When it comes to slab surfing, not many do it as well as Kerby Brown. An honest, hard-working, hard-charging bloke from Western Australia, Kerby took an affinity for mastering scary, shallow, heavy waves from a young age.
The father of two children splits his time between family, chasing swells and working offshore on a boat in the oil and gas industry. Getting tubed like he does is never easy, but with his recent relocation to be closer to 'The Right', one of the heaviest waves in Australia, he's able to get kegged closer to home and make mental clips in the process.
His latest clip, Born Of Fire is an extremely impressive compilation of surf cinematography, showcasing his raw talent and ballsy surfing. Whether you enjoy surfing slabs or not, you can't help but appreciate Kerby, someone who dedicates his life to surfing the worlds most dangerous waves.
We chatted with Kerby on the film and everything that went into it. Have a read and then do yourself the pleasure of sitting down with a cold one and watching Kerby thread monster tubes.
Where did the idea for the short film come from?
We wanted to do more of a personal piece. I didn't want to put out just another standard surf clip, wave after wave so myself and Black Sea Creative came up with the idea to show a visual story along with the surfing. The whole concept of Born Of Fire is to show my journey from where I've come to now. The fire represents my darker side, where the demons are. I've had a bit of a self destructive past through drinking etc & the ocean/ surfing has always been my saviour and pulled me out of those troubled times. So we have tried to relay that in the film from leaving the fire and starting my journey to the ocean to where It ends with me floating, immersed in the ocean, at peace.
The 4K is mind-blowing, how was working with Rick to make it all happen?
Rick is amazing to work with and is a good friend. He helped pull all the scenes together and did a fantastic job shooting them. He's obviously very passionate about shooting the ocean & these heavy waves too so he didn't need any convincing to get involved. He is usually pretty busy shooting other high end jobs but is always keen to shoot with me when ever he's available. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to work alongside someone so talented and experienced. He's the best in the biz at what he does.
What was your favorite part about putting together the film?
Just seeing the concept all come together. From having a vision to finally seeing it all laid out in front of us. It was a long process and everyone worked hard to make it happen. A huge thanks to Rick, Black Sea Creative and our editor Wyatt Davies.
How was your first experience surfing The Right?
Being from up north we don't have any of these deep water bombies that the southern coast has so the first time it was pretty awe inspiring. It looked so heavy and being a right just made it seem that much scarier. I remember thinking how the hell are you supposed to ride that. Back then there was no one around and no safety vests. It was amazing to see and from the moment I got my first wave out there, that was it. I wanted to keep coming back and learn more about the place. It's such a hard place to figure out. I'm still learning every time I surf it.
Not many surfers are keen on shallow slabs, how'd you get onto surfing them so well?
Up in Kalbarri most of the waves break on shallow rock shelves. So I just progressed and found the shallower the wave the more exciting it was. After many years of watching that crazy shallow place out at the Indicator of Red Bluff, we were always wondering If you could ride it. We finally surfed it and that's where I was really hooked. From there I just seem to be drawn to really sketchy waves. That feeling of the unknown really excites me.
What's going through you when you get one on those things on head?
Sometimes you know it's a really serious situation and think oh fuck, this is not good please don't die right now. A lot of the time you will get injured sometimes you get lucky but those heavy situations where you feel your life is at risk and you then come to the surface and you survive it, this can be the best feeling in the world. Almost better for me than making a wave. It's when you truly feel alive.
Any words of wisdom for young bucks who want to get onto slab surfing?
Just make sure your doing it for the right reasons. Be respectful to the locals and the waves.
What's next for ya?
I'm just focusing on riding the heaviest waves I can while I can. I'm not getting any younger. I have some more projects Ideas I'll be working on so you'll have to wait and see.