Quick highlight reel showcasing some of our favorite moments from Australia. Scroll down to read up on the adventures we had along the way.

When we look at surfboards it’s often we focus on the fin first…it’s just what happens when they’re an obsession, your craft, and livelihood. So to kick off this journey, sharing two incredible displays of surfboards and fins seems fitting. Funny enough the through line here is Tesla. Just a couple of foamies with rubber fins gliding through the rain paired with a foamie rigged up with some rotor power, surfing is awesome. LAX > BNE surfing is all the same!

What’s a 14 hour flight without a 30,000 foot snap of the planet below.

There was almost an epic story to tell about delivering a freshly built, absolutely gorgeous Pavel bonzer to Bryce Young, except United Airlines ruined it by absolutely destroying the tail and buckling the nose, solid effort honestly. Bryce took it like a champ, maybe it’ll still see the water someday.

5 homies cruising the coast of Australia in a Kia Carnival mini-van is true fashion. It was diesel and sipped fuel like it was a glass of Macallan 1926. Long car rides aren’t ideal, but when you have Hayden playlisting through his favorite Dead tracks and Chuck’s 67 years of life mostly focused on gain a lot of wisdom.

There were a few main missions to our trip, stop 1 was to pass off a freshly foiled 8.8” volan test fin #1 to Harrison Roach. Harrison is working on a big wave longboard (for lack of a better explanation) called Big Dream with Thomas Surfboards and we thought that was an interesting enough concept to build some new curves for. Chuck riffed off of one of our tried and true templates, the Yater Classic, moving lines and foils to fit the concept. We’re super excited to see how it runs, get some feedback, and tinker until it’s right where it needs to be.

Harrison was an epic host, showing us around, lending surfboards, getting us body whomped, and smoothied up. You can’t say enough about Harrison’s talent as a surfer. He’s a longboard world champ, but surfs a fish like he was born with it, and can still pop a tail high air reverse if forced to. We’re really stoked to work more closely with Harry on fins and fit into his all-time travel schedule.

Harrison's rig is pretty dialed in with some serious adventuring capability, though it seems like half the folks in Australia drive pretty epic overlanding style vehicles. The Kia Carnival was pretty damn epic, but we did have a healthy amount of vehicular envy.

Also of note, was this amazing jungle tree house we stayed in just outside of Noosa. Built into a pretty steep hillside, the deck had some amazing views looking out over the top of lots of foliage. The craziest part of this property however had to be the driveway which had a seriously steep incline and was fairly long, driving up we were practically just looking up at the blue sky above, but the trusty Carnival never failed us. 

Meeting Sam Smith was stop 2 of our missions for the trip. We’d been hearing a lot about Sam from our pal Hayden Brosnan of Possum Zine (who was along for this journey) so there was quite a bit of anticipation. He and his family were over-the-top hosts. We got several surfs in riding bits and pieces of Sam’s quiver, which includes the yellow Campbell Brothers Russ Short that Mikey February got a few fancy photos with and we’ve featured on our site from time to time. Sam does some really impressive work with surf brands we all know and love, but his Primitive Skills project is easily the best representation of his creative skillset. We learned a lot from him over coffee and dinner beverages, excited to keep learning from Sam in the future.

What's a stop on the Gold Coast without a surf at Snapper. We got wet on the way out of town (alongside 500 other folks) but snuck a couple fun ones, got burned, and also watched Occy crack a couple searing turns on his backhand which made it all worth it. 

We hit the road and headed further south to Byron Bay next. It seems like Byron is a hot topic of conversation for Australians these days, or at least those who live in proximity. It does seem to have changed quite a bit recently with a lot of additional growth, but you can also see why with the Pass, surrounding waves, and folks like Wild Things Gallery, McTavish, and Stone & Wood brewery around. Andy and crew at Wild Things hooked us up with some Gato Heroi loaners and we slid on a few spinners out at the Pass with Kai Ellice-Flint as our encouragement. If you haven’t seen him surf, it’s highly recommended, Kai has one of the purest styles around - long, lengthy, powerful, clean, and rarely out of place.

Wild Things has been a huge supporter of True Ames in Australia over the years so we were stoked to have a little fin talk at the shop while we were in town. As much time as Chuck and our crew have spent working on and talking about fins, we still learn and brew up new ways of explaining things at these types of gatherings. It sparked a goal to improve and provide our community with more fin insights.

We always really appreciate a solid in-store fin display. Wild Things is pretty on point with their layout and selection on-hand.

We got a few fun waves north of town while we were in the Byron zone as well. Got to walk through some nature and hung out with a few kangaroos on the way to check the surf which was fun. During this particular session, the waves looked a bit more fun and less shifty from the beach. In reality, it was a little bit of a grass-is-always-greener up at the next peak situation. This surf didn't last too long as there was a bit of a weird vibe in the water surfing up the beach by ourselves and without leashes - there were some fish boiling, some rather suspect thrashing, and a few too many birds circling overhead for comfort. 

Meeting with George Greenough was our absolute, no questions asked, main purpose for the trip. It had been a while since Chuck and George had been together in person. They’re on the phone every week and we’re constantly mailing projects back and forth, but there is nothing like being face-to-face in the flesh. We talked about everything from his “fantasy wave” ridden at Rincon during the swell of the century in 1969, to the shark population issue in Australia, to edge boards and power blades and their root beginnings in windsurfing in the early 80’s.

Chuck and George’s relationship has never been business-oriented, about marketing, or simply transactional; instead, it has always been rooted in a shared passion for pushing the boundaries of design, equipment, and performance. What began as many collective experimental efforts, laying up panels and foiling fins in the backyard before an afternoon surf or windsurf, blossomed over time and turned into, in large part, what True Ames has become. Within the Greenough Designs sphere, George has only entrusted a select few. Among them, Chuck stood out as a collaborator who always had a genuine commitment to advancing the concepts and theories George dreamt up. Through their friendship and combined efforts, True Ames has served as a conduit for Greenough’s ideas to reach a much broader (now global) community. It was also through Chuck’s developed master skills in foiling, understanding of flex and materials, and a keen eye for practical functionality that George’s fin designs were put to use in a wider range of applications. Ultimately, the passion for performance on the water and pushing the limits of design in hydrodynamics has always been at the core - this has been the way for 45 years. Witnessing Chuck and George reminisce about the past while then seamlessly transitioning into discussing their latest project was pretty surreal at times, almost requiring some sort of a glossary to keep up. It was definitely one of those very special fly on the wall moments that will stick with us.

It’s viable George was the first to experiment with carbon fiber on surfing equipment, or at least was for sure the one who ventured deepest into the carbon fiber options. This edged windsurfer cost around $8,000 to build back in the day, with special “3x the cost, T700 carbon fiber” and took an entire summer to construct. It’s hollow, so a mold was required amongst other forms and contraptions to support it’s build. This board also has an epic wave story from a session George had, riding a wave double mast high, which really confirmed the edge board concept in surf, and big surf at that. 

George reiterated his interest and focus on speed. He clearly enjoyed carving lines on his kneeboard, but even then the goal was to go fast and make oncoming sections. George even occasionally competed in flatwater windsurf speed trials. We’ve realized more than ever the impact windsurfing had on George’s concepts. At certain stages of his life, it may have been the main focus over wave riding, and for that, we are incredibly thankful. Chuck and George’s obsession with windsurfing taught them more about fin dynamics than any other pursuit - rake for sure, but foil and flex most importantly. Surfboards, rarely, if ever, hit the speeds of a windsurfer - therefore surfboard fins don’t experience the same load. Those speeds, and consistency of speed, are super important in understanding both the characteristics and limitations of the fin design and material. The learnings were translated to surfboard fin design and helped find the right balance for the surfing medium. This is where George’s kneeboarding at Rincon or Chuck’s stand up surfing at Restaurants were critical.

George has built more than a handful of edge boards for surfing purposes. He showed us some of the evolution and leant us a couple to take down the coast to Bryce Young where the focus on speed materialized further. 

George’s boards were Formula 1 fast and the board essentially disappeared under feet - searing bottom turns projecting into hollower sections generating virtually unfamiliar speed. To be honest, there wasn’t enough water time to fully adapt to and leverage the unique feelings, but Bryce clearly interacted with the bug that caught Ellis Ericson and gave us all better insight into Ellis’ recent board-building journey. No doubt we furthered our interest, and excitement, in the edge board with Power Blade project.

Bryce has one of the most prolific underground Ryan Burch quivers on earth, and Troy was losing his mind. From a fast and flicky keel fin fish to the cruisey whips of the Reggae Shark, TMo was hard to get out of the water even with some relatively unruly swell. Will reached back to his roots and body surfed his way into some meaty slabs out the back and eventually some long belly runners down the inside. Knowing we were nearing the end of the road trip, the crew was psyched to get as much water time as possible.

Bryce and his mum Tye were so warm and welcoming. Again, providing a much appreciated home cooked meal and insightful conversations about the current status of their re-build after the horrific fires of 2019 and all things surfing. It was refreshing to hang with Bryce, so clear in his care for surfing and how it’s intertwined with his life. Also so pure in his pursuit of new lines and progression with Burch’s shapes and his own riffs working the tools in the shaping bay. We were over the moon to pass off a freshly foiled set of Burch Raked Twins for him to test as we venture into building more fins for Ryan, not a better test pilot than Bryce, other than Burch himself, of course. If you haven't you need to watch Bryce's film Following the Fall Line.

The drive back to Brisbane was felt filled up. We followed the Super Bowl along with scattered updates from Will’s phone whenever service kicked it and head bobbed to more of Hayden’s never ending playlist. After dropping off Hayden and Nolan, who by the way shot and edited all of this amazing footage, back in Currumbin, we cruised to the airport and lifted off right where we had landed.

The only wild non-surf note here is how incredible it is to fly into LA and see the concrete jungle we’ve managed to build in this little slice of Southern California. The square boxes, block by block by block, the rare golf course or unbuildable hillside, and the massive SoFi stadium mix together with a concrete aqueduct to make you question and wonder about human existence. We’ll keep focusing on making fins for the pleasure of surfing, but it’s certainly something to think about.