ences in NZ?

In fact the cover pic­ture of both my al­bums are shot it in NZ. The Free Soul pic­ture was taken in Sandy Bay and the new al­bum, Nev­er­land, cover was taken on the rocks by Manu Bay. A few songs on both the al­bums are writ­ten here in New Zealand. The song Nev­er­land is about com­ing from the other side of the world and get­ting hooked on NZ, just like Peter Pan got hooked on Nev­er­land. My two most played songs on­line is ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Don't Grow Up It's A Trap’. They are about trav­el­ing and liv­ing life. The mu­sic video to ‘Don't grow up it's a trap’ was filmed in NZ and shown at the Raglan Film Fes­ti­val a few years ago. In the video there is some skate, surf, ad­ven­ture etc.. from all over the North Is­land. My girlfriend filmed it and put it to­gether just for fun. I'm also work­ing on an­other pro­ject called Nowhere men and we re­lease an EP with 4 songs in Fe­bru­ary. The Jonah Lake sound is more acous­tic surf/funk/reg­gae style and Nowhere men is more to­wards old school 70s folk/blues. You can find my mu­sic on any stream­ing site incl.. Spotify, iTunes etc www.jon­ for videos, tour dates and more info. So will you be back any­time soon?

Yeah­hhh. Me and my fi­ancée are com­ing back at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber and we will be around for the whole sum­mer on the North Is­land. We will be chas­ing waves, hang­ing with friends, en­joy­ing life and playing mu­sic. Please send us an e-mail if you wanna surf, jam, have a gig or hang out! www.tribeses­sion@hot­

Van life

Big and fun on Surf high­way

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