SHREDHEADS

When the opportunity arose for best friends Noah Flegel and Alex Hayes to meet up during Noah's travel layover, they wasted no time in pulling together everything they needed to go slab-hunting. And although the slabs never quite materialized, the good times (and plenty of airs) certainly did…

Photos: Sam Venn


Noah Flegel

On my way to tour the south-eastern hemisphere, I landed in Sydney to see one of my best mates and favorite shred partners, Alex Hayes. We had a couple of epic tow foil days around some of his top zones in Manly as well as some of my favorite waves around Cronulla.

I’ve had a serious itch to get a proper barrel on a foil for quite some time now and I had high hopes that it might happen during one of our sessions. Cronulla has some sick slabs that are pretty shallow and unforgiving, which really excites me. Having a tow partner like Alex, who I trust with my life, who shreds on a foil, and who is very familiar with the zone, was making my froth levels go through the roof. I’ve gotten some really good waves on a surfboard at these spots years ago, but this was my first opportunity to foil them and I was stoked to say the least.

Slabs are traditionally not the type of waves people like to foil, but I think the added risk factor of the incredibly steep waves and shallow water makes foiling that much more exhilarating. No one pushes me to break out of my comfort zone more than Alex, the dude is actually nuts.

“Alex was shredding as usual, and we were both basically just trying to figure out the best place on the wave to launch the biggest airs we could.”

I set up my new Armstrong MA625 which I had just fallen in love with in NZ, thinking it was going to be overhead surf. To make things even better, the slab surfing legend Kipp Caddy and unreal photographer Sam Venn met us out at the spot to hopefully capture the session and get some waves as well. To our surprise, when we got out there, it was a lot smaller than we had anticipated which was a bummer because my hopes of getting tubed had diminished significantly. Alex whipped me into a couple at the slab I was dreaming of getting that ride at, but it just wasn’t the day for it. We moved on to a much more friendly foil slab that was breaking a lot better with the limited swell. We ended up having a super fun and playful session, taking turns trying to show each other up for the camera! Alex was shredding as usual, and we were both basically just trying to figure out the best place on the wave to launch the biggest airs we could. I was super impressed with how well the MA625 rode, even in the smaller surf. For such a fast and small wing, its stall speed was impressively low.

“We did what we could with what we had – that’s the amazing thing about the ocean – you can’t force what isn’t there, it’s about finding your flow and appreciating the conditions for what they are and having as much fun as possible in the process – and that’s exactly what we did.”

Although it wasn’t the death defying session we were all hoping for, we still had heaps of fun ripping around one of my favorite places on Earth with some of my favorite humans and idols! Kipp and I finished off the session by doing some tow-ats on our surfboards in some tiny shore break, and of course Alex had to get a couple more waves on his foil since he doesn’t surf anymore, ha!

All in all, we had an epic time together doing what we love, and finished off the day at a café eating some great food, having some good laughs and scrolling through Sam’s camera, frothing on the shots he got. Till next time Sydney!

Alex Hayes

After living together for a season on the North Shore in Hawaii, it was time for Noah and I to go our separate ways and continue on with our busy schedules. I leave to go straight to Canada for a week of skiing, and then back home to Australia for a few weeks of touring around, playing music, and foiling at any chance I get. The end of summertime in Aus is always a hectic time… especially for the music scene.

Noah hit me up reminding me he was coming to Australia for a wakeboard comp, and with not much convincing, he extended his trip to come stay at mine for a few days after he was finished competing. Our plan? Foil. I had my eye on some swell down in Cronulla for when he arrived, I have been surfing the slabs down there my whole life and had never thought of foiling there, so I booked us a random Airbnb and picked him up from Sydney airport at 9pm with my Seadoo ready for the morning’s activities. The froth is real when the boys are together…

I’m always super grateful to have sessions and be around Noah, I’ve looked up to his foiling and diversity in action sports for a long time, so to watch him perform in the flesh is mind blowing. It pushes me to go harder, try new things and have an open-minded approach to what’s possible on the foil. Not only is he a wizard, but he’s also just a really good human being and a great energy to be around.

“I’m always super grateful to have sessions and be around Noah, I’ve looked up to his foiling and diversity in action sports for a long time, so to watch him perform in the flesh is mind blowing.”

I had called up my good friend Kipp Caddy, a local legend in Cronulla and pretty much the whole south coast of Australia and told him we were coming down to foil. In typical Kipp fashion, he frothed up and wanted to join the party, so we called up Sammy Ven – one of the best surf photographers in the world, to come document some of our session.

We got up bright and early, had our morning stretch, gave each other a back rub, and off we went. The waves weren’t as good as we had imagined, and the tide was super high, but we made the most of it and the vibe was on point as it always is with these bunch of legends. Noah and I were trading off waves and he was pushing me to go bigger and better, while Kipp was in the channel driving Sam in the spot to try and get the best shots possible! We did what we could with what we had – that’s the amazing thing about the ocean – you can’t force what isn’t there, it’s about finding your flow and appreciating the conditions for what they are and having as much fun as possible in the process – and that’s exactly what we did.

We finished the session driving down the beach and I towed Noah into a couple on his surfboard and he was doing some mental airs while Sam was towing Kipp into some crazy airs too. I’ve kinda hung up my surf boots for the time being, so we closed the session off with Noah towing me into a couple more on the foil so I could do some airs too. Life is good. All in all, it was such an epic day with the boys. The vibes are always immaculate, and I’m grateful to be able to experience these moments with these incredible humans.

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