Colin Tunstall of Saturdays NYC on Great Whites, Surfing Etiquette and Secret Australian Beaches

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All images by Colin Tunstall

Where will you go in 2016? Perhaps after reading this blog post, you’ll consider a trip to Bondi (bond-eye) Beach in Sydney, Australia.

It’s definitely on our list after chatting with photographer Colin Tunstall—also the cofounder of the surf-inspired, casually luxurious brand Saturdays NYC.

Read our interview below with Colin about his recent Australian vacay/store opening with Saturdays cofounders Morgan Collett and Josh Rosen, and scope his photos of majestic yoga poses, killer karaoke and perfect waves.

Shop: Saturdays NYC

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I don’t know who’s swimming here, but this is one of the first days we were in Australia, at a place called Iceberg by Bondi Beach. Iconic, famous swimming spot. The ocean was moving this day, there were waves, people were surfing. The water would crash into this wall and people were unfazed by it. I thought that was cool.

This was our second time in Australia, we were coming back because we finally found a location to open a store. Our first there. Our seventh globally. So we came for the opening. It’s about eight blocks from where this photo was taken.

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I have to be delicate with the location. This is two and a half hours north of Sydney. Iconic locations are crowded. People are looking for out-of-the-way places. This was a place the local surfers were protective of.

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We’ve been selling Haydenshapes surfboards, a very popular surfboard that’s risen in the past few years. We went to visit Hayden and Danielle who make the surfboards. We actually surfed with them this day. This is the signature board for one of their most famous team riders, Craig Anderson.

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This is Bondi. Right above where the first photo was taken. This is looking off into the north side of the beach. On the far end of the beach, they’ve made a rule that you have to use a soft board, since there are so many people in the water. So if you get hit you don’t get hurt. I believe that’s Morgan on the wave, my business partner. He’s the one with the spray, the one in the back. They call it being in position. The one who is the farthest back on the wave is in position. Everyone ahead of that needs to get out of the way. That’s surfing etiquette.

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We stayed five blocks from here down the hill. This is a blue-collar bar with a bunch of pool tables. We were excited to play pool one day, but summing up Australia, their pool is very similar and understandable but also completely different. The balls were all two different colors and we didn’t know any of the rules. We sang some karaoke. Everyone drank Victoria Bitters, calling it VB, and other beers. Headmasters, I think? Local brews.

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Josh, my other business partner, is singing Weezer, “Island in the Sun.”

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This is Haydenshapes, the workshop. This is one of the employees working on the production line. All that powder on the ground I’m guessing is resin, sanded resin. The stuff that’s on the outside protecting the surfboard.

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These guys are everywhere. They’re big and to me, unique. Maybe the Australian version of pigeons. They’re parrots. They start squawking as soon as the sun comes up. As the trip went on it got a little annoying. They’re probably a foot and a half tall.

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This is right on the beach. Right in the middle of Bondi Beach. They have such a close relationship with the ocean and water, Australians. Any time of the day people are out in canoes, kayaks, free diving, swimming. Constantly in the water.

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That’s Morgan. We rented a house near the beach and would do this walk every day. This is a Toyota HiLux. Kind of like a modified Toyota Tacoma. We noticed the sport-utility game was different in Australia. A lot of cars we saw were unavailable in the United States. And accessories like fog lamps and lifts. Very prevalent.

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This bay was called Tamarama, and this girl was doing a yoga pose or something.

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This is the opening party of our store. We invited friends and family and people in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and a ton of people turned up. We’re the first tenant to move into this new development on Gold Street, where there is a lot of development surrounding Bondi. The top of this building set a record for the highest sale price in Australia, something like 25 or 30 million dollars. We’re excited to be there. There is a community developing around it. Surfing and the luxury lifestyle go hand in hand pretty well.

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This is Hayden and Danielle from Haydenshapes. Hayden is wearing a Saturdays shirt.

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This trip there was a lot of beach time. This is the beach we’d go to the most on this trip, and it was cool to see people hang around in the environment. This sums it up. Fun waves, kids hanging out in a beautiful setting. This is not a secret location. This is at Tamarama Beach at Bondi. That’s a graveyard in the background. I walked up there. Australia’s not very old, but there are some old grave sites up there, old for Australia. 1800s.

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That’s Josh. Our friend took us to Watson’s Bay, Camp Cove, and it’s a beautiful, tiny beach surrounded by cliffs. Josh likes to jump off stuff. I call him #extremerosen. It looks like he’s diving into rocks but that’s just the angle of the photo. I can confirm: he’s still alive.

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That’s in the same Tamarama area as before, at a place called Mackenzie’s. There’s a ton of activity and these great rocks. Some places, like Puerto Rico, the rocks on the beach cut your feet. These had some sort of padding. The kids were falling on the rocks, unharmed. Some kind of seaweed or algae cushions the rocks. It’s cool.

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This place up north we went to was in view of a Great White nursery. A lot of people talked prior to our trip about sharks in Australia. In certain areas there have been a lot of bites. We kept that in our minds, but those are porpoises. Seeing fins is scary, no matter what, but if those are around it usually means there are no sharks. One time I had to get out of the water because of sharks, a long time ago in Florida. But there’s always that feeling distantly, and if you have a strong sense, it’s best to get out of the water since you probably aren’t enjoying yourself at that point. Which is why you’re in the water in the first place, hopefully.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Glenn Walton January 16, 2016, 7:20 pm

    Colin,
    Glenn Walton Surfboards here
    Located underground on Long Island
    Hey enjoyed your story
    Good Luck
    Glenn Walton

  • Frank January 17, 2016, 5:41 am

    Thank you so much for the tour of your trip.. Amazing photos and narration. God bless and keep on enjoying Mother Nature! Peace

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