South Africa's Brendon Gibbens brings a style-driven approach to his frenetic, powerful and aggressive wave riding. From massive punts to deep, rail-buried gouges, Brendon is one of the most eye-pleasing and exciting free surfers of his generation. His sense of grace extends beyond his surfboard with his impeccable taste in music, personal style and creative vision in his film projects. Brendon can be found traveling the globe, collaborating with some of the finest surf filmmakers, having landing sections in many of Kai Neville's iconic films, in addition to producing his own films, like his critically-acclaimed "Homebody", making Brendon one of the most recognizable and talented surfers in the world. To welcome Brendon to the team we caught up with the man him self for a quick chat.
Banks Journal: Brendon! How are ya pal? Great to catch up with ya here in California. Do you even go back to South Africa much?
Brendon Gibbens: Hey! Yeah, I try to. I probably get back there once or twice a year, I’d say. I mean, wave wise, it’s obviously really good [laughs]. But I really love living in LA.
Banks Journal: Epic. So how’d you come to know Banks anyways?
Brendon Gibbens: We actually met through Blake Peters at Panda Surfboards, who’ve been making boards for me for some years now out of Costa Mesa. Banks just seems like a great, tightknit family and I really look forward to being involved with them. I’m really happy with it. Since ditching the whole competitive thing some years ago and going the freesurfing route, it’s been cool realizing the role a surfer can play in the whole advertising side, working with the photographer and videographers and being a part of the editing process — I just love being a part of it all and feel really lucky to have a career this long without having to do the QS or something.
Banks Journal: Amen to that. But there seems like a strong group of South Africans, whether Dooma or Logie, that have moved to LA to make their mark and have done well, was that a crazy transition coming from a small town like Kommetjie?
Brendon Gibbens: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying and, sure, a small town can be nice for a while but you can get bored. But then again, the whole LA/America thing can be overwhelming, too…I think it’s the guys that find the balance that really do well and maybe the South Africans have been able to do that? [laughs] I dunno. I think that whole idea of the “American Dream” and being able to do what you set out to do if you work hard here is quite possible. Which is great and probably why so many of us come and stay…
Banks Journal: Righteous. So these days, who inspires you out surfing?
Brendon Gibbens: I guess every time I’ve surfed with Dane [Reynolds] those sessions have been amazing. It’s incredible, I still consider him to be one of the most inspirational figures in surfing, to me. But any good surfer pushing the limits is inspiring to surf with, though. It’s refreshing and for sure gets me amped.
Banks Journal: You’re involved with a few other rad brands too, right? In what capacity do you work with them?
Brendon Gibbens: Yeah, I mean, there’s Epokhe and Octopus traction and Globe, but I’m just a team rider, really. But yeah, they’re mostly my good friends and I consider myself lucky to be a part of their projects. All such creative people. I ride for Monster and Panda, too, I don’t wanna leave them out [laughs].
Banks Journal: So, for some, LA can be a bit…much? Yet, everybody always has such positive words to say about you. How do you keep such a good attitude? What’s your advice…
Brendon Gibbens: Umm, I’d say be grateful. It might be cliché, but to gain respect, you have to give it. I dunno, I get grumpy too [laughs]. Nah, if you treat people nicely, you’re gonna get treated nicely in return, is what I believe, I guess.
Banks Journal: I like that. What’s the plan for 2019?
Brendon Gibbens: Mmm, basically, I’m really looking forward to growing with Banks. After being introduced to the whole team there and the operation, it’s exciting to think about the new year and a future with them. I dunno, it’s like you hear about people saying, “Ah, the surf industry is struggling,” or it’s hard times or whatever, but I’m pretty optimistic and I think things are improving. I can’t wait to see where it all goes, really.
Banks Journal: Epic. Well come 2019, if you could surf any wave on earth this coming new year, where would you want to go?
Brendon Gibbens: I would absolutely love to go back to Namibia again and score. I mean with it being so close to home it’s extra special. I’ve only been there twice, but with Cape Town being so near, I should have gone 20 times I feel like already [laughs]. It’s just that good.
A big thank you to Beau Flemister for catching up with Brendon and doing the above interview.