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This Is Northern New South Wales

Simon Jones “Morning of The Earth”

Sometimes you are fortunate to meet people that you have heard about for years but for some reason your paths don’t cross until they are ready too. That happens quite frequently in Byron Bay, you can live here side by side some great people and not meet them for 20 years or more in some cases.That is the case with Surfboard Shaper Simon Jones and myself.

I ended up being introduced to Simon through Caitlin and Loren Nowland and their business partner Bjorn from Woody’s Surf Shack.When I was 17 yrs I took off from  Byron, and for a while I shared a house with a group of guys who were all (and in some cases still are) members of the Kirra Board Riders, that was when Kirra was still Kirra and if the swell was big they would close the road around the point. At around the same time Simon was working with the late great Michael Peterson on his boards, we were comparing notes and laughing at how many people we knew in common through those days and we had never met. (That is when my name got shortened from Kirrily and my nickname “6ft Kirra” appeared).

Simon and his partner Bess met the Woody’s crew when they were in the Woolies car park one day and as Simon explained, “I was hungry and pretty keen to get out of there! The side door’s to Woody’s was open and Bess who on occasion would go and listen to Jazz when the bar was known as Liquid, was inquisitive as to what was happening in there. She spotted the Lennox mural on the back wall and asked Loren if the kids could have a look. That was the beginning of a great conversation”……one that still continues.

After the conversation that day at Woody’s, Simon’s “Morning of the Earth” boards are now the prize given away every Wednesday night at Woody’s “Big Wednesday”surfboard giveaway – a night that has become legendary with locals and travellers. Caitlin explained “Authenticity is something that is really important to us. With Woody’s, our goal is to provide an experience and an environment that really gets to the essence of Byron. While buying boards in bulk from a commercial setup would have been a much less expensive option, it was important to us to carry our ethic of authenticity and quality through to all aspects of the business- right down to the things we give away.

Also, as a small business, we really understand the value of supporting other local businesses, building relationships and spending our dollar locally. We’re lucky to live in a small town that is so saturated with talent and passion- from fashion to organic food, surfboard shapers to filmmakers, Byron is a hive of creativity and craftsmanship. It’s a privilege to live in a place like this, and we feel that the best way to ensure Byron stays that way is to support our community of artists and craftsman wherever possible. So, choosing to work with a local surfboard shaper was an easy decision, but we totally hit the jackpot with Simon. He literally walked in the door! And he has become a great friend and someone we really adore and admire. Si, his wife Bess and their amazing kids Tahiti and Dash are hands down our favourite family in Byron! They are just beautiful, beautiful people and we feel really lucky to have them in our lives. Relationships like that are priceless- and one of the serendipitous benefits of doing business face to face.

Plus, every week is a surprise, and it’s fun to see what Simon comes up with. In a world of mass production, there is something so special about having a one of a kind board. We love Simon’s boards so much that Loren and I actually both ended up surprising each other with new boards for Christmas this year. Poor Simon was running around on Christmas Eve on two clandestine missions, delivering boards to each of us, all while keeping it a secret from the other! When we realised what we’d done on Christmas morning, it was hilarious. So classic.

Si is a great dude, and so easy to work with. But the proof is in the pudding and his boards are brilliant. He is so passionate, not only about the materials and the mechanics of how the board rides, but also about the aesthetics. That dedication and passion really shines through in terms of the quality and artistry of each surfboard. One of our favourite things that Simon does is to include a handwritten note with each board. It tells a story about the board- the inspiration, the materials, or the best conditions for riding it. In the age of email and the anonymity of mass production, it’s kind of dreamy to have a handwritten note from the guy who shaped your surfboard.”

Simon has lived in and around Byron Bay since he was in high school, and as his gorgeous daughter Tahiti and my son Morgan were born around the same time. I am assuming we are around the same age, so Simon, I am keeping that a secret for both of us. Simon has continued his path of being a passionate and talented surfboard shaper it is his craft. He has one greater passion, which he call’s his “Almighty passion” and that is his family. And they absolutely adore him, as I could see from all the notes from them in his shed.

There is one thing that Simon refuses to divulge, that is his favourite surfing spot but he did share this with me –

“Dream until you can dream no more” so as to avoid complacency.