Youth – Jesse John Blair

Interview with Issue #203 Youth star Jesse John Blair

It has been a loooooooong time between drinks for the Youth interviews at Riptide, and for that we apologise.

Now, we don’t want to make excuses, but the changing of editors, launching of a new website, and a swag of other things, made us put this segment a little low on the “things to do” list.

Here to bring in a new era of Youth interview’s is Issue #203 recipient, Jesse John Blair from Bulli, NSW.

Video filmed and edited by Oliver Risi Photography.

Photos by Oliver Risi, Joshua Scott Coastal Photography and Mark Isaac.

Name: Jesse John Blair
Age: 20
Lives: Bulli NSW
Sponsors: 4Play Bodyboards

Jesse John Blair with a tidy invert. Photo by Josh Scott
Jesse John Blair with a tidy invert. Photo by Josh Scott

Congratulations on the Youth shot in #203. Was it your first time in Riptide? 

Yes, it was my first time being in the #203 issue. It feels good to be in it, I’ve always wanted to get a shot in Riptide and now I have finally done that. It’s hard to work with photographers around my area but still stoked on getting in the magazine.

Some time has passed since that edition. What have you been up to?

I have been working full time at the University Of Wollongong for about six months now and I am always in the water after work or even before work.

Tell us about that wave and session.

Jesse Blair with the air forward as seen in the Youth section of Issue #203
Jesse Blair with the air forward as seen in the Youth section of Issue #203. Photo: Mark “Poochy” Isaac.

That session down Blackrock that day was such a good time. I was down on the South Coast with Brenden Newton staying at Glen Thurston’s house when Brendo had work. That morning, Glen and I went surfing and after the session Glen said to me, “Jesse, you should go to (Aussie) Pipe.” But I wasn’t sure how I would get there and back but I managed to hitch a ride with Zach Self.

It was a pretty crazy day for me thinking, “how the hell am I going to get back to Bulli?” I remember Brendo telling me he’d swing by after work and get me from Pipe. But, when I just got there and I was walking down the track, Brendo (Newton) called and said, “sorry bro, I can’t get you, you will have to ask someone at pipe to give you a lift home.”

I was like, “Oh my god! Okay, Brendo, I’ll just find someone from up my way to give me a lift home to Bulli.” I then got in my wetsuit and jumped in the water and asked around for some who’s going back up north and willing to drive me home for $10 petrol money.

The first person I asked was Poochie AKA Marcus Isaac and he said he would but was going to leave early. I didn’t want to leave the waves because it was pumping so I stayed out. After a while, it was getting late, but I managed to find two other bodyboarders/legends who were heading north and they offered to give me a ride home.

But before all this I got that wave that is now in the #203 issue shot by Marcus Isaac. I was waiting for a wave that would just bowl directly come at me I then got this 3-4ft wave coming though and the local boys were like, “Go Jesse!”

I remember Ben Player was out there and he said, “Go, that’s going to be amazing,” and I thought he was going to drop in on me haha.

Jesse Blair scoops a barrel. Photo: Mark Isaac
Jesse Blair scoops a barrel. Photo: Mark Isaac

How old were you when you first picked up a bodyboard? 

I first got into bodyboarding at the age of 11. I got into it because my two older brothers used to stand-up surf and I used to try to surf but I was terrible haha.

There was this one day I saw James Kates, Dave Fox, Koots (James Cayley) and all the other boys surfing this righthand bowl out the front of my house and they were busting huge inverts and air reverses. At this time, I was a crazy little grom and I still think I am haha.

A few years later I started surfing the rights and I was thinking this wave is so crazy but amazing at the same time. The main person that made me come out was James Cayley aka Koots. if he never pushed me to come out and surf with a few of the boys I probably wouldn’t even think it was a wave.

Big air reverse punt. Photo by Oliver Risi.
Big air reverse punt. Photo by Oliver Risi.

Have you always lived in Wollongong?

Yeah, I have always lived north of Wollongong. A town called Bulli, it’s such a sick area and we always find something to do when the waves are no good.

What is the bodyboarding scene like? Who do you surf with?

The bodyboarding scene around my area is pretty average, there are not that many people that bodyboard around Bulli. But a little bit more down south it’s packed with bodyboarders. It’s sort of a good thing surfing with just a few people out.

I normally surf with my mate Sam Robertson when he’s not busy doing uni work and If I don’t surf with him I will surf with Brenden Newton.

Jesse Blair with an invert on sunset. Photo: Oliver Risi
Jesse Blair with an invert on sunset. Photo: Oliver Risi

Who are the standouts?

My mate Mathew Eggins, who is from my area, he rips and he’s older than me but he surfs really well. Then there is the I AM NONE crew that hang around and the ZION crew. Ivan Pulic is from around my area and he’s a ripper. He stands out to me because I reckon he makes me try to surf better than I normally can.

Have you travelled much?

I have never travelled overseas before, but one day I will and I will make the most of it too haha. I am so keen to travel soon. The only time I travel is when I go up and down the coast with mates to some bowly slabs that no one really surfs.

Jesse's carve game is strong too. Photo by Josh Scott
Jesse’s carve game is strong too. Photo by Josh Scott

Who are your favourite Bodyboarders?

I would have to say my favourite Bodyboarders would be Mitch Rawlins, Ryan Hardy, and Spencer Skipper.

Spencer Skipper: Watching all old-school bodyboarding movies like Tension movies, The Circus, and plenty more, I have watched Spencer Skipper scoop some crazy Pipeline barrels without bogging the rail and getting slotted in some ridiculously deep barrels and coming out with the spit doing a massive backflip or air forward. I find watching him helps me surf.

Ryan Hardy: watching Ryan Hardy surf in his movie The Hard Life 2 and the Tension series has helped me think more about what I would do on a wave. I try matching my waves and tricks like Hardballs.

Mitch Rawlins: I find Mitch is one of the best bodyboarders to watch and in the ocean he does not waste any waves. Watching him surf in the Mitch vid, Tension and others just makes me happy even when there are no waves. I just dream about doing the same thing he is doing now.

Jesse driving through a barrel somewhere on the East Coast. Photo: Oliver Risi

Who influences you most?

That would have to be Brenden Newton, Ben Star and a few other mates around home. They are good people that make you happy and make you feel welcome.

Are you studying or chasing a trade/career/job?

Yes I am studying at TAFE doing Business Administration for my traineeship that I do at University of Wollongong. I am trying to chase a career in national parks next year as a ranger because I have always dreamed about becoming one.

Another inny for the boiz. Photo: Oliver Risi

What do you want to get out of bodyboarding?

I would like to try get on the World Tour one time and give that a dig. But what I would like to get out of bodyboarding is just more waves so I can get better and have more fun. Bodyboarding has given me some of the best moments of my life and that’s what every other surfer would say, it’s just the best feeling.

Lastly, any shout outs?

I would like to shout out to my mates that have always been there for me. Brenden, Ben,  Mat Eggins and another Matt who is my next door neighbour.