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This Is Northern New South Wales

Dustin Hollick – Priorities

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JCA7949Growing up in Tasmania, there was this older kid from South Arm, a (sort of) rival beach for us living at Park Beach in Dodges Ferry, his name was Dustin Hollick. He was the dominant Cadet and Junior surfer in Tasmania. A bit of an inspiration for me at the time, he drove me to get better, even though I’ve never told him so. Thanks mate haha.

One year we travelled to the Australian Titles together in Phillip Island, to represent Tasmania. Our little island always copped a bit of flack for not quite being as good as the ‘mainland’ surfers. I distinctly remember one session at Express Point, a ver shallow and heaving tube. It apparently gets easier to make when it’s bigger, but this day was a solid 5ft and unloading right onto the shallow inside. I was nervous. We paddled out. Dustin paddled far deeper and proceeded to charge the place, taking off on these steppy double ups and finding tubes. I was happy on the shoulder, as all I could see was the reef below that I didn’t want any part of. Paths changed right there.

Over the years, while I lived in Byron (moving here in 1995), Dustin started surfing and ended up being one of the main guys at Shipsterns, that has become one of Australia’s heaviest waves. I was happy to be watching from the channel again… As he paddled back out for another wave, making a detour to now live 15mins south of me with his family, wife Bec and two boys, Sunny and Harley, I threw him a few questions to see if anything has changed, or stayed the same…

Why the big move north from Tasmania to the Northern Rivers?
“The move north was born from a desire to get in the ocean everyday, working and raising a family in Tasmania, it was getting increasingly hard to get that pure clean feeling of being in the ocean. By the time I was getting to surf the wax on my surfboard would be slimy and my wetsuit would be like some form of alien object that I had to fight to get on. Surfing in Tasmania is an adventure, so to get a quick surf with a family was becoming harder and harder”

How has the transition been for you surfing wise and for your young family?
“It is always going to feel risky, but at the same time exciting uprooting your family and starting a new life, we left treasured family and friends behind but it was a move we had to make. For us it has been a complete lifestyle change, as a family we are in the ocean every day together swimming and bodysurfing, where as in Tassie it was becoming harder.Our oldest boy Sunny has moved to a new school and is absolutely loving it, the kids up here are more like him, into surfing skateboarding, vmx  any outdoor activity basically. We were starting to find it very limiting in the colder Tassie winter months with the shorter days and cold weather the kids were getting cabin fever quite a bit… as were the parents!We werent sure if we would move here permanently at first but with the surf thats on offer,  the great friendships we have developed already and the opportunity to work Patagonia Byron Bay, a company that I love and appreciate the ethos of so much, we found that we couldn’t leave!!”

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Your a father of two, how do you juggle the love of surfing and family life?
“Moving up here was really the only way that I could keep surfing at all, in Tassie it was a total fight to even get in the water, now it is just such a natural thing, I find myself having to have a “day off” form surfing every now and then! And now it is something we all do together, sunset hangs at The Pass or on the beach at Lennox are just pure gold.”
How does that family life then effect you riding some of the biggest waves in Australia, notably Shipsterns (in Tasmania)?
“Becoming a father magnifies the risks of surfing in big waves, but the reality is that personally I would much prefer to put myself in those situations that make me feel like I am truly alive than experience that feeling of regret or “what could have been” when they just slip pass.”What happens to Dustin Hollick if he doesn’t surf?
“He becomes a grumpy bugger when the gills dry up!”

Tasmania has a strong pull once you’ve lived there, will you go back or find a balance of the two worlds?
“We have found now that we are so much more in love with Tassie and closer with our families since we have moved. Tassie had just become to mundane, the commute to work every day, the same faces, same places. Now when we go back we just go exploring and camping with our extended families and have a blast, Tassie truly is a special place and will always be in our hearts, but to raise kids in an open and diverse culture where we can be outside and in the ocean every day is something that resonates profoundly with us, the Northern Rivers has sunk its claws into us!! We will be calling this place home now!”