Pro surfer Chippa Wilson talks motorcycles and the simple life

Photo: Courtesy of British Customs
Photo: Courtesy of British Customs

Chippa Wilson is a Renaissance man: He’s a world-renowned professional surfer and X Games silver medalist, new heritage lifestyle icon, weekend project enthusiast and a rancher.

He hails from Cabarita Beach, Australia, where he has a ranch and hones his surfing skills while building retro motorcycles with his own hands. We recently spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness and donations for charity, and are working to spur innovation and creativity through BC Weekend Projects.

Photo: Courtesy of British Customs
Photo: Courtesy of British Customs

Together, we built the Beach Sled from a Triumph Bonneville T100, inspired by the desert sleds ridden by legends like Steve McQueen, Bud Ekins and Eddie Mulder using only quality bolt-on parts.

Tell me about where you grew up.

I grew up on the East Coast of Australia, and moved from Sydney to Cabarita Beach when I was young. That’s where I started surfing.

Cabarita Beach is a tiny surf community, but it’s changed as it’s gotten busier; but I guess everything is getting busier. I don’t really like that: I wish things would stay smaller and simpler.

What did you tell people you wanted to be when you grew up?

I always just dreamed of living out in the country, of living free.

Photo: Courtesy of British Customs
Photo: Courtesy of British Customs

What’s a day in the life for Chippa Wilson like?

It depends on where I am. If I’m home, and the waves are good, I’ll make coffee and go surf. Then when I get back I’ll let the chickens out, get any eggs they laid and go surf some more. But if I’m on a surf trip, all I do is surf.

What got you into riding motorcycles?

I remember watching flat track races on TV with my dad when I was a kid and thinking it was the coolest thing. After seeing those, I knew I had to get into it myself.

Photo: Courtesy of British Customs
Photo: Courtesy of British Customs

You’re pretty close with your dad. What kinds of things do you guys do together?

We surf together a lot. I got him into it. He still surfs with two reconstructed knees at 60 [years old]. Which is awesome. Growing up, I used to watch him make houses. He used to do everything with his hands, and that inspired me.

What keeps you on the bike?

Exploring new grounds and new places. That sense of freedom you get. Cruising is the best. I love going from dirt to tarmac and then hopping from cafe to cafe around Cabarita.

Photo: Courtesy of British Customs
Photo: Courtesy of British Customs

Is the feeling you get while riding at all like the feeling you get while surfing?

Totally. You feel disconnected from all the noise in your life. You can just reset and enjoy yourself.

What about retro things do you like so much?

Vintage things have style, and they’re classy. They’re not overdone. They’re simple; like less is more. They’re just easy on the eyes.

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