Daune “The Master of Disaster” Peters (in)famously used to spit on a young lanky floppy haired Tony Hawk at a comps back in the 80’s. Terje Håkonsen famously and controversially boycotted the qualifiers of 1998 Winter Olympics in response to FIS’s appointment by the IOC to govern the snowboard halfpipe event. Tanner Hall was also very vocal about his resentment of FIS’s involvement with freesking’s addition to the 2014 Winter Olympics. The list of internal battles between the ‘alternative’ and the ‘competitive’ within the ‘free’ sports goes on and on and are as old as the sports themselves. Short of writing a dissertation and for the sake of staying impartial on the subject…. I’ll leave you simply with a name, Noa Deane. If you know you know, if you don’t…. well it won’t take long on YouTube to find out.
Following his recent signing to Volcom, which by all accounts was a sort of ‘welcome home’ affair; we caught up with Noa for a quick chat about style and creativity in surfing.
First off thank you so much for your time! How did the relationship with Volcom come about?
No worries! I've been pretty close with a few guys at Volcom for a while now, but I think Richie (Olivares) had a lot to do with it.
Your style on a surfboard is super explosive and super powerful and to me looks way more skate inspired, the way you pop out a lip also reminds me of how a snowboarder would approach transition. I guess in a way that in itself is pretty reflective of the Volcom brand on the whole! Can you talk about your journey, how you got in to the surfing and what and who do you consider key to the development of your style?
I just like going super-fast and hitting stuff I think that's the most fun, I definitely watch a lot of skating and that gets me pumped. My dad got me into surfing pretty young and that's pretty much all I've ever done; personally, I think the key to getting better is to try go as big as possible then one day you will start landing it.
With that in mind what was behind your decision to not compete in the WSL? (sorry have to ask)
I just have never really been that good at comps.
Your approach does seem to be similar to that of a skater or snowboarder rather than a traditional pro surfer in the respect that stacking footage and staying competitive with yourself and with your homies is the main priority. That’s what I took from Scorched at least; can you reflect on the filming process on a whole talk about the independent pressures and freedom of it, how do the trips come about?
Yeah, I think when you get in the mode of making a video or a part etc you just have to go as big as possible. You only have to come up with a couple of minutes of footage and just make it the best you can, it can get frustrating when you end up with a lot of the same clips so you have to try better them and that's when it gets hard.
Ever been tempted by a trip to Scotland?
Definitely! I can't believe I haven't been there yet it looks so sick.
Surfing and the rest of the “fringe” or “free sports” have close ties with art, music and creative expression on a whole. Do you think your creative practices out of the water help you in the water? Do you think surfing lacks creativity these days? And who do you look up to from a creative perspective?
I think for sure there is a creative element with surfing. Most free surfers are either making their own films or making music or art. I think that is due to having a lot of time on your hands; it's cool though, everyone has something going on. I think I look up to guys like Dane (Reynolds) and Ozzie (Wright) the most, they have totally gone their own way with the creative stuff they have done in their careers and pretty much inspire all of us.
What advice would you give to a grom who wanted to live the dream so to speak? How do you make a living from surfing outside of the comp scene?
I think the main thing is to try go really hard in the water, I think that's what people wanna see. Just be yourself and have fun.
What can we expect from you and Volcom this year?
I've been working on filming a web short not sure when it's gunna come out! But I'm excited.
All Images courtesy of Volcom.
Words: Lewis McLean