Somewhere between his Gerry Lopez-esque bottom turns, and his sky-high rotations, Craig Anderson never ceases to captivate on screen. Case in point: his recent 7-minute edit (“Luxury $29.99, above) for Former, the new clothing brand Anderson started with Dane Reynolds and pro skater Austyn Gillette. The video is laced with the same hi-fi, above-the-lip antics that you’d expect from Anderson, but with a whole lot of heaving Aussie slabs thrown in for good measure. I recently sat down with Anderson to talk about his latest video offering, the art of slab hunting, and what happens when surfers get in the driver's seat of their own brand.
Tell me about this new video part you just launched. Looks like you've been getting some insane waves as of late.
Yeah, I started filming at the beginning of winter in Australia. I think it's the first thing I've really put out since "Welcome Elsewhere." I just wanted to chase good waves and gather clips for the brand, which was still in an infant stage. I did a trip for Thomas Campbell's movie, and had a few other bits and pieces going on throughout the year. But yeah, getting a good part together for Former was kind of my main focus for the year. I'm not a designer or a business guy, so putting out a decent surf part was my contribution to the brand. I put my hand up for other stuff, but Warren [Smith, Former's creative director] is like 'Just stick to what you're good at.' [Laughs.] So yeah, I started filming during this big east coast low when I went down the south coast. I got some waves down there with some friends, chased a couple of other swells in Oz, and did a little bit of filming around home and Indonesia. It was awesome, I ended up getting some really good waves.
I know you've been putting in time at some sketchy slabs around Australia, where you're like a 15-hour drive from medical attention if the shit hits the fan. What made you so keen to chase those waves?
I've been spending a lot of time with bodyboarders and filmers who are into some those types of waves, and I've got some friends from the South Coast who invited me along on some trips to different spots. So yeah, I've definitely been pushing myself in that regard thanks to them. I like the camaraderie among the guys that surf those kinds of waves. They're down to just get in a car and drive for 10 hours straight to find waves. There aren't many people around in those areas, and that's another thing that I really enjoy. There's only a small, tight crew of people that are chasing those waves.
Have you always had an appetite for those kinds of waves? It seems like recent thing for you.
Yeah, just recently. I think I just got fed up with crowds, and those waves are never really that crowded. You keep running into the same people, and they're all so down to earth and cool. They're fun guys to drink beers with and travel with. They aren't getting paid to surf crazy waves, they just love the chase. I don't really want to take it too much further. Towing into psycho West Oz slabs, inflation vests, etc., those things don't interest me.
Do you feel like you need people like that to push you into some scary shit that you never would have done otherwise?
Yeah, totally. Sometimes I'm like, "What on earth am I doing here? This doesn't feel right at all." But at the end of the day, it's really rewarding. It always feels good to challenge yourself mixing things up, and that way your surfing never feels stale.
So who did the editing on that video? It's got a really different feel to everything else out there.
Warren and Matt Payne pieced it all together. I've been good friends with Warren forever and he's a really talented, creative person. I was really excited to hand him the footage and for him to direct it. We went back and forth quite a few times with him and editor, Matt who has amazing taste as well, and is a talented cinematographer and editor. But I was super stoked when I saw the first draft and it just evolved from that.
So this video is Former's coming out party, right? Your brand is officially launched?
Yeah, it feels pretty crazy. This day has been a long time coming, with a lot of ups and downs and learning through it all. But yeah, there were stages when I was like "Shit, is this actually going to happen?" At the beginning, I thought we'd just snap our fingers and have a good pair of boardshorts and a good T-shirt, [laughs] but of course it doesn't work like that. Especially because we're all really opinionated on what the brand should be, so it's been a lot of back and forth to get it to a place that we're all stoked with. But I'm super proud of all the product, and I'm really stoked with the section that those guys put together for me.
So what's the plan from here? Does Former have plans to put out any more video stuff in the near future?
Yeah, Dane will release a video, same with Austyn [Gillette], and we're going to have pop up stores and capsules in conjunction with the release of their video parts. It will be pretty fun.
Any plans to do a full team vid?
Maybe, but surfing and skating? I don't know, I think it will be hard to mix them. It's cool to keep them separate in videos, but have some kind of common thread in the way we make them. I'm stoked with it all, we're just a couple good friends hanging out trying to make something. It's super rewarding seeing it all come together.