The Thunder Files: No Friends, Bay Style.

No Friends, Bay Style.

By Mitch “Thunder” Lees.

The thing about being a booger in the late 90s and early 00s was that you knew you were being perceived as an outsider in the world of ocean pursuits.


Goobers in shoe-box sized Etnies and wrapped Arnettes would look down their amphetamine charged noses as you and your mates cut about in niche bodyboard brand attire.


We were stigmatised as illegitimate sons of the sea and fuck it felt good.
That ethos was also one that drove our musical pursuits and on-land activities as we cranked up some Lagwagon and attempted to ollie a curb.


Self-perceived bad arses trying to break the mould of small-minded coastal monotony.


There were countless occasions when our bum-puffing brethren came under fire from the local shin-swinging stand up crew for sporting black jeans and band tees.
When I look back at those days gone I can see clearly the influence one particular bodyboarding label had on us.

It was the No Friends movement, and as outcasts it fit the narrative perfectly.
Watching those early visual offerings from Stoker changed the way we viewed our craft.


There were all the elements of the early skateboarding videos we loved but adapted to the bit of foam we rode feverishly each waking moment.
The likes of Paul Roach, Spencer Skipper and Ross McBride aesthetically cut to some killer sonic vibrations.


It was what we had been searching for to connect the dots to our place in the cultural battlegrounds of the cone zone.

The No Friends era really came to a head for us in Port Stephens when their Happy Camper Tour rolled through town in 2002.
It was a travelling freak show of North American talent super-charged with some all Aussie boog core-lords to promote the new NF5 video.
We were all blown away by the last offering from Stoker with his critically acclaimed NF4, Guilty by Association and this wouldn’t be any different.


Our local surf store Get Wet had a gab-gifted guru that could sell snow cones to an Eskimo and he somehow swindled the NF crew to show their latest offering at the local Golf Club.
Pretty fucking mental times and I’ll never forget that opening sequence.
Some of the heaviest portals and aerials I’ve witnessed cut to ‘New Noise’ by Refused.

Holy shit this was going to be some night!

Nelson Bay Boog Brigade circa 2002.


The schooners flowed fast as the night went from strength to strength and in a blink of an eye we had the whole Happy Camper Tour back at our mate’s place as his parents were out of town.

It was your atypical Australian shin-dig, kegs pouring freely as charged up teens flogged a stolen golf cart around the backyard.
Manny V was rocking a red jumpsuit and wig charging piss and blowing the pea out of the marching bands powder in the laundry.


It was a surreal experience to be partying with your childhood heroes as bottles smashed and howls echoed out of bedrooms and down hallways.
I suppose it really set the scene for the way the local crew attacked Boxy in the years to come.


Pushing limits in and out of the water.

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