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This Is Northern New South Wales

Jy Johannesen

Jy Johannesen is among other things, a gifted and talented surfer hailing from the southern regions of Tasmania. He currently resides here in Byron Bay as he is following his passion of film and video at the SAE college.

I often marvel at how lucky SAE students are as they are studying at a world-renowned facility within a rich and creative community. Byron hosts an array of amazing waves that are destined to distract dedicated students from study on a daily basis.

It was this distracting force of the ocean that I took advantage of in early October. Jy had a bunch of assignments that were far from finished and as luck would always have it when you’re busy, there was a two-week swell running that saw waves on all the open beaches and a few smokers hitting Broken as well. Also coinciding with this swell was school holidays, which suited me fine as I didn’t have to go to work at a local high school and I was overly excited about testing my new DSLR camera that had recently broken the bank. We came to a healthy agreement that we would get down a few surf clips in the morning then I would help Jy film for one of his projects in the afternoon in an attempt to meet the looming deadlines.

What transpired was a fortnight of fun including a few good surfs, several hundred k’s on the odometer, and more importantly timeout from work life and a moment to reflect on what has been a very emotional year for myself, and many others. Losing my best mate Jonno Howell earlier this year in tragic circumstances had left me questioning many aspects of life and it had been hard to take all this in with a hectic work schedule and the usual busy calendar.

Jy was a friend of Jonno’s as well and had experienced a loss of a similar kind in recent years and its amazing how therapeutic an unsuccessful wave hunt to Angourie could be as we traded stories of friends lost, and the best and most positive ways to move forward. We were both in agreed that by throwing myself into this photographic world it has been a welcomed distraction and an excellent way to honour JH, as it was a pastime we both shared and a profession for him.

Words, photos and video by Alasdair Shurman. To see more from Al visit his tumblr –