Iphone shot, still dripping wet after an early morning session.
As is usually the case, my wonderfully verbose style leads to my submissions to drift being far too lengthy and the published version misses some stuff out so here is my interview with Jai Lee as it was originally written:
What's your surfing history?
My surf history is vague at the best of times! Over the years I've done damage to the brain cells from having such a good time, leaving me with glimpses I aint even sure are true to start with!
Officially I started surfing when I was around 9 ( on and off before that, as I hated the water ) I started on a shortboard, around 5'8 and then in my early teen years my dad got into longboards cause there wasn't much swell consistently around Noosa. So pretty much from that moment on I have spent many hours frothing along the points of Noosa on longboards.
What do you love about riding logs?
It all started cause I live at Noosa, what else was I gonna end up riding!?
The main reason I love riding logs is i LOVE noseriding. When you get one of those noserides that levitates across a section for multiple seconds, its a feeling I can't explain, but it feels farking good. The closest feeling I've felt to it, is getting barrelled, like reef barrelled. That weightlessness is addictive, the same reason people are addicted to drugs, they create weightlessness, they lift the unnecessary burden and help you escape. I am an addict, an addict to noseriding!
Just little things, like I used to have a rounded off nose at the tip but I love having a pointed tip now to make me feel like its the arrow to go any direction I choose to go.
Jaidivision.com is your little corner of the internet?
Do you consider yourself a pro surfer?
A professional surfer surfs as a job and makes their income from it. I've made about $1000 (Aus) and two surf trips out of it. So, NO. I defiantly ain't one!
Do you feel let down by the surfing industry? Surely someone with your talent and previous exposure should be able to make a modest living or is that something you have never pursued seriously?
I used to think that, and it got me down a lot. In 2011 I gave it one last shot, I tried hard to get a paying sponsor, even hit the big dogs, was ready to sell my soul to them and I would have given them everything if the opportunity raised.
My job (as a painter and decorator) wasn't paying enough per year to survive and the extra money from a paying sponsor would have kept me from biting the bullet and heading inland to work in the mines. The mines were my last resort and this week ( first week of march ) is my first stint out into the mines in which I miss out completely on the Noosa festival Of Surfing, a first in a very very long time.
I've had my go, I've had my chance, life has had different plans for me and now my family comes first.
You've obviously turned a corner and you're looking forward. What plans for the future do you have?
Right now I'm actually right on the brink of finding a complete sense of happiness within myself. I've done the pills, I've done the self medication and what works best for me is to just consistently create. Having 100 hobbies isn't a burden, its a luxury.
So my plan for the future is to be happy, internally and dive deep into myself and throw out all the trash I've had hidden in there for so many years.
what are those 100 hobbies?
My Girls, Reading, Learning, Nick Cave, Bauhaus, My Umbraluva's, Joy Division, Photography, Filming, Editing, Old AFI, Strung Out, Poetry, Short Stories, Horror Movies, and most of all a few quiet beers with a few mates.
Who inspires you?
People who don't give up, people who fight to live in this one chance life we have. People who have passion, people who strive to gain knowledge. People who are really happy, I mean happy with themselves, happy on the inside.
The more people I meet, the more the percentage goes up on people who are just pretending to be happy. But when you get inside you see something much different.
That is a definition of "Hipster" to me, they're everywhere, in every scene. Longboarding is just the cool thing to do at the moment and I hate that cause it makes me feel like a hipster for doing it.
How do you feel about the big surf companies starting to move into this part of surfing? Is it a good thing because there is money for the people involved or are they trying to cash in and diluting something real and organic for their own ends?
I actually think its great,. The big companies are the only ones who can offer up that lifestyle, the smaller companies involved with longboarding don't have the money to provide that. Maybe it helps the companies sell stuff but at least the surfers can get paid without just riding 6'1 thrusters.
I would love to be in that situation where your job was surfing and being creative, I only work hard at my job to give me money to do that.
Anyone you'd like to thank ?
I just like to give a big thanks to my Dad, he was really the only person who deserved a sticker on my board if you think of it that way. Without his time and the use of money he didnt have, I wouldn't be in surf mags, I wouldn't have travelled the world and met all the different people I have over my time.
Thanks Jai i think that prety much covers it, anything you want to get off your chest?
Yeah, I ain't a hipster and I want nothing to do with ya "Hipster" scene.
Please leave me alone.