Chapter 1 / Sharing Stories
A Travel Story with Henry Slaughter
Words by: Henry Slaughter
Photos by: Henry Slaughter and Maks Eidelson
Travel is a constant for us at OCIN – a rewarding opportunity, a source of inspiration, a teacher of all things, a driver of curiosity, humility, and creativity. It also pushes us to be our most open, free, and conscious selves; the selves that remind us we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, and that we're all in this together, more similar than we are different.
And so, we're stoked to present the first of our OCIN Travel Stories; a series where we get to see the world through the lens and voices of some of our good friends.
For our first edition, we went across the globe, down under, with Henry Slaughter – a graphic designer and freelance creative whom we've had the pleasure of knowing since the early days of his career, nearly a decade ago. Henry shows us his Australia; 24 days of searching for surf, capturing moments and living in his OCIN boardies.
After a long flight, we head straight to the apartment and I immediately switch into OCIN boardies. After 4 months of winter, it feels incredible to defrost in a pair of shorts. We walk down to Bondi Beach to spend an hour swimming and people-watching from the sand. We decide to celebrate our early entrance into “Summer 19” by inviting the old Sydney mates to 'Neighbourhood' for drinks – a little bar near the beach with a dope back patio. I start yawning very hard around 7:30pm.
I wake up to the birds chirping and forget where I am. Roll over and call our old mate, Tim, to make sure he’ll pick us up on his way to the National Park, a couple hours south of Sydney. Once we’re in the car, I’m excited to look for waves at the tucked-away Garrie Beach – a nice break from the crowds of Bondi. As I begin paddling, I’m pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the inner liner that’s stretched out a bit and begins to sit in the right spot. Tim also commented positively when he saw me in the parking lot.
A Sydney must-do: the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach (and beyond). Moving slow cause we end up stopping at every beach along the way. Sunday means crowded surf line up at every spot but end-of-summer means more space for your towel on the sand.
By now, I’m beginning to realize these navy blue shorts seem to go with any t-shirt/shoes combo. I’m stoked and sweaty from the thick, summer sun.
Sure, the sun sets behind the city when you’re hanging on the east coast, but these warm evenings in Bondi are too good. From our perch on the North Bondi grassy knoll with a beer in hand, we share lols and forget about our hunger, watching people surf into the late evening. Time slips away, cares seem nonexistent and it feels like we’ve been transplanted into August. It’s official: I’m already not looking forward to leaving.
I’m also still wearing the OCIN boardies to dinner every night, wondering if anyone cares. No one seems to notice.
We heard the surf was windy, crumbly and shitty in Manly... so we decided to check it out. Without a car, we’ve gotta jump on the ferry, which aligns well with our travel checklist of seeing the Opera House in HD. We miss the boat and kill the next 30 minutes over frozé at Opera Bar soaking up the scene of selfie sticks, seagulls and blinding sunshine.
We wake up in Byron and head directly to the shops to see what’s for sale. I’m hunting something small that will fit in our rental car but can’t help admire the logs at McTavish, Byron’s surf brand that’s loved by all surfers, big and small. Besides wearing my only pair of pants on the flights, I’m back in the OCIN boardies and will be needing them every hour of the day as the temperature reaches 30 Celsius.
To find the super, super nice, kind-of-a-secret hideaway hang that is Whites Beach, take the bumpy 10 minute drive down a dirt road followed by limited parking options and you’re halfway there. Walk down the 200 steep steps to a dope, little sandy patch away from the craziness of Byron. If you can make it in and out without a parking ticket and a sunburn, you’re winning.
My outfit is officially dialled: White hat, sweaty tee shirt that remains in my bag half the day, OCIN shorts, and some dirty Vans.
We probably hoped to surf this evening, but waves were unsurfably small, so we take photos, have beers and get in and out of the water to swim.
Only a 10 minute drive from town, Tallow Beach stretches as far as you can see with hardly anyone ever around. Time seems to slip away when you’re sitting down there, it’s really incredible. The evening light paired with the colour of the sand and sky doesn’t get any better for shooting.
If you don’t want to get your hair wet, surf at The Pass: Australia’s most low key right-hand point break that seems to be busy every day of the week. I begin to wonder if anyone works?
The drive from Byron to Sydney can be beautiful if you have enough time. We weren’t that fortunate and spent most of our time on the highway with exception of a few stops to stretch our legs and have a surf. Highly recommended stops: Pacific Yamba Hotel for happy hour (and views of the coast) and Crescent Head for the longest right handers amongst a mellow crowd.
"In the warm climate, I would wake up in them and go to bed in them. They were exactly what I needed."
Yes, Sydney has a thriving coastal lifestyle but Melbourne has claimed the patio-hanging, record-store-buying, barbershop-bantering, super- welcoming, style-and-substance vibe that the non-surfer types are drawn to. For every suit worn in Sydney there’s a pair of wide-leg pants and fur-lined denim jacket in Melbourne. Imagine way less backpacker culture and touristy riffraff coupled with stimulating street fashion and a thriving music, arts and design culture. Sign me up. I spent my entire time drinking coffee and laptop-ing in cafes around Fitzroy. Could life be so easy?
Logic “The Adventures of Stoney Bob”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Hunnybee”
Tora “Too Much”
Mac Miller “Jet Fuel”
Khruangbin “August 10”
FKJ “Leave My Home”
Winston Surfshirt “Be About You”
The final weekend was spent with my friend Millie who runs a small design studio on Sydney’s north shore called Design by Mouse. Breaks were taken to walk the dog at Sandy Bay and enjoy a sweaty brunch at The Sandy Bear where I was caught wearing my OCIN boardies for the 29827863rd day in a row.