Surfer's Strange Hobbies: Asher Pacey The Beekeeping Crystal Collector
“I want to dig as much as I want to surf these days [laughs]"
We’ve all got hobbies. For many of us, it’s probably just surfing. For some, it’s surfing, maybe a team sport, and some added stagnant activity like that video game Fortnite. Then there’s those of who know their hobby is a bit more, you know, peculiar.
An activity you wouldn't flick into your Tinder bio. Something which divides an extended family's conversation over Christmas lunch. Perhaps it's collecting coins, hunting animals, or maybe it's something better left for the darker parts of the web's less ventured forums.
Surfer’s are the same. Although surfing doesn’t count as a hobby for them. I’m pretty reluctant to call surfing a sport, but if you’re getting paid, it’s work, and work is the antonym of a hobby. Trust me, I googled it.
In this new series of sorts, we get some of our favourite surfers and hassle them about their most intriguing side projects. Not what they do to make ends meet, but what they fill their leisure time with – permitting it's obscure enough to warrant a catchy title and image.
First up is Asher Pacey. A much loved gent and surfer around the Stab office, but a man who offers more than smoothly drawn lines and windshield wiping floaters. In case you haven’t seen, AP is a beekeeping, crystal collecting fanatic.
Not the sort of choker donning, chino rolling chick who keeps crystals to relieve her life problems, but a true fossil finder who's acquired decades of knowledge and goes bush bashing in undisclosed locations. Before we dig any deeper though – pun obviously intended – let’s catch up on his sugar swapping hobby that is beekeeping.
“I’m super new. It’s only been like six months." Asher told Stab. “My family has always been really into honey, well we use it as opposed to sugar anyway. And living on a farm it just makes sense to house bees.”
Becoming a beekeeper isn’t as simple as buying the box, bees, and suit. “It was a steep learning curve just putting the box together – it was like an intense Ikea set up. I had to build this before I could even think about the bees.
“Even before this I did an introduction to beekeeping down the road. That’s actually sort of what got me into it. I learned about their life cycle, how to look after them, and what allows them to thrive.”
Pace’s main reason for housing the bees is just a hobby; a leisurely activity that provides a pot of gooey natural glucose on the side. But he’s also applied his newfound skill to transplanting feral colonies off of fellow farmers properties.
“Heard it wasn’t too hard, gave it a crack, and yeah, I got it [laughs]. I’ve got my bee suit on and then have a smoker which sedates them. You know when they’re aggressive when they start buzzing really loud and charging into your suit, but these ones were relaxed.
“The temperament of the queen dictates the behaviour of the colony. Thankfully I had a mellow queen for this one [laughs].”
Aside from a plentiful honey supply, and near endless Instagram content, bees are also a requisite for any and every ecosystem. Most animal product harvesting occurs to the detriment of the animal's welfare and immediate environment (e.g., cattle requires ample space, water, food, and is responsible for large amounts of carbon based pollution), bees, however, are different. As far as the environment is concerned, the more the merrier.
“It’s insane how crucial bees are to life in general.” Asher continued. “I think 60-70% of our food sources depend on bee pollination. I look and bees differently now and realise how integral they are. Every time I see one in the garden I’m like, ‘go you little good thing’.
But what about Asher's crystal collecting obsession. That’s what you’re really here for. Is he plugging them in his board, curing illnesses with their healing powers, or does he just like digging around in the dirt?
“I was pretty much born into it. My dad and his mates were into digging rocks and stuff, then he got my brother and I into it.” Asher told Stab about his crystal collecting. “I don’t do it for money, I’ve never sold a rock in my life. It’s just about getting out in the bush.
“These rocks have taken untold amounts of time to form. A scale of time that’s hard to fathom and each rock is unique. It’s quite addictive collecting them [laughs].
“I want to dig as much as I want to surf these days [laughs]. They’re all unique to each area too, but that area can be tiny. Sometimes 50 metres away you’ll find a completely different type of stone or gem.”
Asher Pacey isn’t the sort of bloke to take the easy route and pop into Byron to buy a couple of gems either. It’s less about the collective appeal and more about the hunt itself.
“I have my little zones. But I’m reluctant to give up the spots. I have guys asking me all the time to take them on hunts, but like surfing, it’s not in my best interest to tell everyone where I go. Part of the reason I enjoy it is getting away from people.
"You prefer to surf on your own, it’s the same with digging crystals."
In saying that, Asher gave away a few little tips for any aspiring crystal collectors.
“There’s a saying out there, ‘just keep digging’ [laughs]
“You have to look for indicators. Nine times out of ten it’s something shiny, but generally you’re just looking for signs of crystallisation on the surface. If you see something, just keep digging. It’s hard work though, they don’t exactly jump out of the ground at you.”
Asher did however dig up a 27kg stone few months ago.
“It took about an hour and a half to dig it out of the ground, then I had to carry it over a kilometre out of the bush.”
What about the spiritual side? We all know a born again hippie, or chick going through a quarter-life crisis whose turned to the gem stone to solve their issues. Does Asher too take solace in the healing power of the earthly stone.
“Look, I don’t discount any of that stuff, but I definitely don’t take a deep interest in that. I just like them for what they are.
“It is proven though that crystals have a capacity to store energy and information. Quartz is used in computers, there’s quartz watches, quartz radios, and there’s definitely some interesting qualities they posses. They’ve been used for thousands of years for healing, but I can’t give any personal accounts.”
And just to be sure, Asher assured us he hasn’t plugged any into his boards over the years. Although he wasn’t averse to the idea.
In case you forgot what this online magazine was about, Asher also surfs. Watch below.