I’ve always loved the ocean since I was a boy. My mum and dad used to take us kids to the beach each weekend to enjoy swimming in the ocean walking along the beach and just generally exploring. We used to go to very remote locations because my dad is a bit of an adventurer, and later in my life this became something that was very inherent in my system.
I remember most of our trips to the beach generally began with us lying about getting the deepest darkest suntan as possible. Not such a great idea these days with scares about melanomas etc, but in those days it was not uncommon to see us literally pealing great sheets of skin from our backs when it was ready to finally shed. This sounds a bit morose, however it is just very true, and you will find if you ask many Australian children from my generation whether this was their experience, they will most probably agree.
So rather than being a negative memory for me, we will all actually very excited about all of these aspects of early days on the beach in Australia.
It was in these early days that I first began to surf. Beginning with body surfing, which was a natural extension of my being a competitive swimmer for many years. The great surf, which occurred in the southern part of Australia, had me naturally take up surfboard riding at an early age. It would have been about the age of 12 or 13 when I got my first surfboard and within six months or so I had made the first steps towards standing up on a surfboard.
We used to go to our childhood holiday home in a very remote part of Australia, which is on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. It was here that my father took us on long walks along four-wheel drive only tracks, to visit untouched beaches, which always filled me with awe. Many years later, I was to visit these beaches with my wife, and collect copious amounts of driftwood, washed up plastics, buoys, ropes, etc.
However in between all of this, I went away to Melbourne to be educated and ended up finding myself at art school in the late 70s. It was during these years at art school in Australia, at the end of the seventies that I first began collecting driftwood to make into furniture; and It was this experience that 20 years later I remembered and returned to the very same coastline to collect driftwood once again.