Home Town: Jersey, Channel Islands, U.K.
Are you the solo-wanderer type, like Ian Battrick who we interview in this issue? The kind whose companions on the road are a small tent, a mosquito net or a 6mm wetsuit, an iPod and a well loved quiver of boards? You spend as little as possible and stay for as long as you can. You make plenty of friends out there – fellow travellers and friendly natives – but you’re essentially a free radical, beholden to no one, bound to no place or schedule. Malaria, guns, bears – whatever. Wandering the world in search of hollow waves is Ian’s mission. He’s been doing it for years and he’s stored up gigabytes of great adventures in his memory banks. But he wont brag about them. In fact, it’s hard to get Ian to spill the beans on any of his surf exploits but we try, and learn plenty in the process.”
– Alex Dick-Read, Founding Editor of ‘The Surfers Path’
Ian is as close to a ‘surfer’s surfer’ as you’ll find. Willing to go feral just about anywhere in search of a perfect wave, constantly on the search for the best waves he can find, from warm to cold climates and regularly cutting himself off from most of the world for months at a time.There is no doubt growing up on Jersey, an island nine miles long by five miles wide in The English Channel, is what helped spur him on into wandering the rest of the world. Ian’s philosophy is simple, “staying true to a promise he made himself when he was 17 years old. Blown apart by the suddden consecutive loss of three of his best friends (car crash, cancer, heroin) he resolved to live his life to the absolute fullest, to go where his heart told him and not put the dreams off until he could fit them in”.
“Ian exemplifies the surfing life that many of us would love to have. Ian is one of those guys that hates talking about it, but he actually does it. He’s made it his priority to chase and realise his dreams and few of us have the balls, the wisdom, the time, ingenuity, whatever it takes to do that. Wise man Gerry Lopez tells us that our surf universes are what we make them, and Ian has played God with his own surf universe in a wonderfully creative, innocent, clutter-free and focused way – perhaps more focused than any surfer I’ve encountered. His self-created universe doesnt involve luxury. They locations may sound luxurious – Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, WA, Hawaii, Iceland, Norway, etc- but the realities are ground level, extra low budget, almost hermit like in their deprivation and dedication. He’s trained his body to function well on long stints of porridge oats, fresh fruit and a bit of water, but otherwise he has no needs. His trip is utterly simple – and totally effective.
Every year, while you and I are grinding through our daily realities, Ian goes places. He goes and camps out – usually a right hand barrel of unimpeachable perfection, but not always – and he stays there week after week until the place has its best day of the year. Then he stays a while longer and eventually he packs up his tent, his two T-shirts, his beloved quiver of boards(shorter than you would expect for waves like that), his i-pod and his toothbrush. He bids goodbye to his adopted family in whichever village or island he’s staying(“see you next year”), or to wildlife that’s been harassing him when he’s in the lonely wilderness and he heads off to a different perfect wave, where he will camp for several more months until it’s time to move on again.”
You will find him surfing anything and everything, whether its in the snow and full rubber living off melted glacier for water or palm trees and board shorts and rain water, from busy one foot weak slop to perfect spitting empty barrels. “It only takes one fun wave and you are stoked! Getting a mind blowing barrel though can be a ‘life changer’! I’ve given up everything I own, possessions, relationships, a ‘normal life’, sat through volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, countless earthquakes, malaria, lived off the land and fought off bears to seek these moments.”
Ian camped out in Canada for months at a time waiting for moments like this with friends Timmy Turner and Eric Ramsey.
Dodging ice chunks in a Lunasurf all 4mm wetsuit.
Camped out solo riding Lunasurf.