Quick Chats: Josh Morgera.
By Jack Dobo.
When are you officially considered old? Is there a set age? Or is it how others perceive you? Or how you perceive yourself? Probably a mixture of all 3, but as the majority of us core bodyboarders slide onto the wrong side of 30 or even 40 these days we certainly aren’t the youthful specimens we once were.
So a few years ago, when the stocks of young local bodyboarders were dwindling in my area, it was a pleasant surprise to see a young man flying the flag from the Wollongong region. His name is Josh Morgera and after a few brief encounters in the salt we came figure out that I was in fact his learn to swim teacher about 12 years ago when he was a wee little boy. And in that moment I realised I was old as shit!
Fast forward a few years and when I see him stroking into local slabs I’m able to say “I taught him everything he knows”. The real truth is Josh is a naturally stylish, quite achiever who goes about his business in a humble way. Anyone who puts the hours into bodyboarding these days has to be doing it for the love and sadly for his generation the money, the women and the financial sponsorships are long gone.
The Wollongong region has a rich horizontal history with riders such as Jason Finlay and James Kates hailing from our shores as well as film makers like Todd Barnes and ‘The Gong’ also being the birth place of Zion wetsuits. So I caught up with Josh to get a youthful perspective on the local scene here and what drives him to keep the booging dream alive… when so many have slipped off into obscurity.
What is the vibe amongst the young Bodyboarding crew in Wollongong? Are the lads hanging up the fins for soft tops, or are they still frothing?
From what I have seen there’s quite a strong community of guys and girls young and old riding the lid, which is real good to see!
I wouldn’t say hanging up the fins but some kinda slowing up a bit, I guess there’s only so much grovelling you can do during the smaller swells around home, but it’s super fun being able to mix it up and ride different crafts. Majority of my mates being standup guys had me surfing a lot when it was smaller and having fun with a bunch of different boards.
Who was the best older bodyboarder you saw at some of your local breaks that really inspired you to push your riding further?
I probably couldn’t choose one person in particular but names such as James Kates, Brenden Newton, Chris James, Ivan Pulic and the rest of that Zion/Drag crew are always a pleasure to watch in the water and are a really creative and cool bunch of guys who I really look up to and respect within the sport.
With bodyboarding having no feasible career path these days what is your current job/trade and how does that fit in with scoring waves?
I am currently in my 4th year of my carpentry apprenticeship and also doing my Cert 4 in building. It’s definitely tricky trying to balance a work/surf lifestyle but my boss is pretty cool with the odd day off to go chase waves somewhere. In saying that, it sucks hearing from your mates about how good it was that morning while you’re at work.
Do young riders like yourself and Liam Lucas feel robbed when not so long ago young sponsored riders actually got paid by brands to ride for them?
Personally for me, not at all! I feel that the reason you do something is because you love doing it, not just for the extra cash or the incentive behind it. Yeah the money would be good and all but it’s never been the reason to want to keep doing it.
In the years I have been surfing I’ve had some crazy good sessions, shared some great memories with great people and made many new mates along the way, memories that will stay with me forever!
Us older blokes seem to still have a sick obsession with guys like Ryan Hardy. Who do you consider to be the best young rider these days who’s still pushing the sport?
Probably Tanner McDaniel, he’s just got everything super dialled and is always coming out with stuff that wows everyone.
What’s the one bodyboarding movie or section you’ve watched on repeat thousands times?
It would probably would be between Fever Dream, Home Brew 1 or the RIP movies, used to spend hours on Vimeo as a grom watching the latest boog clips before going surfing.
What’s the biggest skunking you’ve ever copped whilst chasing waves down the south coast?
The one that tops them all was when me and a mate were driving south in the late hours of the night when the biggest roo I’d ever seen jumped out in front of my car on the freeway, ended up with a fair bit of damage to the front of my car and a pretty hefty mechanics bill that later followed. Woke up the next morning to sloppy wind swell and onshore winds, ended up driving straight home and grovelled a local beachy that arvo, was one to remember.
The boarders are open and you’ve won 25K on a scratchy. What is your dream surf trip/location and who are you taking?
Would love to do a trip to Tahiti or Ireland with my friend Dylan and few other close friends, never really surfed much out of the country so it’s definitely something I’d love to do more, just travel and enjoy what it has to offer I guess.
Got a little trip planned next year at some stage so hopefully Covid cooperates.
You’re at a house party and you’re chatting to a girl you just met…Do you tell her you “Bodyboard” or “Surf”?
Finally, any shout outs to the people that are still supporting young bodyboarders?
To all the small boog clubs still around that are pushing the sport for the younger generation.
Josh’s Insta is below to give the young blood a follow.