Observations Part IV: Jack Freestone
From the Stab 2013/2014 Big Book: Jack Freestone lives! Stab examines his lifelines. Story by Elliot Struck | Photos by Kane Skennar Mr Jack Freestone is 21 and totally alive. Here, Stab will detail the pillars of Jack’s life, the things that make him Jack. Mitch Crews, who’s been a close friend of Jack’s for eight […]
From the Stab 2013/2014 Big Book: Jack Freestone lives! Stab examines his lifelines.
Story by Elliot Struck | Photos by Kane Skennar
Mr Jack Freestone is 21 and totally alive. Here, Stab will detail the pillars of Jack’s life, the things that make him Jack. Mitch Crews, who’s been a close friend of Jack’s for eight years, knows Jack better than most.
“All he did was love surfing and he was the nicest little kid you could imagine,” recalls Mitch of his first impressions. Being that Mitch is two years older than Jack, he feels that Jack has come to be like a younger brother in many ways.
Here, Mitch provides us with an insider’s snapshot of Jack right now. He tells us the things that Jack would never tell us about himself…
Jack is a wonderfully good surfer. He has won a junior world championship. Twice. Once in 2010 and once in 2012. The second time around he did it so blisteringly with perfect heat totals and confidence and never-done-in-competition grab combinations. When he is not in a jersey, Jack does big big big aerials into the Duranbah wind and he lands on the flattest part of the wave and because he is so strong, he does not break. He has long arms and Kolohe Andino, who knows a lot about grabs, says that because Jack has such a large wingspan, he can perform better grabs. And the grabs Jack does are not vanilla, nor are they even chocolate. They are neapolitan. He does frontside spins that are grabbed slob and stale. He does alley-oops that are grabbed heelside. He reaches out and grabs so well with his long arms, and does not falter. So limber! Mitch tells us: “The way he rotates in the air, and tweaks his board, and lands so loosely, he’s so flexible in his hips. He lands stuff so easy. I have no clue how he lands some of the things he does. He’s just naturally flexible.”
Jack feels waves. “What goes through my head as I’m standing up to surf a wave?” says Jack, with characteristic upwards inflection. “If I get a wave, I’ll just do whatever the wave allows me to. That’s what I do every time. I’m not gonna go out there and think, ‘I have to do snap, snap to a reverse.’ If the wave’s there and it lets me do something, I’m just gonna do that. And whatever I’m feeling I’ll just do that. That’s how I see it. Whatever I feel, I just do.”
What kind of friend is Jack Freestone? “He’ll never kick up a stink or have a whinge and get all shitty,” says Mitch Crews. “He’s pretty introverted. He holds his thoughts close to himself. Y’know those best mates that you tell anything? Jack isn’t like that, he never shares his feelings. But I talk my ass off and he’s a really good listener and more importantly he’s a really good secret-keeper. That makes him a good friend. He’s really gentle and kind.”
In a world where his contemporaries are inspired by skaters and snowboarders, Jack knows, loves and observes only one thing: Surfing. He is pure. “I draw my inspiration from surfers,” he says. “I’ll see them do something and I’ll try and do the same thing but just a little bit different. Like, in my own way.”
Mitch believes that it is Jack’s pureness that has given his career wings. “Jack burst onto the scene and the reason why is because he just fucking loves surfing so much. That’s it. He surfs his brains out and always has. Everyone’s seen so much of Jack now, but I think there’s a lot more left to see of him. He’s a full-on surf frother. It’s his life. Other surfers sometimes have other stuff going on. Me, I like getting coffees and talking shit. But for Jack, surfing is everything.”
Jack is Hollywood handsome. He is movie poster handsome and he is superhero handsome. It’s the jaw, sometimes pulled up to a sloped grin but mostly locked tight beneath piercing eyes the colour of a resort pool. And that hair. Blond in the way only salt water can make hair. Thick, but receptive to a comb, and most especially when pushed back. Like a Hollywood movie star. He is every bit of six-feet-and-one-inch tall and has long, strong arms. Mitch remembers a night out in Surfer’s Paradise after Jack had won his first World Junior Title. “We came home all stoked, had heaps of money and were just like, ‘Let’s go up to Surfer’s and get chicks!’ These two young, obnoxious kids with money. We met up with this group and, obviously girls throw themselves at Jack ‘cause he’s all tall and good looking, but he never cares that much for them. He always talks himself down. He was saying to me, ‘They’re frothing on you man, they’re frothing on you!’ And I was going, ‘Nah, they all like you mate.’ He kept telling me otherwise but sure enough, they all loved Jack.”
Jack is the lover of Alana Blanchard whose name you have certainly heard. They became close in Hawaii and they do such fun things together. They ride bikes and they dress up and they have romantic dinners and Jack carries Alana on his back and they have so much fun. Mitch believes it is Jack’s first love. “They’re both simplistic in what they want in life, they’re super chilled and they don’t get bothered by a whole lot,” he says. “They just do what makes them happy. That’s why they’re so good for each other.”
Jack lives and breathes a complex positivity. “When he was young, I remember him being the most frothing little grom,” recalls Mitch “Always happy and positive, never negative. He’s still the same. He’ll never kick up a stink or have a whinge and get all shitty all day long. He’s pretty introverted. He holds his thoughts close to himself. Y’know those best mates that you tell anything? Jack isn’t like that, he never shares his feelings. But I talk my ass off and he’s a really good listener and more importantly he’s a really good secret-keeper. That makes him a good friend. I think he’s a real softy. He’s really gentle and kind. I’m sure you could piss him off, but I’ve never seen him too pissed off to the point where he’d fight someone. He just shrugs it off and goes, ‘Ah, fuck that guy.’ And just moves on. He just goes with the flow and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him. Right now he’s really family-orientated, close with his mum and wanting to look after his family. That’s a good indication of his character – he never imposes on anyone. Jack just lives.”
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