Beau Young

The town of Byron Bay in New South Wales has transitioned from whaling station to country soul to dropout central to incredibly expensive beachside real estate. I often feel like the original inhabitants must feel buried by an avalanche of hippies, backpackers, hipsters and city slickers. But they are still there, in the cracks, holding on to the magic that drew them to the place. I have family roots in the place, my dad’s brother took the ten-pound boat many years ago and my cousin grew up surfing there. It was the first place I surfed, NHS specs attached with a neon strap. I remember on that day a golden light in the afternoon, the hinterland glowing. Up behind Byron in a quiet little valley, close to the madness but a million miles from it too, Beau Young has made his home. From a legendary surfing family, Beau has gone through several incarnations in his career as a world champion longboarder, musician and shaper.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I was born in Grafton, about an hour and a half south of Byron Bay. My mum and dad left Byron due to the growing population. There was likely only about six surfing families there, but they wanted solitude!The farm my dad still owns is half an hour inland of Grafton, a one hour drive to the nearest beach. I spent my earliest childhood in a tent with my older sister. The farm is still a place of solitude for us as a family.My childhood memories there are vague but the farm remains a constant: quiet, open spaces, river streams, heavily forested mountainous country with horses, dams, vast surrounds and time to think and create, whenever I go there the days feel so much longer than any other place I have ever known and I like that. 

And where feels like home now?

I have a little farm now and that’s definitely home. It’s a totally different landscape to my dad’s farm, lush and tropical, 25 minutes from Byron but still I can find solitude at the local breaks if I’m willing to walk 10 minutes….which I always am.

But honest, home is in the breath. No matter if I’m in the shaping bay, stretching or playing guitar. When I breathe out, a small smile comes to my mouth and I am happy, this is my feeling of home and now I know I am going to be a dad soon, the smile is even more solid.

Has your homeland changed, on land and in the water?

Change is a constant. I am not great in crowds, but every human on earth has the absolute right to experience the joy of riding a wave. The connection should ultimately have you becoming a better person, looking out for and loving wildlife, our environment and its protection. Overpopulation and human expansion is inevitable and it is fast-paced and hectic, I pull over all the time on my little country road to let others in a hurry pass by, but I like to think the inherent nature of a human is good. For me, the biggest thing is our beautiful, wonderful world and all the animals that reside within it.

How’s the music going?

I have another kid’s book coming out here in Oz later this month “Dinosaur Rock”. Five dino tracks for one to five year olds. I’m really proud of the kid’s music, real instrumentation and incredible musicians, each track with its own feel. Music is a tough industry but lots of fun. Kids are the best audience, no preconceptions and they love to dance.

I am really wanting to produce another regular album and I am compiling it together at the moment. I love producing tracks, pretty similar to shaping a board really, a whole bunch of fun steps in place to produce something your proud of at the back end.

I got talking to your dad once about how he wished he could have defined surfing not as a sport but as a form of dance and self-expression, have you talked to him ever about that?

I think that’s dads one big regret for sure. He mentions it a lot! Always saying “surfing is not a sport” and I couldn’t agree with him more. Saying it is a sport is such a cop-out, it is so much grander and more majestic than a basic sport. It’s comparable to deep meditation, it leaves you feeling high, in bliss and so small yet part of this vast incredible world.



Interview by Dan Crockett
Photos of Beau in the shaping bay by Russel Ord

Photos of Noah Lane surfing by Lewis Arnold

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