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Higher Light The Film - Beyrick De Vries - Kwa-Zulu Natal
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Higher Light The Film | Beyrick De Vries

May 012019

Over the past few years, South African surfer Beyrick De Vries has been busy working on a video project with filmmaker Steven Michelsen. In between stops on the ‘QS, De Vries ventured around the wave-rich African coastline alongside fellow shredders Brendon Gibbens, Shane Sykes and Dale Staples, and gathered enough clips to create “Higher Light”– the banger of an edit featured below.

‘On a roll’ was how the commentators described Beyrick’s breakout performance at the 2016 Ballito Pro, when he went on to beat Jordy on the final day, place 5th in the event overall and win the Monster Energy Expression Session as well as the Monster Energy Wave Of The Week. This also resulted in him pocketing R30k and R20k respectively for the two awards. It was a glowing moment for the young Umhlanga surfer, and there were a lot of people who suddenly realized the inherent talent of the young natural footer.

 

Beyrick, however, was turning heads long before that seminal day. From his early days winning grom events, to charging massive New Pier and the big beachbreak barrels he loves. He is a powerful and polished surfer who lends himself to new school surfing, and his aerial strike rate is extremely high.

In 2013 while surfing at the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach in Hawaii, Beyrick caught and rode a wave that 1977 world Champion Shaun Tomson called one of the best waves he had ever seen.

 

“No doubt in my mind the highlight of my career was that 10-point ride at Sunset,” recalls Beyrick. “It was a competitive highlight, but it was also just divine intervention. It was a free surf highlight, a contest highlight, an emotional highlight, and an all round highlight of my life. I still get people who I respect, who I don’t think even know my name, walk up to me and say that that was the best wave ever ridden at Sunset. It definitely made me a lot more amped to surf bigger waves. I’m almost looking for that sort of moment again, so hopefully it comes.”

 

I also love to do airs and I love to do contests, I love to free surf and I really love to make good clips. I definitely want to be working on more direction-based projects in the future.

Who is Beyrick de Vries though? Is he a competitive machine, a free surfing spirit, or has he evolved into a media savvy video guy? 

It's a good question. I feel that without the free surfing and the incredible trips with friends on the side, competitive surfing can just kill you and put out your fires. When you’re on the QS Grind there are a lot of bad waves, and the free surfing part becomes so important and it definitely balances out the competitive side. Sometimes there is no need for a label. I also love to do airs and I love to do contests, I love to free surf and I really love to make good clips. I definitely want to be working on more direction-based projects in the future.  

What is it about a really good surf clip that makes it work? Is it the action, the massive airs and the rocking soundtrack? What makes a good video clip?  

You know, story telling has been a thing with surfing since the days of Herbie Fletcher telling his story through words or visuals, and Endless Summer 1 and 2, I think with movie making I definitely want to get into more story telling. There are so many good stories out there but we often get left with one punk song, and two minutes of just pure surfing.

Where is the man going to be in five years from now? Can he see into the future? 

Well, in five years I want to have qualified, I want to be on tour, and if I'm not on tour I want to rent a big van and do a whole lot of Africa trips. Pretty much drive around Africa. After that I have a goal of getting on a sailboat and sailing around Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar and hopefully over to Indonesia. When my competitive peak is over I want to be doing crazy trips.

I’ve been learning that it’s all about balance.

It’s good to be a surfer in 2019. There is a whole lot of positivity around the sport, and there are great developments in all directions. What is the best stuff happening in our world of surfing and barrels and boards right now? 

The best thing about surfer 2019 is there is definitely a lot of hype around surfing as a growing sport. There are a few concerns though. Sometimes I wonder are surfers running the sport? It is currently experiencing a rapid growth rate but it is growing in the right direction, the way that the surfers would want it to grow? We do need to ask these questions...

It’s not all perfect out there however, and every sport has challenges. Are there any other things bugging Beyrick about surfing in the 21st Century? 

The worst thing for me right now has got to be social media, it is definitely giving away a lot of surf spots, but at the same time giving away surf spots creates income for locals people who can possibly get food and money out of the deal. Are we exploring, or exploiting, or both?

It has been a fairly lengthy process of filming. How was our man’s mindset when making this movie? 

Well, because we have been doing this movie for some time, I have gone through several mindsets, I believe I grew up a lot during the making of the movie, and that I have a lot more direction. In the process I realized that you could be competitive, and be a free surfer. You don't have to choose, if you plan well enough. Can go to Japan and compete on the QS in 1-foot waves, and the go straight to Indo for a sick trip. I’ve been learning that it’s all about balance.  

If any groms are reading this, my advice is for you to go and spend time overseas, go surfing at famous breaks like Trestles and Snapper and on the North Shore, and things will all happen a lot faster.

Does Beyrick have any heroes? Why does he consider them heroes? 

Mick Fanning is my hero, he’s an incredible surfer but the way that he manages to keep his respect and integrity, and go out of his way to show kindness and to help people and to use his world title to genuinely help people is what I respect the most. I’m also a fan of Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker. He has helped a lot of people and he sends a message love and light, provoking good energy in people where it may be dormant.

Sometimes it’s cold and miserable, and wetsuits are wet and the waves are really average. Still, a pro surfer needs to get out there and start blasting to the best of his or her abilities. What gets Beyrick amped before a surf? Best three albums? 

Guns and Roses - Appetite for Destruction,
 Sublime – 40oz to Freedom
G-Eazy – The Beautiful and The Damned.

At this stage, as he embarks on a five-year plan to qualify for the championship tour, does the man have any regrets with his path so far? 

I have no regrets, however, but if I had to do something over, I’d probably move overseas to Australia and the United States and I would have spent more time in Hawaii. For surfers there are so many more opportunities, and you can surf with better surfers on a regular basis so the rate of improvement is a lot higher, and the industry there can facilitate it. If any groms are reading this, my advice is for you to go and spend time overseas, go surfing at famous breaks like Trestles and Snapper and on the North Shore, and things will all happen a lot faster.

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