Jamie Krups is hungry. For what? Nachos, mostly, but also for success. The multi-hyphenate’s work ethic puts us all to shame: his smooth style in the water has seen him competing on the QS, launching a grip company with a good mate, pushing pixels around for posters, tees, books and whatever he goddamn feels like, and most recently, ticking off a fairly rare box in today’s surfing landscape—directing a full-length, independent surf flick featuring his best buddies (and himself), who just happen to be some of surfing’s brightest young sparks. Speaking of bright young sparks, let’s chat to Jamie.
Independent films aren’t the easiest undertaking, but you definitely pulled it off with your latest film FAIRY. How’d the idea for the film come about?
The romance of a full-length was always enticing to me, and watching a bunch of my friends surf all the time and thinking it would be interesting to see something tie them all together. They’re all amazing surfers but also interesting individuals, each with their own shit going on. I like it when there’s more to a surfer than just their cutback or front straight (laughs).
What was one of your most memorable moments while making FAIRY?
Probably the last trip, where we didn’t even shoot. Like I said, each person in the film has a lot of stuff going on; whether that be labouring to make ends meet to pursue the qualifying series, or studying architecture, or making clothes, acting, or doing a sparky apprenticeship. It’s a huge mix. So, for all the ‘surf trips,’ we barely ever had more than three of us together at a time because of everyone’s different schedules and budgets. After we’d wrapped up shooting, around six of us were able to head up to Forster to just hang out, drink some beers and enjoy each other’s company. That was nice.
Tell us a little bit more about Ballet Grip Company, and how you got that off the ground?
Ballet kicked off with a friend of mine from Noosa: Seb Raubenheimer. We lived together in 2018 while studying at a design school in the city. After that, we always stayed in touch and threw ideas back and forth. We eventually decided to do something in surf, because at least we somewhat knew what we were talking about. Then it was grips because that was the only thing we could afford (laughs).
What first drew you to dabble in the design and filmmaking worlds?
I wouldn’t really say I’m a filmmaker; FAIRY was more just me shooting a bunch of my friends and then trying to create something that I thought the surfing world could use a bit of… a love letter of sorts. Design came about more through my friend Seb, although it’s quickly became something that I’m super passionate about. Shin Dalby was also a great inspiration and help to me, design-wise.
How did you manage to make a film while also shredding in it?
It definitely wasn’t easy. I just really wanted to do it, and I think once you want something bad enough, you do what you can to try make it happen.
Were you inspired by anyone whose also surfed in and edited their own films?
I think Dane Reynolds cuts a lot of his own stuff, which is cool. Liam O’Brien is another dude who surfs amazing and acquaints himself with the edit bay. I would say my main inspiration was just to try validate my friends, to show the world what I was seeing.
What do you want to see more of in the world of surf?
I think the surf world is in an incredible place at the moment in a transitional sense. It’s pretty easy to get cynical about it all and say everything’s fucked, everyone’s fucked, the industry’s dead, the money’s gone, whatever; and of course it’s true, in some regard. But in other ways, it’s also an amazing opportunity to see where we are headed and decide whether or not we want to head in that direction. We’re surfers and this is surfing, and I think we sometimes forget that we’re the ones who can steer the ship. It’s also a good opportunity for people who are jaded by a lot of the big brands to direct their support toward smaller, more independent companies.
Give us three movies that inspire your creative work.
I can’t not credit Kai Neville’s first piece, Modern Collective, that pretty much defined one generation and inspired another. Secondly, I’d say the Robert Frank documentary Don’t Blink; the way the film was done and Frank himself are both inspirations in their own right. And thirdly, I’d probably say the Supreme’s Cherry, by William Strobeck. I think the rawness, transparency, culture and togetherness in that style of film is something surfing once had that is now somewhat lacking.
What else is inspiring your design work at the moment?
Design’s crazy, there is so much shit out there. And by shit I mean truly, incredible pieces of work, art, whatever you want to call it. Whether it’s a crinkly, half torn poster in the street, or a complete identity by Pentagram. All the OG Swiss designers I find really interesting too, there’s a work ethic and ‘weight’ they applied to everything they did that is pretty astounding. Currently though, Patrick Thomas, Chris Ashworth and a guy I follow on the ‘gram called M.Giesser. No idea what his first name is, but he’s good.
You had four months out of the water with a broken ankle once. How did that prep you for COVID-19?
Yeah, that sucked. COVID-19 still sucks too. But I think the key is just to try stay open to stuff—if something strikes you, dive in headfirst. Once you’re absorbed in something, solitude quickly becomes a luxury.
Who or what are you excited about in the world of surf in 2020, post-COVID-19?
I’m not sure if 2020 is going to be post-COVID-19, but to remain optimistic I’d say a bunch of the new dudes coming out of Aus are really exciting. People working on their own parts is exciting. Premieres are exciting. Dudes getting on tour is exciting. New companies are exciting. Post-surf beers are exciting. The sun is shining post-COVID-19, that’s for sure.
Who are three surfers we should keep our eyes on?
Harry Bryant, Noah Collins, Kalani Ball.
Got a playlist for us?
Yep, right here.