Curren Caples – Interview

It’s easy to forget that Curren Caples is only 20 years of age. Having accomplished so much over what has been a fairly long career already, he’s been a prominent figure with Vans and Flip since a tender young age of 13 which led him to eventually turning pro at 17. Curren brings speed and power to the world of surf and skateboarding, successfully applying his smooth style to almost any terrain to sit at the forefront of the intertwining worlds. Curren is very much representative of whats happening in skateboarding right now, and during the Vans 50th celebrations at the House of Vans we were lucky enough to get Curren away from the bowl for a quick chat on where he’s at now, what it’s been like growing up on Vans and whats next for the young ripper…


How’s 2016 treating you so far?

It’s been alright man, can’t complain really…

You didn’t have a full part in the Vans Propeller video. Does that mean you’re working on something else for this year?

Yeah, well I haven’t really started anything yet. With the Vans part, I mean there’s so many guys that it’s just so hard to get filmed. Basically everything I filmed for the video came in the last 3 months, at that time I started going on trips quite a lot. When we first started filming I was like 16, so back then none of my footage would have been good enough to use for today, so I kind of waited because I knew I could get better stuff down the line, there was no reason to start. I was stoked I got what I did though, I felt like I had more footage and that stuff went in to the raw clips, I’m not really sure why that didn’t make the final video, but that’s cool.

You and Louis Lopez have been riding for Flip since you were kids. What would you say has changed the most about skating in that time?

Erm, I don’t really know. I was just so young when I got on FLIP, back when they used to have all those Feast tours and stuff. Nothing has really changed too much to me. Maybe more contests ? But I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time.

Which would you say has a crazier fan base, skating or surfing?

I would say surfing. It’s just different, there’s definitely more girls that look at surfing than skateboarding that’s for sure.

You’ve said in the past that you find surfing more fun than skating. What would say is the best and worst thing about both?

Well I guess the only reason I saw surfing as more fun for me over skateboarding is just because there’s no real pressure on me. I mean anything you don’t have pressure in and enjoy doing is always going to be fun. Skateboarding, I’ve been doing it my whole life and I love it, it’s just sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming at times, like when I have to skate a contest or something like that. I can’t really explain it as well as I should.

I guess the best thing about skateboarding is that I just really enjoy going fast. It’s always fun to mess around too, I love just messing around, probably too much. The worst thing, hmm.. I’ve never really been asked that, I guess the worst in any sport is the injuries for sure but if you can avoid that it’s all good.

With Surfing, when a day is like super good it’s a really special feeling. You’re in your home town and you just get super excited, and it’s hard in a way to get that with skateboarding. There’s certain ways in skateboarding to get that similar feeling, but with surfing it’s not even like the act of surfing, it’s more about the anticipation before, that’s the real exciting part. It could be the best day ever even though you go out and don’t get shit. I guess when it comes down to it I just like doing the same thing in both, messing around and cruising, going fast.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

What has it been like growing up on a company like Vans ?

It’s been insane, I’m psyched to be on Vans for as long as I have. I got on right when I got on FLIP so I was like 13?. It’s been rad and I’ve done so much, been to a lot of places with Vans, like today, it’s so cool to come to somewhere like this [House Of Vans]. This is my second time here and it’s just insane, I was so excited to come back just because this place is so rad.

Who would you say has been the most influential person in your development in skateboarding?

My whole life I’ve looked up to Geoff Rowley. Although I try and look at everybody around me and try to get inspiration from everybody in different ways. I couldn’t say just one person that I really want to copy or anything like that, I just try and look to multiple people and copy [laughs].

Being on FLIP you have close ties to the UK scene. How do you find the skating in UK?

It’s funny I actually haven’t skated here that much. I know FLIP’s pretty much a UK brand but I’ve definitely done more in other parts of Europe, like Germany. The first time I came here was when I was 14 and since then I haven’t really been over here that much, I could be wrong though. There’s been a lot of Europe trips and they all kind of blend in.

Who would you say is the most underrated dude coming up in skating at the moment?

Hmm. That’s a hard one. With Instagram and everything no one’s really hiding anymore. I would say the best dude coming up for me is Daan Van Der Linden, he rides for Vans and Anti-Hero. He’s rad.

 Any UK riders?

Well I’m kind of losing track with like who’s from where. But I’m sure if I spent more time here I’d definitely know. I’m not saying there’s not insane skaters here, I’m just not really too involved in the scene.

Do all the new young faces ever create any pressure for you to keep putting stuff out?

Yeah for sure, I mean every ten year old kid can do a 540 now, and just because every kid nowadays can do it, I felt like there’s no point in even learning one because its not even that cool anymore. I just try and do different variations of things. I’ve been trying to learn some good flip tricks on tranny and stuff like that. I’m just trying to figure out a different angle where I can be different from everyone else. Instead of doing a 540, maybe like a no-handed 540? I mean I know people do that already, but yeah just a different take on the trick to stand out. Younger kids look up at the pros and try and copy what they do, so I wanna do something else before they catch up!

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Away from skateboarding and surfing, you’re a keen photographer right?

Yeah I don’t really take as many photos as I should, I mean I have enough cameras…

Do you shoot with film?

A bit of both, a lot of point-and-shoot stuff. I don’t really have any ‘real’ cameras, I did and I got it stolen, took it on one trip and now it’s gone. I would say I took the best photos with that camera but I’ll never get to see them which sucks. I only have shitty quality photos really, but they’re good enough.

Is there a particular subject you like to shoot? Skateboarding?

It’s mostly landscape, I don’t really shoot skateboarding. I have in the past just messing around with my point & shoot, not like set up flash or anything like that, I don’t really own all that stuff. Although it’s definitely something I would want to get in to. I just built a mini ramp in my back yard and it looks really cool, the back of it’s against this old antique lighting store that’s made out of exposed brick, wall coping and tile, so I would like to shoot people who come to my house to skate against that background. It’s off a tree house too, it looks pretty rad, I should probably invest in some flashes and a decent camera to get the most out of it.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I’ve been shaping surfboards lately, I would say that’s my hobby if anything.

Is that at your Dad’s store?

Nah, I have a shape bay at my house. One Christmas I really wanted to shape a board and then my parents bought me a regular foam blank and I knew how to shape it. We had this old shed that was filled with junk, so I was like can we just turn this in to a shape bay? I’ve definitely shaped a lot of boards, just a lot of them sucked. But lately, each board out of glass has been decent so I’m pretty psyched.

What’s next for Curren Caples?

I’m filming a Push part, that’s what I’m doing this year. I’ve also got the Vans bowl series and that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on right now. Hopefully I can get a good Push part, I’m kinda bummed that theres so many comps this year, with X-games and all the other bowl contests – the Dew Tour and all those, but hopefully I can get something out that’s good and tops everything I’ve done before.


Words: Kieran Sills & James P.Lees

Imagery: Lily Brown


Tony Alva – Interview

Tony Alva is a name that is synonymous with skateboarding. Alva in my opinion not only represents the original foundations that skateboarding was built upon, but himself and the Z-boys gave the world the blueprint of the ‘spirit’ of skateboarding. During Vans 50th anniversary celebrations we were blessed with the opportunity to speak with TA, and in wanting to find out more on both the growth of Vans and skateboarding over the years, there aren’t many others who can offer his level of insight in to both. Through his work with Vans and his own company Alva, he continues to promote and share his knowledge in skateboarding and surf to help inspire the younger generations to this day. We’re stoked that we get to share some of that knowledge with you in our Tony Alva interview…


In your Skateboarder Mag interview back in 1977, you spoke on how you envisioned the future for professional skateboarding and your answers were quite prophetic as you predicted it’s growing popularity. Looking back, is skateboarding now what you thought it would be back then?

Yeah, I mean there’s a few things that I wish it would have improved upon, but other than that it is. I was having a conversation earlier and they were saying how I had a sense of being a little bit prophetic at a young age as well, which in a way I look at as kind of amazing, that at 19 years old I knew that some day skateboarding would be as big as it is now. But the bottom line is; I think that skateboarders still deserve more, as in the commercial side of skateboarding and to be treated more professionally. Professional skateboarders should be able to make a living and have health insurance and stuff like that, similar to other professional athletes you know? It’s not like that yet, but at the same time I think the media portrayal of it, the enthusiasm, the lifestyle, the attraction, is as big if not bigger than I thought it would be at that age. I never really knew it would be this popular, and this technologically advanced.

Do you think that skateboarding has lost elements of its ‘Punk attitude’ now that it’s become so big? Perhaps lost elements of it’s creativity with the introduction of the internet?

Not necessarily because technology is always there, and in a way a lot of skaters benefit from that.  The thing that I get a little dissatisfied with is the aesthetic side of things – the beauty and the art of skateboarding. Where style and grace and using skateboarding as a vehicle of expressing yourself, especially with speed and power, is really not that important sometimes when it comes to how people look at it. More people are more in to how technical your ability is instead of how you handle your expression. Like with music and surfing, sometimes the best surfers and musicians are the guys that are aesthetically doing the simplest things with the most grace, I think it comes down to like an old American cliché – “less is more”.

Do you think it’s the case nowadays that everyone is learning the same tricks rather than finding their own ways to create through movement on the board?

Well for me that goes back to where we were just emulating the moves on the waves from surfing and then we would take it to the next level where we started going in the air and doing aerial tricks and stuff like that, so I think that it depends on your vision. Nowadays especially, there’s a lot of kids playing video games and then going out skateboarding, I mean some kids don’t even skateboard they just play the video games! So it depends where your mental attitude is and how you envision yourself doing something.

There’s a mental process too and the mental process of skateboarding is as important as the physical part of it. You have to envision that move before you ever execute it. Then it takes a lot of practice, and I love the saying “oh practice makes perfect”, you know they say that? That’s bullshit! Because the human condition does not allow for perfection, we are never ever going to attain perfection is any aspect of our life because of the human condition, so to me it’s more ‘practice makes permanent’.  When you’re doing something over and over, and doing it religiously, it becomes permanent and becomes so much easier to a point where it becomes almost instinctive, you don’t think about it anymore, you just go out and do it. With your mind being the computer, the control over your body, the body instinctively follows. It’s almost like martial arts to where it gets to a stage of satori, everything is one and you’re just in it. That to me is the beauty, that’s the meaning of skateboarding. That’s the practice is permanent part of it to where you don’t think about it any more, you just do it and it becomes easy. It’s called just being in the moment. It takes a lot of practice. Especially for young kids, because young kids they just don’t get it. Their mind is going too fast, they’re just thinking about “oh man I gotta pull that tre flip, I gotta pull that heel flip”, always about the technical aspect of the trick when it’s just like dude, just go out and skate.

Do you think the rewards in professional skateboarding perhaps blurs their vision slightly?

Yeah, stop fucking obsessing on the rewards, the gold star, the money, the new shoes, what the girls are thinking of you. I know it’s part of growing up, we can’t help of thinking about all the “what am I going to get from this”, I was the same way. In the Dogtown film when I said “ I’m gonna get mine now”, that ego-centric, driven, selfish way of thinking, which in a way isn’t a bad thing because what it does is drive you to be the best you can be and everything I did back then got me here, but I don’t want to run my life like that now. I couldn’t, there’s no wisdom in that. You have to progress, you have to learn from your mistakes and I made a lot of mistakes from my selfish, self-centred and self seeking attitude towards life. It was mainly about ego you know, I thought I was better than everyone else and I guess I won a lot of contest and did a lot of really good stuff at that time, but no one wants to see a 57 year old man acting that way you know, its really ugly! [laughs]. There’s no grace in that. Absolutely no grace in that.

Grace to me is when you make something really difficult look easy; graceful. And surfers are really good at that, I learned a lot from surfing. Guys like Jerry Lopez, the list could go on, but Jerry Lopez is the perfect example, riding the most dangerous wave in the world, standing there and making it look like he’s just completely a part of the wave. It was amazing, he was the guy who started Lightning Bolt Surfboards, Mr.Pipeline they called him.


I’ve heard you speak on the freedom and simplicity of skateboarding back in the 70’s. Do you feel that’s closer to being restored nowadays as it becomes more widely accepted across the world?

Well it’s always been a part of it I feel, that’s what attracts kids to skateboarding – there’s no rules. There’s no coach, no rules, no guidelines, limited supervision when it comes to competitions and skating in skate park environments, it’s still pretty wide open. I see it as like a colouring book, you don’t have to stay within the lines if you don’t want to, you can spray outside the lines, literally. When it comes to music, art and skateboarding, all those things are something that are really an expression of your inner self and you can’t really go out of bounds. You can go out of bounds and come back in, but as long as you do it successfully. Skateboarding isn’t about what other people think, it’s about how it makes you feel. 

Z-Boy’s and Dogtown revolutionised skateboarding in the 70’s and helped to shape skateboarding as we know it. Who do you feel, if anyone, has had a similar impact on the world of skateboarding since then ?

Mark Gonzales. He totally changed things big time, so if I can mention just one person it would be him. I would say Jay Adams and Mark Gonzales, those are the two guys who took it spontaneously to the next level through their natural ability. Also through exposure; through the photos they got in magazines and the video parts they put out, and their attitude, like straight up “I’m not doing this to please anybody else, I’m just doing this because it’s what I like to do and I’m good at it”.

The Gonz is still doing stuff to change skateboarding, with his art and stuff like that. I saw him the other day actually, he came to skate with us in New York at the skatepark and he shows up with no skateboard! He had no board, he just rolls up with his Yeezy’s on riding his frickin bike, and we’re just like “Dude, you get your ass in here right now”. To me he’s like a 14 year old kid still you know ? So I’m like “Get in here”, he comes in and starts trying all our boards, it’s Caballero, Hosoi, Rowley, Grosso, Hussan and myself, and he ended up really liking Christians and Grosso’s board the best, I think mine was a little too wide I don’t think he was ready for that, he rode it though, he tried haha. But yeah Mark is just genius. He’s borderline idiot savant, but he’s still genius [laughs]. I think a lot of those guys are like that, on one side they are completely out of this world and on the otherside they are just crazy, he’s an artist!

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

One of many firsts for yourself saw you start your company Alva – the first ever skater owned and operated company – a huge move for a 19 year old… 

I was lucky that I had met the right guys to help me with the business part of it because I wasn’t ready to really run the business and all of that. I was more the talent and I was good at designing and testing the products, but I wasn’t really ready to just full on accept the responsibility of running a business.

What pushed you to start Alva at the time?

I didn’t really want to ride for any of these other teams and continue to have to share the profits with all the teams I was riding for. There was a bunch of other teams that I rode for that sold a lot of boards and made a lot of money, and I felt like I needed to make the money myself and become a part of the commercial success of the business. So I had to step it up and take it to that level. Starting Alva is a major positive aspect of my career and my life.

And it’s still going strong to this day. Was it a conscious decision to invest in young riders on the team?

Yeah I have a bunch of young kids on the team, I like them the best because they are so much easier to deal with. With some of the pro guys back in the day it just became really high maintenance, even though it was great that I had some really good pro teams.

Are there any independent companies that you are backing today?

Just my truck sponsor Independent, I’ve always loved those guys. All I really need is my shoes and my trucks and my board company, I’m really simple when it comes to that stuff. I endorse and use products in the surf industry that I really like. One of the company’s I really love is Patagonia. I really like the stuff they put out, using eco-friendly and common sense products. The way they put their products together, the way they run their business, and the consciousness they have is great. I’ve been wearing one of their wet suits lately and that is made without petroleum. Neoprene in the past was made with petroleum products which can be damaging to the environment, and they are making a wetsuit now that is made from a hemp based rubber plant called Yulex and it works really well.

It’s just a matter of having consciousness about polluting the planet and global warming and the list goes on in terms of the things we do when it comes to manufacturing products that we need to be concious of. Any company like that that’s in the skate or surf industry, I’m in to backing them as much as I can for sure and letting people know that we need to save the planet. Especially the ocean and the air for future generations.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

You have been with Vans since 1974 right? 

On & off yeah, but I’ve been with them quite a while…

During that time I think it’s fair to say that you’ve played a key role in the brands development…

Because of Steve, because Steve listens. I can’t really take credit for that, most of it goes to Steve Van Doren. He’s our ambassador and he’s always listened to the skateboarders. He’s our champion, he’s the guy that told his brother, his father, everybody else in the Van Doren family that the skateboarders were the ones that knew which direction to take the business.

Do you feel Vans has helped you to develop and grow?

Totally, it still is. Steve has given my career longevity by believing in me, not only as a person, but as an athlete and ambassador for Vans and that’s what I do, that’s my life. A lot of my trips and a lot of my business, how I make money as a skateboarder, as a surfer as a musician, are geared towards doing promotional events that Vans is involved in. I’m able to benefit from these things in more ways than just the money, it’s the experience out on the road, the travelling and basically just being a representative of the lifestyle that is Vans. Steve Van Doren is an amazing guy.

Being a part of Vans for so long you must have seen many changes, not only within the company, but also in the world of skateboarding and surf. Now celebrating it’s 50th year, what is it about Vans that has allowed it to remain relevant after all this time?

We never lost our roots. We know where we came from and the history is important to us. We give back to the culture, we don’t just take take take. We give back through things like the House Of Vans and through sponsoring different events. We are there for the youth, not just using the money we have to make ourselves look cool or on meaningless marketing campaigns to make people buy our products, there’s a lot of other companies that do do that, but they can’t buy what we have. They can’t buy the roots, the soul, the image that Vans has, because of the fact that we are a family run business that isn’t just about the products – it’s about the people. We really care about our people, we care about our team, we care about the people that use our product. We want people to have a good attitude towards Vans; therefore we provide events with music, food, art, everything that comes under the umbrella of our culture and that is what the kids like. It’s all about creativity for us, using the brand as a vehicle.

Alva Interview

Do you feel your career in skateboarding & surfing helped you to pursue your interests in art & music?

Yeah definitely, because my attitude towards surfing was that it was like an expression of your freedom, and it’s spiritual, it has a spiritual connection to it like art & music. Surfing came first to me and skateboarding just fell in to that attitude I have with surfing, it overlapped with my skateboarding for sure. At one point it separated and started to go in that direction to where skateboarding became its own entity, its own thing, but I’m glad that it didn’t get too far away from that. Surfing and music allows me to be creative, and skateboarding fit’s in to that too. It’s like a frickin’ sandwich cookie you know, one side you’ve got surfing and on the other you’ve got music and skateboarding sits nicely in the middle.

You’ve also expressed your interest in fashion in the past and also spoke on how you introduced elements of fashion in to the marketing of Alva in the early days. What’s your views on the fashion industry and it’s relationship with skateboarding?

I like vintage fashion better than anything and high end stuff. I love the stuff that Yves Saint Laurent did back in the day. I like the form and function side of things, that’s really rad. Even though that stuff isn’t functional for skateboarding, some of it aesthetically is so beautiful and to look at even women’s fashion, like John Galliano, the stuff he has done in the past is so amazing. When you look at the couture end of fashion, it’s just art. Functional fashion to me is almost like making a beautiful surf board that looks so beautiful, but at the same time it actually works really well. That’s the kind of stuff that I like. So even when it comes to surfing and skateboarding stuff, a lot of the clothes and the shoes that I wear is stuff that looks and feels good, but really what it is is that it functions well. I think the improving technology in manufacturing in the fashion part of the action sports industry is really fun. If it really works and it’s functional that’s a big part of it, but its got to feel and look good more than anything. Coz I’ll wear funky stuff sometimes that makes me look frickin’ homeless, but it makes me feel good. We have a little saying back home ” I look like a homeless guy, but I feel like a frickin’ prince”.

With such a great career already behind you, what’s next for Tony Alva?

I’ve been doing some pretty interesting things with my surf line and surf boards, I’m doing some really cool hybrid surf boards and that’s called Alva Surf Craft. That’s been pretty fun and I’m putting a lot of energy in to that. And other than skateboarding and surfing at the same time, cross training with the two, I’ve been doing some really really cool music, writing and playing bass guitar in a band called These Eyes Have fangs. We’ve been doing some psychedelic bluesy rock stuff and putting it on records and playing live, playing a lot of shows based around what we’ve recorded. Just being a part of things that I really love, and things that I really love in life is being expressive and being creative.


 Words: Kieran Sills

Imagery: Lily Brown

Additional imagery courtesy of Vans and Alva Skates

Shout out to Paul from Vans Brighton for contributing towards the interview also!


Watch: The Story Of Vans


Today marks 50 years since the Van Doren Rubber Company opened its first location in Anaheim, CA as a small family run business. Since then Vans has grown in to a global powerhouse, and the impact that the brands has had on youth culture over the years, most notably in skateboarding and music has been monumental, and it continues to play a huge role in various sub cultures today. As a brand that encourages and promotes creative expression and individuality, it seems fitting that they put together this new visual campaign, using animation and a unique illustrative style to tell the story the iconic company. Covering the birth of the company, the inception of some of the most iconic footwear silhouettes of all time and also the impact it has had in music, fashion and art, the video gives a great overview of then until now, give it a watch above.


Kepa Acero

Kepa Acero – Interview

Last month we were invited down to the London Surf Film Festival by the guys at Reef, bringing together the UK Surf community to celebrate international surf culture and the best of British surf at some of the most iconic cinema venues across London.

On the closing night of the event we headed down to Regent Street cinema where there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. During the night we had the chance to sit down and sink a couple of cold ones with all round legend and world renowned surf explorer Kepa Acero, fresh off the plane from shredding the waters of Ireland. Check the full Kepa interview below…

Kepa Acero

Hi Kepa, I hear you just flew in from Ireland, how was it?

It was beautiful man, I saw the swell was coming so I flew there and we camped everyday for seven nights. It was cobblestone reefs which shaped the waves really well.


No not really, like 13, so I just had 4/3 and booties, it wasn’t too bad.

You’re renowned for surfing some of the most remote waves in the world, places like Antarctic and Angola. What is it you’re trying to achieve personally from doing these epic trips?

For me it’s about being curious about an unknown part of the world, and the discovery. I’ll be at home looking at my globe and think…hey, you know there must be waves there! And that makes me feel alive. Sometimes there are and sometimes there aren’t, but it’s the not knowing that is part of the buzz.

Have you ever re-visited a place, or is it more about the buzz of initial discovery?

Well sometimes you meet people in different places and become very close to them, so you want to go back and visit them. And some places just become very special through personal experience so I will always have the desire to go back and re-visit them.

Surfing different waves all over the world and such diverse climates means you are constantly switching up your boards and changing your wetsuits to adapt to the waves and the temperature. Does it ever feel hard to get into a bit of a rhythm?

For me whenever I find a world class wave, I completely forget about the temperature. And there is something very beautiful in that because you really do just forget about everything – not just the temperature or how I am surfing. For me, I’m just trying to find a beautiful wave and enjoy that experience. I have been focussing on travelling and surfing Africa because it is very difficult socially and politically, so I suppose the connection and the spirituality comes before my surfing ability as such.

Are there any experiences that stand out particularly on your travels?

Of course there are a lot, and most of these moments happen when you don’t have the camera on. When I was surfing in Angola, I was surfing by myself on a beautiful left-hander and there was no one around so I was feeling very introspective. All of a sudden a whale came and popped up about 20 meters in front of me, and this thing is absolutely huge. After being on your own for so long you feel a connection with that animal and its moments like that you know you will never forget.

Travelling solo has become your trademark so to speak. Do you feel travelling that way pushes you to interact with people more?

Yes, and strangely I think I really travel alone so I can meet more people if that makes sense. Even though i’m alone I still feel the need to document and share my experiences. I’m inspired by a lot of travel writers and I always think well, even they have shared their experience in there own way by releasing a book about their time.

Do you have a favourite travel writer?

Well when I was travelling Alaska I was reading a lot of Jack London. I also like Jack Kerouac and another guy called Paul Theroux.

Is there anyone that you have met on your travels that particularly stands out in your mind?

In the first trip I did by myself in Namibia I had a special experience with a family I stayed with for about 2 weeks. They were very poor but super happy, and thats kind of gives you a lesson you know? We live in a western culture and have a certain perception of progression, but I think maybe we should focus less on capitalism and more on happiness. Don’t get me wrong we have good things but I feel we should take on some of their values also.

There was also a moment in Alaska where I was by myself for a long time, and I felt I really needed to meet some people.  I was knocking on houses to ask directions, even though I knew where I was, and one guy let me in. I stayed with him and his family for about a week, it was a great experience and you learn a lot interacting with other cultures.

Do you feel more wary of nature or humankind when travelling alone?

Well it is different in each place, but for example certain cities in Africa you need to be more careful of people because unfortunately they are very poor and they are looking for money.

One night in Rwanda, which is a very dangerous city, I had nowhere to stay and I had expensive camera equipment and money and things on me, so I put my belongings in a plastic bag and made myself look more of a vagabond by covering myself in dirt that way I felt less vulnerable sleeping on the street.

How much freedom do your sponsors allow you to have on these trips? Is it mainly your concepts and ideas or do they ever pitch in with things they’d like you to do?

Well when I first had the idea I went to the sponsors and I said I have this idea to travel the world for remote waves, and I want to do it solo. And they said well yeah that’s great but how are you going to film yourself surfing waves? We’re not going to pay for that… So then I said well, I’m going to do it anyway. And I did and it was successful in terms of working out methods of documenting myself, and the reception it got. So the next year they told me okay we’re going to support you on this. And truthfully I am very lucky to have my sponsors, but if I didn’t I would still be doing it anyway.  And I do it all my way with my own identity and make the most of every experience and stay true to what I believe in.

I think that is what a lot of people really enjoy about you…

Yeah, and I was talking with a friend of mine who is 77 who was saying he feels like he was 35 like me yesterday, and it is real like that, time goes so fast and I know sometimes we don’t want to see that, but I want to get to that age and look back and say okay, I had a good run, I did great things.

I also have quite a close relationship with death because it is so close to me all the time, so I try to have a good understanding and a positive relationship with it. We live in a cultural society where people don’t like to talk about it, but for me it keeps everything in a good perspective. It’s going to happen anyway, and all we really have is the time right now in present moments… it makes you appreciate those moments a lot more. 

You’re an ambassador for Reef, which has such a great team and is very diverse in that it has so many different personalities. Where do you feel your identity fits in to the team?

There’s many different personalities I guess that’s a marketing perspective, but there’s many types of surfers in the industry. I appreciate what the competitive guys are doing, they are pushing the boundaries technically in the sport, and then there are other guys like me who are doing other things in free surfing, I respect what everyone is doing in their own way.

Surfing itself has grown and is so diverse now with many different characters. Where do you feel you fit in the grander scheme of things within surfing right now?

I just try to be open minded. I think the internet is great, everyone does there own thing and can represent themselves differently in surfing, but I still don’t think you can really categorise everyone.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I actually take a lot of my inspiration from other sports, like climbing. I find a lot of similarities between surfers and climbers, and I like to look at other sports and people’s philosophies outside of surfing. In one of the movie’s they were showing tonight I thought it was great when Wayne Lynch said about finding similarities within the Aboriginals dancing and relating it to surfing, with finding a rhythm. I think Art in general is about that, and being able to express yourself, that’s what I feel I’m doing when I surf.

You’re lucky enough to call one of the best waves in Europe, and for a few hours on a low tide the world, your home. Do you feel Mundaka is perhaps more localised than other spots at times? 

Well, I think this is the dark spot of surfing. We have something we really appreciate and love, and unfortunately mother nature only provides us with so many waves! Say in one period there are 100 waves, there’s 200 surfers so its human nature to compete and fight for what you love, no? But I think there needs to be a balance. Travellers need to try and be as respectful as they can, and locals need to be a little more open minded. When I surf other spots I try to get there and understand the place and how it works, and be respectful.

The trouble with Mundaka can be that it produces a world class wave, but only for a very short period of time. It’s like Cinderella! [Laughs]

A privilege of travelling far and wide for remote waves is that there are no crowds. Out of all the places you’ve surfed, have you ever seen anything particularly gnarly in terms of localism? 

Yes, there are a few places I have seen some heavy shit. I’ve seen cars burning, sometimes people go out for surf and upset someone and when they come back out the water there car is on fire. That and you know, just a lot of heavy fights and drowning’s, but that stuff is very sad. Like I say – the dark side of surfing. It breaks up the energy in the water.

Have you ever surfed England?

Yeah man, Fistral Beach and all that area. That was when I was doing more competitive surfing, It’s a very beautiful place. Even the roads out there with the scenery is amazing. I went to Bude as well actually, the surf was pretty good I remember that time.

Do you ever have any regrets with the path you’ve chosen? I guess it makes it hard to lead a traditional life, with the wife and kids and stuff?

Well sometimes I go home and I see my friends with the wife and kids and everything and I think… Fuck, what am I doing with my life [Laughs], but I think that is just a natural feeling to have. And I am really focussed on what I’m doing, and I think every person’s path in life will always have a consequence.

Theres the legendary story of you surfing butt naked in Africa. I gotta ask, what was the rash situation down below with that, had to be heavy !?

[Laughs] No, the problem is actually sunburn on my ass, I had to sun cream it up pretty good! It’s hot out there man! I don’t know, I was completely alone and the concept of wearing shorts just seemed to not make any sense, so I thought, why not..

Kepa Acero

Best surf movie?

I think it has to be Searching for Tom Curren

Would you rather hit the Reef or have a long pin down?

I think a hold down. Reef hurts! I hit my head and broke my board pretty bad in Indo not long ago. I think drowning would be pretty painless!

Strangest place you’ve signed an autograph?

I had to sign The Reef girls, you know… on the butts.

Wow how many of them?

15 or something…!

Wow that’s pretty epic, you get any digits?

No No [Laughs]

Last time you wore a tie?

Ahh man…. Weddings! And even then I bring my Reef shoes and just colour them black!

Bums or Boobs? 

Boobs for me I think.

Would you rather surf a body board or a SUP for the rest of your life?

I realise that there is a different thing for each wave like an instrument for each piece of music… But I really hate SUPS sometimes [laughs]. Probably a bodyboard!


A huge thanks to Canoe and to Reef for their hospitality at the LSFF. Head over to for more


Words & Images: Mickey Thomas


Life’s A Beach Spring/Summer 2015 Lookbook


Revitalised Surfwear brand Life’s A Beach present their latest collection along with accompanying lookbook for Spring/Summer 2015.

Founded back in the early 80’s, Life’s A Beach was renowned for their wild prints and vibrant colour palettes, becoming a favourite for skaters and surfers who were looking or something a little more extravagant than what was currently on offer. Following a prolonged absence, the brand has come back with a bang, utilising original designs pulled straight from their archives but giving a premium update and more considered designs for the modern customer.

This season, Life’s A Beach continue to produce laid back beach ready styles from long sleeves to their signature board shorts, adorning the brands easily recognisable retro graphics and loud patterns. The equally vibrant lookbook captures the theme of the collection perfectly, putting a light hearted spin on the visuals.

The Life’s A Beach Spring/Summer 2015 collection will be available from the brands web store soon and selected stockists including size?. For more on the brand or to shop the current collection head over to

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Lightning Bolt Spring/Summer 2015


 Lightning Bolt was born in the Summer of 1971, inspired by Surfing and the lifestyle that surrounds it. Having been reintroduced into the market 4 years ago, the brand presents its most mature collection to date for Spring/Summer 2015, all the while staying true to its core values.

The Hawaii based brand have applied several technical and material upgrades to their latest collection, but still retain their iconic surf aesthetic. The release consists of laid back beach ready styles including their shirting, tees, sweaters and hoodies, offered up in a carefully selected colour colour palette of indigo blues, washed greens and yellows and shades of red that were with the brand from the start and will continue to be a part of the core palette moving forward. A highlight is their revised board-shorts, which are constructed from considered fabric, and include additional functional features such as water shed pockets and adjustable technical closures. Soft cotton knitwear and lightweight jacket options complete a collection which sees the brand continue to develop and progress in its design.

The Lightning Bolt Spring/Summer 2015 collection will be available from the following stockists from the end of January;



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Nixon – Alive in California


 Nixon is a brand fuelled by adventure. Deeply rooted in surf and skate, they produce custom built accessories, most notably watches, that not only offer high levels of quality but also reflect the life they live.

Bringing their positive energy into 2015, Nixon have put together this awesome short video, comprised of stunning black and white visuals that highlights the beauty of California, with a focus on the cities passion for board sports. It’s a great visual representation of the brand and those that wear it, as well as the city itself. If you look closely enough you can also peep some of their key styles from the season.

Enjoy the video below and for more information on Nixon or to shop their current range, head over to