Brendon Gibbens leaves home, but only when he has to. All photos: Alan van Gysen
Watch: Brendon Gibbens in "Homebody"
A ten minute film by Blake Myers starring ZAF's loose limbed stunner. .
This mid-length film is called Homebody but it's not immediately clear why.
In the filming process, South African surfer Brendon Gibbens nailed many clips near the comfort of his home (or at least in his home nation), but he also traveled to the faraway lands of Portugal, Indo, and West Oz to procure different waves and aesthetics.
So perhaps the film could have been titled Vaguely Distant. Or Not Always Home. Rubber Legs Goes Global?
By all accounts, Brendon is adaptable to the ever-shifting conditions of the surfing world – from hot to cold, onshore to off, and from braai to nasi to roo.
We're particularly fond of Brendon's ridiculous leg flex, which allows him to land maneuvers in sometimes obscene positions. Unfortunately for Brendon, sometimes even his cooked-spaghetti ligaments are forced to give, which is how he earned a bum knee in the Stab High warmups.
We chatted with Brendon about his injury, about the struggles of making a personal surf film, and about his deep-rooted love of South Africa.
Brendon is a ardent adherent to the Short-arm and Booties Club.
Stab: You hurt your knee while practicing for Stab High. What can you tell me about that?
Brendon Gibbens: There was only ten minutes left in my first warmup session, and I wanted to put in a real good effort, but unfortunately I tweaked my knee on a left. I bent my back knee inwards with all my body weight, which is a recurring injury from what I did earlier this year. Sucks but, shit happens.
What’s the prognosis?
I have a bit more mobility now than when I was hobbling around in Waco, but I haven’t gotten it checked out yet. Last time it was my meniscus.
Was it tough watching the contest, knowing you were supposed to be in it?
Of course I would have loved to have competed with some of my best friends, but the vibe that Stab and Monster created there was unreal, so regardless of injury I had a great time.
You recently put out this video called “Homebody”, but you actually travel a fair bit in the making of the film. What's the inspiration for that title.
I guess there’s some truth involved in me being a homebody, but it also represents the stark contrast of that with me being a traveling free surfer. I don’t know, making a title is a really painstaking process [laughs].
Why leave when home looks like this?
Do you find it difficult to leave home to go on surf trips?
Mmmm every now and then, yeah. I kinda flip between Cape Town, South Africa and Malibu, California so… yeah, sometimes I do find it difficult. First world problems [laughs].
How long you been working on this film?
I’ve been working on it intermittently for about a year-and-a-half. I injured myself in April last year and was out of the water for just over six months. But I’ve been filming whenever I’m healthy.
Why do you think it takes many guys a year to drop a clip?
I mean, personally I think producing a short film that I’m satisfied with takes around about a year. It’d be great to produce these things faster but for the past few years it’s been one project per year.
I’m also not a huge fan of constantly producing short clips. I’d rather focus on one project and put 110% effort into it and then release it. It’s seems like everyone is craving instant content on social media, but that doesn’t really do it for me. In my opinion it’s not as fulfilling.
No wonder this kid gets hurt every now and again.
What are you up to now?
I’m in New York now, because Dion, Chippa and I are premiering our films tomorrow [last Friday]. Then I’m going to Europe. That really just came about when we were in Texas. It’s a mini premiere party thing.
What are the films?
I know Dion is dropping something Tasmania related and Chippa is dropping a clip. Because me, Dion, and Chippa’s films are all 10 minutes long, it’s awkward to promote a ten minute film because it feels like it’s over before it started. So we figured three films in one evening is more logical than each of us trying do one. And it’s fun.
Is the film premiere where the payoff comes from, after a year-plus of hard work?
Yeah, it’s a good exchange of energy. It’s kind of like a band performing to a live audience, I’d imagine. It’s rewarding playing your own film that you worked hard on and hearing the crowd react, but it kind of sucks if everyone’s quiet.
Who helped you make this film?
Beren Hall is the producer, Blake Myers and I edited the film, and Andrew Schooner, Tom Jennings, Dave Fox and Blake Myers filmed.
Jordy would be proud.
What did you want to achieve with Homebody?
I’m a huge fan of Jordy Smith, and he absolutely tears J-Bay apart. My initial goal was to surf waves like that and try to focus on combos. I actually gave it a shot and failed pretty miserably. I found it’s best to stick to what I know – just doing one maneuver waves or whatever. That’s kinda just my vibe I guess [laughs].
A lot of people from the U.S. and Australia haven’t been to South Africa because it seems so far away, but it looks like an incredible place to visit with its diverse wildlife and three wave-rich coasts. So is it really that good all the time, or are we just seeing peak moments in photos and film?
It really is good all year round. And in all honesty, LAX to Sydney is 15 hours, and JFK to Johannesburg is 16, so it's only one hour’s difference. I really encourage people to visit South Africa. I think they'd enjoy it.
That’s interesting, you don’t mind people visiting and surfing “your waves”… Is that because it’s such a big country with tons of amazing spots, so over-crowding is never an issue?
I mean yeah, outside of the J-Bay and Ballito events, I haven’t experienced too many foreigners coming to surf or “invade for waves” or whatever [laughs]. I think it would be cool for people from other places to come check it out. I may be talking out of turn but yeah, I encourage anyone to come to South Africa and surf.