Private Passions – Adam Dewhurst

Surf's up...

A key figure behind Jockey Slut and the Trojan Soundsystem Adam Dewhurst has earned his stripes.

A vastly experienced DJ and writer, his travels have taken him across the world. Yet it seems that when the lights go up and the clubs empty, Adam Dewhurst simply cannot wait to grab his board and head out on the waves.

Explaining his love of surfing, Adam Dewhurst talks to ClashMusic after his recent stint as a curator at the Four Roses Speakeasy…

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I started surfing on holiday in Sri Lanka, when I was a kid. It was amazing. I had no idea what I was doing – I had a couple of lessons from some people out there but I was really young. Big ocean swells and a beautiful place. I guess the furthest I’d been abroad at that age was Spain, doing the typical tourist thing so it was pretty out there. One thing I distinctly remember was the roads, as there was no real sense of lanes or which side of the road you should be on.

There’s usually surf somewhere in the UK. Some of the best surfing locations are in Scotland, there’s a place called Thurso. Killer, killer reefs and amazing swells. Also it’s warmer in the water up in Scotland than it is in Cornwall. On the West Coast you’re right in the Atlantic drift so there’s palm trees on some of the islands. You’d think you were in the West Indies. I’ve surfed all over the place. One of the weirdest experiences I’ve had was in Yorkshire, and I was used to sitting in the line up listening to your typically surf accents – Australian, American, Japan and so on. The usual surf speak. I was out there and people were talking about cricket and whippets. Quite refreshing!

There’s definitely an international community. If you go to somewhere like Morocco there won’t be anyone from the country surfing. Mainly it’ll be people travelling from Europe and the States, surfers from big surf spots going to big surf meccas. I still haven’t done Australia, on the music or the surf side. I’m looking forward to that whenever it does happen. I’ve surfed most places – the Caribbean, the east coast of the States. I lived in a cave off Morocco for a few weeks, which is kind of fun. Literally right where the point breaks, there is a cave. The waves break down the stone beach for up to 2 km. It’s insane!

It’s not so much the adrenalin, the Generation X side of things. To me, it’s just the closest you can get to nature. It’s the energy of the swell. The wave is like the crescendo of a journey which has lasted thousands and thousands of miles. People often compare it to snowboarding but it’s nothing like snowboarding, on the adrenalin side you would need an avalanche behind you. You have to paddle through these waves – which is fucking hard work – but once you get out there through this point it goes from thunderous to quiet. The best surf conditions are when you get an offshore breeze, and if you’re sitting in a swell every time a wave goes under you the breeze picks up this spray and if it’s sunny you just get surrounded by these rainbows. Hundreds and hundreds of them. One of the most beautiful, beautiful things. Most of the time you’re paddling through waves and waiting for waves – the actual surfing is quite a small bit. For me, you can’t get closer to nature. Unless you were bungee jumping off lightning bolts or something.

Sometimes you do find yourself sitting in a sewage pit. It’s especially bad around the British isles. It’s pretty horrible how they dump that shit in the sea. I think surfing makes you appreciate nature that little bit more, through spending time in a raw form of it. A lot of surfers are able to read weather charts and reports really well. The amount of time I’ve driven eight hours to Cornwall and found there was nothing there. Takes some dedication I tell you!

Surfing is totally unique, I think. There’s nothing quite like it. With windsurfing and so on, it’s all fairly linear. You attach an object and it takes you in a straight line. It’s not as pure as surfing, where all you’ve got is a board and your body. Places are a lot busier now. Before, you could go to a beach and it would be you and your mates and that was it. But it’s very, very rare to find that now.

I remember one time in Trinidad I was surfing with some mates and I saw this fin come up! This thing swam past me, and it was about eight feet long and looked like a Great White. I got straight out of there but all the locals were like “na man it’s Nessie”. I sat on the beach and watched this fin just swim round them for about an hour. When they came in they said it was a nurse shark, who have these little fish who eat all the fungus from the shark. Nessie had lost her pilot fish, and developed a relationship with the surfers where she would rub herself against her legs. She wouldn’t bit them, just clean her body on the surfers legs. But I would never, ever want to do that!

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