Stab Magazine | This Has Nothing To Do With Dion Agius' Surfing
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This Has Nothing To Do With Dion Agius’ Surfing

“Culture Shifters” a House Beer x Stab joint. 

cinema // Jun 1, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dion Agius will tell you his success is a happy accident. It’s not. In surfing, original thinkers shine bright and Dion’s a man who has shifted status quo and created a climate for surfers turned entrepreneurs. Last night, at House Beer’s headquarters in Venice we premiered our second instalment of Culture Shifters, followed by Dion’s latest film, The Smiling Bag. We flew Dion out, with is black beanie carry on, drank ice cold House Beer from the tap and discussed the progression of his career, starting with the culture shifting idea of the surf blog: Globe.tv/Dion. “I’d been competing, spending all my money to travel, surf one heat and get knocked out,” he told Stab. “Around that time I signed with Globe and my buddy Beren (Hall) started semi-managing me. He did a trip overseas, came back and was like I don’t have a job. So I gave him my Handycam, we went down to the beach, filmed one session, met with the president of Globe Australia and pitched him on this video series. We were like, ‘okay so we’re going to travel around the world and make this amazing series.’ And they said, ‘yeah, sweet do it.’ We couldn’t believe what we’d gotten away when we walked out of there, thinking ‘fuck, now we actually have to make something that they’re going to be psyched on.’ I was basically given the green light to do my favourite thing in the world. Which in turn taught me to take free surfing and figure out how to make it more valuable to my sponsors. I’ve always looked at my surf career as a business.”

In 2017, we’re all familiar with the surfer owned brand. But, before the budding clothing and traction pad companies, Dion helped found Epokhe. “I think the entrepreneurial thing was always been ingrained from my dad,” he said. “He had his own business and from that, I always wanted to be my own boss. So when the idea for Epokhe came about I thought, ‘fuck yeah, I want to start a brand.’ That was until I started doing it and realised I didn’t know how to run a brand, do business, open a spreadsheet or write one. I was like, ‘I’ll just draw sunglasses on a napkin and they’ll magically appear and all my friends will want to wear them.’ So that was a rude awakening,” he laughed. 

In a world where play counts are currency. Dion sees the flaws in the disconnection. So, while the web’s washed out with anything ranging from one to 20-minute just-for-web edits, he made a film and asked people to email him for it. “Personal interactions, I think hold more value than the internet. In the last five years we’ve become so focused on views. Like with Globe we aim for 100 thousand views, but I don’t even know what 100 thousand people look like, but that’s become the norm. That’s psycho. With the Smiling Bag I gave out my personal email online and people had to email me to get the movie. I replied to each personally because I wanted it to feel more real. People would respond and open up to me, tell me about their life or their depression and we’d go back and forth. I kind of underestimated how many people would contact me, but I know that five thousand have watched it and I’ve talked to all of them. To me, that’s way more valuable than 100 thousand views on a Vimeo page.” The internet ruins everything around us. 

This series with House Beer focuses on surfers with extracurricular activities that have stirred the norm. Dion is the only pro surfer who will be presented in this series, but his work in and outside of the water embody the title.

Check out episode one with the creator director of Facebook, Scott Trattner right here.

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