The first stop of the newly minted WSL Longboard Tour is almost here, running from March 7th-10th. It's fitting that the event will be held in Noosa, an iconic surf spot first made famous by fabled names like McTavish and Greenough. On the eve of the event, the WSL caught up with surfboard shaper and Noosa local Thomas Bexon. Bexon shapes for high-style log riders like Harrison Roach and Karina Rozunko and has some insight as to what makes the spot so special.
The World Surf League: Can you describe your relationship to Noosa?
Thomas Bexon: I grew up surfing 20 minutes down the coast as a teenager and whenever there was swell I would beg my parents or my friend's parents to bring us up here to surf. Since then I guess the relationship has gotten a lot tighter. Now I only ever leave Noosa to shape or surf overseas. Home is here, work is here, my family is here and I feel well and truly at home here. And I am so lucky, it's one of the best places in the world.
So why has Noosa become such an iconic destination for longboarding?
I guess it's just such a perfect longboard wave. It's not too big to ride a longboard and its often kinda small so it makes sense to have a bigger board. There are five points, all with peeling sand bottom waves that perfectly suit traditional longboarding. The water's warm pretty much all year round and the weather is nice most of the time. And the Noosa Festival of Surfing has been bringing longboarders together from all over the world for almost 30 years.
As a surfer, what kind of wave are you looking for out there?
You're looking for the ones that are going to line up, which to be honest, most of the time is most of them. But the ones that have a nice long wall, they might not always be the biggest but they'll grow down the line.
What type of boards are you shaping for Harrison Roach and Karina Rozunko?
It's a mix of design from Involvement style Australian old mal design ideas with an influence of some more noserider inspired ideas. They are boards that are fast and designed to be ridden in the pocket more, as opposed to more Californian style noseriders. They have thinner rails, neutral rockers, nothing too complicated or extreme. It's not a slow wave and it's got good shape, so you don't need those boring, wide nosed noserider style boards, they don't tend to work as well here. Especially when Noosa is good, doing its thing and being nice and fast and hollow.
Who are the standout surfers at the break and what makes their surfing particularly memorable?
Anyone that makes it look effortless, flowing and connecting it all together with a nice style. Guys like Joel Tudor, Devon Howard and Dane Wilson. Man, back in the day Ray Gleave used to own it. Jai Lee and Dane Peterson inspired a lot of people around here with their smooth style and effortless nose riding. And the new guys like Harry Roach, Matt Chojnacki, Matt Cuddihy.
Watch the Longboard Tour's Noosa stop March 7 - 10, 2019 on worldsurfleague.com, the WSL App, or Facebook LIVE.