NOT SO ORDINARY CITIZENS | CHRISTIAN ‘WISPY’ BARKER | CITIZENS OF THE SLIDE
Posted on November 24, 2014 by Trace
To date we have had the pleasure of a talented bunch
of female Sea Gypsies who’ve featured in our
Citizens Of The Slide Interviews.
And until now no Sea Pirates to add some testosterone
to the mix. Enter Wisp aka
— CHRISTIAN BARKER —
all burly and bearded. Something we noticed
from his recent McTavish
“Dedicated to the Craft” film is that he has soul, and is passionate about his surfing..
— C I T I Z E N S
O F T H E S L I D E
NOT SO ORDINARY CITIZENS INTERVIEW —
McTavish Surfboards “Dedicated to the Craft” ep 2, short feature film, recently introduced us to Wispy. His episode was selected as Staff Pick on Vimeo [watch it above] and has had more views than McTavish could’ve dreamt of… If you haven’t yet taken a look at this creative series directed and filmed by local Byron Bay film-maker Stefan Jose then take a squizz, enjoy the scenery, see Wisp firing on a number of different McTavish boards, accompanied by a mood inducing soundtrack by another local talent MT Warning.
HC: From your above mentioned film we concluded that you are a man very content in your own company. A seeker of peace and solitude all wrapped up in a nice empty surf break. Creating this film with master talent Stefan Jose must’ve satisfied all your appetites. Do you have any behind the scene’s moments/stories from your time together on the shoot?
W: Your conclusion is definitely correct; I’m very content in my own company. I’ve always been like that, always happy being by myself and never really craving the company of others. I really enjoy meeting people and hanging with friends but there always comes a time when its got to be ‘me’ time, I generally find it looking for waves and going surfing.
I’ve known Stefan for a while now, we’ve spent time on the road together before we shot this film. We’re always having a laugh and making fun of each other, he’s a good guy to have around so there are quite a few stories.
W: We did a mission South for a few days along with Alex Frings to go find some waves, in the car full of camera gear and surfboards. A rogue pair of undies turned up and somehow found a home on the dashboard. By way of an unexplained phenomenon, a little condensation appeared on the windscreen right above the jocks. There was a lot of allegations and speculation over the true owners of the underwear so it took a couple of days for them to be removed, however the condensation stayed on as a bit of a reminder. This has been a bit of a running joke between us since.. I’m pretty confident they were Stefan’s.
HC: You look equally comfortable riding short or long boards; do you prefer one over the other? What is your favourite watercraft of the moment?
W: I grew up riding short boards, the standard 6’0 x 18’’ x 2’’ until my early 20’s when I started to mix those up a little with fishes and single fins, I didn’t really start long boarding till around 5 years ago. I’m really enjoying it though, its been like learning surfing all over again, trying to watch what guys are doing and learning the discipline, its really different to short boarding. I spent some time recently surfing with Ray Gleave and Matt Chojnacki and picked up a lot from them. To see guys that came from that long boarding / logging background and how precise and dialed their footwork is, was amazing; I really learnt a lot. As far as picking between one or the other I really can’t, I get just as much enjoyment from both, unless the waves are perfect and hollow, then I’ll be on the short board for sure.
HC: From the film, we see that you are quite handy on the tools. Have you ever tried your hand at shaping your own board? If so, how did your first one turn out?
W: Yeah in the video you see me cutting some timber, I was actually building some gates at Stefan’s place, it was one of those “stop right there” moments, he grabbed his camera and started filming me. I did my carpentry trade with my Dad straight out of school so being on the tools is something I grew up with.
Alex Frings Photo
W: I shaped my first surfboard as a school project in my final year, I can’t remember the measurements, I think it was around 5’10’’. It turned out pretty good; I rode it for maybe a year before I broke it in half. The next one I did was last year, I shaped one for my Girlfriends birthday, a 6’0’’. I was pretty happy with that one too and she loves it! I’m super keen to do more, I’ll leave the tech stuff to the pros so maybe just play around with some weird ideas or finless stuff, I really like the idea of recycling old boards and giving them a new life .
Photo above by Worx Studios
HC: You said, “It’s a privilege to be a surfer” what else are you grateful for? What do you get up to when you’re not in the water?
W: I’m grateful for a lot of things I guess, maybe to many to list. If I’m unsure of something or I’m somewhere I don’t want to be, I’ll think of the things that are good in my life; where I live, my friends, where I’ve been and try to focus on the positives, try to find some peace in Gratitude.
W: I’m a bit of a grommet so surfing takes up a lot of my time haha, if the waves are good and I have nothing to do, I’ll surf all day. Other than that I’ll skateboard a bit, go see a band, go on an adventure with my Girlfriend, the usual stuff. I’ve been picking up my guitar again lately so I’m getting pretty amped on that too .
Photos above with Girlfriend Jia by Ming Nomchong
HC: Are you still calling South West Rocks home? What’s your favourite travel destination?
W: Yeah, South West Rocks is still home, there’s something about the place you grew up in that will always be special. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back there to live but I will always go back to visit and hopefully I’ll have friends and family there for a long time. For now though Byron is an amazing place to live. I would hate to live in the city and coming from SWR, I’ve lived somewhere that is a little too quiet, so Byron seems somewhere in the middle.
W: I’d have to say Indonesia is my favourite place to travel to, the weathers warm and the waves are so good, its hard to go past. I haven’t been for a few years now; I wanted to see some other Countries. I’ve had some good times there so I think its definitely time to go back.
HC: The MT Warning soundtrack to your film really captured the mood for us. Did you have any input on this, or any other creative side of the film making process?
W: When the idea of doing some films with McTavish came up I saw Mikey B in the surf and asked if he would let us use some of his music. He was stoked on the idea and really keen to be a part of it, we also wanted to keep it local as much as we could. The tracks we chose just worked so well with the footage, Mikey is such a talented musician. When it came time to edit Stef did the whole thing without Mikey’s ok. It took a few days to get in touch with him, so we did start to get a little worried that we might not be able to use the songs and Stef would have to re edit. In the end we got the OK of course.
I’ve had a little hand in all the clips Stef has done for McTavish, basically just a fresh set of eyes but there’s not too much to pick at, Stef is amazing at what he does.
HC: Name one person and a particular surfboard that you believe has most influenced your surfing style.
W: This is a tough one, because I kind of look at everyone’s styles and draw some kind of influence. If I had to choose one though… Maybe Rob Machado, on anything he rides haha; the guy has so much style. Growing up I always looked at him and how he rides waves, his style is so relaxed and it seems like he’s getting better with age. Plus he’s goofy and pretty skinny like me so I feel I can relate to his surfing a little.
HC: What would you consider to be your favourite surfing era?
W: Probably the 70’s. So much was going on back then, the short board revolution had taken over, people were refining there craft and experimenting, the surf industry was starting up and as a result these crazy rock star characters come out like Larry Bertlemann, Bunker Spreckles, it seems like such a rad time to be surfing.
HC: What else is in the pipeline for Wisp?
W: Hopefully more travel, there’s so much to see and do and so many waves to be had. That left in Namibia looks amazing, maybe getting piped there, is in the pipeline.
Photo above Alex Frings
See more of Wisp on Instagram
and Surfboard sponsor McTavish Surf