Shane Ackerman’s Strawberry Kisses

Delving into the mind of the big wave charger

After blowing minds with his most recent clip, along with a standout section in Til The End, South Coast madman Shane Ackerman is so hot right now.

We caught up with the 23-year-old from Wollongong to dig a little deeper on his epic Without Limits (see above) clip, what music he listens to before sliding into caves of death, and find out where his next suicide trip will be.

Interview by Michael Saunders | Footage by Conor Hegyi

Was it planned the whole time for you to surf these big waves and put together a clip or was it something you came up with later on in the journey? I’d always had my eyes on surfing these waves, whether or not I got enough footage from them or not was basically a huge waiting game.

What was your favourite wave out of the ones featured in the clip? The Shippies bomb for sure, scooping into that wave felt amazing. Although I didn’t see any of the wave collapsing in on itself due to the sunlight peaking over the ridge at that time. I thought I almost made it to be honest haha.

You have built a reputation for throwing yourself into waves of serious consequence. Why do you do it? There is nothing worse than letting a wave go by unridden while thinking to yourself “What would it of felt like paddling into that!?” I love trying to put myself into the unknown, pushing my own limits.

What goes through your head when paddling for this waves? When rocking up to those big sessions, all the anticipation, the thought of potentially getting the wave of your life. If you want it enough and put your mind to it you’d be surprised at what you can do. Also the song “Strawberry Kisses” is the perfect amp up song for these situations…

Above: The number one tune going through Shane Ackerman’s head when he’s sliding into monsters at Teahupoo – we always said he had a screw loose. This will be the first and last time we put a Nikki Webster song on our website, we promise…

The clip features an interview with Brendan Newton, who’s bodyboarding career is quite similar to the path you are taking. Was he a big influence on you? Absolutely. I remember opening Riptide mags and seeing the waves he caught out Kiama Bombie. What would it be like catching a wave like that. Over time I guess I just worked my way up as time went on.

There are a lot of other bodyboarders that pursue the same thing you are chasing. Such as Damien Martin, Chris James, Michael Novy, etc. Do you speak much with these guys?  Who are they? haha. Not really, if I see them around I’ll have a chat, talk about what’s been happening, if they’ve been getting any waves etc. But I prefer to keep to myself.

When did you first start taking on bigger waves, and was there any point where you realised that it was what you wanted to pursue? About a year after I started taking boogie boarding seriously I suppose. I can’t really remember what sparked it to be exact. When I was younger i was scared shitless of the ocean, I done Surf Life Saving as a grom, but never touched the water the whole time I was in nippers.

What is your next big wave quest? I’ve got a few plans up my sleeve for 2016. I like to set out more goals than I think I can achieve, so I don’t achieve them mid year and have to think, what next? What they are.. you’ll have to wait and see.

How long have you known filmer Conor Hegyi? When did he start filming your antics? Do you have much say in his editing process or do you leave it up to him to weave his magic? Thats a good question, haha! I think around six years roughly. Basically I just leave the big man in charge of the editing and let him work his magic. I’ll put my two bobs worth in at the end of it if I feel something needs changing.

What are your plans for 2016 in bodyboarding? Plans for 2016… try make a wave? hahaha! Try better than what I did in 2015.