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Talking Story with Amy Hewton

I first met Amy in 2017 when we opened our Sea Bones store in Byron. Instantly drawn in by her cheery smile and super surf froth, we're stoked to see she's still kicking it around the Byron lineups with the same energy we first encountered (let's face's been a time!). Creative and talented in and out of the lineup, we look forward to seeing the launch of her new project, Tenet in the Brine, at lift off. 

Where are you from (or where are you now) and what's the female surf community like there?

I am living on Bundjalung Country, and I would like to respect the Arakwal People of this land past, present and future by acknowledging them. This land is also known as Byron Bay. The female surf community here is encompassing, wide, diverse in culture, age, skill level and style, but together the ocean connects us and we thrive through that connection.

What a crazy couple of years it's been for the world. How has the pandemic disrupted any grand plans you may have had and if so, were you able to find any opportunities in restrictions or light at the end of a tunnel? 

Basically messed my whole world up, blocked me from seeing family, stopped the travel/surf tour and grounded me hard, which was divinely beautiful, because I got to sit still in one place for the longest time in a long time and created a deeper, beautiful and genuinely connected community around me.

I first met you at our Sea Bones store and you were doing graphic design work - what are you up to these days that we need to know about? 

Yes!!! Sea Bones was such an iconic hangout, met some amazing people through your space and always loved the atmosphere and the products it hosted, was a sad day when it closed it's doors, you must have had some amazing foresight as that shut just before the world shut down.
I am graphic designing and loving it, but I am also venturing out into permaculture and mentoring. Starting up Tenet in the Brine, which is in part a class in surf ethics/culture/community and safety, just to bring it all back into love and fun out there.

What's your take on the flourishing of women's surf industry we've all witnessed over the last few years?

My heart is happy, from being the only girl in the line up to the line up being all women, WOW! And I know the men love the energy we bring, the joy, and style and the love. The fun being had with my friends of all genders is amazing. 

Having women shape what we see and wear has made big changes, we see now a collective of all sizes in advertising and we see surfers, not just models.

You've combined competing at some rad comps with travelling around the world. What have been some highlights, from the people you've met and places you've visited?

Good question Danny. I guess feeling connected to cultures and people you think would have no immediate linkage, but the soul lights up the creativity and joy in surfing and the surrounding art and music culture which pops this magic, and my heart now lives and lies in many places around the world from these travels and experiences.
Well, flying into the Porto, picked up at the airport and straight to opening party for Gliding Barnacles (Portugal) and within 30 minutes, I am crowdsurfing and running through "haunted" dilapidated houses, wild amazing fun!

Brought with me a kangaroo for Ines Ambrosio, a stuffed toy one as we joked about "anything I can bring you" in conversation before my first trip to Gliding Barnacles, she so thoughtfully messaged me before coming to offer to pick me up from airport and help me with anything I needed. The hospitality and kindness of her and everyone in these events makes you feel so loved.

A year later... funny story, many, but this one sticks in my head where I would not leave the side of my friend who had a fin chop to her head (had such a weird feeling in the water, something was wrong and I couldn't find Ines) so I paddled in and ran up the beach to some people and found her amongst them being walked back to home base and blood pouring out her head, I immediately stopped her and sat her down and allow her body to rest I and shock to release. Then I semi-demanded that I rode in the ambulance to the hospital with her, just me and her, me speaking minimal Portuguese and her from Portugal but obviously not reliable in her state (everyone was like are you sure you want Amy to go with you and she was like yes no one else) everything ended up fine, but we have such a strong connection that it was impossible to separate us in this moment, which I adored, and waiting around the hospital was kind of fun as all the doctors where rather attractive and we just kept giggling like kids in candy store. 
And riding on the roof of a Jeepney up a super steep hill in the Philippines on route to an amazing hike and waterfall, but wow, holding on and slightly terrified but totally frothing at the aliveness and freedom of it all and the view was insane!

Mexico...heck going in Mexilog and never surfed a left before and shitting my pants as the later days of the comp the wave totally picked up and it was a wild heaven/hell haha, but had a good friend in my heat and she gave me the support to get on a big one and, wow, thank you Kaitlin Mikkelsen - your kindness was lovely, knowing I am not a big wave lover, got me over the edge to get into it.
Oh and my second year of the Single Fin Mingle, I took out the best dressed... damn, did I look good haha I realise from the first year that I could take this as far as a wanted and came in hot with fur hats and safari suits and platforms the next year... need I say I set a standard.
This is what I love about these adventures, the people make it the best of times, big loving souls all out for good old fun time, that's my kind of life.

Any future dreams or life goals when our new normal/the world reopens?

Short term, back to Portugal in September for Gliding Barnacles, maybe even pop to Morocco, that would be epic, see my friends and travel again, my heart is aching for this.

Future, settle more into the Northern Rivers, buy a house, make it a home and plant a food forest garden in the backyard, slow down and have a simple life filled with sunshine.

And possibly run some surf events, keen to make more fun and keep the community healthy and happy.

Style us out for the lineup, what would you have us wearing:

Well, these checkers are mad fun to surf in, stay in place and looking cute AF! haha but also like your SG I wear Atlas Label, they are my friends brand Cristina Rover, she is South African but spent many years living here. She has created a slow fashion brand with massive roots in eco-friendly fabrics and long lasting non-seasonal styles that are classic and surf really well. 

I wear their black onepiece every week and the wetsuits are the warmest ever!

And usually whatever fun hat I find at an op shop, always trying to find what I need in things already created.

Favourite surf spot or destination: 

Playa La Saladita near Zihuatanejo in Mexico, long left-handed point break, amazing to surf since we get basically only rights here on the east coast of Australia.

Words you live by:

Love is infinite, throw some about...

Top 10 essential (surf) travel items:

  1. Surf mat (4th Gear Flyer) and Da-fins (always fun and always getting a wave on this, and its light weight carry on)
  2. Le Mu x Salt Gypsy pouch (I have taken that all over the world since i got it in 2018)* Author's note - new splashproof bags landing soon!
  3. Tiger Balm
  4. Massage ball
  5. Wax and comb
  6. Zinc 
  7. Well-structured neck pillow (life savers for long lights and longer car rides)
  8. Wide brimmed hat (floppy so it folds up easy) 
  9. Spring wetsuit (so many places you think are hot but, in the water, you get cold)
  10. Big cotton towel (many other uses, shade/blanket/picnic rug/jumper/etc)