An Arvo With Stedz

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Words By Chas Smith; Photos By Nate Lawrence

The setting sun over the Snapper Rocks is so pretty. Still white clouds jive on a powder blue canvas, refusing to turn pink and whatnot. Defying the natural order of things and whatnot. Strange crows are singing strange songs. A turkey vulture dances on a tin roof across the street. It has been hot hot today but it is no longer. It is deck time cocktail hour at Apartment 11. A finer thing. Grey Goose vodka and cranberry on cracked ice with a dash of bitters. Simple and refreshing. It is also time to discuss the finer things with such a totally finer man. Luke Stedman.

He is easy, wearing grey cut-off corduroy shorts, a grey and black striped tank top and a long sleeved cowboy themed Hawaiian shirt. Guitars and broncos. A purple knit cap covers his perfectly sun bleached thatch.

He is the most finer man in all of surfing.

And we discuss…

His kind of women:

“I like ‘em fun and entertaining. That is my kind of woman.”

I tell him that I know his women and “fun/entertaining” would not be primary descriptive adjectives for them. He throws his head back and laughs deeply.

“They are now.”

His kind of car:

“Fuck, I like ‘em smooth. I like ‘em used. My first car was a 1976 Jag with a 350 Chev engine. Push the peddle down and hear the ba-ba-ba-ba. That thing drank gas but she was so wonderful. Right now I’m driving a 1980s Jimmy (by GMC). That’s my whip. But if I could choose my dream car? Fuck, I know exactly what it’d be. A ahhhhhh one of those with the big birds on the hood. A……….Trans-Am. Yeah, a 1984 Trans-Am.”

His kind of suit:

“You know, it is a bit hard to find a suit that fits well on a tall and skinny man. Of course I love Hedi Slimane and I have had one but I lost it. Right now I have a Jean Paul Gaultier suit that is pretty good.”

"I like 'em smooth. I like 'em used." - Luke Stedman.  Photo: Nate Lawrence
"I like 'em smooth. I like 'em used." - Luke Stedman. Photo: Nate Lawrence

His kind of movie:

“The opening scene of Inglourious Basterds is just so good. It is the best scene in the movie. The best scene ever. The way the action builds so slowly. The camera doesn’t really change and the scene doesn’t either. Just that house and all that tension. So good.”

His kind of dining:

“My favorite kinds of dinners are the sort that have the three different wine glasses. And I like to eat with someone who knows more than I do. Someone who does all the ordering, and pairs the right foods with the right wine. When everything tastes magical together.”

His kind of music:

“Fuuuuuck, the Dead Weather is coming to Oz soon and I am stoked. I also just saw Them Crooked Vultures. Josh Homme looks so good holding a guitar. Powerful but sexy and that is difficult. So good.”

Jewelry on women:

“I like when they wear men’s jewelry. I don’t like it pretty. I like it big and real. I like to be able to pick up a chick’s ring and put it on.”

His kind of city:

“Sydney is home but I love Paris. It is super clean and super sexy”

His kind of hotel:

“Mama Shelter in Paris is so great. In LA? I’ve stayed in the Mondrian, The Standard, Chateau Marmont…there are so many good hotels.”

"I like 'em fun and entertaining. That is my kind of woman." - Luke Stedman.  Photo: Nate Lawrence
"I like 'em fun and entertaining. That is my kind of woman." - Luke Stedman. Photo: Nate Lawrence

His kind of life:

“Ahhhhh I am pretty happy with my life right now. You know, everything is perfect about being a pro surfer. The level of fame and notoriety is perfect. Like, you don’t have people mobbing you in the street, but you have little kids coming up for autographs, which feels good. And sometimes you’ll get bumped up to business class because a stewardess likes the way you surf. You get paid well but not a crazy amount so life never becomes surreal. It is all just perfect.”

The sun has gone all the way down. Luke’s smile is clear as he glides out of Apartment 11 and off toward a party at hotelier Luke Egan’s new Kommune. His skin is the color of health, his teeth white like ivory. The stars grow so bright. Much better than neon lights.

Follow the most finer man in surfing at

Stedz and Chas.  Photo: Nate Lawrence
Stedz and Chas. Photo: Nate Lawrence
Photo: Nate Lawrence
Photo: Nate Lawrence