A warm welcome to our latest member, Chris Gracey
Nationality and age?
MBChB 4th year @ University of Auckland, NZ
Local surf spot?
The local west coast beachies; Muriwai, Te Henga, Mud Bay – will always go for less crowds over wave quality because I’d rather put up with a lot of average waves to get the few good ones than sit watching a lot of good waves being ridden and only get a few average ones.
Favourite surf destination?
Indonesia – cheap, friendliest locals, warm water, flawless waves when its on and rarely goes dead flat. Bali belly always gets me but still worth it every time.
Indonesia – Aceh, South Sumatra, Playgrounds area Mentawais, West Java, Bali, Lombok, West Sumbawa, Lakeys
California and Central America – Baja, Pacific coast of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
Most parts of NZ
Australia – SW WA, NSW east coast, QLD goldy, worked FIFO in WA in a pre-med life
Best surf trip ever?
First trip to Indo in 2008. Went with 5 good mates and had nearly 3 weeks of back-to-back swells around the playgrounds area of ments, staying at one of the local land camps at E-bay when there was only one land camp there. Bali belly was shared between us almost as many times as we shared waves but I’d take the crook guts again in a heartbeat to do that trip over!
Worst surf trip ever?
Deciding to drive a dodgy Dodge Dakota ute from Los Angeles down through Central America in 2013 – break downs, break-ins, bogged down in sand or mud, tyre punctures. All efforts were in vain as to our deepening despair the surf was average more often than not – onshore winds, bad banks, too much swell, not enough swell. We made it as far as Nicaragua then my lovesick mate bailed on me so I pushed on to Costa Rica, got skunked again, got over it, steered the leaky ship back up to the States and surprisingly managed to sell it. Lesson learnt in trying to do things too cheap.
Best thing about surfing right now?
All the different design and technology out there right now. Pretty much anything goes, which keeps things very interesting and very fun.
Opinion on wave parks?
Not my thing, a big part of surfing for me is getting out in nature and thriving on the uncertainty of what each wave might offer. Although I do get why they are so popular and it will be interesting to see if the performance bar raises quickly with how many times the same section of the same wave can be surfed over and over..and over.
Education and work experience
BA, Otago 2011 – major in Philosophy
MBChB, Auckland 2016 – 2021
In-between a lot of working odd-jobs such as hospo/construction/mining, and the travels mentioned above.
Favourite surfer and why
Never really had one favourite, there’s too many talented surfers out there! Always appreciated a good style though – Tom Curren, Dane Reynolds, JJF and Steph Gilmore.
Current go-to surfboard
Been loving a 5’7 swallow tail lately – light glassing with a deep double concave to V through the tail, quick and nimble in the soft beachies we get around here. I’m a bit of a backyard amateur board builder. Have only managed to make 5 boards so far and the learning curve has been steep but it’s really satisfying to see an idea in my head turn into a board between my fingers (and under my toes).
Bucket list of five places to surf before you die?