Grigs by the green wall. Photo Tom Wolff


Five minutes with Georde Grigor.


By Tom Wolff


During the constant bombardment of snippets of surf edits in my Instagram feed , one kid definitely stood out. Being a freelance photographer myself, it’s always interesting to come across someone who just has an eye for the medium. Georde Grigor (@grigs_) is one of those people, and for someone who only picked up a camera four years ago, it’s not too much of a stretch to say he’s somewhat of a natural. As the surf world watches the young Jai Glindeman, whose mature and stylish surfing belies his 16 years on the planet, Georde is often the man on the other side of the lens. They’ve been mates since Jai moved to the Northern Rivers in his pre-teen years and the boys have all the ingredients for a fruitful surfer/photographer relationship.

On a bright summer’s day Georde comes round to my place for a coffee and a chat in the kitchen. When he swings by he’s looking relaxed – strolling in with bare feet and a face coated with the familiar tones of tan zinc.  Georde’s spent the morning up in Byron Bay filming a project with Soli Bailey. I chuck the percolator on the stove and hit record, as Georde takes a seat at the kitchen bench and settles in.

SW: When did you first pick up a camera?

GG: Four years ago – I used to surf a lot with all my mates and I wasn’t real good compared to them, so I thought I’d take a few photos and I guess it just evolved from there. So like 16. Then I got a bit more serious with it when I left school at 18 and I eventually thought to myself, alright, I think I’m gonna try and do this. My good mates Mikey McDonagh and Jai Glindeman were surfing really well and I was getting a bit more exposure through shooting them over time.

Do you surf much yourself?

I barely even surf at all. I sucked compared to boys I grew up with – apart from the odd longboard wave in Byron I don’t really surf that much these days.

Does sitting on the beach make you antsy?

Nah, not at all. I’ve got a lot of mates who are filmers and also surf pretty well and sometimes they get super edgy, but nah that’s not me. I film with Jai the most, we’ve got a pretty good thing going on. I’ve been filming with him for a couple of years and it’s been good to see him progress pretty rapidly – he surfs so far beyond his years.

Do you think the way he surfs has influenced the way that you film?

For sure. I try to film to his surfing – he’s obviously different to other people. I try to capture his style through my framing and composition.

Have you found your style within photography?

I don’t really know to be honest. I’ve just been doing what I’m doing – I don’t really think about style too much.

Do you have any influences that you look to in photography?

There’s a couple of people – Mikey Mallalieu (@mallmic) and Kai Neville (@kaineville) are probably the two biggest influences. But also people like George Greenough. I’ve been watching a couple of his old films and seeing how he cuts at the end of waves and stuff. I was at Chris Brock’s place the other day in Lennox and he gave me a couple of old movies to take home and watch.

Why do you think you were drawn to surf photography?

I was always just obsessed with surfing. I would watch my friends and just loved the whole thing. I wanted to be involved somehow but I knew I couldn’t surf that well. I just loved the whole vibe of surfing and wanted to be around it as much as possible. I was originally taking photos and then moved into filming and that was pretty much it.

When did you first start shooting video?

I actually borrowed a camera from school cause I was doing photography as a subject at the time. I hated school but enjoyed photography, so I borrowed this Canon camera from school and started shooting with that before my Mum eventually bought me a camera for my birthday one year.

Do you shoot analogue film?

I’ve been shooting a little bit of Super 8 – like I just shot Connor O’Leary’s wedding the other day. But I haven’t shot too much. Plus I’ve got a Mamiya which goes with 120mm film so I’ve been shooting a bunch of that. I’ve been loving that. And I’d love to shoot some 16mm.

What about mentors? Have you had any?
Mikey Mallalieu has helped me out a lot – especially with the business side of stuff. A year ago I had no idea what to charge people and what I was worth, so he’s helped out heaps. Plus he’s helped me with the technical stuff a bit too.

With the prevalence of Instagram and short edits, it sometimes feels as if photography and cinematography have been undervalued in the current surfing community. Since the SW takeover and Stab going to a subscriber model, do you think people are being reminded that it’s important to pay for things?

I back it 100%. Especially with Stab going premium – that’s mental. It’s especially good for filmers who will get paid properly for jobs through places like Stab.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while filming?

Had a few people blowing up at me for filming. This one dude at Iluka started going off at me and pushing my camera over and stuff. And then the other day I was filming at the point and a huge boulder rolled down the hill and almost took me out.

Plans for the future?

Filming something with Soli Bailey. Got a couple of things on the go and I just ordered a new camera. I’m gonna knuckle down with Jai and do a bunch of filming, as well as putting out an edit with Dakoda Walters.

Would you like to do a full-length feature one day?

Definitely. I want to make a Kai Neville-inspired kinda movie – maybe gather 10 friends and fuck off somewhere. When I’m older I want to have projects I can look back on and be proud of – not just three-minute edits of stuff here and there.

Jai G x GG