photos & interview / tom carey

Noa Deane might currently be the most publicized surfer of modern times. His whirlwind of a career and loose attitude has landed him in hot water on more than one occasion but what’s undeniable is his ability to grab, and hold, people’s attention. Whether it’s his uncanny ability to ride a surfboard like he’s at a skatepark, his nonchalant attitude or the fact that he absolutely rips the guitar, there’s no denying that Noa is here to stay. We first met Noa more than half a decade ago, on a trip to Australia, around a campfire in Byron Bay. As I walked up to the group of groms who were drinking beers and talking shit my brother mumbled under his breathe, “You know who that is?” After a blank stare he then said, “Don’t worry, you will.” That was my intro to Noa Deane, before his Surfer’s Journal cover and before many knew who Noa Deane was across the pond. Now a full-fledged surf super star, we asked Tom Carey to track him down and pick his brain about where life has brought him since then.

– joey marshall

Tell us about growing up on the Goldie, what was it like growing up there?
I grew up at Snapper pretty much. And I just surfed a shitload as a grommet and went to school and that was pretty much all I did. I was pretty young. My dad got me into it and I just loved it so much and I then I guess I just kind of fired it up, you know.

When did you start going to comps?
I think I did my first ones when I was like 10 or 11? I think it was the Occy Grom Comp I did. I did club comps before that but I think my first proper comp was Occy’s Grom Comp.

Where you in a boardriders club?
Ya, I’m in Snapper.

And you’re still in that?
Ya. I haven’t been to a club round in a while, but ya.

Do you believe that help your surfing a lot when you’re a grom? Growing up in one of those clubs and of all the legends that are involved in it?
Ya, I think definitely. Every comp that we had or where the boys were around the comp, like Joel or Dean, which was pretty sick when you were a grom, like 12 years old. That was pretty fucking sick. At the end of the year there’s a big comp where everyone got to surf verse each other. And I think that was a really good one that pushed everyone. It would be pretty cool to surf a heat against someone like Joel or Deano, when you’re like 12, you know?

Would you come out of the water and drink a few beers with those guys as a grom?
Ya, haha, ya. It was actually Jim Beam though when we were like 16 or something because the club was sponsored by Jim Beam, I think. It was pretty fucking heavy.

When did you start skateboarding?
I started pretty young I think. But I kind of did the same thing I did with the guitar I think. I started and then stopped and kind of picked it back up when I was 16 or something. Me and my friend Sam were bored because the waves were so shit in the summer at that time and we just said, “fuck it” and fired skateboarding back up and just got really into it. And I kind of just haven’t stopped.

Who are your favorite skaters?
I think Brian Herman is my favorite of all time. He’s so sick. I just love Baker 3 and watching Andrew Reynolds and Dollin (Dustin) and those guys are just so psycho. And Jim Grecco as well. And now Ishod Wair has been skating so good. Also, the Aussie dudes like Jackson Pilz are sick to watch. There’s just so many good dudes to watch now.

Are you psyched to hang around those Volcom skaters like Jackson and Dollin when they’re around?
They’re all so sick. All so nice.

You get star struck around those guys?
Ya, literally. Dollin definitely. I’ve looked up to him for ages. He’s such a fucking legend. And he’s just so nice though. It seems like you’d get star struck around him and then you meet him and he’s just so nice and you meet him and you don’t really think about it. You’re just so psyched to hang out with him. Kind of like Ozzie (Wright). You’re like, “What the fuck.” Ozzie’s just the biggest legend.

How was it living with Ozzie and being on the team with him?
It was pretty fucking funny, eh. Like we’d just hang out in his garage and talk shit and go for a surf and I’d just watch him do art or we’d just jam. It was pretty fucking cool, eh?

Has he helped you musically and/or artistically?
Ya, I think so for sure. I think for the most part if you’re unsure about something, Ozzie will back you up and make you do it. He’ll tell you you should do it and not be a pussy about everything. Or not even being a pussy. But do stuff and not be too judgmental about things. It’s your life and everyone’s going to like it or it doesn’t matter if they don’t. You know what I mean? He’s just so positive and not in a bad way. He’s not all weird about it. He just wants to fire shit up. Which is just the best person to have around. Which makes everyone else just want to fire up as well.

He found the fountain of youth somehow. I don’t know how but he did. It’s pretty crazy.
Ya, he’s insane, huh?

What’s some of the music you’re listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to heaps of Sonic Youth right now. And heaps of Dinosaur Jr. and some Jesus and Mary Chain as well. Kind of just those two right now. But heaps of it. They’re so sick. Dinosaur Jr. is so sick.

How much do they influence your band?
I’d say a fair bit. Cuz I think it’s just real guitar heavy stuff, you know? There’s a lot of guitar in there and I think that’s what mine is like too, you know? A lot of guitar going on in there.

How hard is it to listen to that stuff and then try to make your own riff without ripping someone off?
You have to write for a while before you do anything. Before you put anything out. I’ve been writing songs for a while but I haven’t put anything out in a while. Cuz I’d do them and listen for a while and then say, “Ah that’s fucked,” or, “That’s similar to something else.” And after a while you kind of start to get your own zone going. But obviously it’s going to be similar to something, there’s not much room to work anymore.

Ya, everything is going to sound like something nowadays.
Ya, whoever wants it to sound like something, they’ll find something that sounds like it, you know what I mean? Ya, some people will say, “Oh that sounds like that.” It will be the most random song.

How’s your band doing?
I got a new album coming out. Or I think its coming out. Its called “Bouncy Ball.” It’s kind of weird trying to put it out on your own. I was just about to ask Droid (Andrew Doheny) how he did it. Because I wanted to get it on my Spotify and not just BandCamp.

Have you ever been booed off stage before?
No, I don’t think I’ve ever been booed off before but that would be sick. A couple of times I’ve played too loud and made peoples ears bleed and it just fucks them up. And I don’t think they were too stoked. Which is pretty good.

What are some of your favorite songs to cover?
Um… I like Jesus and Mary Chain, “Head On.” That’s my favorite one to cover. And I’ve only done it with Droid a couple of times but “The Pash.” I can’t remember who it’s by, but it’s on Doped Youth (surf flick by Ozzie Wright) and I’ve only ever played it with Droid but it’s a cool one to cover. I’ve maybe covered a Melvins song a couple of times.

Which one? “Night Goat?”
Ya, “Night Goat.”

Sick. That’s my favorite song. Who’s your biggest influences musically?
I like obviously Thurston Moore and J Mascis because they’re just the sickest guitarists. And I like heaps of other people too. I like Hanneman (Jeff Hanneman of Slayer) just because he has badass riffs. Like real badass. I like heaps of other people too.

Fuck ya. I love Hanneman. Evil.
Ya, so gnarly but his riffs are punk-like too, which is sick. And I really like the way Droid plays as well. He’s definitely one of my biggest influences as well. He’s so good.

Did you go out to the East Coast and play together?
Ya, but we didn’t practice at all, which sucked. We played like three of his songs and four of mine. I don’t know.

Were people psyched on the East Coast to see you play?
There was one show were only two people showed up to hear us play. And they sat in these big lawn chairs next to a cooler and they just sat there and listened to us play and drank the whole time. It was so funny. It was actually so sick. It was so hot out there and they probably hated us but they had their beer so they were so stoked. And then Droid played “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton and they were so stoked on him.

So what are you working on right now?
I’m working on clips for my new clothing range coming out next year. I think it’s called “Noa’s Noise.” Ya, I’m just trying to make a super clip-heavy release for it.

Where have you been filming?
So far I’ve only filmed near home at the points and at Tallons. And I’m hoping to go to West Oz or Indo to get some slabs. So far it’s just been airs and turns.

What was your first year on Volcom like?
So sick. It was fucking so crazy hanging out with all of the boys. It was like I was a on a proper team now with Balaram, Coleborn, Ozzie and the couple of trips I did with them. And the Euro trip I did was fucked up. Even what we do with you Tom, and Richie is so fun. Getting the whole team vibe.

So your dad still shapes?

Does he make you boards still?
Ya, I’m trying to get him to make me more. They go sick. He does really good big wave boards. Like semi-guns and stuff.

Can you critique your pops?
Ya, he’s sweet. I just don’t think he can be fucked shaping 50 boards a year for me. He handshapes them and glasses them himself too. I kind of just get boards that are gonna last from him. He made me a couple concave deck boards and some bigger short boards that go pretty good. So it’s pretty sick to get boards from your dad. When I was a grom he was making me so many.

Do you think that helped your surfing as a kid to have your dad shaping your boards?
For sure it did. Having an understanding of your boards as a kid let me know how to talk to other shapers growing up and knowing what to ask them and what to tell them to change in a board.

Have you shaped your own board yet?
Ya I’ve shaped heaps. Maybe like 20 already.

How’d they work?
A few of them work but most are complete plugs.

Would they work though for the average surfer? Are you being hard on yourself?
Maybe, but I reckon a couple wouldn’t work for anyone. But the last one I shaped went all right. I kind of like it.

What was it?
It was a 6’3” with a rounded tail, heaps of rocker and pretty thin. And it was kind of a longer board for surfing points. And it actually goes pretty good. Kind of a cool hand shape.

What would you name your surfboard company? You know, like Merrick is Channel Islands and Biolos is Mayhem.
Actually, I kind of have a name with my dad already. It’s Snapper Rocks Surfboards. Ahahahaha. That’s too good, huh? Pretty fucking funny.

That’s unreal. Hahaha.
Ya, it’s pretty mental and the logo is kind of sick too. Ya, it’s some huge logo. It’s pretty torched. I’ll shape you a craft. Haha.

Let’s talk about Hawaii, are you cool to go back there? [Google Noa Deane 2014 Surfer Poll Awards]
Ya, I didn’t wait to come back. And everyone was stoked that I came back and faced the music. After a year or so everyone seemed to forget about it.

So you didn’t catch any beatings over it?

If you had said that stuff anywhere but Hawaii nothing would have happened.
Ya but I get it. There were little kids around and I was swearing on TV and shit. Ya, the Hawaiian people were pissed.

It seemed pretty spot on as well. You were making a movie with all free surfers and this was at the Surfer Poll Awards.
Ya, I think people thought I actually thought about it beforehand and stuff. I just thought it was pretty funny. The whole thing looked like a football event or something.

And it has, the broadcasts looks like a boxing match with the photos of the surfers facing off with no shirts on, flexing and shit. It looks so funny to me. Like John John versus Medina in the heavyweight division.
Totally. Ya, it’s pretty crazy huh!

Are you gonna get the wildcard into the Volcom Pipe Pro?
Ya, possibly. I’m psyched I guess. I don’t know how to surf comps very well but I’m looking forward to getting a good one at Backdoor hopefully.

How hard is it to get a wave out there by yourself?
It’s so hard. Only wave I’ve gotten out there is when it was like closed out Off The Wall or waiting for a small one when it’s maxed out. Or a day when it’s usually only Pipe and a random right comes in, you know? Otherwise it’s impossible to get a wave. It’s crazy. And if you catch a wave you can paddle like ten feet and get right back out in a minute. People that surf it good deserve credit.

Are you scared it might be really big for your heat?
And it be 100-foot? Ya, for sure. Who wouldn’t be? I think I ordered some Tokoros and shit. Hopefully Wade can help me out. I got some 7’0’s and shit.

What are you going to say in your post heat interview? I love the WSL?
Ya, totally. Haha. I think I’m gonna say what everyone else says. “Ya, I got lucky on a couple…” and just say something like that. Because fuck making any work for yourself these days.

I know you’re making a new “Rage” movie. How’s owning your own traction pad company? You guys doing good? Making some money?
We’ve paid off what we’ve put into it if that’s what you mean by making money. We can make some super weird shit now and no one can tell us not to. But I’m sure no one will buy it though. Haha.

Ok, let’s wrap this up. If you had to pick one song to describe yourself, what would it be? Like mine would be “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic. What would yours be?
I don’t know? Maybe the Titanic song?

I will always love you? Hahaha.
Ya, the one by Celine Dion. I guess that one. It’s pretty good. Hahaha.

What about one movie to describe your life? Mine would be like “Revenge of the Nerds,” for instance.
What about Repo Man?

Ya, that’s a good one. That’s perfect.
Ya, because it describes my life perfectly. It makes no fucking sense. There’s a lot of weird shit going on in that movie. It’s pretty weird. Some day I’ll probably get sucked up to space in a caddie.

What are your goals coming up? What’s up next for you?
I want to get back into more of a routine of making videos you know? For a while there I was on a roll, going on strike missions and getting shit done. There was a lot of shit I was putting out that I was stoked on. And I want to keep that rolling. “Candle” I just put out and I was stoked on it. I just want to put out more stuff like that. Where it’s just surfing and people are stoked!