Well looky looky, it’s Bryce Young clevering a perfect wave in half on an asymetrical, proving raw power is uncompromising. (Ellis)

SW’s Indo Edition: Stoke Out On Surfing’s Past And Present With Bryce Young

Ten days at sea with the north coast freedom slider!

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What happens when six freewheeling minds of Electric Kool Aid Acid Test proportions dump the bus in San Fran and dip their blotters, bobbers and sinkers into the Ments lysergic? The result will be a film by artisan Thomas Campbell, starring Ryan Burch, Alex Knost, Ozzie Wright, Craig Anderson, Jared Mell and today’s subject of interest Bryce Young, with whom we took the opportunity to ask about finding equal inspiration in surfing’s past and present…

All photography by Grant Ellis

SW: Which surfboard designs are you most excited about at the moment?
BY: Basically any piece of foam that’s touched by Ryan Burch. He’s a shaping sensei.

It seems like you guys have a really close relationship even though you live on opposite sides of the world.
Yeah, he comes and visits me in Angourie a couple of times a year. He and I are a lot alike. When you’re surfing with someone you’re on the same page with, you can really push each other. He’s probably my favorite person to surf with besides my dad [surf legend Nat Young].

On the Indo boat trip, you were riding a 5’7” flex-tail fish and a 6’8” step-up twin. Those seem pretty far from what most people would bring to Indo.
I think certain people have always experimented with new craft in Indonesia, since the waves are so perfect for that. So trying new ideas there isn’t entirely novel. I think we’re just trying to do what our forefathers did.

With your dad’s background, I’m sure you got plenty of surf history lessons growing up. Do you think it’s important to study surfing’s past?
Absolutely. Especially if you’re new to the sport, it’s essential to delve into what the forefathers of surfing have done. Because it’s pretty much all been done before, you know? Surf history is an amazing thing to look back on and use to try to make sense of the present.

Bryce on a glass love slip. (Ellis)

Is there a particular moment in surf history that has really inspired and influenced you?
The Shortboard Revolution will always stand out in my mind, especially the time when my dad and Wayne Lynch were riding the Evolution boards in Morocco. I love getting on a mid-length and trying to emulate those guys; they were just doing it way better back then.

And your dad hasn’t stopped experimenting himself, right? I know that Burch made him an asymm not long ago. What’s it like seeing him gravitate toward those designs as well?
It’s been unbelievably cool and special to see that. Glassing that asymm board with Ryan and handing it to dad for a Father’s Day gift was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. Now he won’t ride anything else. When he’s not on his longboard hanging ten or doing one of his classic drop-knee cutbacks, he’s on his asymm just tearing the bag out of it. He’s definitely embraced the full evolution of boards – not that the circle is done yet.

Is there anything more wonderful than seeing a high speed change of direction done with beauty, grace and really long hair? The answer is no. (Ellis)

Were the other key figures of the Shortboard Revolution, like Bob McTavish and George Greenough, around when you were growing up?
I didn’t see too much of George. George was always this elusive mystery man. But my dad was always telling me about George. That first World Championship he won in 1966 was really thanks to George taking the fin off Sam [Nat’s championship-winning board] and refoiling him a new fin weeks before the event. Everything he was doing design-wise came from George. I think the same goes for Bobby. They were like sparring buddies, surfing a ton and building boards together – which is probably the coolest thing you could do with a friend.

Kind of like you and Burch?
Yeah, exactly. I’ve been shaping for 5 or 6 years now, but I still feel like I’m still learning how to put a tool to some foam. I’m stoked to learn from Ryan when we’re together. When we’re in the shaping bay, I’ll yell over the wall asking him what step I need to do next and he’ll yell back exactly what I need to do from the bay next door. It’s pretty special.


Surfing World