Weekender: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing – Special Feature
Presented by Arnette
As part of Arnette and Coastalwatch's Young, Free, Alright! series, six of our featured up and coming lensmen (aged 16-to-18) went on a little weekend surf trip with some of Arnette's surf team. They hung out, made friends, experienced an editorial surf trip for the first time and took hold of the opportunity to shoot some pro surfers. The swell wasn't great, it rained like Genesis and poor old Nick Alcock's camera fritzed out not too long after trip's beginning (he then used the medium of K-Mart purchased disposables) but the groms' enthusiasm never waned. This is what the young stoked out legends came up with… – Ed
Young, Free, Alright! Weekender by Kaius Potter
Young, Free, Alright! Weekender by Owen Milne
Flights were booked...
...cameras were packed and anticipation was rising by the minute. A classic east coast road trip was about to start, and for some of Australia’s best young photographers and filmmakers this was going to be a weekend to remember – begin Young, Free, Alright! Weekender Part I!
This trip wasn’t about shooting the next cover, or making the next web super series; it was about the future, about being groms, about being free.
The cabins quickly filled with boards, lenses and tales of the journey everyone had just made to get this far. Kaius Potter, a talented filmer hailing from Byron Bay, and Nick Alcock, a San Remo plumber with a keen eye for composition, spoke of their delay aboard flights, whilst Kalani Ball, aerial specialist and trip grom, and Nick Hollman, a Cronulla photographer who digs swimming out in heavy reef setups, were craving more Krispy Kremes after an earlier pit stop enjoying the 2-donuts-and-coffee deal. The typical arguments over who gets the double beds began and continued as the boys readily fixed housings, applied wax and headed to the crisp odd two-footers that greeted them.
Suitably, post-surf, as the sun dipped below the eucalyptus filled headlands, and the camp fire sparked under observation of Otis Carey, bonds were forged and vibes were high.
Goofy-footer Benny Godwin had everyone in stiches with his infectious laugh. Young filmmaker Owen Milne kept up with Benny, mocking any unfortunate person at his disposal with his larrikin humour long into the night before turning in, and like all the crew, hoping to wake to clean lines.
However once the moon's luminescent glow began to fade and a new sun broke the horizon it became evident that Huey the wave god hadn’t produced, instead leaving us with some irritated surfers, and lensman, who needed their daily fix of surf. But after a few scoffed bowls of cereal waves were found at a neighboring stretch of sand and without hesitation rubber was applied, tripods were unscrewed and everyone was foreseeing some giant punts about to go down.
Certainly not the ruler edged lines drawn in the column of a schoolboy's maths book, but there were enough waves to go around and Otis, Kalani and Bondi surfer Pama Davies made the most of the conditions at hand, throwing caution to the wind on almost every wave, whilst the Young, Free, Alright! lensman scoped out different angles capturing every moment.
The circle surrounding the campfire that evening was filled with stories of past travels, epic waves, amazing shots and bantering between new found mates. Northern Beaches photographer Harrison Dancaster took the most talked about frame of the day – a Kalani Ball air reverse with fellow Northern Beaches photographer Blaise Bell shooting just in front and Nick Hollman capturing it from the water.
The morning of day three was filled with unfortunate déjà vu; only this time mixed with heavy rain and howling winds. Sheltered under cabins and barbeque pergolas, it came to a point of near surrender, until someone made the trek to check the waves just over the hill – and wouldn’t you know, it was pumping.
The southern corner provided protection from the winds, yet leaving enough exposure to pull in an overhead groundswell, offering up ramps, walls and the odd barrel.
Kalani showed he's capable of more than aerial antics by wetting his rail on some serious waves, Pama threw his fins whenever the opportunity arose, Benny G hunted the lefts and threw some full rotation punts into the wind, but Otis was the standout, whipping his tiny board in the pocket, hucking big airs and toying with the barrel at any chance.
As the rain pelted down, and the towel-covered cameras began to be at risk of water damage, the boys were forced to seek safety in the carpark, frustration common amongst their faces.
Nonetheless, the vibe wasn’t dampened by the rain, and everyone was still in nirvana to be shooting serious talent. But as all good things do, the trip was coming to an end.
Phone numbers were scribbled onto serviettes, offers were made to sleep on lounges, future collaborations were in plan and cars were packed. No-one protested when Otis suggested a coffee stop, no one wanted to start the long road trip back home; wherever that may be.
The café, along with coffee to shake the core of the drenched bunch, was the first place reception was available, and one by one the cursing started. “Dude, you need to check the swell coming tomorrow!” pretty much wrapped up the thoughts of the whole crew, as the sole man to be staying around, Benny G, sat and smirked in the corner, knowing that he was going to wake up and score empty perfection the following morning, when the rest were back at their schools and day jobs.
“You boys should stay another night, I’ve got free space,” Benny laughed as everyone piled back into the cars. “It’s sure going to be pumping.”
Young, Free, Alright! is an editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette. Once a fortnight we showcase and profile 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 see more Young, Free, Alright! profiles click here.
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