Specialist Carry :: Adventure Surfer
You’d have to be a surfer’s surfer to know Josh Mulcoy – his name doesn’t spurt from the mouth of every sun-tanned grom sporting a surfboard. But those in the know praise him as a pioneer, a man responsible for shoving the surfing world from its comfort zone and out into the far fringes of the globe.
SURFER Magazine describe him as an ‘adventurer, traveller and tuberider,’ and his success in discovering the most remote and radical surf is almost unmatched. His famed journey with SURFER Magazine to Alaska in 1993 is said to have enkindled the entire industry and inspired the golden age of cold-water exploration. No longer did surfers follow the sun, but launched missions to exotic locales that hemmed the Arctic Circle, Russia, Norway and even Antarctica.
If you ever spot Mulcoy gracing the glossy covers of surf magazines he’s the small figure knifing along a wave consumed by picturesque backdrops of snow-capped mountains and forested shores, places that you’d only dream of ever going to. And now his friends say he seeks out the places “you don’t want to go”…
We dropped him a line to find out more about the man who put the adventure into adventure surfing and talked about his passion, travel and carry…
What makes a great surfer? What kind of mindset do you need to succeed?
I always say do what you love and follow your passion and good things will come. You have to be lucky to have talent but if you set your mind to whatever it might be it will happen.
Any guiding philosophies you live by?
Enjoy surfing for what it is – just riding waves.
You’ve traversed the globe surfing and I take it you’ve clocked up hundreds of hours of air time. What key challenges do you face when hitting the airport?
The airport can be very stressful. I just pack light and give myself plenty of time to check in and go through security.
What would make travelling with all your gear easier?
Wheels are always great but with them comes weight. This is a huge problem in travel nowadays. The lighter the bag, the better.
Where’s your favourite place to travel to?
Mexico and anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
So, over all those years of globe hopping, what did you learn about the best ways to travel? Any favourite tips or habits for travelling better?
Travel light, get plenty of sleep, and always eat at every layover.
Being that you spend the majority of your time on the beach, what does that environment demand from your gear? What’s important design-wise?
I love dry bags; they are the best for travelling light and easy to pack, plus you never know when it will rain. It’s always nice to have dry clothes when you get out of the water.
Are there any features from other carry products (messengers, roller luggage, etc.) that would be beneficial to you, that isn’t being utilized in what is currently out there for your specialized surf carry? For example telescoping handles, 360 rolling wheels, etc.
I love the Dakine roller bags. What they are doing is pretty much ideal for travel.
Their board bags are simple and perfect without a bunch of extras that cause weight. I do like handles on the end of the board bags though, so they’re easy to carry if you’re dragging them or carrying them with a friend.
Any nightmare travel stories? Had any run-ins with hostile customs officers?
Canada has the worst customs by far. I travel up there a ton and have been dragged into secondary about 70% of the time. Usually saying I have some kind of drug on me. Pretty crazy that the closest country to the USA is so difficult to get into.
How do you cope with so much travel? What keeps you grounded?
I always think in the back of my mind how lucky I am to get to see and experience all these different places. I have a nice home to come back to and love Santa Cruz but it’s always there.
I know tunes are essential when travelling, what are your top 5 tracks at the moment?
That’s a tough one. I don’t really have a top 5. I like most all music, it just really depends on my mood. But thank god for an iPod. I have been travelling long enough to remember having to bring a CD player and CDs are no fun.
Can you give me the essential carry kit when travelling the globe?
All my bags are Dakine – the Split Roller bag, Regulator Triple board bag, Cyclone dry pack and Sequence photo backpack.
What do you personally look for in good carry?
Something light and easy to put into an overhead bin and definitely with wheels.
What bags do you run with daily and why?
I use the Dakine Cyclone dry pack. Some of my surfboards are in board socks, too.
What’s your go-to travel bag?
The Regulator Triple board bag.
What brands are really nailing it in the surf industry now?
Travel bags without Dakine, they have been doing this for a long time.
What single surfing moment has given you the biggest smile?
Getting tubed, looking out the barrel with my dad paddling out and no one else around.
What’s next for Josh Mulcoy?
If you weren’t a pro surfer and all-round rad dude, what profession would you be doing now?