Simple Things - Laurie Towner
Big wave surfer Laurie Towner takes us on a scenic trip through the remote areas of the vast Australian desert in search of waves. On the journey he finds pristine diving waters, incredible wildlife, great fishing, new friendships and amazing waves. On the trip Laurie is reminded that the simple things in life are always the best.
How did the trip to WA come about?
I’m doing an apprenticeship at the moment and when my boss had a week off it gave me the opportunity to do the same. With the previous trips to Cloudbreak, Nias and Jaws we jumped on big swells when they hit. This time it was basically just go wherever the swell was best within Australia for that week I had available. We were fortunate our friends Josh and Ash had already setup camp in West Aus. Nathan, Ishka and I just flew over and lucked into a nice swell.
Most people struggle juggling the work / life balance. What's your trick to living a rich and fulfilling life as well as providing for your family?
I think the main thing is not to get too greedy. We obviously require money to live, but I just want to support the family, pay the bills and use the rest of the spare time to have fun! I don’t want to be someone who has everything and still wants a second home, an amazing car, a bigger boat and works all day, every day chasing this. I want to die with memories not material things. We are lucky enough to live in a country where if you put your head down and work, at times you can make decent money. That’s why I chose a trade after the pro surfing thing didn’t work out. It’ll pay well one day and eventually I’ll be able to pick and choose my work. I never earnt a ton of money from surfing and for the past six years I’ve worked on minimal wages - three years labouring as a carpenter and the past three years doing a tiling apprenticeship. My fiancé is at uni studying to be a nurse while looking after our two children, Iyla who’s five and a half and Chase who’s three and a half (we’re really lucky both their Nannys live not too far away ha ha!) Needessentials have also really helped me out the past couple of years. I work with them developing and testing products and they get me on the odd trip which I’m really thankful for. But honestly, if I can just take time off to enjoy a week here and there to have fun, that’ll do.
You scored some amazing waves over west. You appear to have ridden a life time worth of barrels in one week! What do you love about surfing in Western Australia?
We had a lot of fun! I was lucky enough to score a really fun solo surf, four to six foot, nice offshore and no one around. I also love going left! At home we don’t have too many amazing lefts. West Aus is full of them! Maybe that’s my favourite thing about the west… Also the isolation is really cool, you can drive for hours without passing the next town. We have beautiful marine life at home but the marine life over there is incredible!
The film shows you fishing and diving, is that a big part of your life?
It’s a massive part of my life for sure. The main reason I go fishing is because we eat fish four to five nights a week ha ha ! For us it’s a cheaper way to live than to buy meat, plus we love eating it. I’ll only take what I need and then go to the extra effort to make sure it’s kept well -ice it, fillet it then flat pack it in the freezer in meal size portions. I actually don’t fish a lot, generally just wait until we run out then I’ll go again. Diving on the other hand, I love it, I’d choose it over fishing any day, it’s a whole other world, I’ll dive as much as possible! We don’t always get clear water around home because of the river but if I lived in a place that had clear water all year round and a couple of keen mates I wouldn’t own a fishing rod.
Does the diving and breath hold stuff help with big wave surfing? How do you train for massive surf?
Diving really helps with the breath hold stuff for sure. Go and free dive for a week and feel how good your breath holds are by the end of the week compared to the start. But I’ve never really trained routinely. Living a life where everything revolves around being in the ocean is enough for me. I’ve only ever had a training routine after I’ve injured myself. I’ll train to fix the injury then just try manage it. Every one operates differently and I feel that’s how my body works best. When I was younger in my teens and early 20s I did a little breath hold training but realistically I’ve found it just has a lot to do with mind control.
How does your partnership with needessentials work?
I feel so lucky to have fallen into the partnership with needessentials. We are unlike the mainstream surf brands and are basically just trying to create the best quality gear for the lowest cost. It just feels right. I became friends with the founder Ryan Scanlon before I knew about the company. I am lucky enough to be able to help develop and test all the latest gear as well as help promote the company with films like this. Basically they understand that I have a family to support, a job to keep and allow me to utilise spare time now and again to try and score some surf for the films. I love that they don’t expect me to chase the biggest craziest swells. Involvement with needessentials has opened up my mind to fun waves and cool places that I might not have gone to if I was still surfing for a mainstream company. For instance last year I was lucky enough to go to Iceland with Ryan, Torren and Ishka to test wetsuits and that was something I’ll never forget. I can’t wait for the adventures ahead!
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any film projects in the works or plans to chase waves anywhere?
My plans are to continue what I’m doing. Hopefully surf more and work less! Torren and Ishka are about to start working on a film for needessentials taking an amazing journey from Scotland to Morocco. Hopefully I can get some time off work to hook up with them. Maybe in Ireland? I’d love to surf some of those waves! Not too sure on the films… I’d love to do another based within Australia as we have such an amazing country for surf. My dream is to go around Aus with the family while the kids are young, maybe that might be something I’ll work towards. As for waves, I’d love to surf some more places I’ve never surfed, big or small.