Introducing Season 2: Episode 7 of our original series celebrating the world’s leading surfing communities by showcasing their unique wave landscapes, culture and local surfers, as documented by resident filmmakers. Watch season 1 here and check out the full schedule below for future episodes.
It’s one of those coasts that everyone knows, Or we think we do: a gorgeous expanse of white sand beaches, headlands of black lava rock and crazy spiraling blue-green barrels moving in an endless procession in between. Gold, indeed, at least as we know it.
Yet it is an ever-changing surf area, dependent on the flow of sand, seasonal climate changes, and massive waves of humanity that pass through it as often as the swells that occasionally turn it into a kind of surf hallucination. Goldie’s dreamy landscape draws people from all over the world, and its status in surf culture – the whole place is a world surfing preserve, on the one hand – tends to blind us to the fact that for many surfers, it is quite simply home. Generations of surfers have grown up here: some have become famous, a few are more than famous, a handful are sort of immortal, but depending on their age and longevity, all will have stories. Maybe from the day they saw Michael Peterson annihilate Kirra Point. Maybe the day 15-year-old Steph Gilmore first blew their minds. Maybe the day they first saw the Superbank take shape, or the day they had the best wave they’ve ever surfed. Because in this surf area all of these things are possible.
Superbank Surf Cam | Greenmount Surf Camera | Kirra surf camera | Gold Coast Regional Forecasts | Forecast charts | High resolution wind model
SEASON TWO SCHEDULE
October 8: Bali by Scotty Hammonds
October 15: Ireland by Clem McInerney
October 22: Santa Barbara by Ryan Perry
October 29: Jeffreys Bay by Alan Van Gysen
November 5: Tahiti by Tim McKenna
November 12: Portugal by Luís “Ben” de Sá
November 19: Gold Coast by Lachlan McKinnon
November 26: Maui by Dan Norkunas
Interview with the director: Lachlan McKinnon
IG / Vimeo / YouTube links:
N / A. I recently deleted all social media, but I might be going the YouTube route when it’s time to come back.
How did you get started in surf photography / video?
My parents both worked in surf media in Australia – my mom being the media manager and my dad being the former professional and local surf reporter / commentator – so I grew up around events. I was my mom’s little assistant in the media room and got to know some of the best filmmakers and photographers of the time. I was lucky to have some who take me under their wing. My first job as part of a team was recording tapes, lunches and scouts for John Gordon and Jack McCoy when the Billabong Pro CT was around. I was eight years old.
How long have you been touring?
It’s been 23 years now. I started when I was 13, after the cameras that came out back then got pretty cheap with DV tapes, and my parents bought me one. It used to be too expensive for a grom, so I was just the gofer.
Man that’s a short question with a long answer [laughs]. It’s been more of a roller coaster than a career and it’s a bit hazy now, but it went a bit like this: Mom took me to J-Bay when I was 13, where I sold images to Tim Bonython. The following year, Tim recommended Pete Frieden [Senior Photographer, Surfing Magazine] hire me. I traveled with Pete, the Lopez brothers, Andy Irons, and a bunch of other CT surfers for the next four years to help shoot the videos Pete made on the side. When I was at home I was doing local surf reports. Mom started finding me filming and editing jobs at ASP contests and other events, and for the next 10 years I worked for everyone: brands, events, filmmakers.
At 18, Mike Prickett took me under his wing to Hawaii, where I met the late Sonny Miller and Jeff Hornbaker. I came back to Australia and found a job in Sydney with Jack McCoy as assistant / 2nd camera for a year. I was offered more freelance work and returned home. Oakley became one of my main clients and I juggled editing for ASP, Rip Curl and other events. Oakley America put me full time. We broke up, I came home to reset but lost all of my clients after being with one business for several years. I got a job for the Surfing Australia filming events and the launch of MySurf.tv for the then CEO Andrew Stark knew. I spent the next four years creating content for MySurf.tv, I found myself on the Tour streaming freesurfing clips and taking freesurf trips. In 2018, I was in Portugal with Seabass and we decided to do the series “Happily Stoked”.
But 18 years on the road living in a suitcase 80% cost me dearly. Again I came home with no parts or gear so I gathered everything I had, bought a shitty little GH5 and went back to freelancing, selling clips to local surfers. and finding work where I could. Starky had moved to WSL and started giving me work, Mick supported me and helped me find work with Ripy and Red Bull, then Red Bull Monkey Full Moon. I went back to Indo, was offered more jobs and quickly realized that having constant waves made it easier to survive, so I stayed. I started to resume the work of Stab, Tracks, even Mason Ho sent me work. I have more work on the boats that shoot the guests in the Ments.
Covid hit and I came home and managed to find work with WSL and Red Bull. I spent a few months filming Jack Robinson and Mick, then did a bunch of pre-event promos and landed a job as an aquatic cameraman for the upcoming Apple TV series, Hit or miss, by Box to Box Films, which is probably the most important thing I’ve done to date. Since then, I have been mandated by Billabong, The Board Lab and Sharp Eye Australia. Advertised with Shags for Essentially Cooly. I’ve had work with my old Surfing Australia buddies, started a weekend wedding filming business, even started working in surfboard factories during the week, packing things up. cartons between filming and editing before and after work. So really, no incredible success story. I’m doing all I can to stay afloat. Always on the move and still in love.
Where is your favorite place to film in your hometown area and why?
Kirra. She is our queen of the coast. It’s the rarest, but when it’s on, it’s the best.
What are some of your favorite premises to photograph and why?
Well my favorite is my girlfriend Brodie Doyle but love will do that [laughs]. It’s always changing. Growing up, if I had a Bugs or Occy music video, I would be so excited. Obviously Mick, Joel, and Steph are still favored, and I’m always thrilled to have clips of my good friends my age like Brent Dorrington and Nick Vasicek. But these days, after photographing guests in the Ments and seeing how horny your average bettor is, I really like the feeling of turning people on. I find our next generation of local groms the most grateful. I’m super happy with the current 12-15 harvest, and it’s fun to see them progress with each session: Jai Inead, Rico Haybittle, Dane Henry, Sierra Kerr, Caiden Francis, Quincy Symonds, Riley Munro, Tommy Horn, Zukas Loining, Bohdi Brook, Ashton Pignat and many more are all taking off, and I can’t wait to see the future.
Under what conditions do you prefer to shoot?
Obviously I love the perfect E swell days off the coast, but there are so many people here that I got a little excited on the days with more S in the swell. The current breaks the crowds of surfers and photographers, so if you fight the tear, you’re more likely to get a clearer photo and feel like you’ve accomplished something – rather than just floating around without running with the other 1,000 people filming. I also loved the days ashore, for the same reason.
Dawn patrol or evening drink?
Dawn patrol, always.
What are some of your biggest inspirations behind the lens?
Mike Prickett was a big inspiration growing up, and now there are so many cameramen in the world who inspire me all the time. But what inspires me the most is the ocean and just being alive, enjoying the ocean with friends.
What was your first camera?
TRV 900, this first mini DV camcorder was a game-changer.
The equipment of choice for shooting today?
Black Magic Mini Ursa Pro 12k with a 50mm Milvus Zeiss lens in a Dave Kelly housing.
What sets your home region apart from other surf areas?
The crowd [laughs]. The number of world championships and events definitely makes it a ‘surf zone’, but what attracts people is that we have so many points breaks to the right of Noosa on the New Wales coast. South. It’s like an extended Mexico, really.
How would you describe the local team of surfers in your area?
We have so many surfers, you have to be from here for 20 years before you can call yourself “local”. But we have so many local mini-teams here covering such a wide range of demographics, you can’t really describe them all in one go: from the local longboard girls in the bay to the local old boys in D-bah, there’s even has local Brazilians and Spanish crews who have been here for over 20 years. But if you mean the crew who keep their sights on the best waves with every good swell, this is just a bunch of talented and fun loving Australian larrikins.
When there is pumping, what kind of waves can people expect from you?
Long guns on the right.
Any advice for future directors / photographers?
If you are one of the lucky few, you will be successful from start to finish. But it will most likely be a financial roller coaster of ups and downs, so find what makes you happiest when shooting, then do it. Because if you’re happy and broke, you’re still happy. And always reach out and ask questions of elders who have done it before you in your area, even if you are already shooting better than them. You can always learn something. Have fun. After all, it’s only surfing and that’s what surfing is meant to be: fun.