At the moment, it’s just expected that everyone is straight. And when you’re out in the water and someone comes up to you and they ask you a question… The first question, there’s an understanding that you’re straight. There are a lot of questions in my mind about, oh should I just try and supress this because I don’t know if I want to enter into that world of fear and misunderstanding. So there was no real inspiration to come out at all. I was so different to anybody else, that as a young surfer no one else that surfed was gay or I didn’t see anybody else who was openly gay. So I kind of felt like there were two worlds. There was the gay world, and there was the surfing world. And I was completely connected to the surfing world, so I couldn’t see how the two would merge at all. There is a lot of sledging out in surfing, you’ve got to have thick skin. Like that’s a big part of our culture out here, where we live like it’s Aussie culture as well. You give your mates shit. It’s just sort of what you do. The word ‘faggot’ has just been a derogatory term for I guess what we would call a loser. And it’s sad, in a sense, because where it’s come from is calling gay people losers. I became aware of my sexuality at a pretty young age, like in my early teens and it was a really different world back then, and people thought differently about the idea of people being gay. And so, there was an enormous amount of shame involved in, what I thought was a weakness in me. I remember when I came out to my mum, I’d met somebody. I think she’d found a note that I’d written or something in the laundry when she was doing it one day. And she called me down and said, “What’s this?” And I looked at the note, I was like a kid getting busted for smoking or something you know like I felt like I’d been busted for doing something wrong. I don’t think she quite knew what to do. I grew up in a very Christian household, and the battles with sexuality was just a no-no like I’d just put it in the back of my head, because it was just never gonna happen. I had to just learn to be with girls, that’s what I did. But yeah I definitely struggled. I definitely battled behind closed doors. I think I was about 20, when I came out. I had a strong group of mates that… again, I did that thing where I just pushed them away. I guess it’s just that human thing of like, fear of judgement really, and so it’s easier to control it yourself so if I was to push them away, I’m in control of the situation, you know? I created a monster and so I was like, looking to feed it with negativity. Surely there are other gay surfers in the world, surely. So I thought, I’m going to go out and find them. I did the Google search, came across GaySurfers.net and was just completely blown away that there was a group, a community already started of gay surfers, and there was about 1,000 people in it or something, from all around the world. I just had so many questions for these guys, how did they cope with being gay at their local beach where they out, you know how did they get waves when they were together. We had the idea of, let’s make a documentary where we actually go and meet these people and talk to them and hear their experiences. There seems to be one thing in common to all the gay surfers, is the fear of being discriminated against. They didn’t all experience homophobia, necessarily, but they all had preferred to keep quiet about their sexuality. We’ve got a question, why can’t we see any gay surfers anywhere? Am I the only gay surfer in the world? Why is it a taboo? We went to try to interview surfers, professional surfers, at the ASP, Surfing Australia and all these bodies governing the sport of surfing and ask them, how come we’ve never heard of this? And we realised that they didn’t want to talk about it. It’s their job to talk about these issues. And if there is an issue, it’s their job to fix it. Meeting Thomas, and becoming involved in GaySurfers.net, being exposed to the world gave me more of a sense of, okay I can actually come out as a surfer in an environment where I’m most comfortable, and so it felt like I was going to be me and relate to both my sexuality and the thing that’s driven my life. It’s whole, I’m whole now, and it felt incredible. I guess I see myself in the gay world as trying to break down the walls between the gay world and the straight world. Like, if I was a straight surfer, I wouldn’t sit here and say, “I’m a straight surfer.” I wanna get to a point where that shit doesn’t matter. I want the best wave that comes through, I don’t care if it’s a young grommy or an old surfer or whatever I’ll like paddle for it, and I’m not – that’s what’s on my mind out there. Not, “Oh I wonder if they know I’m gay,” or “I wonder if they’re thinking he shouldn’t be out there.” I’m hungry for waves and that’s all that matters. When you’re an elite athlete, I can only imagine this ’cause I’m not but I would imagine you’ve got to put your entire focus, everything that you think about should be in pursuit of your skill and winning in competition. And when you’ve got the sexuality thing, and you’re dragging that along with you that’s going to detract from you absolutely fulfilling your goal and your potential. So I think this is an important conversation to have. I hope that that surfer, when they come out, will be sponsored, and retained their sponsorships. I hope that everything is based around skill level, passion, drive and commitment, rather than sexuality. Let’s celebrate the diversity in surfing. It’s a huge thing, the ocean. And it can accommodate all of humanity.