On The Road With Corey Wilson: South Africa Part 1


All Photos: Corey Wilson

“This was a little road trip within a road trip within a trip across the world,” Corey Wilson tells me over drinks at his resident nightclub, Sutra, in Newport Beach. It’s early evening and we’re the first ones here. The cocktail waitress calls him “Core.”

“So it was sorta like the Inception of road trips,” I offer.

“I suppose,” Corey says, taking a gulp of his whiskey ginger. “You know, it really is ridiculous that Leo’s never won an Oscar. I fear he played the disability card too early in his career, with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

“Yeah, maybe…so you were saying this was a road trip within a road trip…”

“Ah, yes,” Corey says, getting back on track. “We were in South Africa for the J-Bay event and Wilko and Owen had already lost, so we drove the eight hours to Cape Town and set up shop there for a week. Beautiful city. Have you ever climbed Table Mountain?”

“Actually, ye—”

“Well, you should. There are these adorable little animals called rock hyraxes. People think they’re rodents, but they’re not, Taylor. In fact, they’re most closely related to elephants. I can show you some pictures.”

“Cool. But, um, back to this road trip.”

“Right. Sorry. So on this day the winds were bad in Cape Town so we hopped in the car and headed up the coast. The West Coast. Toward Namibia. But not that far. It was just a few hours away. I remember this drive, though, because we’d had some drinks the night before and Owen was explaining to us his theory on hangovers. Which is basically that he doesn’t believe in them. He said something like, ‘You just feel different, that’s all. And if you try to do the same thing that you always do then it might suck. But if you act different and lay in bed all day and watch movies or something, then it can be kind of awesome.'”

“Interesting.”

“Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like hangovers are pretty real. They’re not like Santa Claus where you ‘believe’ in him or not. They definitely exist.”

“Yeah, I had one last week.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Corey says with surprising empathy. “I always find that getting in the water helps. And the guys got in the water on this day. It was a really fun left and after being in J-Bay for a couple of weeks, they were excited to be on their forehand. It’s funny, when I was shooting them I got distracted for a moment thinking, ‘This might just be the best two goofyfooters this break has ever seen at the same time.’ I don’t know. Maybe Occy and Brendan Buckley came here together a decade ago and I don’t know about it. But watching Wilko and Owen rip this wave was something special.”

“Did anything noteworthy happen during the session?”

“You mean, like, did anyone do any crazy moves?”

“Yeah.”

“Nah, not really.”

“Did something else noteworthy happen?”

“Wilko said he saw a penguin.”

—Taylor Paul