Inspiration: The Boys
Once, when asked in an interview by New York's Genuine Men's Magazine what inspired him the most, Paul De Nagy’s answer was simple: “People…” We are constantly surrounded by inspirational people, whether they are in the limelight or just average people doing good things. This week's blog post is dedicated to a small group of surfers, musicians and artists who have always remained genuine, just doing their own thing!
Trends come and go in every walk of life. But in surfing, these trends sometimes sprout cultures or sub cultures, some lasting a lifetime while others, like most trends these days, are short lived. For today's average surfer there are countless influences pulling them in every direction possible: dress like this, talk like that, ride this or ride that…And most of the time these influences are merely trends that some company thought up in order to milk the ever-growing industry that is Surf Lifestyle.
Fewer and fewer of today's surfers actually have an idea of the monumental heritage that, as surfers, they should at least have some knowledge of. For example, how did the shortboard revolution actually start? Who were the major influential characters of the day? Why do longboarders leave their leash at home? And why does my board have 3 fins, or 4 or 5..?
Anyway, that may be an educational blog for another time. For now we want to concentrate on our characters, our unsung heroes, our friends: the HIP crew. Centred around three brothers, Joe, Tom and Adam, the HIP is completed with Rob and Matt. We came to know these five a way back when they were in their teens. Grommets by our standards but super talented in their own right, like throwbacks to the 70’s, these guys were all about the fun. Skating every day, surfing when and where they could --though their hometown, Brighton, England, offers some pretty decent surf during the stormy season, it is by no means paradise. Still, their talent shone through.
What struck us the most was that these guys weren’t your average teens: barely interested in alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, super respectful, polite and always happy to see you. And, most of all, happy to be together and surf, skate, play music…you name it. Their interest in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s surf and skate culture was impressive. They were always keen to learn more about the period and, with each piece of growing knowledge like an organic instruction manual, each surf session sprouted stylish manoeuvres, graceful glides and whacky innovations that got them some respect from their peers --and some critism too, though mainly from jealous older surfers who should've known better.
The crew got up to all sorts of crazy stuff, like making short films involving toy helicopters and fire rescues from the roof of the brothers' house (which also happened to be the local parish. Their dad was, and still is, a priest..."Choppa Chops" is still up on You tube, by the way!) to chopping up old longboards and merging them to bodyboards with resin, and surfing finless in barrel bay (their own name for a local wedged-up sandbar which broke super shallow and fast right-hand peelers off a point).
Learning how to make their own boards was an adventure --with some successes and some failures, as is to be expected-- and, for us, a fun spectacle to watch. Their different talents and personalities all played a part in the process. Joe, a motivated surfer, always keen to try anything but with a good idea of what he wanted to build. Adam, the artist, putting his own flair to the boards they made. Rob, the perfectionist, and Tom, the strong and sturdy one who placed his orders with the boys, and then proceeded to rip on whatever they handed him --rough sand jobs, splinters and all!
When they weren’t board building, surfing or playing music, the crew hit up the local skate parks or simply the the nearest sloped bend of asphalt and ripped that up too. It was like watching history repeat itself at times, with flashes of Alva, Peralta and Adams. The boys lived in their own bubble. Always stylish, always graceful and forever humble, whether they were laughed at, criticised for being hippies, or simply told not to...they did it anyway. And, after all, isn’t that what life is all about? Carving your own lines with the lessons of history in mind and a blank canvas in front.
The inspirational part of this crew of close friends is that, despite the highs and lows that life inevitably throws at you, they always remained true to themselves and to each other. They continue to draw their own lines. Joe, with his love of nature, works in it every day and is a husband and father. Adam, a true artist and musician, continues to play with his band alongside his wife. Rob, after a long career in retail, found his calling in the coffee industry, where he is able to apply his own method of perfection. Tom, moving fast up the ladder in the the world of health and fitness, continues to carve his future and is also married. And Matt, father of one and a great trumpeter, continues to play with his band and teaches music to the next generation. They all still surf, skate and hang out --maybe not as often as in the early years, but still with the same level of enthusiasm and fun they always had.
Paul was present to witness a great deal of the evolution of the HIP crew and, in some ways, played a part in it as well. He was able to get the boys together on a surf trip to the West Country in England recently, and captured these images throughout the weekend.
We are looking forward to the crew's visit to the southwest coast of France in September, where we're sure to have an adventure and some good laughs.
Leave a comment