Mitch Crews a few moons ago. Photo by David Troyer
Now...This: Mitch Crews' Favourite Surfers, Best Beers, And The State Of Social Media
A soon to be weekly set of questions asked to surfers who return my calls.
Surfing interviews are often more of the same regardless of the interviewee. So why not just make them exactly the fucking same?
Stab have flirted, and before I worked here, succeeded with the delivery of structured interviews which are divvied out to differing surfers every other week. Now, we're reviving that idea with a handful of mostly pre-curated questions: some of which are relevant to the times – pools, social media – others are just the sort of standard questions we love to ask people who get paid to surf – their favourite surfers, up and comers, beer.
This week, to kick things off, I dialled up Mitch Crews. A surfer who is always candid on a line with me and he also doesn't screen my calls which helps with an interview. In addition, despite being off the CT for a number of years now, Crewsy, is working his way back up the rankings on the qualifying scene. It's not like he considers the QS a grind anyway, actually, he'd describe it in the following way, "It's not a grind at all, it's the sickest ever, it's unreal, you're basically on holidays really." I know this because that was his response when I asked him about his latest stint in Europe for the QS a few weeks back.
Anyway, back to the premise of this piece. After a big night for the both of us, I asked Crews a number of Q's ranging from his favourite surfer right now, to his favourite brew, the state of social media, and then what he thought about wavepools. They might be a little cliche, but hey, I promise to come up with a better list of questions for next Sunday.
That's right, this segment will now be coming to you weekly. As a temporary title I've coined this segment 'Now... This' – which I ripped straight from a Neil Postman book about the lack of segues and context in modern media – but that will likely change as the weeks go on. If you're unhappy with the questions, feel free to berate me in the comment section below, hell, if you're funny and come up with a better alternative the powers that be may even give you my job.
Here's that structured chat with Mitch Crews, who is currently 29 and resides on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Mitch celebrating his second place finish in Portugal, Azores to be precise, a few week ago.
Who is your favourite surfer right now?
Like all time, or just right now.
Who psychs you up?
I've been going back down a strange Dane Reynolds path lately. Watching all his old Vimeo and Youtube clips. He's obviously not as active as he used to be, but going back and watching his surfing is stoking me out so much right now. There hasn't been anyone producing content – like he did – at the moment. So I've got to say Dane.
But if it was all time I've gotta say Mick [laughs].
Alright, what about the women?
Umm, I'm going to say Lakey. She is really ripping at the moment. I would love to see her win a World Title. Steph is the queen of course, but she can't have the glory all the time [laughs].
Also have to mention Caroline Marks. Sorry, guess that isn't really one favourite.
The Big Wave World Tour, for starts, do you watch it?
No, I don't actually. I watch Jaws, everyone does, but other than that I don't tune in – I don't even know when there's an event on.
I don't think it doesn't work watching it, but I think [the format] needs some revision. It's great to watch of course – like Jaws is just a big fucking send off – but it just doesn't entice me as much as the normal CT.
I would ask who you're betting for the title this year, but it'll be Gabs who wins, so who do you think will win next year?
I want to say... ah fuck, actually Gabby is just so gnarly I think he could win for the next three years. He's so beyond anyone else on there right now. The only guy on the same level is John John. Even then Gabby's small wave game is fucked up. You can't fault him.
I'd love to see Julian or someone win, but at the moment it's hard to see anyone beating Gabby, Italo, or Filipe. They're too gnarly.
As a darkhorse though I really think Kanoa is sick. I couldn't really imagine him winning a title, but he'll be up there.
Favourite surf film maker?
I love everything Kai has made and he's kind of set the trends of late as far as surf cinematography goes. There isn't really anyone who's done anything all that original since Kai's most known films.
I do love Dylan Roberts movies though. I'm a little biased cause he's a good friend [laughs], but always been a huge fucking fan of Dyl, his filming style and the edits he's put together.
What is your favourite clip, film, whatever from this year?
I really loved Ando's clip [The Quieter You Are The More You Can Hear, edited by Kai Neville, shot by Dav Fox]. It's one of the only films that have stood out to me this year. It was a breath of fresh air into the surf media world at that moment. There's just so much bullshit out there on the net, and for me, it was refreshing to watch a beautiful surf movie.
The soundtrack, the shots, the editing, it was so sick.
Another would be Chun's [Shaun Manners] clip, that was sick.
I'm enjoying them, they're cool, but I still don't think they're right for the CT. In all honesty the Surf Ranch Pro, hmmm, I don't think it should be on the tour yet. The waves are sick, but they're not perfected and just don't translate well on the CT.
In saying that, I surfed the Wavegarden one [in Europe] recently and had the sickest time on that. The one in Melbourne is opening up really soon too and I'm also psyched on that. I am really psyched to be a part of the generation that is experiencing that shift and the beginning of wavepools. In 10 to 20 years time they'll be everywhere, and it's nice to see it all unfolding and assessing how it'll impact surfing.
So you like them, you just don't like the comps?
Well, I think Stab High is fucking sick and those types of events. I think those specialty events that aren't normal comp formats are sick, I just don't think they should be determining World Titles, that shit should be in the ocean.
It's a weird one. It's pretty torched, I can't stand the fact that we spend so many of our hours scrolling on social media. If I worked a normal 9 - 5 job I'd just delete the shit. You just spend hours on it frying your brain, getting caught up in all these things happening around the world and meanwhile you're just caught up in this digital abyss of non-sense, mostly irrelevant content.
Now it's the ultimate marketing tool for surfers and brands too. Brands recognise you need to use your social media to market yourself, and for brands it's also public data on who is marketable and who's popular at the moment. It's pretty crazy to see the impact it's had, just on the surf industry alone.
Most of the best surf clips you see are posted to social media instantly, but that's just the way things evolve.
It feels a little shitty at times, but it's already happened and it doesn't look like there's much turning back. It's a part of our lives, and for surfers it's often a part of their jobs.
Next up and coming surfer who is under 18?
Jai Glindeman. He's the fucking man. He was in that Stab Innocents thing you guys did too. He's gonna be the best next guy from Aus, that's what I'm calling anyway.
Favourite album, or I don't know, band, artist? I guess no one listens to albums front to back with streaming.
I've been smashing Jamie xx for a while. Just going through all his albums and just had him on rotation of late.
Favourite band would be like Foals, pretty into Cloud Nothings too. In general though I'm always streaming new shit and saving it and then moving onto something else straight away.
Last but not least. All time favourite beer?
I kind of have two categories though.
You're gonna say a mango aren't you...
Yeah got to say XXXX Gold... it's kind of like a part of me. You can drink a million of them and not be hung and it's too iconic not to say. But, I've been dipping my toe into craft beers a little too. I'm kinda loving this Single Fin Summer Ale, but I can't go past XXXX overall.