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POPMAG.COM.AU

THE BEST OF THE BEST OUTERWEAR FOR 2011 • THE PiTFAllS OF REBUilding A MOTORBikE

FREE

STEVE BERRA LEADING THE CHARGE

KAI NEVILLE

FINDING FOCUS

ERIN McNAUGHT

TALKS SHREDDING IN JAPAN


NIKE ZOOM DK BOOTS ZOOM AIR CUSHIONING DUAL LACING LINER ERGONOMIC SHELL CONSTRUCTION

DANNY KÄSS


NIKESNOWBOARDING.COM


Mark Welsh photos. coalheadwear.com

Abyss Distribution / coal@abyss.net.au coaheadwearaustralia.blogspot.com

Phil Jacques in the Frena Solid.


Contents

ISSUE EIGHTEEN The 2011 Outerwear Issue

20

40

52

58

66

70

Hot Shot.............................20

Film.....................................34

Auto....................................23

E rin M c N aught .................... 52

Games..................................26

Steve Berra.........................58

Gadgets...............................28

Jarrod Wouters ................... 66

Products .............................. 30

K ai Neville..........................70 11

Thanks to: Rachael Wilson, Luke Lucas, Jamie Driver, Dion Appel, Andy Clark, Paul Arena, Damo Di Pietro, Eddie Strong, Cin Pollard and Maria Krstev, The Bakers, Chris Jepson, Annie Fox, Ricky Synot, Ben FultonGillon, Julius Kellar. Best of luck in LA to our friend Chris Boadle. Pop Magazine is Dave Keating and Rick Baker.


Credits

POPMAG.COM.AU

THE BEST OF THE BEST OUTERWEAR FOR 2011 • THE PiTFAllS OF REBUilding A MOTORBikE

FREE

Cover Steve Berra Photography: Mike Blabac Location: The Berrics Camera: Hasselblad H3d Lens: 150mm f4 Exposure: 1/250 @ f 11 using Elinchrom lighting “I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can’t help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can’t help but wonder how they would have operated these times.” - Ed Tom Bell

STEVE BERRA LEADING THE CHARGE

KAI NEVILLE

FINDING FOCUS

ERIN McNAUGHT

TALKS SHREDDING IN JAPAN

Editors

Special Thanks

Editor-in-Chief Dave Keating

Chris Jepson for taking the day to model for the 2011 outerwear guide.

Editor At Large/Designer Rick Baker

Photography

Fashion Editor Jana Bartolo

Company

C over

and

Masthead Design

Luke Lucas.

C ontributors Steele Saunders, Tim Fisher, Emilia Terzon, Ben Fulton-Gillon, Irwin Fletcher.

Jason Henley, Mike Blabac, Julius Kellar.

National Sales Manager National Sales Manager Rene L’Estrange-Nickson Email: rene@lifelounge.com Phone: (03) 99912 8933

Pop Magazine Pty. Ltd. 285 St Kilda Rd St. Kilda, Victoria, 3182 Australia

Printers

Phone: (03) 9008 5818 Email: hithere@popmag.com.au Web: popmag.com.au

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Printgraphics Pty. Ltd Phone: (03) 9562 9600 Web: www.printgraphics.com.au


introducing the wrap two-piece construction x twelve colors suprafootwear.com


PHOTOS: aTiba jefferSOn

k r 3 w den im co. el l i n g T O n / g r ec O k r 3 w den im . com


P roducts

Burton Restricted

/

the restricted crucible jacket is a favorite of the likes of keegan valaika , mark sol lors , mikey rencz , charles reid , marko grilc and now , our model , emily keys . the jacket is based on the team fit which , as you can see , is a little bit of a longer fit than your average jacket . we have more of emily in some of the restricted gear coming up on the website . hit www . popmag . com . au for more .

P hotography: Jason Henley Words: Dave Keating

Model: Emily Keys from EMG Models Fashion Editor: Jana Bartolo Makeup & Hair: Megan Harrison at Reload using Laura Mercier Cosmetics Erin Wears: Burton Restricted Crucible Jacket in Toile Stockist: burton.com 02 9935 9000 ‘I Love Cotton’ by La Senza Lace-Waist Brazilian Stockist: La Senza 1800 151 110


Nikita Clothing For Girls Who Ride

Julia Baumgartner

HlĂ­Ă°arfjall - Iceland www.nikitaclothing.com NIKITA Outerwear 2011 stockist enquiries: australia@nikitaclothing.com


Fiat Abarth 500 Esseesse

Auto

Fiat Abarth 500 Esseesse i ’ ve been chasing a review on the fiat 500 abarth ever since top gear first gave the redeveloped car such rave reviews . fortu nately for me , nitro snowboards hooked up with the auto maker last year and offered me a ride .

Photography: Fiat Words: Dave Keating

/

The 500 Abarth Essesse (pronounced ‘SS’) is the latest and most powerful iteration of the iconic Fiat car. For those unfamiliar with Abarth, they are a division of Fiat that focusses on turning very good cars into amazing cars. In a similar way to JCW for Mini or Renault Sport for Renault, they are a company made up of the kids at school that always took things a little too far... You know the ones. Someone ollies their board down a gutter and they have to attempt a backside nose blunt down a 10 stair. In short, the fun kids. Fiat have been working with Nitro in Europe for a few years now through the Roadwarriors films. During the recent northern winter, they formed a collaboration based on the 500 Abarth and a unique board coming out soon. No word on the board specs as yet.

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Specs: Priced from $34,990 plus on road costs Cylinders 4/Valves Per Cylinder 4 Capacity 1,368cm3 Maximum Output kW 118 Maximum Torque Nm 230 at 2750rpm Acceleration 0-100kp/h in 7.4 seconds Fuel Consumption (combined) 6.5L per 100KM


A uto

Grease Monkey / with summer behind us and a long cold winter ahead , it ’ s time to think about some indoor activities . my suggestion ? buy an old motorcycle and get a little greasy .

Words: Rick Baker

Those of you that know me know that I’m a nerd. And not like ‘oh he plays Xbox’ type nerd. I’m typing this on a computer I built from components whilst listening to a Dungeons & Dragons podcast. Yeah, that kind of nerd. So when I decided to buy a beat up, 1975 Honda motorcycle, almost everyone I knew thought I was making a huge mistake. I don’t know anything about mechanics and I run this magazine, which means I also don’t have any money. It all started a few years ago when my friend Andrew bought a restored an old CB250. At the time I remember being excited for him but never really felt it was my thing. It just seemed to take up a lot of his time and money. Two things I never have much of. After seeing Andy ride off into a summers evening with his girlfriend hanging onto his bad-ass leather jacket, I thought maybe this is something I could get into. Without much research I found a ‘good runner’ listed on the Trading Post website in Adelaide. With even less research I decided this was the one and paid the $1000 asking price and $250 to have it freighted to Melbourne. When it finally arrived I was in shock. The last time this had been a ‘good runner’ was when it had left the factory. It It was a pile of shit. Every nut and bolt had a layer of rust on it, the exhaust was rusted through in places, the tank dented, the tyres rock hard and the serials numbers filed off. Yep, it was most likely stolen. If you’re reading this you may have heard of the words ‘café racer, ‘bobber’, ‘chopper’ or ‘flat tracker’. These are all names for different styles

of customized bikes. Custom shops, like Deus Ex Machina in Sydney or European houses like Wrenchmonkees take old Yamaha SRs, Honda CB’s, Triumphs etc and chop them up, strip them down, paint them and generally make them look bad ass. You’ll pay top dollar for their skills of course, but you can do some of this yourself. So, here’s a guide to buying a vintage motorcycle and what you’ll need to restore it, if for some reason, it is a ‘good runner’ like mine used to be.

Basically what I’m trying to tell you is find a bike with a well maintained and running motor. Otherwise you’ll easily drop $3000 in fixing it alone, if you can find someone to work on it for you. Which you won’t. I’ve had mine apart for near on two years now. The goal of all this is to find a bike that doesn’t require an engineering workshop to fix. If this is your first bike then finding something that runs is the priority. After that you can do all the polishing, cleaning, painting and customizing you want.

Searching: Then you’ll need: The usual online places. Ebay is popular in Australia, but Craigslist is picking up. Bike Point, Trading Post and Gum Tree are good also. Don’t be mislead by bike prices in the USA. It is 50% cheaper there than here for various reasons. Whilst it is reasonable to pick a well maintained bike up for $1500 there, you won’t get anything close to that condition here. If you want a running bike that is well maintained be prepared to pay minimum $3000. Anything less and you’re in basket case territory. Buying: • Get the VIN number before you do anything. Call up the relevant state road authority and check the vehicle history. If it’s suspect, trust me, you don’t want that hassle. • Inspect the bike if you can. Look for obvious things like oil leaks around the engine. Badly leaking head gaskets, or oil stains in those areas, point to potentially bigger problems. • As we’re talking vintage motorcycles, it’s most likely in a bikes 30 odd year history that someone has been inside the motor. Look for striped screw heads or odd looking bolts. These are signs of a shoddy mechanic. Put it in neutral and turn the engine over with the kick starter. Does it turn? If not, walk away. • When the bike runs, does it blow excessive smoke? Put your hand in front of the muffler. Is it spitting oil? If so it means bad rings and again, walk away. • So it runs. Put your hand close to the exhaust headers. Don’t touch them, they should be terribly hot. If one is and the other not, then you’re not firing on all cylinders. It could be a spark plug problem, or something worse. Either way, you don’t want that. Walk away. • It appears to be running fine? Good. Pull the spark plugs and take a look. Somewhat black and sooty is to be expected, quickly evaporating fuel fixable, but are they oil slicked? Is so, walk away.

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• A flickr account and a supporting forum. No shit, this will be you best resource. Find an internet group that supports your bike and start a ‘build blog. In most cases it’ll be the only help you’ll find outside of your manual. CafeRacer. net, SOHC4.net, TriumphRat.net are just a few. • Buy a manual. Get both the Clymer and Haynes. Get a manufactures shop manual if you can too. You’ll need it. • Find the parts fiche for your bike and print off schematics for every relevant component you intend on taking apart. • Take tonnes of digital photos of everything. Once you get everything apart it could be months before it goes back together. Some people print out the photos in life size, stick them on cardboard stick the bolts though the cardboard so they know exactly what goes where. I should have done that. • A space to work in. You’ll be getting dirty and it could be in pieces for a while, so make sure you’ve got decent space. If you have a work bench, all the better. Some people build bikes in their apartment, so that isn’t an excuse. • Tools. If you’ve got a Japanese bike, like my Honda, you’ll most likely be in metric from 8mm to the odd 20mm. I’ve really only needed a socket set, a torque wrench, a set of ring spanners (never use a shifter), a set of good phillips head screwdrivers, a bench grinder with wire cleaning wheel, a dremel tool, an angle grinder, lots of WD-40, some heavy duty cleaning fluid, sandpaper, a pile of rags and some cold beverages. Don’t be scared by all this. Besides what I knew from Lego Technics I knew next to nothing about motors or camshafts or hydraulic brakes. But with the help of strangers on the internet, old bike dudes I met along the way and a lot of perseverance, I’ve discovered I’m now something of a grease monkey. Who knew.


Shuffleboard

Games

Shuffleboard / unless you ’ ve spent time in a he us , you ’ ve probably never luacrisly competitive and fun yes , shuffleboard has finally under .

dive bar int heard of this table sport . landed down

Words: Alison Dudey P hotography: Dane Sharp It’s safe to say that Australia is home to most things kick-arse, but our great land girt by sea has been missing something. We’ve been deprived of something that has been worshipped throughout the USA, Canada, Asia and Europe for near 500 years. Shuffleboard! Let us set the scene… Stumble into any dive bar in California and you’ll get shoved out of the way by a shufflemad crowd swarming one of probably several shuffleboard tables in the joint. Stop by a trendy

back-street bar in New York and compare the attention its shuffleboard table gets to the empty pool table sitting adjacent. Wander yourself into an Irish Bar in China and be surprised when you see a shuffleboard table alight with crazy Canadians, despite the fact the game was invented in England in the 1500s. But enough about what’s going on overseas, why has Australia – the land of all things good – been robbed of this fun-fuelled beer-drinking past time? Why has the rest of the world been hiding shuffleboard from us? The answers are complicated, but Southern Cross Shuffleboards plan to change things quick smart. “Australians love sport and we love beer, so table shuffleboard is a perfect fit for the Aussie lifestyle – it’s the ultimate drinking game,” explains Dane Sharp, company co-founder. “I am still tripping on why no one has ever made an effort to bring this game to Australia. It’s fun, addictive and challenging, but with a little luck anyone can win. Chicks loves it too!” Southern Cross Shuffleboards launched this year and is distributing products around the country. Dane is also the International Media & Digital Manager for Rip Curl, which explains why he’s played the game and seen the effects of a shuffle-mad crowd in bars in LA, San Diego, Miami, Costa Rica, Beijing, Canada and Hawaii. “I’ve owned ping pong and pool tables all my life, but I got addicted to playing shuffleboard at Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore in

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Hawaii during the winter surf seasons. I travel there with Rip Curl every year and couldn’t count the hours I’ve spent in that bar and playing that table with the likes of Jordy Smith, Taj Burrow, Dayyan Neve, Troy Brooks and co. I always joked about getting my own table and then my girlfriend, Stephanie, crazily went and imported one for my birthday last year. A few parties later we decided to start this business. We know the game will be a success over here, because we’ve witnessed time and time again how addicted people get as soon as they hit the table – including some of the world’s best surfers!” Dane and Stephanie’s key target for shuffleboards in Australia is modern-edge drinking holes, but they are clear on the fact that this somewhat foreign product will quickly find a home in a variety of other places in Oz. “We want to introduce shuffleboard to cool bars, pubs and clubs around the country, but like pool and ping pong it’s also perfect for homes, games rooms, man caves, hotels and slick offices,” says Stephanie. “We just set up a table for the Volcom and Nike 6.0 sales agency in their warehouse in Melbourne and that’s where we got the Pop Mag crew playing. It was game on!” And Pop Magazine enjoyed its Sunday shuffle session big time, so we’re giving Southern Cross Shuffleboards and the game of shuffleboard a huge stamp of approval. We also think that now shuffleboard has landed on Aussie soil, our country is as close to perfect as possible.


Time For Your Tablets

iPad2 by Apple It’s a giant iPod Touch, or an oversized iPhone but I feel I can safely guess that 99% of you who reads this will have had some expverience touching the screen of an iDevice, and probably half of you own one. It’s the best supported, best integrated tablet hands down, and sports some of the best specifications and ergonomics to support it’s claim to the tablet throne. However the other options start looking good when you’re locked into Apple’s iTunes ecosystem, needing to buy $45 adapters to play movies on your TV, or squinting at your low resolution cameras.

Gadgets

Time For Your Tablets / you need large pockets to afford one , and then need those large pockets to carry one around . they ’ re not laptops , they ’ re not smart phones , they ’ re tablets and kind of in the middle .

P hotography: The Internets W ords: Ben Fulton-Gillon When Apples’ iPad was first announced in 2009, and we couldn’t get our hands on them people seemed to resonate with “Yeah, it looks cool, but I’m not sure if I’d need it”.

Available in Australia from $529 Apple iOS 9.7 inch screen, 10 hour battery Cameras: 0.3 megapixels front, 0.7 megapixels back. This is not a typo. Xoom by Motorola Upon launch in February it was named the best Android tablet available. It has the same 10.1 inch size as the Galaxy and also runs Android 3, which is good competition to the Apple iOS. It has a few other tricks up it’s sleeve with a HDMI output, so it will plug straight into your TV for movies, music etc. Oh and it has a barometer. $800 in the US, here via Telstra. Android 3 10.1 inch screen, 8 hour battery Cameras: 2 megapixel front, 5 megapixel rear with dual LED flash.

Blackberry Playbook by RIM Lets be honest, Blackberry haven’t been stealing headlines with any of their new phones of late, but this has potential to lead the recovery. It’s much smaller than the other tablets at 7 inches, whilst still retaining relatively good horsepower with a dual-core processor. It’s in the right price frame, and it’s got some great specifications like decent cameras, full internet (so Flash too), HDMI out and said to be able to run Android apps, so you’ll still be able to play Words With Friends. Out in the US, here soon for around $600. Blackberry OS with Android apps 7 inch screen, 8 - 10 hour battery Cameras: 3 megapixel front, 5 megapixel rear.

Outdoor Tech Bluetooth Tags Outdoor Technology have released these new bluetooth headphones. Aimed as an alternative to in helmet systems, you can listen to music and answer calls without fumbling through your pockets while you have your gloves on. Hanging out to give these a go - will be available in Australia very soon.

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10.1v Galaxy Tablet by Samsung The original 7 inch Galaxy Tablet was named the best Android tablet available on the market at release last year, but it was also the only Android tablet at release. The Galaxy 10.1v is a second gen device meaning Samsung have had a chance to smooth and shave the edges of the original. The bigger 10.1 inch screen has an impressive 8 megapixel rear camera, HD 1080 video recording and playback. 10.1v from $259 to $729, depending on Vodafone contract. Upgraded version out soon. 10.1 inch screen, 7 hour battery Cameras: 2 megapixel front, 8 megapixel rear.


nana stick

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Four Kicks

P roducts

Four Kicks

/

until very recently , i ’ ve always been a fan of plain white shoes . then , recently , i got sent a pair of bright red mid ’ s and i haven ’ t looked back . here ’ s four of my favorites that are coming out at the moment - keep an eye out for them .

P hotography: Julius Kellar Words: Dave Keating

NIKE SB Paul Rodriguez V. Rod DC Standard Shoe SUPRA The Wrap CONS Nick Trapasso Pro

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Lens Flare

P roducts

Lens Flare

/

New

goggles are essential at the start of each season . A s much for comfort as for function - mine always seem to end up scratched and torn from being thrown around in cars and winding up at the bottom of my backpack . H ere ’ s three of the best for 2011.

P hotography: Julius Kellar Words: Dave Keating

ARNETTE Series 3 DRAGON DX Skull Candy Co-Op ANON Hawkeye

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THE REVOLVER HELMET & BASIS GOGGLE

ANTTI AUTTI

Small symbols representing big ideas. Learn more about Antti, the Revolver helmet and the Basis goggle featuring our True Sight™ spherical lenses with optics by Carl Zeiss Vison at giro.com.

giro.com


Your Highness

Film

Your Highness / forget danny mcbride and james franco . what about natalie portman and ashton kutcher ’ s ‘ the kutch curse ’ ?

P hotography: Universal Pictures Words: Irwin Fletcher Let’s say that you and your two friends got a development deal at Universal Pictures to write a comedy script. They give you a reasonable deadline, but you sit around and don’t do shit. Then the night before the script is due you and your friends get fucked up. The next morning you are hung over as shit, but the script is due. So you take an old version of Sleeping Beauty and just add the word ‘cock’ to the end of every second paragraph. That’s pretty much what the writers of Your Highness did. First, there is the issue of the cast. I for one don’t think Danny McBride is that funny. He only has one character, and that’s the red-neck half-retard. Has he been in anything truly funny? Name me a film that he was in that he made funny? His red-neck half-retard character is always the worst character in the film. He is only funny by association, but for your fantsy-script-

turned-comdey you’d be fine if you surrounded him with some comic genius cast members. So you cast James Franco and Natalie Portman. Strong comedic actors?! I guess Portman was funny in Star Wars, but not in a good way. OK, so maybe you cast those two just for star power, but you at least surround them with a strong comedic supporting cast right? How about Damien Lewis (from Band of Brothers), Justin Theroux (from Six Feet Under) and Toby Jones (from Frost Nixon and W.)? What the fuck did you do that for? That’s an amazing cast, but hardly a laugh between any of them! You know what that cast would be great for? A fucking epic fantasy movie! So my script writing theory is pretty much correct. Do you want another theory? If you are a hot Hollywood starlet, doing a movie with Ashton Kutcher ruins your career. Stick with me here, I’m going to go full circle with it. 10 years ago The Kutch did “Texas Rangers”, James Van Der Beek (a.k.a Dawson’s Creek) was the true lead, but the girl was Rachael Leigh Cook. Ever heard of her? I didn’t think so. Two years later, in 2003, he does “Just Married” with Brittany Murphy. She is dead now (not metaphorically speaking, like died in a bathtub dead). Then in 2003 he does “My Boss’s Daughter” with Tara Reid. Do I even need to say anything? Then in 2004 he does “The Butterfly Effect” with Amy Smart. It’s been downhill for her ever since. Then in 2005 he does “Guess Who” with Zoe Saldana. Now she is doing great, but she wasn’t the true co-star in that film. The real co-star was Bernie Mac. He’s dead, and again, I’m talking proper-dead. A year later The Kutch does “A Lot Like Love” with Amanda Peet. It bombs and Peet has been making my penis soft ever since. The next thing he stars in is “The Guardian” alongside

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some girl I’ve never heard of. Then in 2008 he does “What Happens in Vegas” with Cameron Diaz. To be fair to the The Kutch, Cameron Diaz had already ruined her own career, but it still counts. Then he does “Spread” (never heard of it or the girl in it) and a movie called “Personal Effects” with Michelle Pfeiffer. If you don’t know who Michelle Pfeiffer is, ask your Mum. In 2010 he does Killer’s with Katherine Heigl. How is her career doing since then? Let’s just put it this way, a year later she is doing another movie with Ashton Kutcher. I’m not joking, it’s called “New Year’s Eve” and it comes out in December. Now, in 2011 he had a film come out called “No Strings Attached”. You might not have seen it, because it bombed. The co-star was, guess who? Natalie Portman! Boom! So, not only was Your Highness absolutely terrible, it’s probably the last film Natalie Portman is going to be in that is relevant. The only way she can fix this is go back in time and have Black Swan come out next month. If she did that, she’d still kind of suck because she should have used her time traveling powers to warn Japan about the Tsunami. So, excluding the time travel option, it’s important that Portman do something amazing real soon. What’s that you say? She’s pregnant? Really?! Should we just call it now then? Yes? OK. Natalie Portman’s career died 2011 with “Your Highness”. We will miss her dearly, it’s up to you now Mila Kunis, you’ll have to be the hottest girl in Hollywood now... (The Kutch Curse doesn’t apply to TV shows, so Mila being on “That 70’s Show” with the Kutch doesn’t count). In summary, “Your Highness” is not worth seeing. I mean, even the title makes no sense. There is only like 3 stoner jokes in the whole film!


LOUD AND CLEAR Bold colour for the white of winter

Photography by JASON HENLEY

Opposite Page: BILLABONG Werte Jacket in Golf Green 5 Preview Black Fig T-shirt in White Fashion Editor: Jana Bartolo Hair & Makeup: Melanie Burnicle at Lizard using Sebastian Professional Models: Chris Jepson. Harry from Chadwick Models Assistants: Jayde Allwright and Cara Reece For stockists see www.popmag.com.au


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Erin McNaught Words by Emilia Terzon Photography by Jason Henley

E

rin McNaught got to spend some time shredding in Japan over the last winter for MTV’s Japan Jam but she’s no beginner. A couple of seasons at Mt. Baker and a fearless attitude has left her, in the words of Mitch Tomlinson, “like a female action figure doll.” She doesn’t just snowboard well, she is super passionate about it too. And was apparently not afraid of the throttle when they went sledding either.

Photography: Jason Henley, www.jasonhenleyonline.com Fashion Editor: Jana Bartolo at Lizard Management Makeup & Hair: Felicia Yong at Network Agency using MAC Special Thanks to: Adina Apartment Hotels www.adina.eu


Erin McNaught

Erin McNaught is insisting to me that her recent photoshoot with Pop Magazine “was nothing too out of the ordinary”. She says that it was just another day at the office: albeit a workplace fit out with crisp white sheets, wardrobe styling and a photographer. Tousled sun-kissed locks and lashings of toned brown limbs were merely a given. “It’s simply what I’m used to doing,” she laughs. I’m admittedly not surprised to hear this assertion from the lips of a professional model. McNaught is after all a former Miss Australia, glossy editorial regular and underwear ambassador. It’s her job to look like she’s been doing this forever. Surprisingly, however, she wasn’t born practically posing in front of a camera’s lens. The reality is something actually intriguingly different. Rewind ten years or so and you’d have found the heeled goddess before you more comfortable on a mud-smeared mountain bike. Don’t even let that knowledge draw blatantly cliché images to your mind of Erin side-saddling a frame befitted in a helmet, leather lingerie, and… not much else. It’s tempting, but you’d end up sheepishly admitting pre-judgement to yourself, just like I am right now as McNaught continues to tell me about her childhood. She’s actually nothing like these cheesy connotations: this one can actually rough it with the boys. “Having two brothers does help,” she admits. It runs in the family. In fact, there was once a period back in the late 90s where every single McNaught held Australian Cyclist of the Year titles in their division at the same time. Yes, that’s Erin, her father, two brothers, and mother. “My mother and I actually started mountain-bike riding the same year together,” she says of her adolescence, “because we got sick of watching the others from the sidelines!” It’s this same Brisbane-based family which let McNaught spend two seasons shredding Washington State’s slopes, including Mt Baker, at the tender age of fourteen. “I had an awesome childhood with very supportive parents of everything I wanted to do,” she tells me happily. “Being the youngest meant I was constantly trying to keep up with the others.” All this is bit of a foreign concept to an onlychild who grew up with Barbie over BMX. I’m getting jealous, goddammit, because all this talk is making me realise Erin’s pretty much every Aussie bloke’s dream woman. I ask her what it was like growing up a bit of a tomboy and she replies with an (appropriately feminine) laugh that it’s made her “a bit competitive”.

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BORDELLE Angela Dress availible from babylikestopony.com


Erin McNaught

Fast-forward to 2011 and it’s also bred something else: a blossoming career VJing with snowboarding’s finest on some of the industry’s best powder. Alongside having her present shows such as the Hot 30 Countdown, MTV also recently had McNaught saying konnichiwa to the camera for the music channel’s snowboarding and music tour, Japan Jam. It’s obviously a sweet gig given her childhood’s winters. “It’s been a bit of luck that I’m getting paid to do what I actually really love doing,” she says. The slopes are still fresh in her mind. “From a snowboarder’s point of view,” she says, “Japan is just so amazing. You can go top to bottom without having to divert your course or worry about hitting people.” The Japanese are also an orderly bunch that has a precisely organised system for everything: “from the gondolas, to your valet and even where you put your snow boots,” Erin remarks. Unfortunately as we’re speaking the news is dominated by reports concerning this “beautiful country”: a devastating earthquake and consequent tsunami has just claimed an estimated 20,000 lives. “There’s no word for it,” pauses McNaught. “It’s just horrific and heart-breaking.” A matter of a week or two could have seen her in the midst of it. The disaster’s also pushed the air-date of the tour later due to network sensitivity. “I’m excited about the footage,” she says. She also hopes the show will bring “extra humanitarian awareness to the disaster when it does air.” McNaught also hopes the disaster “won’t turn people off visiting in the future. We had such an amazing time when we were there.” Highlights included “super competitive” races between McNaught and her two co-presenters: Darren McMullen and snowboard guru Mitch Tomlinson, who she’d known previously from the Falls Creek circuit. “Mitch and I had always bumped in to each-other over the years,” she says, “so it was great to end up working with him.” “In fact,” she adds, “all of us on the MTV Japan Jam just got along so well together.” She particularly respects boarders like Johnny Lyall and Kale Stephens who joined them on tour. “Kale especially looks like everything is effortless. He glides and is the smoothest rider I’ve ever seen.” It wasn’t all snow, however. One shoot involving the onsen hot springs was exactly the opposite.

“Mitch and Daz ended up in the hot springs naked along with the whole camera crew and sound guy,” she laughs. McNaught now has the ultimate blackmail material due to this: photos of the duo with strategically placed handtowels and not much else. On behalf of our male readership I pry to ask: are there are perhaps some similar onsen shots of her floating around? The response is unfortunately but necessarily negatory. You’ll have to instead settle for those vintage Zoo Weekly cowboy-hat shots that had the model dubbed Erin ‘McNaughty’ back in 2006 during her Miss Australia reign. This is a bit petty and overblown to look back on now given how far her public persona has progressed, but it does draw us back to conversation of her rise to fame. She tells me those fresh-faced earlier years witnessed some cheeseball fans. “The worst pick-up line after Miss Australia was from men asking me if they could be Mr Australia,” she groans laughingly. Zero points for originality, boys… Now a bit wiser, McNaught has transitioned to more conventional modelling work with labels such as Antz Pantz. They’ve just resigned the infamously vivacious talent as their spokesperson for a third year running. It’s a bit far from mountain bikes and snowsuits, and I question if she’s always been in to fashion. “It’s funny you ask,” she laughs, “because if you asked my Mother she’d say I was always the worst dresser in the world…but it’s definitely something I’m in to.” Shoes can be an issue. Whilst he may have snagged himself an enviable girlfriend, rest assured that model Nathan Jolliffe still deals with a time-old problem. “My boyfriend is always begging me to cut down my shoe collection,” admits McNaught. They luckily have lots of space for excess pairs in their large apartment overlooking Bondi. McNaught loves the beach despite never particularly taking to surfing. She’s (uncharacteristically) “a bit scared of waves”. Outside of catwalks, Erin’s worked her way through an impressive range of other genres in the quest for more presenter-based TV roles. Her resume kind of reads like an endearing case of dissociative personality disorder, with past hosting gigs such as the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. “I thought I was a bit of a card shark for a while there,” she says of this phase, “but now I don’t

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have the patience for it. I get the shits!” Other gigs included a long-term stint for gadget show Cybershack. It ended up being more high-risk than gambling: McNaught famously had her index finger reattached in late 2009 after almost severing it in an electric dirt bike stunt for the show gone wrong. Her ongoing gig as an MTV VJ is less gory and lets her chat to some of the industry’s biggest. Pharrell Williams, Armand Van Helden and Mike Posner have so-far been her biggest highlights. She says she “really enjoys interviewing everybody”. She’s known for her bubbly screen presence but I get an extended half-groan, half-laugh when I ask if this is easy to give to the screen. “It’s actually always something I have felt uncomfortable doing but it’s my job and I try to see it as that,” she admits. Interviewing the industry’s biggest names is hard but “gets easier once you get over the initial deer in the headlight’s look and pretend the camera isn’t there.” Her modesty is sweet, but I’m sure the tens of thousands who tune in to watch her present would describe her as anything but a helpless doe. The heart-warming admissions continue when I next ask her which word she’d use to describe her rise to fame. The response is: “bumpy”. She admits that moving to Sydney by herself as a young woman was full of teary phone-calls home and worrying where the next paid gig was at. “It’s not come easily by any stretch of the imagination,” she adds. Easy or not, we wrap up the laughter-filled conversation with Erin telling me that her many music, fashion and extreme-sport industry jobs have all just recontracted her. She says she’s needed to attack her career’s transition – from sporty tomboy, to model, to all-star television presenter – with unrelenting determination. Of course, for a woman who grew up challenging pro-riders who said she couldn’t tackle “crazy mountain runs”, the notion of persistence doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem. “That persistence has really started to pay off,” she finishes. There are more photos from the shoot available over at www.popmag.com.au. The footage from 2011‘s Japan Jam will air on MTV very soon. Details will be available on the Pop site.


Steve Berra Introduction by Dave Keating Words by Steele Saunders — Photographs by Mike Blabac

T

here is no doubting Steve Berra’s drive and passion for creating a better future for skaters. And while you can disagree with his methods and opinions; you would be hard pressed to find someone doing more to progress the industry than he is. From his online store, to the controversial Unified program, to some innovative new (but as yet unannounced) initiatives; Steve Berra is leading the charge for the future of skateboarding. Are you with him?


Steve Berra

It seems like DC is doing a bit of a revamp, what’s your involvement in that? Kind of spearheading that revamp, I wouldn’t say spearhead; I’m there to support DC and do whatever I can to bring DC to a point where – no disrespect to any of the people that have been part of DC in the last five years or something but obviously it’s been a little different. I think those are growing pains with any company that grows so big. The reason I wanted to go to DC is that they value skateboarding so much. To me, there needs to be a brand of that size that cares about skating. There are a lot of other things they do but that only helps bring more resources for skating. They are, at the core of it, a skateboard brand that’s become an action sports brand, but they’re a skateboard brand. They treat their people on a whole other level that I didn’t think was possible. I don’t just mean monetarily, just in general - how they operate and stuff. I’ve come on as a pro and to also look at things and try to see where we can do better. I did all their new commercials. I came up with that whole campaign and directed the commercials and stuff. My ex-father-in-law is doing the voice-over for the commercials. I’m there to offer my visual ability to come up with ideas and be a pro. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I couldn’t do that at DVS. When DC really wanted me to do that it’s an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. I’m not going to skate forever. I want to do stuff. I want to help build the brand. It’s interesting with the Chris Cole interview... He was talking about DC, the history. He sort of focused on what it was, like five to eight years ago, and it was sick but it was like, “Oh, but he didn’t talk about anything after that.” I think that’s where DC went in a that direction because they were growing so massively, things got out of their control. It’s easy for anyone to be critical of that but until you’re in that position where the growth is so massive, you don’t really know what to do or how to handle it. I don’t know some of the things that they did before I was there but I know only from our experience here and how critical people, a small group of people have been of the Berrics on certain things that were only because we grew so fast. Eric and I were sitting there juggling a million things going, “How the fuck?” And we still are. “How the fuck are we going to do this?” With DC, you’ve got the example of Airwalk… You’ve got what can happen if things really go – True, which it never did. It didn’t get to Airwalk,

although Airwalk does probably as much business as DC, they ‘re just at Pay Less. [Laughs] How’d you become skateboarding’s Mark Zuckerberg? [Laughs] After Sundance I had such a bad time there, and I realised I didn’t want to live in the film world in the way a lot of people live in it. I had an opportunity that no one in the film world had, which was this whole other career where millions of kids knew me. There was this void in skate media. I started Berrics for a lot of reasons. Let me back up. I had such a bad time in Sundance, and I thought that it mattered what you – you put your heart and soul into a film and making it in the Sundance Film Festival as one of 16 movies in competition. It didn’t matter as much as you’re led to believe. It’s not Sundance. They care about movies, but it’s a lot of the other aspects of just going to a big film festival. Sundance cares about movies, but the experience there is when you have all this other riff raff of people wanting to get free stuff. It kind of sucks, and I’ve never been that guy. I don’t really go to parties. I don’t shmooze with people. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. So, I was figuring out what I was going to do. I knew I had to film for the Alien Workshop video. I got offered a million bucks to do another movie, and at the time I was totally broke because I spent a year and a half working on this movie. This is to write a movie? To write and direct a movie and I was like, “I need the money so bad,” and that’s a lot of money but I said no because I had to film the Workshop video and I wasn’t comfortable with not doing that. Did that film end up getting made? No, because it was a script that I wrote, they offered a million bucks for my script and for me to direct it. I couldn’t do it. It’s funny because I know some of the things that people say about me, and they couldn’t be more wrong. If I was all about making money I certainly wouldn’t be doing this. [Laughs] Look at our offices. But, I just looked at skating and I was like okay here I’m gone for a year and a half, and skating had not changed, but technology had changed. The DVD was dead. It’s even more dead now than it was three years ago. There’s got to be a different way. I was always a guy that was like yeah you got a website, that’s cool. Cool with your website, I’m going to go with this magazine right here, and there’s a great thing in the No Country for Old Men, like

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that movie – I always had a hard time, what does that mean “No country for old men?” And then he talks about in that scene near the end where he’s like “You can bitch and complain about how kids don’t open the door for you anymore, walk an old lady across the street, but that’s all you’re going to be doing is bitching and complaining. This is no country for old men.” I was like okay now I get that. I didn’t want to be the guy that was like “You and your fucking iPod, I got my Walkman, I’m cool with that.” It’s quite a leap... [Laughs] From that line to skateboard website? The magazines just move too slow, and you had a guy that for two years works on a video part, holds his footage, and holds his photos or three years in some cases, or four years in the Flip video. You’re going, “where is this guy? He’s my favourite skater, I’m in eighth grade.” By the time you see your favourite skater again, you’re a junior in high school. You’ve gone through puberty, probably lost your virginity, have a driver’s license. Massive amounts of change you go through, and then you start to think here I see so-and-so now, I’m a junior in high school, I loved him when I was in eighth grade. That seems a long time ago. When you’re 25, and three years go by, it’s a lot quicker than when you’re 13 or 14. All I wanted to do is I knew we have this hook because there were a lot of kids that always would ask Eric and I about our building. They’d say things like “Someday I’ll come to your skate park,” everywhere, all over the world. That was minimal exposure of it. I realised we were on to something, like a Studio 54, and I was sitting there one day as I was skating and I think it was Andrew Reynolds that I’d seen do a heel flip, backside, tailside on the ledge. It was so perfect and awesome. I never left Nebraska mentally to a degree - like I’m still a fan of anyone who skates incredible, ends up just skating. So if a kid from Nebraska could see how being on this side of the baker’s window, if he could see what goes on here and how we make the bread, and what temperature we cook the bread at, they would be psyched. I just started coming up with ideas of what we could do. We could do something for the companies, we could do something for the pro, we could do something for the am. They come in here, they don’t spend a lot of time, two or three days they could get their Battle Commanders done, their Recruit done; a Younited Nations could be done in about two days. Film it, put it together and


Steve Berra

it’s a promotion for them in between these huge projects. They’re not going to burn out their footage in the streets. They can do it here and it’s fine. It’s not like they’re going to do their hardest stuff. Then Guy Mariano went and filmed some crazy fucking part, and then the bars kept getting lifted more and more each month, each Battle Commander, each Recruit, and then we had all this footage and that’s when I came up with Bangin! It was like, “Why don’t we do a guy that has anywhere from between five to 10 tricks, and just raw, Bangin! Let’s have Reda do the thing at the end, come up with a logo, Bangin!” I think this is just for the kids. Does he record all those at once? Yes, absolutely. We recorded those on my balcony. This is when the site was done out of

As you said with the Mariano part, it seemed at the start it was a pretty casual and now it seems like people are staying there all night, and it’s quite a serious and major thing for their career. Yeah, for sure, which is crazy. The skaters out there in the world have so much reverence for it, and that’s why it’s become so important. How weird is that, that in 2011 skateboarding’s Embarcadero is in a warehouse – don’t you think that if you’d said that in the ‘90s, it seems like some bizarre, Big Brother dark world concept? I know, it’s kind of crazy. You know why I think it’s also caught on like that is because a lot of the skaters out there don’t live in these big metropolitan cities. All they have is their skate park they can go to. It’s not like when we were younger, where you could have free rein of the planet. You could kind of skate anywhere. There

For sure, that’s why we tried to redo the park. We’ve redone the park three times. We’re about to redo the park again. Actually we’re going to move into a new building and have a park three times the size, and build more stuff for the guys so they can do a lot more stuff. When you go and skate and try to film for your Battle Commander, after P Rod skated, or Shane O’Neill, you’re like “Oh fuck, what am I going to do?” But a lot of guys find a way to get creative and they know a lot of eyeballs are watching, and there’s a lot of other stuff you can do on the site that really shows not only how good you are at skating, but just that you’re a cool guy and you have a personality. A lot of young skaters connect to that. How much now are brands saying you’ve got to go down to the park and get a – Get a Bangin! – I think a lot of them are. I think a

I truly think Shane, Mike Mo, Cory Kennedy, Felipe Gustavo are the best skateboarders alive right now. That’s not discounting Koston because he’s always at the top. But besides Koston, those four guys. I’ve never seen anything like it

my house. We recorded those on my balcony. He did about 100 of them. “Bangin! Bangin! Bangin! That was bangin.” Over and over and over. Chase has a library and he just picks one. I imagine if you’re 14 that would be a skate park debate. Absolutely, “Does he do it every time?” No, they’re about three years old now. [Laughs] Okay, it’s an Unsolved Mysteries revealing for people. There’s a lot of stuff that I just came up with, keeping in mind, “How can this help a pro? How can this help an upcoming am? How can this help the company?” And make it very clear that’s what it was for. A guy can come in, maybe he can’t film a Battle Commander, maybe he doesn’t have the time. He comes in, films a couple tricks, and give him a Bangin!

weren’t security guards like there are now. The police weren’t some paramilitary force trying to bust you every chance they could get. It was still there but not like it is now. Skate stoppers everywhere, so the only thing they really identify with is their skate park, and this is “our” skate park. They’re interested in what goes on there because also a lot of kids I don’t think will ever go to Hollywood High. They may never go to The Berrics either, but they don’t even have something that looks like Hollywood High around the house. I think people relate to it because we have a humanistic approach to how we deliver the content. In your opinion or from what you’ve heard, is there a general level of pressure at the park to skate well?

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lot of brands see the value in their riders doing a Bangin! or Recruit/Battle Commander, which is great because that’s what it’s there for, not for me to have a Bangin! every week. In the 2000’s like 411 was the outlet and now it will be The Berrics - it’s a similar thing. Have you ever looked at the viewership, how different it is to how many kids would see a profile in 411 compared to a Battle Commander? I’ve never looked at it but I know The Berrics has a much larger audience, simply because DVDs were still very limited, and I’ve heard the 411 comparison - not that you’re comparing it - but the 411 comparison a bit. I can see it ,but for the most part I don’t see it because it’s so different. The way we deliver our content is different. 411 you get a DVD and you’re there for an hour watching it. On the site you can check in a


couple days a week, or couple times per day and get a new segment, a short spurt of three or four minutes. It’s not just skating, it’s a bunch of other stuff. No offense to 411, but I think the quality of our storytelling is a lot better than they ever had. Another obvious thing the site’s done is blown skateboarders up. That’s pretty amazing power. How does that feel? I knew it could always be done and it was a matter of doing it. It’s a matter of creating the perspective that you want to create in the minds of all the people that are watching it. I truly feel anyone that’s really gifted, you can do that with. It’s very easy to do it with Shane and Cory. But it’s great to see people who I think deserve to be on another level, or in the thoughts of all the kids’ minds. It’s awesome to be able to do that for somebody.

Eric and I wish that we had that when we were younger – and to a degree we did. Tony Hawk really backed the shit out of me, and so I just wanted to be able to do that for other guys. Talking about Shane O’Neill, the mag we’re doing this for is based in his hometown, Melbourne. Have you been watching his progression? I used to see him skate at spots and think when he grows a bit and gets some pop he’s going to be good. I didn’t think anyone could be that good. I didn’t think anyone could ever be that good. Me neither. Have you seen that since he’s been over here? I didn’t see him – I was aware of him a little bit when he would go and stay with P Rod and skate his park, as this little guy “Nugget”, but I hated that nickname so much that I honestly wouldn’t

pay him any attention. I am not a fan of the nicknames. And that’s why you’ve never seen on The Berrics, you never see “Nugget”. We don’t call him Nugget, and if he has been called Nugget on The Berrics, it’s been a mistake that hasn’t been run by me, but it’s always Shane O’Neill. For him, I know he’s not going to want to be Nugget his whole life. When he started coming on the radar a bit more, I’d see him skate at the park, started seeing footage of him, started talking to Brad at Skate Mental, and started talking to him, then saw his footage and I was like “Wow! This dude is insane.” And that’s when I started trying to come up with a campaign for his video part which was all the really relevant, amazing pros watching his part, (that we secretly recorded). They didn’t


Steve Berra

know; just to show you think these guys are good? Look at what they’re watching, and look at their reaction. I truly think him, Mike Mo, Cory Kennedy and Felipe Gustavo are the best skateboarders alive right now. That’s not discounting Koston because he’s always at the top. But besides Koston, those four guys – I’ve never seen anything like it. How is the skateboarding industry, obviously there was a talk of a big downturn a few years ago. How is it now? I think we’re still going through it. I think a lot of companies are really having a tough time. The economy’s really tough in America especially. I’m not sure how it is over in Australia. I know Brazil’s strong, but for the most part the world is in a pretty tough spot. I think also – yeah, there’s some companies that are scrambling. I don’t know if all of them will make it. I hope they do and part of the reason why I wanted to really – there’s a lot of reasons why we started this, and they were all to create a healthier industry. One of them was to get people interested in pro boards again, get people interested in videos, whether it be an actual hard copy or video download to get people interested in independent skate shops. It’s also been posed that I’m really against mall stores, which I’m not. I live in America. That’s their right to open a business. It’s a capitalist country. They can be in business and I’m not even against them. They bought a lot of my shoes over the years. It’s why I’ve been able to do this, but at the same time there has to be someone that looks out and is at least interested in small, ‘mom and pop’ businesses. It can’t just be a one-party system. My whole thing is I don’t want there to be only one store in skateboarding in America. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia or even Europe, but I don’t want there to be one chain in America that carries skateboards. There’s a big risk of that in Australia. Is there? All our surf companies are on the stock exchange. And once they have flooded the market, and are in every shop, and then they’ve made every product. So you now they make shoes, watches, headphones. So they can’t make any more, so they’ll buy brands. They’ve done that. What else can they do? They’ll buy all the shops. So that’s the new thing, it’s a huge concern that it’s going to be a ‘with them or not’ situation. I don’t want to see that happen. We have tried, we’re all blazing new paths here so of course we

make mistakes, but for the most part if you look at what we do, it’s really not money motivated. Eric and I have never taken a dollar from The Berrics. Any money that’s come in has gone to hire more people and to create more content. In saying that, it could be something that, at the end, is going to pop into a huge amount of money. Absolutely, there’s no secret there. If done correctly but at the same time, that’s okay because hopefully what we’ve done is helped a bunch of pros, a bunch of companies. When you say something like that... it might become a big thing, financially. So I wanted to get that out. Totally. If Google wanted to buy The Berrics, obviously we’d be like, okay. You don’t start any business to lose money. I can tell you Transworld and Thrasher aren’t in business to lose money. But, at the same time, it depends on what your goals and purposes are as a business, and I always feel like if your goals and purposes are correct and it is really to do the right thing and help out, money will come. It will probably come in buckets and we’ve got to shovel it out of the office, but it hasn’t yet. That’s okay. [Laughs] I’m okay with that. It’s a weird up and down; the industry is doing it maybe almost as tough as it’s ever done it. But the contests are bigger than ever. Yeah, in the worst time ever. Why are they bigger than ever? Like their purse prize? If you’re looking at graphs of contests and sales or whatever, they’re not in line. No, not at all. I’ve asked myself that question a lot. You have the Maloofs, which are two billionaires putting up money, $100 thousand to win a contest, pro bowlers win more than $100 thousand at a contest. Calling it the Maloof Money Cup I thought was something I didn’t like. I’m not into that. Why not just call it the Maloof Cup? I don’t mind the contest in any way but if asking why – that’s big for skateboarding, small to them. It’s like you asking me to borrow about $20 or $10. I think less. You’re right. Way less, like a nickel. I think that’s what Rob’s trying to do with Street League, is create something – we’re all trying to do one thing; grow skateboarding. I don’t not appreciate the Maloof’s efforts to grow skateboarding; I think it’s great and they have the money to do it, but they’re not connected to skateboarding. It’s like, do you want a bunch of people owning skateboarding that didn’t ever have anything to do with it? From retail stores to contest

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series to product to media? Or, do you want people that really understand skating to stick with it, and hopefully are smart enough to grow it into a business? Everyone wants to see it be big. I’d love to see skating as big as football and basketball [and see guys like Shane O’Neill make $10 million a year. Of course.] Were you surprised with the amount of negative feedback you got from the Unified/Canteen project? Yeah, but once I drilled deeper, it came from only 20 people. I can’t divulge really what we’re doing because people that have the manpower and money – Eric and I pay for this ourselves. We went from doing it in my bedroom to having 22 people on the payroll now. I can’t tell people what we’re doing ultimately and where all this is leading to because I don’t want anybody to do it. There’s 100 conversations a week going “How can we take out The Berrics?” so we have to keep a lot of stuff close to our chest. What they didn’t understand was how the Canteen and Unified were going to work together. The only problem that’s happened since then is we’ve had a lack of manpower which is changing right now. In the opening promo for it, when you’re speaking to the camera – It got everyone’s attention, didn’t it? It was a little bit like “This is what we’re going to do”, but you didn’t mention that there was going to be a cost for the store. Do you regret that at all, not mentioning that at the time? We did that about four in the morning after working all day long. So, no, I don’t regret it at all. The people that spouted off about it, how do you think we’re going to pay for the program? Is $50 a month really that expensive? Or at the most, if you’re a medium size mail order and you want to do better, and you know all the kids are going on The Berrics, and to advertise your mail order to two-thirds of the country for $400 a month, you can’t do that in print magazines. You can’t have the same position. Is it really that big of a deal? It’s not at all. To the guys who are being very critical. I know I said before, that’s the nature of the skateboarder. That’s the nature of a very small percentage of the skateboarders. I don’t think so. I think skateboarding is always about independent thought and thinking for yourself. It’s sort of to question authority and whether you like it or not, you’re in a way the “authority” now. You’re a very influential, powerful person in skateboarding, without


Steve Berra

overstating it but I think that’s the nature of skateboarding, to question – Yeah, absolutely, but I get thousands of emails a month and so I think to a degree it depends on what age you are. For the 12-year-old, yeah it is, but he doesn’t quite totally understand. It is to question authority, and yes we are an authority to a degree, but we’re not the cops. It’s like some of the older guys in their 20’s or whatever who love the magazines, of course they’re going to protest; or loved videos, of course they’re going to protest. I would too. I did until I realised this is where things are going. You can either be the guy that doesn’t recognise where things are going and sit there and talk about your great days at Emb, or you can – That’s not at all what I was getting at. It was more that I don’t think it’s you being like “Me and Eric have never taken a dime out of it,” but, when I saw the first clip, I said “That’s awesome.” Then there was another clip – I wouldn’t have thought a second about it - any controversy - if it was just like, “We’re going to do this thing, it’s going to cost a really small fee.” But the two clips combined – Yes, you have to understand we’re doing this at four in the morning, trying to get it filmed, and posted to launch the thing. Explaining the whole thing - that’s an eight minute clip. We’re experts now because we’ve made mistakes. I don’t regret not saying it, but at the same time I don’t even care if I did or didn’t. What it did do was it got everyone’s attention. I was certainly tired that night, that’s for sure. Me and Daniel were up trying to fucking film that thing, kept trying to remember what I’m going to fucking say. [Laughs] Second last thing, what happened with Donovan? I think ultimately – it’s tough - we all really love Donovan. I think ultimately someone was in his ear about what we were or were not doing for him. He just decided to go somewhere else. There’s a lot to it, but out of respect for him, it’s best left. He wasn’t happy so he left. I think someone promised him some more money somewhere else. How it was done was not awesome, that’s it [I know he’s said some bad things about us, but whatever.] Bringing those things up... I guess, for the majority of people who look at it, they’re not issues. I know, that’s the thing that’s crazy. So there’s no point in bringing it up. It’s tough. What’s wild is that so many people just don’t understand that we’re really here to have a business and do cool

shit. We’re skaters, and it’s funny some of the things that some kids, people that know better should be sending me emails, made about the advertising. Do you see UFC ads on here or hotdog ads, or any of that shit? This is all skateboard brands that you guys supposedly love. Why would you be mad about that? To me, as a skater and as a person who grew up loving skating, the ads in the magazines were the best part. It was the way you could see a photo without having to see writing on a quarter of the page. We also have to stay in business. When ads are done right, it’s part of the magazine. When you look back you’re like “I remember that thing in Big Brother, that was an ad. That wasn’t in the mag.” Totally. You might not even care, but what do you think the biggest misconception about Steve Berra is? I don’t really care. I think you do. I think you deeply care. [Laughs] I don’t know if I do that much. I care – if I really cared I wouldn’t do anything that we do. The criticism would prevent me from doing it. But of course, when you hear on the SLAP message boards someone put “I’m going to rape and kill Steve Berra’s daughter if he puts another video part out like that again,” to me I care about that, and I care why SLAP - I don’t even want to mention SLAP. They don’t deserve it. I think that’s unfair. I think you’re taking 5% of – I think when you say the internet or you group people together – I’m not; I’m saying SLAP message board. But I think that as a group – I think you’re grouping everyone on that message board together. Let’s say the people who – I don’t know everyone on the message boards. I only get sent links of people of the guys that hate me. I don’t go on SLAP message boards, but I am aware of the things they say; of which they couldn’t be any more wrong. And that’s the sort of thing that can be bothersome. It was in the beginning; it doesn’t really bother me now because they’ve just been wrong on so many things, but when someone does say that about my daughter, that’s bothersome. When guys who run that have that as a part of their things they sell advertising against, I don’t need to do that with The Berrics. I don’t know all the rest of the guys that talk about skating on those boards. Myself, I don’t post. I check it every day because that’s the frontline of skateboard gossip. A lot of it’s wrong. If you say that then a lot of people that have

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said nothing are like “He’s against me now.” I just mean if you generalise. I can only speak for what I’ve read about from the people that have said stuff about me. I don’t browse through it. If you talk to anybody in the industry, they’ll go “Oh fucking guys that hate everything on the site.” I think that’s a small percentage of people’s viewpoint in skateboarding. They’ve called so many wrong it’s amazing. I don’t really care about stuff like that because if I did I’d stop what we were doing, because they hate everything. They may like The Berrics, but they hate me. Who do they think comes up with all the ideas? [Laughs] I don’t know what the biggest misconception is about me. What is the biggest misconception? That I’m incredibly wealthy because of The Berrics. [Laughs] They don’t know that I’m short selling my house right now and that I am moving and have put everything into The Berrics. If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t keep doing it. I’d write a movie or something, do something else. I just think that we’re onto something and I like it, but you’re right; I think a lot of people think, “Oh man you work at The Berrics, you’ve got Berrics’ money.” Little do they know. Just say you went and wrote films. Do you think the venom would be worse on an IMDB about your films rather than what you do at The Berrics? I don’t know. That’s a good question. It depends on what I write. Probably, I’ve seem to become a polarising person - I guess because I have a viewpoint. So, maybe. I think the internet brings out the worst in humanity; that unedited, anonymous... Absolutely, so don’t get me wrong. To a degree, especially in the beginning, it would bother me when someone would send me a link like “Dude, have you seen this?” And it’s like fucking 10 pages of a message board saying “Berra, with all his money could do this...” and how little they know, that we’ve been in here 365 days a year for three fucking years, more than three years, 15-17 hours a day. People want to know why we are where we are? It’s because we put in two years of work for someone else’s eight months. It’s a pretty skateboard-centric where if you actually paid the going rate it wouldn’t happen. If you didn’t have a friend do the website for you and – Fuck no, exactly, like Danny our programmer who’s put just as much time into this as I have - he does it because he loves skating. He doesn’t do it for the cheque. Eventually my biggest thing is I want these guys to get paid what they would


Steve Berra

get paid if they worked at Bank of America or some big corporation. That’s my dream, to be able to pay these guys what they’re worth. Pay them legitimate Berrics bucks. Exactly, they wouldn’t do a nine-to-five and work midnight to three in the morning and get paid like a nine-to-five, if they didn’t love skating. I think that’s the bottom line, with anything it’s like “Why do you do this?” Because you love skating. Why do we all love skating so fucking much? I don’t know. This is only a small section of the full interview it is one of the most interesting stories we’ve ever had and it’s well worth a read. Hit popmag.com. au in the coming weeks for the whole story. Audio of the interview will be available via steelesaunders.com.

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Jarrod Wouters Words by Rick Baker — Photography by Jarrod Wouters

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ustralian snowboarding is going through a changing of the guard. Or something like that. Most of the pros I grew up reading about have left for ‘real jobs’. The internet, GoPros and a changing media landscape have drastically changed the pathways towards ‘turning pro’. Few people are more involved in the development of new talent in Australia than Transitionist Snowboard Camp director Jarrod Wouters. Scotty James, Nick Woods, Chris DeCampo, Tim Laidlaw, Will Hargreaves have all been ‘TSC kids’.


Jarrod Wouters

Jarrod, tell us about TSC. What it is, when did you start? TSC was created by myself and Christine Hocking back in 2004. Pretty small the first year, we only had about 6 riders, Jackson Allen, Scotty James and Courtney Phillipson were among them. It was all about providing opportunities for kids to get to the snow and providing quality coaching. I loved snowboarding so much when I was a grommie (still do), but other than school trips and the odd weekend Dad didn’t have to work, I could just never get there. We started TSC to provide a way for kids to access the snow, and no matter how much heckling we may get along the way, it’s purpose is to make snowboard training as affordable and accessible as possible. We package it all together with transport from Melbourne schools and the airport to the snow, meals and accommodation. Over the past few years it has also grown into a developed pathway for Aussie kids to make it to the top level of the sport representing Australia. We are based out of Breckenridge USA for 4 months of the year with development camps and programs, plus NZ trips and now a Mt Hotham week. How many days on snow did you have in the last 12 months do you think? Actually, not as many as I’d like, maybe 90 days. Pretty busy out there in the real world, and with a little rugrat around, priorities change. When I’m not coaching pow day’s and blue bird only! Before all that I remember riding half pipe with you at some AIS try out thing. You were an ‘Australian pro’ a few years ago. Why give up on that and become a coach? Yeah, and look where that got us both. Obviously we weren’t what they were looking for. A few years ago, Tim Laidlaw beat me in a local slope style comp at Hotham. So in an effort to hold onto a little dignity, I’ll leave the riding to the kids now. Still, that Method comp at the XGame’s... I’d win that for sure [laughs]. Nah initially, teaching and coaching was the only way for me to afford to snowboard. I got sucked into a Jackson Hole lifestyle for a few years, but there was no room in Australia for any big mountain riders. But I never took myself too seriously with snowboarding, and found i got a lot more from working with kids. I didn’t have the personal drive and found it a lot easier and more rewarding watching athletes grow around me. Do you think you have to be a good snowboard-

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er to be a coach? Who are some other coaches you respect? I think you have to learn a lot of lessons from snowboarding yourself before you can be a good coach. The sport is unique in that there are so many mental challenges for athletes to overcome, and knowing different approaches to tackling these mental hurdles is crucial. Especially with the level of riding today. On top of that, there is no other sports that require that same motor skills that are needed for snowboarding. This season I was working with Tim Laidlaw and Nick Wood on double corks, and Michaela Davis-Meehan on her return from a broken back. Standing on knuckles, having confidence in the words you’ve just spoken to them, is something that gets my adrenalin running just as much as doing it myself. So saying that, when we’re looking for coaches, it helps to find guys that are not only qualified but can ride. Which is another challenge in itself. Because most guys that can ride, don’t want to coach. We found a great kiwi kid last year, Will Harris, that did it all as a junior. So he’s young and energetic, but truly focused on the kids progression too. It terms of other coaches, Benny Bright is right up there. He took Scotty to the world stage with huge success, while at the same time getting the ultimate accolades with Torah (Bright). So there’s huge respect there. What do you tell your campers who want to be an Australia pro then? That for a lot of them, it’s achievable. To be an Aussie pro, you have to love our industry. There’s no money and no real fame (although as far as some riders are concerned, fame is in the eye of the beholder), but there is a great lifestyle, and career options too. Its unfortunately about who you know than more about ability! I’ve sort of become a little jaded on the talent base in Australia though. I think it’s got a lot to do with magazines not giving kids the right kind of exposure, but you’re actually on the pointy end of it all. Is their world-class talent coming up in Australia? There is, but there’s not enough competition around to keep fueling it. One kid might come through, do it hard for a few season, get jaded and throw in the towel. If there were more snowboarders taking it seriously, we’d see more talent. Only the exceptional kids make it through. Think about it, if your 13 - 16 years old and have a little talent, with the level of riding today, you have to be on snow for at least 6 months


Jarrod Wouters

the rewards of watching the kids grow and progresses is pretty amazing. It’s really like one big family. There’s a lot of love.

of the year. All the US kids are. How many families have the money and time, and are willing to pull their kids our of school to support a snowboarding career? Not many. So when these kids have a chance, at 17 plus, they’re behind the eight ball already. Plus with the recent progression boom in the past few years of double corks and now triples, it just makes is even harder for Aussie kids. So I say all that, but I truly believe you can make it if you start young enough and are committed. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t. The junior riders would be the Staveley kids, all three, Luke is going as big as the Japanese kids, and this girl in NSW, Alexandra Fitch. There are a few standouts out there doing it in the US! You and Christine, with TSC, have got more commitment to youth snowboarding in Australia than just about anyone. Do you see it that way? Thanks, I think we’re making a difference. I love what I do, and Christine and myself have sacrificed a lot to keep doing this; no Aussie Christmas’s with family, lots of weekend work and no summer holidays. But I’m not complaining, the rewards of watching the kids grow and progresses is pretty amazing. It’s really like one big family. There’s a lot of love. Are you the only camp in Australia now? How do you survive? Yes we still are, and it’s a lot of work to survive. I still work a nine to five, and while Christine is raising the bub, she’s keeping the business ticking over between nappies, feeds and cleaning. Sometimes I’m not sure why, but we love it, and all the kids that have been ever involved in TSC they make it worth while. You’d have to have a lot of patience. Not only

to deal with kids all day, but also with campers wanting to learn a trick and trying it all season. How do you maintain your composure? Lots of coffee then I’m set to go. Most kids put in and are dedicated to their training, so it’s never a problem. Any kid that’s struggling at a certain trick or skill I see as a challenge. It would actually do my head in if I only had to say “just send it mate” for someone to succeed. I mean its nice to have those naturally gifted athlete’s, but watching someone that has to work harder for their success is very humbling. You’d have to have a lot of pride for guys like Scott James and Nick Wood. They’ve come from TSC. Oh yeah. I worked with Scott for a few years when he was a grommie at Buller. It’s been great watching his career take off. Definitely still working closely with guys like Woods, Tim Laidlaw and Michaela Davis-Meehan. It’s not so much their on snow success that give me that pride, but the way they handle the themselves in the industry and are proactive to their cause. Tim is a stand out from this respect. What about dealing with the Australian mountains? I’ve heard horror stories about the way they operate. You pretty much own the park at Buller, how’s that work? Mt Buller have been really great to us. It wasn’t always like that, and it’s really taken a few years, for them to realise we are serious and that snowboarding is not going anywhere. The Aussie season’s so short and limited, so it’s always going to be a struggle to get a resort to do anything that doesn’t return them 10 times on their investment. But it’s changing. Whether it’s changing fast enough to keep up with international snowboarding is unlikely, but it will always be

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a great place for developing riders... and no, we don’t own the park, but the park crew at Buller are very good to us. What’s it like running a camp in the US? Is it more productive for a camper? How about you? For the crew that want to give snowboarding a real crack, the US is essential. We base ourselves at Breckenridge, Colorado. From a slopestyle point of view it’s perfect. Four world class resorts on one pass (which is half the price of an Australia resort pass) and two of the best parks in the world (Breck and Keystone). It is more productive because it’s so consistent, you really get it all. You and Christine have just had a kid of your own. What’s going to happen to TSC now? Yeah, our little guy, Sunny. He’s already done his first season in Colorado. So until he’s two years old and we have to start paying for his flights, we’ll keep at it. But we are still growing and improving. We’ve had some great support from 3CS Outerwear over the past 5 years, who’ve provided us with all our uniforms. This year Burton Australia have come on board as our major sponsor to fill these big shoes, which is really exciting because the benefits of this filters right down to the kids. They have the same focus on rider development as we do. We’ve also got some great international coaches working with us now, and with slopestyle looking good for the Sochi Olympics, we’re committed to getting a few of our crew there. There’s a new camp house being built at Alpine Ridge at the base of Mt Buller to help cater better for campers, and there are things like air bags and dry slopes on the cards for the near future. Things are still full steam ahead!


This page: TSC alumni Nick Woods, backyard rock to fakie. — Photographer: Jarrod Wouters.


Kai Neville

Kai Neville Words by Tim Fisher Photograph this page by Sergio Villalba

K

ai Neville has fast become the new name in gold-standard surf movies. After Taylor Steele gave him worldwide recognition by giving him editing duties on 2008’s Stranger Than Fiction, Kai spent 2009 creating the most hyped surf movie in years. Needless to say, Modern Collective lived up to the chatter. Just before flying to Hawaii for the Surfer Poll awards (“it’ll be my first trip to Hawaii where I don’t have to shoot”), Pop caught up with the kid after a quick slay in the beachies out front of his Gold Coast base.

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This page: Yadin Nicol blasting in Central America during one of the first filming trips for Lost Atlas. — Photographer: DJ Struntz.


How busy are you right now? Flat out. I’m halfway through Lost Atlas (the follow-up to Modern Collective), I’m trying to get a few other little projects off the ground and helping Jordy Smith with a bunch of stuff to do with his website and a major project which we’re trying to do together. Before we get too far into it, let’s start at the start. How did you get into shooting? In Grade 10 I had the option to do Film and TV as an elective, which seemed like a better choice than everything else on offer. As soon as I started playing around with cameras I was pretty much sold. I was already the biggest surf movie groupie ever. That’s all I did, just surfed and watched movies, and once I started that elective I shot the local boys at Sunshine Beach like Dean Brady and Daniel Vardy, put music to it and tried to be the next Taylor Steele. At what point did documenting surfing become more satisfying than actually going surfing? From really early on I wanted to make the best surf movie that’d ever been made (laughs). But the desire to create something really special overcame the desire to actually go for a surf pretty quickly. If I didn’t surf I’d freak out, but getting exclusive trips with high calibre guys makes it all worthwhile. I remember you coming back from an ASL DVD trip to Mexico the year the Rip Curl Search contest got insane waves. You shot the best surf you’d probably ever seen and didn’t get in the water once… Yeah, I kinda’ blew that (laughs). I look back on Mexico and wish I’d gone for a surf, but we were only there a week and it’s always been about trying to do the best job I can, and going for a surf takes a back seat. If I was out surfing and someone did something amazing I’d be so pissed off I missed it. That is a feeling you do not want – I’d way rather be on the beach capturing it. Still, guys can’t surf 10 hours a day so you manage to get a few sneaky waves. Even one wave, if only so you can say you’ve surfed in Costa Rica or wherever. Your big break was making the first covermount DVDs for ASL. How did that happen? I moved to the Gold Coast to do uni and my dad passed on Jimmy O’Keefe’s details, who was editing ASL then. I couldn’t get a job I wanted on the Coast – I’d been turned down from a few record stores – but Jimmy gave me an editorial assistant position for all Morrison Media’s magazines, which got me running around the offices helping the photo editor organise slides, writing reviews and basically doing the stuff


the editors of ASL, Riptide and Slam didn’t want to do. ASL were talking about producing their own covermount DVD so I brought in a short reel of stuff I’d shot and edited, and next thing I was on a trip to Indo. No budget, not prepared at all, but everything came together. It’s the best way to learn, to be thrown into a situation. You learn quickly from your mistakes. I was a grom, I was 18 and had no experience. It was pretty overwhelming. I look back on that first boat trip with Koby Abberton and Shaun Cansdell and those guys must have been thinking ‘who is this grom ASL have thrown on this trip with this shitty handicam!’ From that point on you were the most prolific surf film maker in the world – nobody else was making four full-length surf films a year – and you did most of those films pretty much on your own. How was that process? It was a strange time in surf filmmaking. Taylor Steele even had a hiatus after Campaign and there was nothing really getting released. It was tough times for distribution and covermounts didn’t help that, but they were new and fresh and boosted magazine sales and suddenly it was film, edit, clear music, and it was happening every three months. It was heavy in a way but I had a job where I was paid to go film, although it turned into doing everything. Dealing with record labels, organising trips … but all that experience helped so much. That other stuff is half the job, huh? More. Twenty per cent of my year is filming and editing and actually working on a film. The other 80 per cent is emailing, chasing money to get projects off the ground, finding media partners, dealing with sponsors, dealing with managers, stuff behind the scenes you’d never think exists. Packaging and DVD design, organizing travel – there’s a lot that goes on. Have you got to the point where you can hire a bit of a crew to help out? For Modern Collective I was solo. We made that film with a really small budget, but now I’m starting to get filmers to help me out, people I trust so I can try to take other projects on and know we have a really good crew to make them happen. I want more time in the edit bay to get as creative as I can be to keep all the groms stoked and the punters satisfied. So getting people stoked to go surfing is still the main goal? For sure that’s still the main goal. As you grow older as a filmmaker you do get bored and try new things, you travel and realise there’s more going on in the world than hi-fi surfing. But


This page: Kai and Dion Agius have been making movies together since they were grubs. You’ve gotta be stoked to make a career out of travelling with your best mates. Dion, full-rotor stalefish release in Mexico. — Photographer: Tom Carey.


This page: When Kai talks about getting high calibre guys on trips, he isn’t messing. Mexican surf check with two surfers who will light 2011 on fire: Craig Anderson and Owen Wright. — Photographer: Dion Agius.


Kai Neville

WE UNDERESTIMATED THE HYPE AROUND MODERN COLLECTIVE. We’d post a framegrab and people would freak out. We were like, holy shit, people are expecting groundbreaking shit.

you’ve got to figure out your target audience, work out who’s spending money on movies and keep them amped. I still watch surf films now, but when I was 12-15, it was one after another. It’s all I did, and I want to make sure I don’t get too far from those kids and go off on some tantric tour around India or something, although I’m sure that’ll happen too. You make an effort to work with the surfers who are pushing the sport furthest. Do you direct them at all? Like, if you’ve got clips of them doing alley-oops for days, will you tell them to try something else, or do you just trust that they know what to do? Most of the guys I work with are pretty switched on, know what I want and understand what they’re doing, but if there’s a guy out there doing the same turn over and over I will pull them aside and let them know. There’s some surfers you can push but some who might crumble if you push them, so it’s all about getting them in the most comfortable environment you can. I encourage surfers not to keep repeating their little nest of go-to tricks, ’cos if they land something special it’s that much better. I love to show the attempts, show them trying that stuff, the effort that goes into making something really crazy. It’s tough to make the movies I’m aiming for. The surfers only have short windows and if they’re trying new crazy stuff, we could spend a week in Mexico and not get any clips. Talking to Yadin Nicol during the filming of Modern Collective, he described how intense it was when he realized the performance level you were expecting. He was saying he’d finish a day thinking he’d surfed okay, then would watch you logging clips and see most of the waves ending up in the trash, and it was only then that

he realized how hard he had to push it. Were you all feeling the pressure to make a statement with that film? We kinda’ underestimated the hype that grew around that movie. We’d post a framegrab on the blog and people would freak out. We were like, ‘holy shit, people are expecting groundbreaking shit,’ so there definitely was an intense vibe during Modern Collective. Maybe my expecations were too high, but when you’ve got Jordy and Dane, you get spoilt. You do expect a lot, but why wouldn’t my expections be high? Surfers shouldn’t be afraid to surf out of their skins. Do you still get the same stoke from watching good surfing that you always did? It does take a bit to get me excited these days, and those special clips only happen so often, but when they do ... there’s that one flip Dion Agius does in Modern Collective, and I remember being on the beach and getting this shaky, tingly feeling and thinking ‘whoa, did that just happen?’ then, ‘Did I hit record?’ Dion came straight in, he was freaking, and when we rewound the camera and realised it was in the can it was like ‘day’s done, crack the Bintangs!’ Is there a conscious effort on your part to match the performance in the water with a movie that feels different and futuristic? It changes every project. Modern Collective was obviously a modern, futuristic vibe. There’s a few elements that come into showcasing that sort of surfing. If it’s not edited the right way or you put the wrong song to it, it can really flatten the vibe. I’ve seen really good surfing butchered in some movies and it’s just shit, but if there’s the right song, good continuity and flow, that definitely helps the general feel of a movie. Do you keep a close eye on what else is going on?

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The stuff I’ve seen in Little Weeds and Innersection is great – there’ll be some sick projects coming out in the next few years. Jamie O’Brien just released a film, and Innersection is coming out in a few weeks, but I’m not going to watch surf films for inspiration, I’m going to find my own. There are so many good blogs producing the goods, fashion and design kinda stuff, a lot of magazines I look at like Rush and Dazed and Confused. The composition and design of their pages is something I try to replicate on film, not just throwing shots in for the sake of it. Tell us about your next movie, Lost Atlas. The Lost Atlas project is basically just a representation of how I see surfing now. We’ve kinda left it loose with a whole lot of room for improvisation, room to grow. It’s got that youth-on-the-run vibe cos we don’t know where we’re going to go for each trip, and don’t really know what’s happening next. It must be humbling to be at a point where you can call up pretty much any pro surfer in the world and have them psyching to go on a trip. Yeah, it is. I wake up every day excited to work; I can’t wait to dive back into it. I work hard and just try and better every project and I’m growing as a production company so I haven’t invested 100 per cent in Lost Atlas ’cos I’m trying to nail as many projects that come my way as I can while it’s hot, and by now I can turn things over pretty quickly. Like last year with Kustom, we just did one trip for Landscape Altered and it did quarter of a million views online. One of my friends told me the other day it was one of the featured movies on the opening page of the Vimeo site, which was a real honour. I watch the movies that end up there and they blow my mind, like, “how did they even do that?” it’s really high quality stuff, so that was cool.


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Profile for Pop Magazine

Pop Magazine - Issue 18  

It is definitely feeling like winter again and with that comes The 2011 Outerwear Issue! Steele Saunders talks with Berrics co-owner Steve B...

Pop Magazine - Issue 18  

It is definitely feeling like winter again and with that comes The 2011 Outerwear Issue! Steele Saunders talks with Berrics co-owner Steve B...

Profile for popmag
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