I met James on the Gold Coast towards the end of 2018.
I started shooting him after seeing him surfing one day in Palm Beach in a pretty heavy shore break, well this and the fact he broke like 3 boards in 10 days also… But yeah, The character is interesting, very sportive and fit, very good surfer, and fairly different to the average Gold Coast surfer.
I have to say I deleted quite a few swear words from those answers, which was quite funny as James usually doesn’t really swears much and has very good a speech and manners…
I feel like it is important to mention that James often left the boys for other activities, I hope he will change this bad habit.
James, why did you start surfing ?
I grew up by the beach in Bournemouth, my family and I were always on the beach and one day we had a surf lesson as a family activity. Everyone got into it but only my brother and myself kept it up for long. We also got strongly encouraged to surf to by our parents they saw it as a really good activity. Every year Mum and Dad brought us in surf trips…
Why do you surf ?
Oh because it’s F***** amazing. Because I cannot think of a good enough reason not to surf. I love the feelings I get while I do it, the sensation of riding waves. Being in the water, in the nature, with my friends, and competing with them, it just makes me feel like myself. When the waves are good there is nowhere else I could be.
Why will you keep surfing ?
Oh man, because it is fun and rewarding to progress in a skill, to achieve goals. And I have to maintain my inner balance. Surfing is a pivotal point of my life and I am happy you know, I am happy to embrace it totally.
Do you consider yourself addicted?
When I think of addiction I am thinking about drugs, alcohol, unhealthy habits. But on a non pejorative way, yeah, I suppose I am absolutely addicted it has taken over my life. It is a giant part of my identity.
Do you have new goals in surfing ?
Actually I have physical objectives. I still have to recover from my jaw/neck injury (laughs) it isn’t really an interesting answer but it’s the truth … I had a good load of injuries over the last few years and I am trying to get myself back to surf regularly and it being a sustainable thing instead of surfing regularly and suffering physically for it!
What’s your favorite manoeuvre?
I love big carves and barrels, big rail turns big barrels for sure, it feels … mental (laughs). I like big barrels because it is F***** up isn’t it (laughs). I mean, if you make it out it is just nuts! I had one at Kirra on that last swell (Cyclone Oma) and I am still thinking about it today, it is so powerful.
Who inspired you as a surfer ?
All the guys from home I grew up with…
There was like this group of older guys, Terry, Aaron, all the Garys (laughs), Joe… All my mates really because I love sparring with them in the water.
Now Miles because we are both here on the Goldie and we are very competitive with each other. I would say: anyone who is ripping makes me think, damn I want to do it! (laughs).
What’s your favorite wave ?
There was this wave in the Maldives when I was working out there called « Ying Yang »!
Far out, mate, thats one of the best years of surfing I ever had! It was an uncrowded slabby right. Oh man F****** H*** that was a such good wave. It was in the middle of nowhere! That wave was a full horse shoe reef, It had a soft start and then this incredible corner that just locks you into a really good barrel. It was just nuts! And we surfed that most days with the guys I was working with. Sorry for my language, I think I got a bit excited…
When was the worst wipe out you ever had, where was it ?
I was surfing at « Restaurants », a wave in Fiji, waves were pretty good and Kelly Slater is in the water. (Burst out laughing) I had my wetsuit on, and I got cooked on this wave. When I came up I was like « Jesus Christ that hurts » and I went to put my hand on my bum because I felt on it very hard. I realized I had cut a hole on the bum hole of my wetsuit from the reef, and it was bleeding out of my ass (laughs again). I was already embarrassed because I thought «I hope Kelly didn’t see that » and at this right moment he paddles past me and my F****** a** is bleeding! That was the one I guess, without a doubt.
When, where was the best session of your life and why ?
I reckon a few of the surfs I had in the Maldives . Nobody in the water, perfect waves just perfection.
Is there things you dislike while surfing?
Yeah it is when people have a bad attitude in the water I really hate that. I am not fan of entitled people in the water, arrogant, bullies.
Localism has a place but I don’t like bullies.I really don’t like people taking advantage in the water.
What do you do when It’s onshore, small, flat or unsurfable?
I’ll try and surf regardless, I really like to be surfing whatever the conditions are because there is always opportunity, to a degree.
But if it really is dog shit, I just make up for the lost time I spent surfing (laughs). Love to keep fit, love training, yoga, prepare my body for when waves are good.
« Thank you for the interview and I hope that your business works well and you get a lot of success! Not sure if my interview will help much but we will see. Sorry for all the swearing I get quite excited when I talk about surf (laughs) » – James Taylor.