Nick Alcock: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Interview by Dan Caban
When you think of being a surf photographer, you typically think of Mentawai boat trips, shooting epic setups and picture perfect barrels, right? Well Nick Alcock would tell you its not always palm trees and tropical heat. The 17-year-old local of San Remo, Victoria, is a young photographer who braves the elements daily and manages to take particularly good photos. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about living down south, pulling on a 4/3 to go shoot and to make him the newest addition of our series Young, Free, Alright!
CW: What was it like growing up in San Remo?
NA: It's pretty chilled out, you know. There’s not many people surfing, it’s pretty good. Good vibes (laughs). It’s obviously not very crowded like other beaches like Torquay, but there are good waves and really good surfers around.
So is there much talent to shoot around there?
Well there isn’t many people down here hey, but there is really good surfers around. A few of my mates are really good surfers so that helps to know the good guys from around here.
What’s it like in the middle of winter? Having to brave the cold and all?
Don’t really know, just rug up. If I’m going to go swimming in the water, I wear like a 4/3 and booties. Maybe a hood if it does get really cold. It’s starting to get cold down here now. In the middle of winter there are some days where I don’t even shoot, ‘cause it gets too dark too early and it's just too cold.
Do you get out and do much water shooting?
Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot in the water lately. I’ve been going on a few trips with mates down to the other side of Victoria. We’ve been getting some good waves, and I’ve just been shooting water. There’s been really good waves on the Island to shoot lately, like real heavy waves.
Do you get much of an opportunity to travel with your photography?
Lately I have. I’ve been doing a few trips and that. But not really that much else. I’d really like to, but I haven’t really done much yet. Travelling is always good.
Have you been shooting for long?
Yeah, a while actually. But now is probably the most I’ve been into it. I’ve been shooting so much lately, with all my mates and stuff. It’s been good.
Is it hard to get exposure down in San Remo, as there isn’t a huge surf industry compared to the Goldy and the likes?
Yeah, for sure. There’s not really much going on. But I really take photos sorta just for the people that are surfing, there’s no one to show them to. I had an exhibition down here, just me and a few other friends, like a few artists and another photographer, and that was really good to get our names out there and that. It was pretty good.
That must have been pretty rad to show all your stuff to everyone.
Yeah, it was just a little room, and there were four of us. Two illustrators – really good artists – another photographer and myself and we just put up all our best stuff. We invited heaps of crew to come and check it out, and it definitely helped to get our names out there a bit. People kinda actually realized that I take photos and that.
What do you do as a job outside of shooting?
I’m an apprentice plumber.
I guess that doesn’t really do much for your photography, but does it help you to save so you can go on trips and other costs with photography?
Well yeah, I sorta hoped to have got into photography (by now) ’cause that’s what I wanted to do. Then I decided that I’ll just start working, but I am hoping that once I finish my apprenticeship I’ll be qualified and I can do what I want, which is definitely shooting surfing.
So you want to get into surf photography eventually then.
Yeah, for sure, that’s what I want to do. Not really work, just shoot photos and live on a really low budget. But at the moment I’m just working, trying to get a bit of money to get started.
Can you remember your favorite shot?
Yeah, I can remember one from a few years ago. It got published in Smorgasbord magazine I think it was, or something like that, as an ad for a surfboard brand. I like that one; I’ve got it blown up actually. But I tend to forget really. I take so many photos and then a lot get lost on my computer.
What’s it like actually shooting down in San Remo? Cool backgrounds or anything?
There’s a bit. I only really shoot one beach. But that’s what works most of the time. In winter I get a bit of a different opportunity ’cause the reefs start breaking and you can scope out new angles. That’s what I like doing. It’s really hard shooting a beachie all the time ’cause there is only so much you can do. That’s why I’ve been shooting a lot of water lately, and I really like shooting reefs. It makes it more interesting.
I’ve been told there is a pretty gnarly bridge down at San Remo that locals sometimes jump off. Have you?
It’s pretty hell. It’s a bit embarrassing actually, most of my friends have jumped off it by now and I haven’t. It’s like 12 metres or something, pretty solid. It’s sketchy as.
Young, Free, Alright! is a new editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette. Once a fortnight we'll be showcasing and profiling a young and up-and-coming photographer, filmmaker, blogger, artist, musician, shaper, surfer or whatever that we've been digging. The rad and creative groms of Australian surfing. Alright!
To follow Nick's work check out his sweet photo tumblr over here.
To see more Young, Free, Alright! profiles click here.
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