Can Assuming Bogan Characteristics Enhance Performance While Surfing? A Scientific Expedition

Can Assuming Bogan Characteristics Enhance Performance While Surfing? A Scientific Expedition

Hello Zukeen magazine is a Dunedin-based arts and culture publication. It’s silly, sexy and stupid. It’s all about young people doing rad shit.

If you enjoy any of the following, chances are you’ll enjoy Hello Zukeen: waves, cool noises, people riding things, art, exceptional photos. And if you don’t enjoy any of those things, chances are you’ll still enjoy Hello Zukeen; on the whole, it isn’t that bad.

Hello Zukeen is also great for reading, defacing or using to start couch-fires. Issue two of the magazine was released last week. Find it for purchase at

A Bogan Jaunt is a story taken from Hello Zukeen issue one. 


Surfers have never been lamer. The internet has revolutionised surf culture and imagery as we know it. Social media outlets have butchered authenticity and replaced it with fabricated bullshit – boozy sunsets, hair-flicks and golden, glowing landscapes.

It’s shameless self-gratification. It’s gross, narcissistic wankery. The gaze of surf imagery has glanced away from surfing and fallen onto surfing lifestyle itself.

High performance used to be cool. But not everyone can do that. Lifestyle, on the other hand, is much more attainable. Anyone can sip long blacks and talk shit about art, anyone can wear denim and guzzle craft beer at the EP launch of a crappy surf punk band, anyone can shoot to Ubud for a two-week vegan yoga retreat.

All you have to do is turn the camera on yourself and beam it to an invisible online audience. Is all this shit for the photos or what? What’s even real now?

In this new conceptual shoot the editors of Hello Zukeen envisioned an outrageous and ambitious idea. An idea that is totally unprecedented in the world of surf media. An idea that would push the boundaries of surf imagery. An idea that would change the game as we know it.

We planned a shoot that would strip away the superficiality of what it means to surf in the 21st  century, and replace it with something grungy, dirty and distasteful.

The idea was simple. Take ten of Dunedin’s dustiest surfers, strip them of their façades (the trendy sunglasses, the vintage jackets, the logoed t-shirts), and give them black.

Take them deep into Southland and away from the prying eyes of the public. Give them space where they could run amok and make noise. Give them speed dealer sunnies. Give them cheap bourbon and cola. Give them ACDC.

Give them BOGAN.

By removing the relentless stresses and anxieties that accompanies maintaining a surfing lifestyle façade, we estimated our team of riders would surf 27% better as bogans. The trip was more than a conceptual shoot. It was a social experiment.

We left Dunedin on a sunny Saturday morning and boganism took hold of our team riders almost immediately. They resisted the temptation to pull out their phones, they heckled each other behind their black shades, and they thrashed like fish to boisterous rock and roll. We drove hard and fast for two hours and gunned it down the coast in a great roaring parade of madness.

By the time we arrived at our destination, boganism had completely consumed our riders.

I could hardly recognise who was who. Inhibition was sidelined as each surfer took on a new persona altogether. Our arrival in the car park was a sight to behold.

At a beach that feels like the end of the world, that seems to defy the laws of time, where hours feels like days, and days feels like weeks, under immense cliffs, overarching and so large that you stand frozen in awe, where the land meets the sea, stood a gang of ten drunk, black-clad freaks.

They were beginning to consume copious amounts of bourbon and we became nervous that our experiment would fail. We had set out to create a persona for our surfers that would allow them to focus on surfing, but in that moment it seemed like they’d forgotten about surfing altogether, instead jeering and hooting at one another amidst pristine nature.

The forecast was always looking promising, but upon arrival the ocean hadn’t quite come alive. It was flat. We were nervous. And then anxious.

I was doing my best on the phone to calm our director, who’d been skeptical of the whole concept from the moment we’d pitched it to him. Reluctantly he gave us the green light, contacted sports psychologists, found a bourbon sponsor and warned us –  

You better not fuck this one up boys.”  

He repeated those words and hung up the phone abruptly. I sighed and looked to the sky, then to the cliffs and back to my bogans.

One of them began to scream and his scream wasn’t the chorus of “Back in Black,” but a scream of intense longing and anticipation.

The undulating horizon had caught his eye. The ocean had come to life. A distant pulsing became visible and swell began to march into the bay. Silence fell upon our riders. They began to hoot and shortly afterwards they were suited and running oceanward.

What ensued defied our expectations for the whole experiment. It was unbelievable. It was improbable. It was beautiful.

The bogans were ripping. They traded barrels, dropping in deeper than ever before with fearless, ferocious hunger. Under the gaze of those great cliffs, Joe Palmer snagged one of the pits of the day, paddling up the beach and pulling into a Southland drainer.

It was as if the bogans had discovered and tapped into a zen-like state. They longed for every wave. They darted up and down the beach in pursuit of a wave heavier, bigger and more critical than the last.

They slashed and hacked and rode with the voracity of a raucous mosh pit. It was meditative and powerful, a new, refocused style of surfing. It was clear almost immediately that our experiment was a success.

By throwing away the needless, self-interested pressures that come with maintaining a surfing lifestyle façade, our surfers were able to focus entirely on surfing. While boisterous bogans, our surfers were careless and uninterested in online, superficial bullshit. They were free.

For those two days our bogans headbanged, drank, hunted barrels and attacked lips. It was poetry in motion. The renewed hunger for surfing even saw some of the surfers paddle out at midnight under the full moon, to capitalise on an empty line-up.

Minutes before leaving the beach on the Sunday, my phone buzzed. It was our director.

Well done boys, well done. I doubted you, but you took a risk and it paid off.”

And so with the director's words of praise, we hit the road. Our surfers were now an exhausted, woozy mess, and the ocean had grown calm.


This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2018.
Posted 6:02pm Thursday 8th March 2018 by Sam Fraser-Baxter.