Quick to his feet, he applies pressure to the tail and hugs the wall as the wave stands up and begins to reel along the sand. The lip pitches out over him and he rides through a perfect Far North Coast barrel – the kind surfers the world over have travelled here to experience since the late 60s – exits cleanly and flies into a deep grab rail cutback. He paddles back out with a smile. “There’s magic in these waters,” he says, before continuing on to the take-off spot for another go around.
The ride itself proves Angus Stone is damn good surfer, a by-product of his growing up in the hotly contested waves of the Newport Peak on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. But it’s also the kind of ride that is exhilarating, cathartic and healing. And between wrapping up multiple sold out world tours with his sister as part of the Angus and Julia Stone duo, recording and releasing singles for Broken Brights his new solo album, and coming to terms with the recent end of his two year relationship with movie star Isabel Lucas, it’s clear that a wave like the one he’s just ridden might be just what Angus needs.
Later on, Angus is sitting on a balcony overlooking the bank he’d earlier torn to pieces. He does not give off the appearance nor energy of a man stricken by the grief of a broken heart. His hair is typically long and unkempt, his skin tanned, his eyes clear. He scratches his still wet beard and speaks quietly and thoughtfully as we discuss his new album. Having stated openly that many of the songs on Broken Brights were inspired by Lucas – she also features in the first two singles’ videos – Angus is clearly proud of the music and enthusiastic about getting it out there.
“Recording this album has been a very different experience for me. It was an opportunity be a little more loose and have a bit more fun,” he says. “Recording with Julia is cool but we both have our hands on the wheel. This was an opportunity to grab the wheel and do some burn-outs.”
A right hander peels off out front and Angus stands to watch it travel up the beach. “Yeah, it’s just one of those things,” he says of his breakup, eyes still on the sea. “The worlds we live in were calling us in different directions… and that’s cool. Maybe our paths will cross again when the time is right.”
For now the focus is clearly on the ocean and getting a band together for his first solo gig at the upcoming Splendour In The Grass.
“Getting a band together has been fun. Finding a bunch of lazy like-minded people who can tap into the record and jam it out. That’s really my main concern at the moment. Waking up in the morning, smelling the fresh air, getting some little peelers at the Pass or up at Belongil, eating organic food, getting the band happening and sleeping. Sleeping a lot.”
All photos by Trent Mitchell
For the full Angus Stone interview check out SW 327 on sale next month, or head over to Angus's nifty website here to get your beardy, folky fix.