Photos by Duncan Macfarlane
Hometown: Angourie, Australia
Dakoda Walters won just about every pro junior competition in Australia last year, along with a slew of other high-performance surfing achievements before he was able to legally buy himself a beer at the pub. But that’s not why we picked him for Bright Young Things. We chose Dakoda because he’s just as interesting on land as he is in the water. When he’s not touring the world’s wave pools or making edits, Dakoda is taking photos, listening to music and generally just living well. Put simply, we like the kid, and we think you’re gonna like him too.
What’s one of your best memories of growing up in Angourie?
Angourie’s a little village with some pretty fun waves. Just surfing with the local boys and being lucky enough to be taught where to sit in the lineup and what waves to look for by the older crew is a good memory. Laurie Towner, Dan Ross and some of the other guys surf so good but are also legends to us younger guys. Some of my favourite times at home are when there’s a good swell and everyone posts up at the beach for the day and hangs out.
Do you feel like the right-hand points around home have shaped your surfing?
I think they would have for sure, as well as the surfing I like to watch. I’m lucky to have those points within walking distance from my house. Waves like that give you a good read on putting full, longer waves together. But I also like watching films and edits of different guys and getting hyped on that before surfs. I really like watching Noa [Deane] and Creed [McTaggart] and those guys going full-throttle. That type of surfing is the most fun for me to watch, and also what I try to do.
What are your thoughts on wave pools?
I feel like wave pools are sick, especially for certain uses, ’cause you get perfect repetition that’s impossible to find in the ocean. It makes it a bit more like skateboarding or snowboarding, in that you can get heaps of reps in a way shorter period instead of hunting those sections in the surf. Also, the novelty of getting waves in a pool just trips me out. I’ve been lucky to surf a fair few of them, but the ocean is free to surf and the variety it serves up is one of the funnest parts. Even though pools are rad, I certainly wouldn’t be quitting the ocean anytime soon.
Keep one, lose one, have to surf only one for the rest of your life: Ranch Goat Pool, Texas Waco Park, URBN Surf.
Ok, I’d keep the Ranch Goat pool because while it’s crazy boring to watch, it’s fucking fun to surf. I’d lose URBN Surf and surf Waco for the rest of my life. It has the best air section and the other settings are pretty good too, that one for me has the most options to mix the fun up.
You’ve had a really successful junior series and now see yourself on the QS. What was that transition from the juniors to the QS like for you?
I did my final year of the junior series last year along with my last year of high school. I was lucky enough to have a hell year on the Junior Series getting three wins and winning the Australian series. Last year I did a couple of QS events that were close to home, just to have a go. I was really looking forward to 2020, doing a couple more of the QS comps, but mainly being out of school and free to chase waves and try to get some clips. I was going to be working on a video part for the American surf movie Snapt4. I didn’t want to jump straight into the QS full time; I was going to do a few in Australia at the start of the year, surf heaps and just have some fun, and then jump back into a few more later in the year. I started this year with a win in the Maroubra QS in January and also won the Redbull Airborne Qualifier the same weekend, but then COVID pretty much put a stop to all that. I missed out on competing in the Redbull Airbourne main event, and that sucked. But where I live, we’ve still been able to surf, and it’s a great time of year for that, so I’ve been filming a fair bit.
What’s one of the most challenging parts of being on the QS?
Right now, COVID-19. It’s on hold with lots of other things—again, I wasn’t going full blown into the QS yet anyway. What I do know that’s challenging about the QS is that in the higher rated ones, everyone is fucking ripping which makes it sick to watch and hard to win heats. I didn’t want to just jump straight out of school and go onto the QS full-time; I wanted to get a bit more experience and get my surfing better.
Okay, give us five surf films that have shaped the way you have grown up?
Taj Burrow in Fair Bits, Modern Collective, Cluster, Lost Atlas and Morning of the Earth for some Baddy inspo.
What other interests do you have outside of surfing?
Growing up, I was lucky to get to travel a fair bit, and I loved that. I was pretty excited after finishing school to do some more. While I’m not getting to do any of that, I like hanging out with my mates and cruising with my girlfriend. I also like snowboarding. The snow is a rad time.
What defines free surfing in 2020?
For me personally, I get the most pumped for a surf film or edit from crew that surf really fucking good, and put time into. They go to sick places, get good waves and make something really cool to watch with good music. Like Joe G’s Cult of Freedom—Globe edits are sick. Also, Pentacoastal that Wade and Shane just made. The stuff Chippa, Dion, Noa and Harry put out is sick also. I guess while the tours on hold everyone is a free surfer in 2020, but I think the guys that don’t compete still make the best stuff… Or at least the stuff I like to watch the most, anyway.
Can we get a playlist from Dakoda Walters?