Otis Carey and Ozzie Wright set off to the long, cold and rugged coastline of Chile to find waves and help out with a Misfit Aid long term disaster relief house building project. They changed lives with their hammers but weren’t delivered their Karmic pay check of perfect south pacific ocean swell in return.
Despite the minimal swell everyone involved called it the best trip in a while and the photos from the few pulses they did have looked damn appealing. I caught up with Otis to hear about the trip.
All images by Matt O’Brien
Is this a good time to have a quick chat? Yeah, I’m just lying on the couch at the Sugarmill, did you get the pictures from Chile? Yeah MOB (Matt O’Brien) sent them to me the other day. Fuck we got skunked for waves man. Yeah I heard, I was so bummed because normally Chile is the most reliable stretch of coast in the world. I was just trying to go right the whole time trying to get a fricken good shot because the lefts were just shit house. Yeah some of them are really fat. So shit. How was the trip all in all? Yeah it was pretty fun. I had a rad time. So let’s talk aboaut what you did on the trip? Bloody oath, bloody oath. Alright cobba. Did you learn any spanish over there? Hey? Did you learn any Espanol? Ummmm, a little bit, not much. But did you…? Just like how to order food. Talk to me about flying in, you know, the first impressions. I thought Chile, being in South America, was kind of like Mexico, so I’d assumed deserts and kind of harsh environments. And then we were flying over and I was like ‘holy shit, there’s fucking snowy mountains’. Then we landed and it was so luscious and green and so pretty. It was kind of like Twilight. Big pine trees and misty woods, it was freaken epic. So it was kind of like, the total opposite of what I expected. It was so cool to rock up to that. Yeah it’s such a beautiful place huh? It’s freaken so gorgeous. From there you guys just went on to Pichilemu on the coast right? Yeah we drove down to Pichilemu and, um, bummed around for the first day, I was pretty jetlagged. And then we tried to go for surf, but it was so small. Then we helped out building a house. That was pretty fun. How did the trip all come together with all the planning and getting Ozzie involved? Um, from the start of the year we were heckling Ozzie to come on at least one of the trips for my movie we’re making. He was supposed to come to South Sumatra, but he bailed. Then we just heckled him all year and I was telling him, ‘you gotta come on a trip. Come on, come, come.’ Then he finally committed to Chile, which was rad. Pat (Otis’ filmer) was telling me you guys planned to go to Chile to get some bigger waves huh? It was a place where you thought you were guaranteed some sizier stuff? Yeah because the film hasn’t got too much big surf and it kind of makes us look like bitches. I don’t mind surfing big waves. I was kind of amped to get some big barrels. But kind of failed in that department. Yeah. But that’s all good.
So you helped with the house. Tell me about that experience? Was that fun or what happened? Where at? When you helped out with the Misfit Aid house? Oh yeah, that was rad. We just rocked in and got told what to do and hammered some nails, told some jokes, had some laughs. Yeah it was good. Have you got any skills on the hammer? Uhh kind of. I do alright. I’ve done a couple of those trips and felt like a 12 year-old school girl every time I picked up the hammer, I’ve got no building skills. I’m good at paving and, um, paving pools and patios. I did that for a couple of years. Ahh so you’ve got a bit of tradie in you. Bloody oath. Did you guys hang around to finish the house and hand the keys over to the new owner? Yeah we hung around. It was cool, they put on a big BBQ for us and it was actually one of the most amazing BBQ’s I’ve been to. The way they cook their food on a barbeque is fucked up, so good. What sort of stuff? I don’t know if they use spices or what it is, but their chicken on a BBQ is amazing. Yeah nice. They love their meat over there, everything’s just meat. Yeah everything’s meat and bread. And sugar. So much sugar going down. Yeah, so they threw a big BBQ for us then we all got drunk and partied and packed up and went to wherever it was we went. Do you remember the names of the towns? I think we stayed in Curanipe and thats all I really know. Yeah and then what? We just jumped in the car and headed down the coast. Is that right? Yeah just jumped in the car and the day we left, I was so hungover, we had to pull over twice and spew a bunch of times. It wasn’t a fun car ride, but interesting. Another story to tell. Why, what happened? Did you have a little party one night? Yeah because the last night we were in Pichilemu, that was the night we handed the keys for the new house to the lady. We got pretty drunk and we were drinking everything like red wine with coke, beers, fricken that pisco stuff. Pisco sour? Yep. They’re good huh. Yeah, but the hangover’s not very nice. Yeah. Were there people in the town at the time or were you guys the only ones kicking around town? Uh yeah, we went to some party in the hills. Drove up a dirt road into the bush. There was a BBQ happening, music and a bunch of people Yeah nice. Sounds like fun times. And then you jumped in the car headed off spewing up. Then what else happened? Tell me about the adventures on the way? Where to next? Then we went to Jessie Faen’s house. That is where we went to. He’s the Insight guy over in the states right? Pardon? He’s actually an ex Editor of Waves. Yeah he is. And now he works for Insight in the states. Nah he left. Ah, what does he do now? I have no idea. I think he’s living off his savings at the moment. Just hanging in Chile. Yeah, with his daughter and his missus. But I don’t think he’s with his missus anymore. Ahh, trouble in paradise. Trouble in paradise.
How were you dealing with the cold water? I actually hate being cold. I was wearing a Matuse 543 with a hood and 3mm booties. So you were alright. Was that enough? It was ok if you were behind a headland where the wind couldn’t get ya, but if you were out in the wind, fuck that. It was so cold, the wind would go straight through. Yeah, it’s heavy. After an hour or so your muscles don’t even work. I remember trying to stand to get to my feet a couple of times and I would just go over with the lip. Fuuck- it’s not cool. And, um ,what about any experiences with the locals? They all seemed pretty sweet. They were all really nice and I think the guys who surfed down that way, who were from Santiago (Chile’s capital, population – 5,428,590. 1706.04 ft above sea level. Facts!) they’re like the worst humans ever – they are just cunts to surf with. The actual locals out in the villages are absolute legends though. You get those kooks who come from the city. They’re kooks. Yeah I remember that, they’re pretty gnarly in the water those guys, I guess they’re on their holidays and just try and get as many waves as they can, and they just go bananas out there. Yeah they get gnarly. Yeah and so what happened? What was the general day-to-day of the trip, just hunting for waves? Um, on a general day, I guess we’d get up pretty early usually, go for a surf before the wind kicks in, then laze around. I don’t know. The trip we did was more of a chilled-out trip than our previous ones. On other trips we’d be up before the sun, be out there when the sun comes up, surfing literally until the sun goes down. But this trip was really mellow and we kind of just cruised around. Just like a normal day at home with your mates on holidays kind of thing. Yeah nice. Just chillin’ and surfing whenever we feel like it kind of thing. And were you diggin the local food? Yeah I actually loved the food. Sted’s [Luke Stedman] was telling me before I went, that food was fricken shit house and that we wouldn’t find any good food. But I reckon it was so good. Empanadas and stuff? Yeah heaps of empanadas. Yeah they are pretty crazy. After a few to many of those you start feel a bit weird. Yep.
Talk to me about running into Derek Hynd. What happened there? We rocked up there and Derek was there. I’d never met him and never really heard much about him, but I knew who he was and what he was about. He was funny. Such a legend, like a 15 year-old kid – full on, but at the same time like Gandolf the wizard, just full of fucking information about everything. Yeah, he’s a super smart guy. Yeah. And really quite opinionated about surfing. Yeah he’s a brutally honest guy in a very nice way. Did you find him intimidating? I always found him really intimidating. Uh, not really. I found him really interesting. His way of talking, very interesting. Tell me about what happened. You just ran into him on the beach? Ah no, he was staying at Jesse Faen’s where we were staying. Ahhhh. So, um yeah, kind of got to hang with him for a full week. What did you guys get up to? Just surfed heaps and hung out and drank lots of beer, but Derek didn’t drink much beer. And, um, Pat was telling me that while you guys were cruising around, there was an election on and you guys were ripping down signs? Oh yeah, there was a stupid election on. In one town, there would be a population of like 2000 people and there would be like at least 100 people going for the local mayorship or some shit. It was so gnarly. So you get all these crazy big signs everywhere. We went around ripping them down and then we painted over them, it was pretty funny. So sounds like a pretty bohemian bunch; you, Ozzie and Derek just floating around in Chile being animals? Derek was surfing better than anyone there. Yeah he’s the best surfer in the world. He is seriously. The shit he does on a finless board is fucked up. It’s mind blowing. Yeah it’s crazy., Have you seen that clip of him at J-bay? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECqlbimpaUI) Yeah. It’s so hard to compare it to anything because it’s so extreme. It’s so different on another level. Pat was telling me Ozzie was a little nervous around Derek. Was he? I don’t know. Maybe that’s Pats opinion or whatever. Pat was telling us that he was the full legend like, real eccentric, but super into everything and pumped all the time? Yeah like I said, he was like a 15 year-old kid just fucking…you know how 15 year-old are? They’re like ‘fuck! It’s pumping! Lets go surfing!’ Just like that. He puts his wetsuit on before anyone, gets out of the water after everyone. Just full of energy that guy. How did you go surfing the waves there? I struggled a bit, I hate surfing on my backhand. The surf was shit, I wasn’t going to get any shots going left, so I was like ‘fuck it’. I put in a lot of extra effort to try and find some rights. Yeah right, they’re not the easiest waves to surf those points huh? Some of them are a bit fat, it’s a bit strange. So you’re just looking for punt sections yeah? Yeah because you couldn’t do punts on the lefts because it was windy all the time and the wind was coming from your back and it would blow your board straight away from ya. And how was Ozzie going? Was he surfing well? Yeah he was shredding. He always shreds. He hurt his leg on like, the third day – half way through the trip, so he was kind of bummed out a bit. He couldn’t do much. Really? He couldn’t even surf? No, he was surfing but he was just cruising around on the waves because every time he went to go for an air, it felt like the muscle was going to rip off his leg. Ew that sounds pretty nuts. But he was shredding still? Yeah. He does the best turns… Yeah he’s kind of underrated for his turns. They’re pretty psycho. Yeah.
So lets talk about Ozzie’s influence on you. Obviously you guys are good buddies now, but I remember a party at the Sugarmill, and I think it was one of the first times you hung with him and you were like ‘shit, that’s Ozzie there, I’m just going to stare at him all night’. He’s a hero to you yeah? Yep. Fuck when I was like, 14 or 15, I used watch clips of him and I would get a mirror so I could watch the clip through that and it was backwards so he was riding natural foot. Haha. Yeah right, I know Cansdell used to do that with Slater to make him goofy. So funny. I don’t know, I just love everything about his surfing. Did you watch his section on Doped Youth? Did you have Doped Youth? Yeah I reckon I’ve watched it over a 100 times. Sick. We’re actually re-releasing Doped Youth with this next issue so… Sick. They should make a Doped Youth 2. Yeah it’d be cool huh. ‘Return of the Doped Youth’ or something. So when you first met Ozzie in those early days, when you got to know him, how was that? I first met Oz in New Zealand, like sooooo long ago when I was doing the Junior Series, and we were just randomly surfing on this beach near Raglan. We were in the middle of the beach, miles away and this car rocked up and we were like ‘no way. Are you kidding?’ We were the only people around and this car rocks up and this guy jumps out with all these cameras. Then we’re like ‘fuck this’. And we were going to go in and then it ended up being Ozzie. That was the first time I met him, but the first time I ever really hung out with him was at the Boost Mobile Air Show in Bondi. Oh yeah. I met him there and hung out with him there all day. Then I moved to Narabeen and Justin Crawford used to go over to Ozzie’s heaps and they invited me to go surfing with them a bunch of times.That’s how I became friends with Ozzie in the end – going surfing with him on the Northern Beaches. Now he’s one of my real good friends. Its weird how things work that way. What drew you to his surfing in the beginning? Because I’ve always guessed you were always kind of a punky kid you know? I don’t know, when I was like, 14 years-old, I bought a pair of girl jeans, ripped holes in them and they were so tight. And everyone was like ‘what the fuck’s wrong with this kid?’ Then I just didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought and I would wear the most fucked up clothes. Ozzie was, you know, in the same frame of mind and just didn’t give a fuck. He just wore whatever he wanted and just so happened to surf like a maniac. I just liked everything about what he was doing and followed him ever since I knew who he was and knew what he was about. Yeah and is your love for airs and your kind of ‘off beat’ style of surfing a direct influence from Ozzie? Yeah I would say he would have like, 95 percent. Where does the other five percent come from? Probably my dad. Oh big Rod, on the knee board. Yeah. What he always used to say to me was, “just be yourself and do whatever makes you happy, and what makes you happy makes me happy.’ He’s probably got more of an influence over me than Ozzie in a way. Yeah your dad’s a chief. Yeah just having that fatherly support when your father’s loving ya, and you’re doing what makes you happy and he’s not judging ya.
So what about when you stopped surfing there for a little while. I remember seeing you in Coffs Harbour kicking around when you were young and you were ripping. Then when you first moved to Sydney maybe you lost interest in surfing for a little while? Yeah I don’t know, I think everybody goes through a time in their life where they kind of get stuck and they don’t know what path to take and kind of put everything aside for a while to just figure things out for themselves. And then my ex got pregnant and that helped me find what I wanted to do and I started to surf a lot more and to surf a lot better. People started noticing and all of sudden I had sponsors paying my bills and sending me on trips. Yeah that’s kind of how it came about again. It really just worked out then huh? Yeah everything just fell into place and worked out for the best. Getting back to Chile, what was the highlight of the trip. I don’t know, probably just, now that I look back on it the highlight would have to be experiencing another country with someone who has had such influence on my life. That’s like a dream come true in my eyes. I’m so stoked I got to do all that with Ozzie. Yeah. Lets talk about Ozzie’s travel style because I feel he’s the kind of guy to have fun with locals and get into fun situations more so than other people. Yeah Ozzie’s funny. With the travel, he has four different board bags; all single board bags and he just tapes his boards together with sticky tape. He has a backpack and his ukulele and that’s just how he rocks around. He’s just up for whatever, if it sounds fun, he’s keen and if doesn’t sound fun, he’s still keen. It’s good to travel with people like that. It makes the experience more appreciatable. Yeah, that’s not a word. Appreciative, that’s the word I was looking for. Was he playing songs on the uke all the time? Yeah it was funny, making a lot of weird spanish songs. He actually speaks really fluent spanish. Yeah I hear he’s good. That surprised me. I guess he’s traveled enough to those sort of places. He’s actually a very smart human.
Did you guys go up to the Andes? Yeah, we spent like a night and day up there, it was so fun. The night we got there, like late arvo, on sunset, it was so magical. The colours and everything were so amazing. I don’t know if it was the altitude but trying to sleep that night up that high, we were like 3000 metres above sea level, so it was hard to sleep. Everyone just tossed and turned. Then we got up early, had breakie, went up further into the Andes, brought our surfboards up there and went sliding down the snow. It was so fun. Ha. What else do I want to ask you…? I’m bad at answering questions. Whats that? I’m so bad at answering questions. I know, it’s hard, you go on a trip and you have these amazing experiences and then you forget them the day you get home. Not forget, but unless you’re around other people who were there with you. Do you do any research before you go places, or kind of roll in and let your eyeballs be amazed? The only thing I researched were the waves on YouTube, trying to see what it was like. It was nothing like what I saw on YouTube. Haha. Did you see good waves on YouTube? Oh my gosh yep, like below-sea-level barrels everywhere, and then I got there and it was one foot and choppy. You guys got really skunked huh? Yeah we got pretty skunked. I’ve been there twice and it pumped the whole time I was there. You just got really unlucky. Hows the film coming along? You pretty psyched on it? We’ve finished the filming now and it’s going to be done and dusted – all edited and finished in two or three weeks. So are you pretty involved in the process with all the editing and that kind of stuff? Yeah, I’m going to go up to Byron for a couple of days. Alright we’re done. Adious. See you later buddy.