Jerome Forrest Is The Everyman Who Surfs Better Than Just About Every Other Man - Stab Mag

Jerome Forrest Is The Everyman Who Surfs Better Than Just About Every Other Man

He also got very barrelled this year in Western Australia.

cinema // Dec 11, 2020
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are a lot of good surfers in Australia.

Sounds obvious, but travel just about anywhere else in the world and you’re likely to find surfing alphas whose abilities are laughable compared to hundreds, if not thousands of chippies, plumbers, and sparkies in the Lucky Country. Among these blue-collar shredders (like any collective) there’s the cream, and southwest Australian roof plumber Jerome Forrest is part of the top layer of those not paid to surf in this country.

Jerome had just finished one job and was on his way to another when I called, but he sounded chipper. After a good start to spring in the southwest, it’s turned typically flat, so he could work free of the fear of missing waves. Not that it sounds (or looks, judging from the cinematic offering up top) that he misses many swells. “My boss surfs and understands the anxiety that comes with missing waves,” Jerome tells me. “At the beginning of the week, we’ll pick the best days and plan around it. We’ll both get up for the early, or if it looks like it’s going to be a Northies arvo, then we’ll smash it out in the morning and then duck out.”

Jerome says that this year has been “good, but not epic” in the west, which judging by his clip, leads us to conclude that they just have some really, really good waves over there. Sure we’ve got slabs, points, wedges and epic beachies on the east coast. But there’s not a wave as good as North Point, or as drawn out and challenging as the most serious of the lefts in the northwest. “During autumn and winter they wouldn’t even let crew from Perth come down,” Jerome says. “We were loving it, getting waves at home with no one around. And then the WA restrictions eased and we could go north—I boosted up for the first swell.”

Along with quality waves, West Oz is also rife with quality filmers. Time is money when it comes to shooting surfing, and the way it generally works is that a filmer’s paid a day rate (usually a pretty good one) by the sponsors of the surfers they’re being paid to film. Which for people like Jerome (whose surfing is certainly worth watching) is problematic. However, having mates like local world-class cinematographer Tom Jennings has its perks. Namely, the quality of the clip up the top of this page. “I’m super lucky having a such good variety of filmers around here,” Jerome says. “They’re often working with Jack (Robinson) or Jacob (Willcox), and we’re all mates. Obviously I don’t get paid to surf, but they help me out with clips. If I’m there I get shot.”

Like scores of talented surfers worldwide, Jerome spent numerous years plying his trade on the QS. However, contrary to the usual, demoralising rhetoric of the “pro” surfer turned tradie/surf school operator etc., Jerome seems wholly content with the situation he’s currently in, and the future looks like, well, more of the same. “I’m pretty content hanging at home,” he says looking forward. “I did the QS for four years and travelled heaps but now I’m loving my lifestyle down here. I’m setting my car up for up north—roof tent and all the works—and that’ll be me for the next five years, or as long as I can still throw myself over the ledge.”

Work enough, go camping, get barrelled. Hard to argue with that five-year plan.


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