Austinmer musician and film maker James Kates has beaten hundreds of other hopefuls to take out a major category of the prestigious Reelers Surf Film competition
Snow and giant seals are things you don’t expect to see in a surf film, but that didn’t stop James including them in his entry ‘Cryptic Ditch’, featuring surfers Krupsy and Seb, which has been awarded the ‘Story’ category of the competition.
“I just thought I’d have a crack to see if I was any good,” he laughs. “I guess I went all right. You can’t argue with a novelty cheque for a couple of thousand dollars and a brand new drone!
James started out shooting bodyboarding, which he did for many years, but it’s tough making an income that way, so when Zion wetsuits switched across to surfing, James went too. Now he’s in demand across the country doing what he describes as ‘random surf stuff’.
He’s also a semi-pro bodyboarder and a member of successful local bands Shining Bird and The Pinheads.
“I’m constantly juggling surf trips and gigs,” says James. “Shining Bird is in the midst of a tour right now. We have a gig on the Gold Coast, then we play the Heritage Hotel at Bulli, and the Oxford Arts Factory, which is one of Sydney’s best live venues.
“As for the future, I’m just going to keep chipping away at something that pulls it all together. I want to combine surf visuals with live music. That’s the dream anyway.”
COFFEE:- James says along with the rest of Shining Bird, he likes to spread the love among local cafes and has not particular favourite.
EATING OUT:- When you live in the Northern Illawarra you have to like Thai because there are so many options- but we always go to Arawan or Coastal Thai. We like to mix it up a bit!
FAVE SURF SPOT:- I bodyboard so I like Headlands, but my favourite spot is Virgins, which is a bombie about 2kms offshore.
It’s a bit sketchy and I’ve seen a lot of sharks out there but when it’s working it’s one of the best waves in Australia.
You can watch Cryptic Ditch HERE