Change Of Flight Path For Wingass.

Photo: Bruce Ellis

Photo: Bruce Ellis

“Generational” is a term used loosely amongst friends, but rarely by a community.

 Davis Blackwell and his two closest amigos, Lewy and George, are breaking that trend as they have taken the bodyboarding world by storm. Interrupting flight paths at their local wave haunt, taming mammoth amounts of water down in Southern WA and touring the world with a film that was blatantly mind blowing highlights one key phrase for mine…..Generational. 

Continuing on from all the recent success and accolades that have been flowing within the bodyboarding world in regards to Mr. Blackwell’s booging, what better time than now to announce that he has joined the Stealth team as one of their premier riders.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the West Coast larrikin and see how the deal all went down.

MM: G'day Davis, theres been a few whispers amongst boog populated lineups that you have signed with a new board sponsor, any comment on these claims sir? 

DB: G’day, can confirm the whispers are true. I am now riding for STEALTH & I am frothing! “Wingass” model coming soon !!

Joining your west coast amigo, George Humphreys, on the Stealth team must be better than an extra serve of fresh guacamole with your nacho's after a cheeky 6 hour wedge session you frothing amigo. Now as team mates, are you going to pursuit even more wave hunting trips together? 

Yeah it’s awesome to be on the same team as my best mate Gringoss, we have all ready been hunting clips around WA the past 3 weeks and it’s so sick surfing with him. We have been lucky with crowds also, a few sessions it’s just been George and I out. I’ll see him do something big, then all I have in my head is, I wanna go bigger than that mother fucker!! Hahaha always having a laugh, just being silly buggers…. it’s good times. Definitely more wave hunting trips together :)

How did the split with NMD all unravel? Any sore heads or hurt feelings associated with the move or am I just reading a little into it Davis? Are you still expecting a Christmas card every silly season or will there be that awkward greetings moment the next time you run into your former boss? 

Change is good, change can lead to new opportunities. I feel everything was left on good terms and I am grateful for everything NMD has done for me in the past. 

I was out of contract and had already had a chat with Stealth, I was waiting on a reply from them and at the same time Winny was trying to call me about a signature model with NMD through Inverted again. I had to dodge phone calls from Winny for a few days as I was unsure what I was going to do. (Sorry Winny xoxo) 

Once the decision was made I had to tell Winny on the phone, he was really understanding which made things easier. Also Benny P sent me a nice message which meant a lot. 

One chapter is closed and a new one with Stealth has begun, really excited for what’s to come with Stealth!

Change is good, change can lead to new opportunities.
— Davis Blackwell

Another challenging test you faced was when you broke the most vital set of bones in the human body, your spinal cord, with the L1 and L2 becoming fractured plus your pelvis and ribs after taking a nasty beating out the Box. Hows the body holding up a couple years on ?

Yep, The box bites alright, it’s got teeth….. it draws blood. It’s only just recently been two years since the injury and funny enough I remember the night that I did it. Laying in hospital I was thinking to myself “that I just can’t wait for it to be 2 years since the day of injury”. I am a pretty inpatient person and it’s been a long road to recovery. The first  two weeks were so painful, I had to sleep on my back and I could only sleep on my side. I would have to wake up at 5am and drop painkillers so I could get out of bed to do a poo at 7am. I would have to use my crutches to get to the toilet at that stage because I couldn’t bend down to the seat, I had this extended seat I sat on higher up, kinda like a toilet seat on crutches hahah. I look back on it laughing now but at the time it sucked. A few more solid weeks passed, with nothing to do but Netflix while being bed ridden, man I went through some shows! I watched “Suits” in two weeks there’s like 80 episodes I was going back to back episodes hard. 

Finally I could get into the pool and start rehab just by walking laps. My old boy “Glennoss” just had an op on his shoulder around the same time so we would go to the pool together, that was pretty cool. Then I would go to the physio once a week and he would give me a set of exercises/stretches to do for the week. It became very repetitive but it has to be done, I was starting to get pretty frustrated. Shout out to my mum for looking after me too!

Three months passed and I had not stepped foot in the ocean or hung out with many friends I got pretty over it. It was freezing cold winter in WA and I was not keen at all to get into a 4/3 so George and I headed to Bali so I could at least go for a swim. I was at the strange stage where I could start to do the normal things that I would do but then would be reminded quickly of my injury through pain. I rode a soft top at a fat left hander and caught only 3 waves, but that was enough. 

Then around the eight months mark, after I uploaded my first recent Bodyboarding shot since the injury, I felt I was able to surf okay again. From then on in I became stronger and started pulling up in less pain after sessions. I’ve had a few marathon sessions at wedge the past few weeks and I do pull up stiff but it’s not to bad, I am really happy to just be back in the water and to be able to do the stuff that I was doing before the injury. 

Yep, the Box bites alright, it’s got teeth..... it draws blood.
— Davis Blackwell

Lewy, George and yourself launched your "Three Amigo's" movie back in mid 2018 and I wanted to find out a few facts and figures from the premier's and launches all over the globe. Firstly, how many free schooeys did you end up scoring? Secondly, what was the weirdest and most memorable location or crowd you screened the show for and why? Thirdly, does the sense of satisfaction and contentment linger amongst the boys after the success of this generational film, or is there still an urge to keep pushing forward with your skill sets? 

The First Prem at The Boulvard Tavern was so mental, there where so many people there that the Pub ran out of Schooners and Pints so people had to get jugs. We got a handful of jugs put in front of our faces that was pretty classic. 

Most memorable would have to be the Spain/France prems. They where back to back, Spain on the 18th then France on the 19th. We did the Spain Prem then after, it turned into bit of a big night out, the boys pulled up stumps late then we had a solid 8 hour drive ahead of us from Spain to France (would not recommend doing hungover).

Us 3 Amigos where lucky to have two of our good friends from home with us for the journey Crutchoss and Rat dawg. Crutchoss Gringoss and I bought a car back in Portugal then Lewy and Rat where in a hire car. The journey began and we planned to car convoy but after George’s shit navigation skills we took a wrong turn and had to do a fifteen minute drive in the wrong direction. Only to go through a road toll and have to make a U-turn to get back heading in the correct direction. So the car convoy with Lewy and Rat did not last long at all and that was the last time George was navigating off maps. 

A few hours in and all is going okay, our car was an el cheapo, bit of a heapa - but she still drove. There was definitely three sore heads in the car but we were heading in the right direct and making good time. We had to arrive in France by 6pm for the prem. This may be bit of an unknown fact but George and I actually don’t have our manual driving license, we just have our auto. So Crutchoss has done a 4hr driving stint he’s after a well earn’t rest. 

Time is creeping up on us we must keep heading towards France, I jumped in the drivers seat and kangaroo hopped us into 5th on the freeway (driving on the opposite side of the road to Australia) smooth sailing for about 2 hours then the car starts to overheat. We pull up at a service station and there is smoke coming out the bonnet, the heat gage on the car is past hot and we can’t even get the screw cap off to put more coolant in because it might just explode. We let it cool down and managed to get some coolant and more oil in her. This ate up a good amount of time I was starting to think we were going to be late for the France Prem. 

It was now George’s turn to do some driving as we are all hungover as hell. He is coming down the turn off ramp onto the free way, grips it and rips it into third, trying to get it up to 5th poor fella can’t get past third. Third gear goes back to first gear back to third gear back to first gear, it was fucking hilarious hahah. That was the last time george was in the drivers seat, he lasted a whole 5 minutes, I still love ya Gringoss. 

Crutchoss back in the drivers seat, we had SIM cards for our phones but Lewy and Rat didn’t so we could not contact them the entire time, we where starting to really push it for time. Maps said we were still an hour and a half out, we had to be there in an hour. We finally cross the French boarder and arrive at the France Premiere in classic Bodyboarding fashion, a little late hahah, but the turn out was epic and it all worked out in the end. I don’t think I am ever gonna forget the time we drove from Spain to France. 

So the car convoy with Lewy and Rat did not last long at all and that was the last time George was navigating off maps. 
— Davis Blackwell
Photo: Josh Tabone

Photo: Josh Tabone

Another incredible dynamic, that all three of you amigo's share, is the fact you can so easily balance free surfing with competition. You're heading over to South America for the Itacoatiara Pro, kicking off a long sequence of travel and varying wave conditions. What are some of the preparation techniques you use to get yourself right as rain for some heated competition? 

Super excited to be heading to Brazil and South America leg of the APB tour. I have not been there yet and I love going to new places and surfing new waves. I have been trying to just surf flat out before heading over, super pumped for it.

Davis, from my interactions with you I can tell your a pretty casual character who enjoys a laugh and a good time. Does this chilled demeanour ever hinder your ability to really turn the competitive screws and nail one of your rivals down in the last dying seconds of a heat? Can you recall any moments in the ferocity of competition that you wish you could have over? 

Yes Luke, always up for a laugh and a good time! I think once the rashie gets put on things can change pretty quickly. It’s been a few years since I have had a good win so I would like to do well over there. ( Brazil / South America)

A moment I could do over would be the ABA Knights final in South Australia against Jake Stone a few years back. It was a man on man final in nice 4-6ft knights wedge. Jake took his time paddling out hugging the rocks so he could have first priority. The heat actually had to wait for him to get out the back, but all good, you know respect ya elders he could get the first wave of the heat. Neck minute I’m in combo land Stone has absolutely destroyed me in the first 10 minutes of the final. He had a 10 point ride and a 8.26 leaving me stressing to climb out of combo land. 

The ocean went flat and Jake was just drop kneeing waves, he was in a real good position. Under 5 minutes left and I still have not got a solid score. A set approaches I have priority and get a real nice pit, score a 9.33 back in the game. Then the ocean decides to go flat again, I am still chasing a solid score but it is possible. I have priority and there is about 40 seconds remaining. A set rolls in and the first one looks nice, I could tell there was one behind it but I dont know if the time will run out. I go the first one and get a 7.2. Only to turn around and see Stoney on an absolute corker. Heat total 18.26 & 16.6 stone with the win, but yeah if I could go back I’d wait for the second wave of that set, who knows what could have happened. 

P.s Stoney if your reading this miss you xo

He had a 10 point ride and a 8.26 leaving me stressing to climb out of combo land. 
— Davis Blackwell

Finally, can you best describe the feeling that you receive once you've let go of the rope and are pushing over the forever growing mountain of water that is known as "The Right"? Watching that WSL big wave award nom you reheated on your gram only recently got me all giddy inside just watching it, let alone agreeing to wrangle one of those monster! Hats off to you Mr Davis "Big-Balls" Blackwell. 

This gets asked a fair bit by friends and I find it hard to answer, I just try not to think to much while I’m on the tow rope. Then when I let go I just try to get to the bottom of it as quick as you can, then head for the skis in the Channle to safety and once your line is set, sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s the best feeling in the world riding out of them then hi-fiving ya mates!

Luke O'ConnorComment