What does the ocean mean to you?
I grew up in the ocean basically for almost 10 years, so it’s in my blood. It’s funny, when you live in a big city you almost forget how you actually need to spend time there until you have it again, it’s so restorative.
What feelings does surf bring out in you?
Surfing just has that complete sense of freedom, and socially it can be great, it’s a real equalizer. It also has a very spiritual edge to it. The ocean is one of those really powerful things for me. It can make me feel calm, nervous and pull out so many responses in me. Wolfgang Tillmans did this big exhibition at the Tate and the last room was this enormous photo of this really stormy ocean and I remember standing in front of that feeling deeply uncomfortable. I couldn’t work out why it was both uncomfortable and familiar at the same time.
My mother told me that when we used to live in Africa they had this friend who lived in Central Africa who had never seen the sea before, and when he saw it he apparently stood in front of it for two hours with tears rolling down his cheeks. I remember thinking “Wow, can you imagine seeing the ocean for the first time? That’s unfathomable, it’s so vast.”