In a reg­u­lar col­umn we catch with Kiwi ex­pat surfers on how they got to where they are at and how they get their fill of waves.

New Zealand Surfing - - Creators Innovator -

Coby Perkovich has been steadily forg­ing his rep­u­ta­tion of one of the most ex­pres­sive freesurfers on the planet and from sev­eral re­cent clips he’s dropped the global surf­ing me­dia has touted his skills and asked who is this guy? Coby was born and raised in New Ply­mouth and grew up in the lineup of Fitzroy. He was an early starter in the surf, with his ear­li­est mem­ory at around four years old; some­thing that came nat­u­rally by way of hang­ing out with his dad, Peter Perkovich, who was orig­i­nally from Welling­ton, grew up surf­ing the iso­lated and rugged breaks of the Wairarapa be­fore mov­ing over to the Naki. Just as many other ki­wis have been lured to the Gold Coast so were the Perkovich fam­ily, cit­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties and life­style as well as warm wa­ter surf on tap up and down the lo­cal coast­line. Not long after Coby’s dad Peter moved over he be­gan work­ing at Nev Surf­boards one of the world’s most high-pro­file shapers and busiest fac­to­ries at the time, be­fore open­ing his own fac­tory Ozone Surf­boards a few years later. It was here, hang­ing out in this fac­tory, that Coby re­ally kicked his pas­sion for surf­ing into gear. Up un­til this point he had med­dled in the waves, but be­ing around the fac­tory watch­ing boards be­ing built and rub­bing shoul­ders with his dad’s team rid­ers re­ally kick started his all-out love af­fair from that point. At the same time the fam­ily moved down close to Snap­per, and Coby’s days were filled with rid­ing the Su­per­bank and over the hill at D-Bah, in be­tween go­ing to school just up the coast at Cur­rumbin. Coby’s surf­ing was fast track­ing in this en­vi­ron­ment, sur­rounded by many of the world’s best surfers in some of the best waves on the planet, yet he never re­ally got that much of a kick out of surf­ing amongst 400+ other surfers at Snap­per and pre­ferred to spend most of his time at D-Bah, even if he was sim­ply pulling into 5-foot close-outs. He had a tight group of mates with surf­ing su­per­stars Noa Deane and Jack Free­stone be­ing some of them. The groms were all push­ing each other in the lineup, and en­tered the lo­cal and re­gional grom comps, but Coby didn’t gel with the re­stric­tions of com­pe­ti­tion, plus he sim­ply couldn’t af­ford the en­try fees. While his good bro’s went on to gain re­sults, ex­po­sure, spon­sor­ship and big money ca­reers in surf­ing, Coby was pretty happy do­ing his thing, try­ing to land moves that oth­ers had never done, with his fo­cus on mas­ter­ing one par­tic­u­lar ma­noeu­vre rather than do­ing what it took to make a heat. At around 13 years old Coby took a trip back to his home­land of NZ with his dad and the spon­sored team rid­ers of Ozone on a pro­mo­tional road trip where they vis­ited all his dad’s old stomp­ing grounds. This re-ig­nited a love for NZ that Coby had not yet ex­pe­ri­enced as a surfer and one he has till this day tried to keep alive with reg­u­lar trips home. Coby had a vi­sion of what he wanted to achieve and he sim­ply wanted to be able to surf as much as he could when­ever the waves were on fire, so after 10th grade (year 11) he dropped out of school and sim­ply surfed as much as he could, sup­ported by his dad, and pulling his weight with the odd job around the fac­tory. With his dad be­ing a shaper, he was also get­ting his boards for free at the time, so that was a huge ad­van­tage, es­pe­cially with the type of surf­ing Coby was do­ing. A life­style change for Coby’s dad called, and he closed down his fac­tory and headed to Bali to live for the next few years, do­ing some shap­ing work but mainly sim­ply liv­ing the dream cruis­ing in Bali. Of course, Coby joined him and based around Cangu he was in the lineup all day long as well as ex­pe­ri­enc­ing all the other breaks Bali had to of­fer. Sure, he ad­mits like most oth­ers he got caught up in the Kuta party scene a lit­tle too much, but those years in Bali were epic for his surf­ing and would pro­vide life long mem­o­ries. Peter moved back to the Gold Coast work­ing as a life­guard and Coby fol­lowed. Be­fore long, the lure of be­ing his own boss saw Peter open his own fac­tory again, ‘Perko Shapes’, this time in­volv­ing both Coby and his younger brother Joel. At the time Coby was rid­ing for Pyzel Surf­boards and with his pro­gres­sive brand of surf­ing not be­ing that friendly to keep­ing foam and fi­bre­glass in one piece, Coby thought he’d start shap­ing his own boards. At the time it was sim­ply a cost sav­ing ex­er­cise, but the more Coby be­came in­volved with shap­ing the more he fell in love and ap­pre­ci­ated the art. He learnt to hand shape, and still ex­clu­sively hand shapes all his boards. He launched ‘Sabre­tooth Surf­boards’ which he pumps out of his dad’s fac­tory, while at the same time fin­ishes all his dads boards off. When asked why he didn’t go down the route of sim­ply pump­ing out com­puter de­signed boards, he pas­sion­ately talks of the sat­is­fac­tion that comes from know­ing that each board was cre­ated with his two hands and the guid­ance of his eye. Skills that would and could not be learnt clean­ing up com­puter cut shapes. Although Coby never went down the road of a com­pe­ti­tion ca­reer, he wanted to go big and land the big­gest tricks and moves he could, he also grav­i­tated to­ward surf­ing places oth­ers don’t or never have surfed and to por­tray surf­ing in a light that wasn’t the ev­ery­day norm that we are ex­posed to. To share his ex­pe­ri­ences and as a mat­ter of proof you could say, Coby moved more into the cap­tur­ing his surf­ing on cam­era both mov­ing and stills, and through those mo­ments cap­tured he has re­cently had recog­ni­tion flow his way as one of the most ex­pres­sive freesurfers on the planet, an ac­co­lade that not many can lay claim to. De­mand is flow­ing in for his ser­vices and in re­cent years Coby has the sup­port of sev­eral spon­sors that have fi­nan­cially backed his videos, namely Ion Wet­suits who have Coby on their in­ter­na­tional team. Be­ing a slave to his own work hours is also a bonus when the waves turn on, Coby can lay down the tools, hit the surf wher­ever that is in the world, and catch up on work later. One of those places Coby has been vis­it­ing with reg­u­lar­ity in re­cent years is back home in Aotearoa, and while at this point in his life Coby is un-sure of whether he will ever re­turn home, he does speak with great fond­ness of NZ. Over the last few years Coby has re­turned for the Rip Curl Raglan Pro and while he has stated he isn’t a com­pe­ti­tion surfer, it’s the chance to surf Manu Bay with only three oth­ers out that he won’t pass up. He also loves to check out the emerg­ing tal­ent his home­land is pro­duc­ing as well and ad­mits see­ing the level of tal­ent here in NZ is a real eye opener. “I’m still a kiwi cit­i­zen, maybe one day who knows where I’ll end up, but for now the Gold Coast is a great base and it’s easy to travel from place to place here! My mum lives back in Okato in Taranaki so I come back to visit as much as I can and sneak in as much surf­ing as I can. I just love the peace­ful­ness of NZ, it’s so un­touched and even when I ar­rive and step off the plane and take a deep breath, it’s like I can breathe again”. So, the door is not yet closed on this X-Pat and maybe we’ll have him re­turn home some­day, un­til that day there’s no doubt you’ll prob­a­bly see him float­ing or rather fly­ing around a kiwi line-up on his vis­its. Re­mem­ber this name the X-Pat brother is fly­ing the flag for us.

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