Soul Kitchen | Australia & New Zealand Field Trip

  • Soul Kitchen.

Photo: Rambo Estrada

Bryce Young and Derrick Disney trek it from Bryce's hometown of Angourie to New Zealand. See the photos and the magic that was made over at Stab Mag.

"Bryce Young hovers on the edge of divided opinions. Nostalgia impersonator or modern day innovator? It’s all about variety, not conformity, and for that he attracts criticism because surfers have become skeptics of anything grey.

He’s one of the best skate/surf combos you’ve seen. But it’s the surf side where you’ll find his uniqueness. See, Bryce is the offspring of ‘66 World Champion, the OG Nat Young. And yes, it’s all hereditary. He’s as progressive and critical as you can get on an alaia, equally so on a classic Californian log spinning heritage with contemps. His aerial game is groomed from years of shortboarding and there’s also his sliding on asymmetrics, twin-fins and other variations of foam. Like Ryan Burch showed us, to ride fringes of board design is one thing, but to ride them well is symphonic. It’s been decades since professional surfers were their own craftsmen but Bryce and his company are changing that too.

Vissla have been combing the globe for creators and innovators. They found Bryce, who, at 23, hadn’t surfed for a company before. It was a strange choice considering most professional surfers land their first contract before they’ve shaved for the first time. But Bryce was part of a new movement built on the principles of an old one, and his talent is the trump card to any armchair critic venom.

“Lucky, huh?” he says of his signing. “I’m super grateful. They saw footage of me riding an an alaia at Angourie which was rad, because I don’t think they knew much about me… F’sure I owe Vissla something, I want to work my guts out for them.”

Welcomed into Vis’s shiny new stable, Bryce met Derrick Disney, a 22-year-old from Encinitas. The pair found similar visions in bringing the rear-view forward, but leaving it just outside of the box. Bryce invited Derrick to Angourie. “It’s all so pristine compared to what I’m used to. Not even a fraction of the crowds,” says Derrick. He spent a month surfing empty lineups with Bryce, shaped boards in Nat’s bay and stayed with Australian royalty still living Morning of the Earth-style. “I’m still chasing that,” says Bryce, “watching all the old footage, tripping out and loving it. It really is such a special zone.” And the green comes with the territory, right? “Probably (laughs). It’s still a tiny town, man. You can find some seriously peaceful zones in amongst it all.” “They are legend up there,” says Derrick. “The family has that aura about them. Nat is a big inspiration of mine, and to everybody. He knows exactly which waves to take out Angourie and has a real presence in the ocean.”

From Angourie to New Zealand, which you’ll see in the photo gallery above, and wherever next, the relationship these gents have with surfing is sublime. Lesser men would relegate them to preachers of hipsterism. “It gets thrown around a lot,” says Bryce of the social tag. “By their own definition they could’ve called Dad and his friends the same thing. So you can look at it as a compliment. It’s just a word that’s been thrown around. What does it even mean?” “I’ll be out there at my local spot riding a mid-length and there’s a 40-year-old and he’s hitting me up for not riding a shortboard,” adds Derrick. “I understand where he’s coming from, but he’s got to see he has a different idea of what surfing is to me.”

Like many of us, Bryce grew up mimicking Parko’s lines and Taj’s finners and they’re locked as favourites. But the bright lights of the new ASP are a bad acid-trip for his surfing ethos. “I feel like it’s kind of a circus with the new ASP, the Samsung whatever, it seems a bit much in my eyes. Surfing is never going to be that kind of sport. It’s always going to be a lifestyle. I totally respect the guys that do it, but it’d be great seeing that calibre riding a classic San Diego keel-fin fish and tearing the bag out of it, rather than just sticking on the stock-standard 5’11’’ thruster. I want the next generation of kids to have the option to ride different types of boards and not get slammed for it.” That, right there, dear readers, is an opinion."
-Stab Mag