Photos by Ryan Heywood, interview by Stace Galbraith
Hometown: Fingal Head, Australia
The first time I came across Lungi Slabb, he was a talented grom performing a Welcome to Country at Snapper Rocks. After the ceremony wrapped, he promptly made his way into the water and started tearing apart runners that were triple overhead. Fast forward a few years, and the teenage young gun is sliding into drainers behind the rock and fanging past the likes of Mick and Parko like a seasoned pro. Lungi’s on a steady ascent to the top, with an infectious energy and a great crew of people in his corner. You better keep eyes on this kid over the next few years, ‘cause with his natural talent (and new driving license) he’s gonna be moving fast. Let’s meet him.
So, who am I speaking with?
Should I say my full name? Like, proper? You’re speaking with Micah Julung Slabb.
What do you go by around town?
How old are you and where are you from?
I’m sixteen and I’m from Fingal Head.
Pretty localised down there, or you let people come and surf?
Occasionally you can come through, but it’s pretty localised if someone wants to play up.
How did you get into surfing?
Living in Fingal, surfing is a big part of community life. And being born into a surfing family, it just came naturally.
Now, you’re used to surfing with Mick and Joel out at Snapper, but who else have you been influenced by over the years?
Mostly Asher Pacey. There’s a bunch of other people, like Dane, Craig Anderson and stuff. They’re kinda my role models. They stand out.
What do you like about Dane’s surfing?
It’s heaps different to tour surfers, but when he was on tour, he brought it.
So if you’re only sixteen, I think Dane jumped off tour in 2012…. That means you would have been eight years old. Did you ever get to watch him surf a heat?
I watched him a couple times, and when he came back on, like on trial.
Yeah, like wildcard spots.
My brother introduced me to him and I’ve been hooked ever since.
That’s mental. What’s a film or edit that gets you psyched up before a surf?
I always watch a lot of different parts from The Momentum Files, all of the surfing and style just gets me in mood to go surfing and be in the ocean.
Where’s one place in the world you really want to travel to?
There’s a bunch of places I’d love to travel, but Tahiti or South America are definitely up there for me. I’ve always wanted to go there and learn more about different waves and cultures.
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What does it mean to you, representing the Aboriginal community through the platform of surfing?
It definitely means a lot. I hope I can inspire other Aboriginal kids to get into surfing and be connected to the ocean.
What’s your experiences as an Indigenous kid growing up on the Goldy been like?
This is my traditional country; I might be biased, but I think this place is the best place in the world.
What are some things you want to tick off your surfing bucket list in the next couple of years?
I’d definitely love to share my surfing and culture around the world. I haven’t been out of Australia yet, so it’d be sick to travel and surf some different waves, and also just to improve my surfing and knowledge about the ocean.
Got any other talents outside of surfing?
The majority of my family are musically talented, so I’ve loved music all my life. I’ll give any instrument it crack, but I mainly like to play drums and guitar.
Where’s the first place you’re going to go when you get your license?
Up the Fingal Strait, round the roundabout and back home.