The Stand – A Weekend With Otis Carey

3 Sep 2014 29 Share

A short excerpt from the new Surfing World Magazine issue 354, October 2014, On Sale Now

“If you had decided to do nothing, do you think anyone would have noticed that something wrong happened?”

“Nah, I don’t reckon,” answers Otis Carey from the passenger seat, eyes on the long and winding road before us. The blues of the evening sky are turning black as we drive into the night. We’re on the Pacific Highway, late on a Sunday after a weekend spent surfing and hanging with his family in his hometown of Coffs Harbour.

“Did you feel a responsibility to make a stand?”

“One hundred percent,” answers Otis again. “I knew from the start that once the media got onto it that it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s really not easy to be in the spotlight for something like that.” He speaks quietly. Just barely audible over the drone of the Subaru mowing highway into the night. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us, and a lot to talk about.

Otis Carey, the 25-year-old Indigenous Australian freesurfer originally from Coffs, now living in Narrabeen, has been in the middle of a total media shit- storm. He’s been yelled at from a car. Vaguely threatened by journalists and less vaguely by anonymous strangers on the Internet. His name and story has reached major online media all over the world. The Washington Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post to name a small few. The collective word count of all those publications’ articles pale in insignificance when compared to the comment or forum section of surf magazine websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook discussions. The Otis Carey story rivals only Kelly Slater’s departure from Quiksilver as the biggest of the year and it seems everyone in the world of surfing has an opinion about this quiet dude from Coffs. And many have expressed it. They’ve questioned his motives. They’ve questioned his hurt. But the man most affected, the man in the middle of the tirade, has never said a word. No statement. No social media post. Nothing.

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