Interviewed by Ollie J
Hey Dre how’s things!
Not too bad, I stepped on something super-sharp in the ocean the other day so I got my foot up. I had to get some stitches, but other than that I am not too bad.
That’s funny; the last time I saw you you had your foot up too!
What? No way, where was that?
That was at the Mambo a few years ago. I think you got bitten by a spider or something crazy?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Ha ha yeah I thought I was going to die, you know Australia has all those deadly creatures! But it was just a little staph infection.
Well I’m glad you didn’t die Dre!
So what are you up to now?
Well right now it’s off-season where I live in Antigua, which is hurricane season. Normally we get a couple of storms rolling through and score some surf but there haven’t been any storms this season so I’ve just been doing lots of good old work.
Work? I thought you would just be sitting in hammocks drinking from coconuts all day long over there?
Ha ha it’s all smoke and mirrors man!
So when is your kiting season?
Our season is pretty much from January to July and it’s pretty good around five days a week. I’m normally on a 10m or 12m, sometimes an 8m.
Looks like a pretty amazing place?
It’s cool, it’s cool. It’s got a nice, mellow vibe; it’s pretty small so you get that small-town vibe where everybody knows everybody, and everybody’s business. But it’s good; crystal clear water, warm weather and steady wind. What else could you ask for?
So tell me about Tona and the team?
We’re all from the Islands and we have all lived in Antigua for a good chunk, so that’s how we became close and got the chance to know each other. It’s just nice to work with people who are very like-minded and share the same values. We vibe really well together; we all love to kite and we all love to surf so it’s pretty easy to work together since we share the same passions. Adam Anton is a creative mind and he does all of our graphic work and Dereck Camacho has been shaping boards since he was 15 so he’s really good at translating ideas into products. The third piece of the puzzle is me. I’ve been involved in the industry since 1999 and have been lucky enough to travel the world and get a feel for the sport from all different perspectives. I can bring all of the knowledge gained over the years to the table to try to help Tona make good decisions. The bottom line is we all care about kiteboarding and the industry; we aren’t here to push gimmicks down people’s throats just to make a buck. We wanna see the industry do well and will try to do our part to help. We wanna make fun stuff and stoke people out.
That’s similar to this new magazine we have started up – we too have known each other a long time and have a shared passion grounded in kiting. We’ve all developed different skills in the business over the years and when you all put your minds and skill sets together you can come up with some cool stuff!
Nice that sounds good I’m stoked that you guys are doing this!
Thanks, I’m stoked on your new boards; they look great. Nice graphics too. Tell us about the two different models?
Okay, well the Flow is great in the waves and natural kickers. It’s got quite a bit of rocker that results in some soft landings. It eats through chop and is a really nice, soft, cushy ride. I’ve got quite a bit of a surf background and I could just throw carves all day which this board is really good for. Sweet for loading and popping too, I mean if you’re into surfing but like riding twin-tips as well, you’ll really like it. It’s a really good crossover board if you’re hitting the cable a lot too.
The Pop, in a nutshell, is fast and explosive; when you edge and put it on rail it really locks in and holds a good line. Huge pop of course as is the name. The Pop and the Flow really compliment each other quite well; they are both high-performance boards, just depends on your riding style as to which one you will go for.
They sound great, keen to try one myself – I love twin-tip riding in the waves so I think I’d go the flow.
How about the Slingshot kites? Which model do you ride?
I mainly fly the RPMs for all types of riding but when the conditions are perfect and I’m doing only freestyle, then sometimes I use the Fuels. I love the RPMs for their very smooth, consistent and predictable pull. Whenever I crash my kite, relaunching it is effortless and there is such a big range with the de-power.
So tell me, you’ve been throwing the radest tricks for years, how is it that you’re still in one piece?
To tell you the truth, I really don’t know! I’ve had a couple of mean wipeouts but I’ve never really broken anything. These days I try to take it a little bit easier as I’m getting older. I’d like to be doing this the rest of my life so I’m not really trying to huck myself too much anymore. I’ve gotten away with a few close calls. It helps to ride a little bit safe and smart sometimes.
Well done. There are a lot of guys younger than you that have already blown themselves out with injuries, which is sad but it must be a tricky thing as you want to shred, go hard and impress people but you want to look after your body too?
It’s definitely one of those things. You know, the older you get, the more you think about it – being out for the count. You’re thinking down the line, ‘how will I feel in another 10 years?’ Not like the early days when you just huck as hard as you can. I guess I’ve always tried to find that fine line between hucking and control.
Okay, I have to ask, what is ‘hucking’?
You know when you huck or throw your body off something without the thought of consequence.
Mmm okay I get the picture… sort of!
I learned that myself when I was younger I tried to do a backflip snowboarding and landed on my head. Luckily limped away ok but certainly learned if you’re going to ‘huck yourself,’ make sure you’re fully committed and know what the f*ck you are doing! I learned the hard way as a lot of other people would have done so too.
Yep, sometimes accidents just happen. But then again, you might get run over by a bus just walking along too hey?
Except not in Antigua I guess as you wouldn’t have buses or roads?
We have buses and roads you d*ck! But we have a lot of potholes too so it’s more likely to happen here than elsewhere!
Okay so the moral of the story is, if you’re in Antigua make sure you huck yourself hard before a bus runs you over.