Men’s #20: Creed McTaggart

A Feature from the 2013 Hot 100 Issue

Creed McTaggart. Photo: Shield

If you're a surfer living in America, the odds are slim that you're already familiar with Creed McTaggart. The 19-year-old West Australia native has managed to keep a low profile stateside, despite all the attention he's earned back home for his stylish approach to surfing both above the lip and inside the heavy barrels of his homebreaks. But with surfers like Dion Agius and Mitch Coleborn backing him, it's just a matter of time until Creed becomes a household name abroad. In the meantime, get to know Creed through his own words.

Tell us about your hometown.

I'm from Margaret River, which feels like a pretty small town. It was a sick place to grow up because we had nothing to do but surf and skate, but now I sort of feel like it's a little too mellow. I love getting on the road, which I've been able to do a lot more recently. But when I'm an old man with kids and stuff, I'll probably want to raise them up there for sure.

Coming from a coastline littered with slabs, do you enjoy the heavier stuff?

I grew up surfing Gas Bay a lot, which is a bit of a slab. When I was 13 or so, Dino Adrian took me out to The Box for my first time. I still remember so clearly: It was like 5 a.m., and the wind was howling offshore. We got out there and the waves were 4- or 5- foot, and I just took a beating that session, but I gave it a good run and was really stoked to have gone out there and caught a few. I went back to school just psyching to tell all my friends that I had surfed The Box.

Growing up you surfed a lot competitively, but you're taking a different route now. What led to that decision?

I was spending so much time and money going to these comps, and I wasn't really into competing, so I just ended up doing shit in them anyway. When I came home the waves would always be really good and I just started wondering what the hell I was doing. Steve Dulls lived down the road from my house and filmed me everyday since I was 12, and it was so much fun just shooting with him and putting clips together. Billabong called me one day, and they were like, "If you want to stop competing and shoot this stuff, you should go for it." It's been a year now, and I'm so stoked on the change. It's given me the chance to surf good waves and really improve. I think my surfing has already come a long way since I got off the contest program.

So what have you been working on since you got that freedom?

We just finished a 10-minute short called "Abyss," which was really fun to make. It was all filmed in November in West Oz. Jay Grant and Tom Jennings came over and stayed at my house for a month to do all the shooting and editing, and I got to work really closely with them. I had heard about this San Francisco band called Sleepy Sun, and they had a 10-minute song that goes through all these different types of music, starting with grungy rock, then going into this weird drum solo before heading into a mellow acoustic melody with cow bells and shit. The whole song goes up and down, fast and slow, so it was really cool to work with because it really suited all the different shots. The whole thing was so fun to make.

I know you also recently got on board with Epokhe. What's it like having Dion Agius as your boss?

It's fucking cool. The guy is such a legend. I had never really met Dion, Mitch, or Kai [Neville] until about eight months ago, but I always watched Dion and Mitch in all the videos when I was younger. Those guys are like the idols of my whole generation. It probably helps my surfing just spending time around those guys, but more than that I get a lot of inspiration from them in other ways. They're brainstorming all day, every day. Dion will be driving, not saying a word, and then he'll suddenly be like, "write this down," and it will be an idea for some crazy video clip or something. He's really passionate about coming up with cool new ways to do things, and he's super hard-working. I'm really hoping it rubs off on me.