22 Aug 2014


Let's talk about Otis. After our trip to Bali at the end of last year, I was driving in the car with my boyfriend and he was reading about Otis Carey in Waves Magazine. The whole surfing culture is very new to me (to the point where my boyfriend had to explain to me in detail what "swell" was...yeah). But keen to learn and abandon my kook-ass ways, I asked about Otis and my boyfriend read to me an excerpt.  From the excerpt, I understood Otis Carey was an indigenous Australian free-surfer, who dressed like a boss, surfed like a boss and had his own original type of surfboard, the Mermaid Killer. As my boyfriend read on, I was really moved by what I heard and wanted to speak to Otis myself.  A (extremely bizarre) long story short, we met by chance and had a few beers in Thirroul one night and I subsequently got to know a lot more about Otis Carey. I hope you enjoy this little insight into Otis' world...

B&B: Let's start with the Mermaid Killer. For those who don't already know, what is it, and what makes it awesome? 
OC: Well, I've been surfing for about 20 years now and I've always been interested in smaller boards and weird shapes.  So about a year ago my shaper, Dave Howell, and myself started experimenting with a few different shapes which, in the end, we ended up with the Mermaid Killer. The Mermaid Killer is a small surfboard shaped in a way that not many other surfboards are shaped.  It's very small and very narrow.  I guess it's just such a rad board because of the shape. Here is a link where you can watch how it surfs http://vimeo.com/81686178.

B&B: The best thing about free surfing?
OC: The best thing about free surfing is the freedom of doing whatever you want.  There's no criteria on what I have to do when I go surfing, I get to be who I want to be and express myself as freely as I want. I'm fortunate enough that I don't have to slog away at competitions. Another good thing about free surfing is that I get to spend a lot of time with family.

B&B: Where's your favourite spot to surf?
OC: I feel so free in the ocean I love surfing wherever I'm surfing.  In saying that, I do feel most connected to the ocean when I'm surfing back in my home town of Coffs Harbour. Another special place that I like to go to and surf is Black Rock.

B&B: Any hot tips for budding young surfers trying to make a career out of it?
OC: No matter how hard you try you'll never get to where you want to be in life if your not enjoying every moment of it. It's not an easy thing to make a career out of surfing, but as long as you enjoy it to the fullest and stay positive you'll eventually get there. And, eat your vegetables.

B&B: When you're not in the water, what are you wearing?
OC: I mainly wear clothes...(laughs). I dunno. I've been digging wearing all black lately and just changing up my shoe colours.

B&B: Favourite Australian label(s) or store(s)?
OC: It's been so long since I actually went shopping for clothes. I'd have to say my favourite store to shop in would be Half Sleeve in the city. I don't have a favourite Australian label but Stolen Girlfriends Club from New Zealand would be my favourite label. Plus, those guys are the raddest humans ever.

B&B: How did you come to model for Chic Management? Is that something you'd like to focus on more?
OC: A few years ago I went into the Chic office to meet everyone and it went from there. It's definitely something I'd like to focus more on - I enjoy doing it.  It's easy and you get paid very well.  And no, I don't live off cheese and lettuce.  My diet is beer and surfing.

B&B: Your artwork has a very raw, almost tattoo-inspired aesthetic. How do you come up with the subject matter?
OC: I just draw what I see in my head. I dunno, for me it's more of an expression on land. I just enjoy creating things. A lot of my stuff is inspired by music, friends or my surroundings.

B&B: Something not a lot of people would know about you?
OC: Before pursuing surfing, I wanted to design jewellery. And I really, really, really want to learn how to play the piano.

B&B: What is the story behind your chest tattoo?
OC: My chest tattoo of three horse heads represents my 2 brothers and my sister.  I also get a sense of feeling grounded from it.

B&B: One of your icons?
OC: Oscar Billy Wright

B&B: Describe your ideal weekend away. 
OC: Staying in cabins on a river with family and the beach that's over the hill is pumping. With the fridge full of fruit, beer, meat for the barbeque and cheesecake. Haaaawwwwwwwww.

B&B: You've fronted a few magazines, modelled, created some kickass art, surfed and starred in your own movie, just to name a few. What has been one of your biggest career highlights so far?
OC: I'd say it's all a highlight. Everything I've accomplished is a highlight for me.

B&B: Greatest lesson you've learnt?
OC: I grew up with parents that always said to me, ''as long as your happy, we are happy''. So for me that was the biggest lesson I've learnt and probably the biggest lesson I'll ever learn. Be yourself and do what makes you happy.

Images via Jason Ierace, Dolores Lavin Management and Stab Magazine 


Caetera said...

When it's supposed to happen, life make it happen. Nice portrait and interview. And what a handsome man !


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