Heed The Howl Of Dog Marsh
The former top 16 pro, mullet model & super coach unleashed!Read more
What I know about…
Pro surfing now and then… There were no coaches back then, no camps, it was camp-fucking-get-by. The best thing about it was the adventure, it was super random. Not much of it was planned. We were like a band of misfit brothers, travelling the world. There was 30 events a year. Some guys were on huge money, and then there was the battlers, who would go from event to event living off the prizemoney. I did that for a couple of years for sure. I went to Africa as an amateur and I got a ninth in the Gunston, and that was enough to send me to the next couple of events. That’s how it kicked off, you started with whatever you had in your pocket and jumped on. The sport has really matured since then. The focus now is on good surfing, and that’s nothing but a good thing.
Winning Reunion… It was pumping St Lieu, perfect lefthanders. My headspace was basically “If I can’t win this, I should quit.” To be fair, it was a bit of a lucky win, I was against Sunny Garcia in the final, he didn’t surf that well, and I didn’t surf that well. I think both of us peaked in our semis. I beat Slater in the semi. By the time we got there we were both kinda over doing it. I got up in the end, and far out I’ll take it. It’s good to at least get one win in a career that goes for a period. It wouldn’t be good to finish up without a win. Stoked I got one.
That flight from Reunion to Durban… It was pretty standard, a bunch of fricken alpha males. It’s like gorillas in the mist, isn’t it? They delayed our flight for six hours. Next thing you know there’s not one bit of liquor left in the duty free store. We were playing touch football in the departure lounge, and that continued onto the flight. You couldn’t fall asleep – that was the thing – you had to push through. And it was gnarly because there was a whole bunch of straight media on the plane too and I don’t think they’d seen that sort of behavior before. The cabin crew just locked themselves up in the cockpit after Dooma got hold of the pilot’s cap. The best of it was we started writing on people’s faces when they fell asleep, so half the guys walked through South African customs with big dicks drawn on the side of their faces.
Hot Tuna campaigns… Graham Shearer was the photographer for their ad campaigns, he was legendary in the photo business, he did stuff like the Elle calendars. It was pretty funny, we were doing these photoshoots with the craziest models ever, just these fugly dudes… We were so down. Beau, Richie Lovett and myself. We’d turn up first thing and crack a beer and try to loosen everyone up and get into it. We were so bad at it too, obviously the alcohol was so important because we were useless, we were so nervous but it was hell fun!
Triple Bull Surf Shop… The only way I really learn is by doing it myself, and making my own mistakes with my own money. But it was a really good period. I had the shop for 12 years with 15 staff, heaps of responsibility. It was good to leave it behind too.
France… It’s been ten years and a great immigration. My wife’s French, my girls are trilingual, and my boys are loving France. To learn another language and how another tax system works was a challenge. I feel like a lot of learning comes from starting new and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m really into the snow too – snowboarding’s massive for me. I chase that as hard as any barrel.
Coaching… Junior development is really where I wanted to be. To me, inheriting top end surfers felt like a bit of a shortcut. I think the test of it is to bring through juniors onto the ‘CT; it’s so much more rewarding that way. It feels right. To bring Ryan and Frederico out through juniors out onto the ‘CT is pretty cool, that’s why I’m in it.
Connor O’Leary… He was two out from the ‘CT two years ago, people forget that. That scenario can destroy people. It really can break you, but he did exactly the opposite and turned it into a massive learning curve. It shows what sort of character he is, he’s a fighter. I mean, a goofy footer from Cronulla? I get chills. It’s been quite some time, Kirk Flintoff was the last Cronulla goofy to give it a really good shake. Connor deserves it, he broke the door and forced his way in.
Our culture… Surfing’s got a lot to be proud of. We’re the inventors and caretakers of our own culture, and it’s been so kind to me. I’m so fortunate. I feel so appreciative to be in the situation that I am now.