From the Mag: A Bogan Jaunt
Here's a story from the pages of Hello Zukeen Issue 1. We rounded up a pack of surfers and drinkers for an unassuming trip down south with an unexpected twist. A Bogan Jaunt 2 may be coming to Issue 2...
Surfers have never been lamer. The internet has revolutionized surf culture and imagery as we know it. Instagram and other social media outlets have butchered authenticity and replaced it with fabricated, transient bullshit- boozy sunsets, hair-flick soul arches and golden, glowing landscapes.
It’s brash, bold and brazen.
It’s shameless self gratification. The gaze of surf imagery has glanced away from surfing and fallen onto surfing lifestyle itself.
High performance used to be cool. But not everyone can do that. But lifestyle…. that’s much easier, much more attainable. Anyone can sip long blacks over conceptual discussions about some lo fi, hipster surf music zine, anyone can wear denim and guzzle craft beer at the ep launch of a crappy surf punk band, anyone can shoot to Ubud for a 2 week, vegan yoga retreat.
All you have to do is turn the camera on yourself and beam it to an invisible online audience. Is this shit for the photos or what? What’s even real now?
In this new conceptual shoot the editors of this zine envisioned an outrageous and ambitious idea. An idea that is totally unprecedented in the world of surf media. An idea that would push the boundaries of surf imagery. An idea that would change the game as we know it.
We planned a shoot that would strip away the superficiality of what it means to surf in the 21st century and replace it with something grungy, distasteful and dirty.
The shoot was simple. Take 10 of Dunedin’s dustiest surfers, strip them of their facade- take away the vans, the skinny jeans, the vintage tee's, the in vogue sunglasses and give them black.
Take them deep into Southland and away from the prying eyes of the public. Give them space where they could let loose, run amok and make noise. Give them speed dealer sunglasses. Give them cheap bourbon and cola. Give them ACDC.
Give them BOGAN.
By removing the relentless stresses and anxieties that accompanies maintaining a surfing lifestyle facade, sports psychologists estimated our team riders would surf approximately 27% better as bogans. The trip was more than a conceptual shoot- It was a social experiment.
We left Dunedin on a sunny Saturday morning and almost immediately, the effect of bogan had taken hold of our team riders. They resisted the temptation to pull out their phones, they heckled behind their black shades, they admired one another’s wagons and thrashed around like fish to boisterous rock and roll. We drove hard and fast for two hours and gunned it down the coast in a great roaring parade of madness.
By the time we arrived at our destination, the Bogan effect had completely consumed our riders.
I could hardly recognise who was who. Inhibition was put to the side as each surfer took on a new persona all together. Our arrival in the carpark was a sight to behold.
At a beach that feels like the end of the world, that seems to defy the laws of time, where hours feels like days, and days feels like weeks, under immense cliffs, overarching and so large that you stand frozen in awe, where the whole weight of the Southern Ocean seems to heave and come crashing down upon the sand, where verdant hills fall to the sand, confining you in peaceful, melancholic, isolation, where the wind whips down the valleys around and falls upon the ocean, lifting showers of seaspray skyward, where the land meets the sea, stood a gang of 15 drunk black-cad freaks.
They were beginning to consume copious amounts of bourbon and we had become nervous that our experiment may fail altogether. Our surfers were showing little inclination to paddle out, instead jeering and hooting at one another amidst pristine nature.
We set out to create a persona for our surfers that would allow them to focus on surfing, but in those moments it seemed like they had forgotten about surfing all together. Our experiment was at dire straits.
The forecast was always looking promising, but upon arrival the ocean hadn’t quite come alive. We were nervous. And then anxious. Cam was relentlessly checking the time. Our photogs were sulking round the beach in disbelief and disappointment. It all seemed destined for miserable failure.
I was doing my best to calm our director on the phone who had been skeptical of the whole concept since we pitched the idea to him. Reluctantly he gave us the green light, contracted sports psychologists, found a bourbon sponsor and warned us-
“You better not fuck this one up boys”.
He repeated those precarious words and hung up the phone abruptly. I sighed and looked to the sky, then to the cliffs and back to my bogans.
One of them began to scream and this scream wasn’t the chorus of Back in Black, but a scream far more recognizable, a scream of intense longing and anticipation.
An undulating horizon had caught his eye. The ocean had come to life. A distant pulsing became visible and swell began to march into the bay.
Silence feel upon our riders. They hooted and yelped and shortly afterwards they were suited and running oceanward.
What ensued defied our expectations of the whole experiment. It was unbelievable. It was improbable. It was beautiful.
The bogans were ripping. They traded barrels, dropping in deeper than ever before with fearless, ferocious hunger. Under the gaze of those great cliffs, Joe Palmer snagged one of the pits of the day, paddling up the beach and pulling into a Southland drainer.
It was as if the bogans had discovered and tapped into a kind of zen like state. They longed for every wave. They darted up and down the beach in pursuit of a wave heavier, bigger and more critical than the last.
When they bottom turned I saw venom in their eyes.
They slashed and hacked and rode with the voracity of a raucous mosh pit. It was meditative and powerful, a new kind of re-focused and reposed style of surfing. Almost immediately it was clear, our experiment was a success, it had given birth to the next wave of high performance surfing.
By throwing away the needless, undying, self-interested pressures that come with maintaining a surf-lifestyle facade, surfers are able to focus entirely and purely on surfing. Nothing else, but surfing. While boisterous, our surfers were careless and uninterested in all of the online, superficial bullshit. They were free.
For those two days our bogans head banged, drank, hunted barrels and attacked lips. It was poetry in motion. The renewed hunger for surfing even saw some of the surfers paddle out at midnight, under the full moon to capitalize on an empty line-up.
Minutes before leaving the beach on the Sunday, my phone buzzed. It was our director.
“Well done boys, well done. I doubted you, but you’ve taking a risk and it’s paid off. I’m currently in the process of copy writing the concept*. But for now, get back to Dunedin, talk then.”
And so with the director's words of praise, we set off. Our surfers were now an exhausted, woozy mess. The ocean had grown calm. We hit the road and set off home.
*Our ingenious surf bogan, high performance is now copyrighted and if the WSL or any pro-surfer attempts to use it for commercial or corporate gain, we’ll mix your salt and sugar together, pour liquid honey over your letterbox and hide feral cats in your garage and then take you to court. No Joke. Thanks maaate.
Story by Sam Fraser-Baxter
Photos by Cam Hay and Charlie Cox