We met Andy at The Snowy Longboard Classic at Manly earlier this year. He is such a humble and talented individual. Not only is he a stylish longboarder but Andy is also an amazing shaper, glasser and board designer. Rebel on a Rainbow were super excited to get an opportunity to feature an insight into Andy's inspiring and passionate life.
ROAR: How did surfing become both your lifestyle and career?
Andy: Well of course I wanted to be a beach bum when I was in school and surfboard makers looked like they had the closest thing to that, besides pro surfers obviously. I wanted to drop out and get a trade but still be able to surf whenever I wanted, fortunately I was able to pick up a job in a board manufacturing factory but training under the trade “boat building apprenticeship” so I studied boat building at tafe and learned the art of board building at work. Fast forward nearly ten years and I’m lucky to say I stuck it out and have maintained the lifestyle and the career.
ROAR: Who has been an inspiration to you in your adventurous life?
Andy: First of all I’d have to say my dad, he got me into surfing when I was pretty young and would tell me stories of his surf adventures along the Victorian coastline in the late 60s and 70s.
Also friends I've made over the years, you meet so many interesting people in life and their outlook on adventure and stuff like that can really change the way you look at life.
Last but not least, my family. They are super cool and have always supported me and inspired me.
ROAR: What are some of the challenges you have been faced with in the surf industry?
Andy: Things are really coming around now, for years the sort of surfing and equipment I was into was very frowned upon by 99% of the surfing world, at least in Victoria where I'm from. It was frustrating to get heckled down the beach or out at parties for riding alternative equipment opposed to the 6’2” white thruster the pros shred on.
In the last 5 years that’s really turned around and its great to see. People are riding all sorts of things and its pretty rare to find crew these days who only ride your clear dhd or al merrick.
Recent struggles in the industry are a lot different, because the alternative thing is so popular now. You have so many new brands popping up with guys who have no experience smashing out a few rough shapes and doing some arty, more often than not poor glass work and people eat that shit up man. They charge half the price as what premium board makers would and the average consumer complains about the price enough as it is, now you’ve got 10 other guys down the road charging less and cleaning up. Its kinda replaced the chinese problem we had a decade ago. I'm all about new guys getting into it and enjoying it but when guys make a board for themselves then start selling boards, getting stickers made and building websites without paying dues, it really rubs people the wrong way.
ROAR: Who are some of your favourite surfers to go on road trips with and why?
Andy: Usually guys I've spent lots of time with over the years. Guys like my good mate surfer/surf photographer Scott Wintle. Scotty’s always good for a laugh and he's spent a lot of time cruising up and down the coast. A few mates I grew up surfing with, Steve Thorne and Trent Burgers are always pretty good value. They're guys who I have been through a lot with and surfed all different kinds of waves and drank all different kinds of beers with.
In the last few years i've been doing a lot of surf trips with Matty Chojnacki from Sydney. We've known each other a long time and we get on really well and both have a great deal of respect for each other. Matty shreds on anything and its good to see someone of his ability surfing and sharing waves with everyone and not letting ego get the better of him.
ROAR: What has been your favourite surf adventure and why?
Andy: To be honest I think the earlier days for me were when I really frothed on the adventure of surfing. Actually what I mean is in the earlier days, I was stoked a lot easier, I didn’t have to go on a big long trip and get barreled all day. When I look back I reckon my favourite adventure was camping down at our local break when we were 14. My buddy Steve and I were full throttle grom frothers, our home break was a relatively uncrowded log wave on Viccos Mornington Peninsula called Pines, these days its packed and every hipster and his dog or pet pig or whatever is down there camping and having fires. Back then it was awesome, our folks would drop us off whenever there was gonna be a big swell and we’d just camp there for days and surf amazing waves with just a few old boys. I'd say the best time was the time the thunder storm and rain destroyed our tent, our sleeping bags were soaked through, so we ended up sleeping on the floor of the women's toilet they have in the carpark, obviously the womens was cleaner than the mans haha. In the morning we got up and it was still dark but u could make out perfect lines going across the reef, we suited up and surfed perfect 4-5 ft Pines with no one else for like half an hour, and back then when it did get crowded there was still only 10 maybe 15 guys in the water and we knew them all. That’d have to be one of my favourites for sure. Over ten years on and me and my buddy still talk about that one all the time.
ROAR: Tell us some things your excited about in your future?
Andy: Moving up to noosa this year has been a big change for me, meeting a whole new group of surfers, surfing totally different waves to what there is on offer in vicco, I'm excited for the times ahead. I'm still getting better and better when it comes to making boards so that excites me a lot, when I get a really neat board coming through with cool colours and stuff, it really gets me amping.
I think what I'm most excited about is getting to fine tune my shapes in the perfect waves here and seeing how far I can grow with my surfing, on all types of boards. Adrian Knott and I have recently setup our new factory where we do our label Rake Surfboards out of and just getting that back off the ground in a new state has been hard work but very exciting. Things have started off a bit slow here but theyre starting to pick up, people are seeing our boards floating round again and intrest is gaining. I'm just gonna keep on truckin and doing my thing and hopefully I can surf and pay the bills along the way.
Check out the clip below of Andy and his mate Matt by Nicholas Damen.
Thanks heaps Andy for giving us an insight into the alternative surf culture and the comeback of longboarding. If our readers want to follow more of Andy's adventures and check out the amazing boards he shapes, glasses and designs check out the links below. There is also another awesome clip featuring Andy surfing. He has epic style!