Coming into Fathers Day I wanted to do a piece for MACK LIKES on a surfing father. I am a new father myself, but it’s a bit rich to interview the interviewer right? Jamming ideas with my business partner on fathers that rip, the air show veteran Nick Wallace was the name that kept coming back!
We knew Nick was born in Victoria, travelled heaps, ruled the air, had some kids and was living back on the Mornington Peninsula, but what makes this ripping father tick? We caught up with Nick before his night shift on the docks of Port Melbourne. Cold weather, manning crains and working on tight timelines are all apart of Nicks repertoire now, but where did it all begin?
I was born in Balnarring and did a heap of travelling with my folks and my older brother Richard. We finally landed in Noosa where I lived from the age of 10 to about 18. When I was 15 I won the World Junior Titles, finished year 10 of school and then started traveling the world chasing the QS but aiming for the CT.
Fast forward a couple of years and I started to veer off my QS course due to meeting my now wife, Melissa. We did some time in Canada between surf contests and we got right into snowboarding. I was always a power surfer growing up and would throw airs here and there, but after snowboarding all I wanted to do was big punts!
After Canada, we went to Europe for the next leg of the QS, but half of my sponsors had dropped me after being in the snow for so long. During that time, air show events had started to pop up alongside the QS events. I started doing really well in the air shows but my QS events started to suffer. The air shows were a one day thing, where as the QS were 7 days, with 8 heats before you get to the money rounds. If you did ok in the money rounds, the dollars were small compared to how much work it took to get there, whereas the air comps were done and dusted in a day!
Melissa and I kept hopping around chasing the QS and having a real crack at the airshow events. This one time I had some serious jet lag after a flight from New York to Paris. I was competing in this shitty QS event and I entered the expression session that was running beside the QS contest. Somehow I pulled a second against Bruce Irons and I earnt a decent lump of money which kept Melissa and I afloat through Europe that year.
After realising that I could surf however I wanted in the air show events, I found myself in California for 3 years surfing with all the early air show freaks like Fletcher, Barney and Ratboy. It was a real eye opener to see how far these guys were pushing each other and fully encouraging you to step up your surfing. That scene felt more like the skate scene where everyone wants everyone to do better and to go harder, which at the time felt completely opposite to the QS where guys get bummed on you if you get an 8 in a heat.
After the US I moved back to Australia and hung out around Sydney and the Goldy but once Melissa was pregnant with our daughter Ruby, we decided a move back to Vic was best and we set up in St Andrews. Winter can be tough down here but that's what keeps it interesting.
What are your thoughts on the CT now?
I watch everything, I love the way surfing has evolved, the way the current crop of guys can punt so big and still link turns is so on point. The scoring feels like it is has kind of caught up with the surfing as well, people are being rewarded for pushing their surfing and not holding back. My kids love the CT as well, surfers like John John and Julian are great role models, they push the boundaries but still surf with so much style.
Speaking of kids, let's ask Ruby and Archy a couple of questions whilst we are here!
R: Sally Fitz and Bethany Hamilton. A: Dad, Mick, Filipe and Dakota Walters
Does Dad give you tips on surfing?
R: Yes lots of good advice, mainly on style and he is very encouraging. A: He always tries too, I tell him I already know! Haha, but Dad is awesome he has helped me heaps.
What is Dad's best surfing move?
R:Big airs A: Backside sex change shovit, usually falls off haha he loves to go fast
What else do you besides surfing?
R: Skate, BMX , guitar, uke ,art, drawing and nature. I love the ocean and animals, I recently swam with Manta Rays in indo and it was amazing!! A: Skate, BMX, play guitar, Ukulele, drums, maths games and have fun!
What do you like about the WSL?
R: I like watching the girls ripping on TV but I prefer to watch it live, Bells was so fun to watch last year and Sally Fitz was so nice to me when I met her!! A: I like how all the surfers go hammer in epic waves and it is super inspiring, makes me want to go surfing!
Both groms agree that comp and free surfing has its pros and cons, but love to watch and be involved in both.
Nick chimes in with some love for his sponsors, which at a glance is a hugely impressive list!
Stacey Clothing, Stacey Surfboards, O'neill, Vans and uppercut have been supporting for like 15 years, 3D fins, Modom look after the tail pads, travel bags and shark leashes, Shed Nine have been supporting for a long time now as well. I am really happy riding for all of these guys, they make great products and that's why I like repping them.
The future for Nick looks fun with a focus on scoring good waves in Vic, travelling with the fam and giving the kids an opportunity to see and surf the world, meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures and most of all build strong family memories!
If you follow @nickjwallace on insta you will see a spread of fine waves, family life on the Peninsula and overall good vibes! That is why we wanted to talk to Nick for MACK LIKES, high performance surfing, raising groms and working the docks is a hard juggle, but a juggle a father must do.
So happy Father’s Day to Nick and to all of the fathers out there.