Andrew Mooney, Cape Fear And One Self-Shaped Craft
“I wasn’t cheering for any waves, really. It was more like, please don’t.”
It’s been a week since surfing’s most dangerous event was held. That freak swell may have finally dwindled, but the highlights reel from the Red Bull Cape Fear Challenge continues to haunt. Craving a deeper read into the psyche of the madmen that ran the brown gauntlet, Stab interviewed one of the only competitors excited by the prospect of surfing on the Monday (having stood around all morning in the icy offshore, preparing himself mentally): Central Coast ledge fanatic, Andrew Mooney.
Stab: Tell me about Monday morning.
Andrew Mooney: Looking at it that morning, I knew holding a contest out there was going to blow people’s minds. That was up until I saw the heat actually running… I think everyone was hesitant to run but just went along with it. It was hard to really judge how hectic it was out there until the heat started. No one wanted to freesurf and we were all nervous about it. But, I guess everyone knew if they weren’t stupid about wave selection, they’d handle it. Then heat one started and it was kinda like, holy shit, it’s bigger and draining way harder than I thought.
Tell me about seeing good pal and fellow-Central Coaster Justin ‘Jughead’ Allport injured in the first heat. Jughead’s always been a madman. It didn’t surprise me. There was the spookiest vibe for the whole heat. I wasn’t cheering for any waves – it was more like, please don’t. Then Jug went into his normal frenzy and it gave me confidence seeing him do his thing. Then I saw him unconscious and I felt ill, instantly. After that, reality set in and I was keen to shut it down. I totally wigged out. In between that heat I went over to Laurie and we spoke about pulling the pin and before we knew it they counted in the next heat. I couldn’t believe they restarted. After that when Laurie, Perth and I were getting ready during the second heat, all I could think was that I felt like I was suiting up to take on a lion in the coliseum, about to get torn apart by it in front of a massive crowd.
“All I could think was that it felt like suiting up to take on a lion in the coliseum, about to get torn apart by it in front of a massive crowd.”
How was your heat, and trying to paddle? My heat felt mellow after watching Monday (Note: Mr Mooney surfed on the Tuesday). When I was paddling I was watching Laurie and Hippo tow and did have a moment where I was like, ok, this is still pretty serious, stay sharp because you can still get in serious shit here. But it was nothing like Monday, so it had a playful edge to it.
It looked wild. I’m just stoked nobody broke their neck. Prior to the event, if I’d seen guys go down the way they were in those first two heats, I’d think they were brown bread. There is consequences to surfing those waves and the odds were right to experience all of those consequences the first day. In a way, it felt like this contest was the gateway to more in these style of waves. Maybe a slab tour? I feel like there would be no shortage of viewers.
You were the only one in the contest riding a self-shaped board? Yeah, to my knowledge I was.
“I’m still buzzing from the contest. I didn’t want my heat to end.”
Tell me about that board. It was a standard shortboard I’ve been doing for a while now. The Hekkaz Tekkaz. I’d just got home from Indo, but if I had more time to prep I would’ve made this model but added heaps of tail rocker. I snapped all my standard length boards (5’10” to 6’0″) while I was there. The one I actually rode in the contest was a custom order shaped for a guy in WA who has a few kilos on me. So it was a lot wider and thicker than I’d planned on riding, which added to my nerves. But it actually felt good. I’m still sending it over after I spoke to him about it. He’s stoked with a free grip and pre-waxing (laughs).
How’s the shaping game going? Really well. Especially considering my only contact and place to see them is through my Instagram until I launch the website. I’m doing all your standard performance stuff and I guess I have a bunch of small wave shapes that are becoming all rounders. My 5’6″s seem to be replacing 6’0″s. I’m pretty obsessed with twin fins so I’ve been exploring the limits of them. Other than that I feel ready to start really experimenting with a few different textures to shed water. I’m sold on the whole ‘rough surface is faster’ theory.
So, what next? I’m just shaping at the moment with the goal of getting Serpent Sleds off the ground in Australia and Indonesia. So building a website and creating content for it will keep me busy. I’m looking for some sponsors to help make some movies. That’s all I really want to do. Make boards, chase swells and make movies with the footage. If I can make it different or inspire something I’ll be happy. I’ll be surfing as much as I can testing and working on new shapes to keep it as interesting as I can.
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