Feel the electricity of the subhuman redneck scum who reports every day of each WCT event. Steve Shearer aka Longtom.
Steve Shearer is Bribie Island subhuman redneck scum who writes surf at the Grit under the name Longtom, after a Pacific Ocean fish with a long snout full of needle sharp teeth that once attacked his friend in the lagoon at Lennox Head and made the front page of the local papers. He subscribes to the losing doctrine of anarcho-primitivism, feels zero kinship with the entire body of surf writing published to date, is in fact deeply ashamed to have been ensnared in it. Without the existence of BeachGrit he probably would have been able to make a clean getaway.
A guiding light is the statement: “There a thousand paths that have never yet been trodden, a thousand forms of health and hidden islands of life. Man and Man’s Earth are still unexhausted and undiscovered” which will surprise no-one by being attributed to German philospher Fred Nietszche.
He has always had a real job, usually something backbreaking like commercial fishing or banal like bus driving which has allowed him the great luxury of never having been fatally compromised by commercial considerations in writing about surf. Fucking stupid though, because in so doing he missed many paid trips to Indo and elsewhere.
He has always had a real job, usually something backbreaking like commercial fishing or banal like bus driving which has allowed him the great luxury of never having been fatally compromised by commercial considerations in writing about surf. Fucking stupid though, because in so doing he missed many paid trips to Indo and elsewhere. He managed to fund 20 years of round the world surf vagabonding by serial working binges and low level hustling of varying degrees of legality. He harbours great fidelity to the people he met along the way and considers them his natural readership.
He is father, husband and stewards a small goat herd, as well as chickens and vegetable beds in Lennox Head; which used to be a working man’s paradise but is now under the jackboot of the developer’s bulldozer. He rockfishes religiously in his spare time, which, when surfing, writing and family duties are subtracted is minimal – usually solo and at night – and is currently working on two books: a memoir titled Big Tits, Blue Water and a book on the reality of surfing with sharks titled Predatory Disruption.
On the the thrill of surfing: Different thrills, on different days. Sometimes it’s just habitual, transactional, daily bread stuff; to get to Y I do X…. X being a go-out and Y being a whole range of things to taking my daughter surfing, scrubbing the edge off a bad day, splashing around in babyfood on a new board, grabbing a half-hour on the right tide etc. It rarely fails on that practical level of making the day go better. At the least, you feel clean for having gone in the ocean. Barrels, bigger waves, epic days can elevate the thrill to any number of ecstatic/transcendental states. Then there’s all the peripherals: the oceanography, meteorology, natural history, surfboard design, carpark bullshitting, small-town politics, phenomenology blah blah, ad infinitum. Riding a wave is a tiny thrill, which is why the wave pool interests me not at all.
On what he’s trying to hit with his words: Something thats feels good to write, or sometimes that feels terrible to write, because you feel so exposed, and that others get something from reading. Who knows, really, where that comes from? Where does an idea come from? A word, or sentence? It just arrives like a song, so most of it might be just paying attention. Trying to gauge how something might be received doesn’t work. I’ve wrote things I thought were awesome that stumbled in public like three-legged dogs and other things I thought were bland which took off. No point overthinking it.
On what repels and excites in writing: Michel Houllebecq said the unique thing about writing was it gave direct access to the interior life of another person… so anytime I gain access to a place where someone has bothered to develop a lively mind with a point of view, a reason for writing in other words, I dig. Even if I disagree with the points expressed. I despise the neutral tone in journalism. Nothing is more phoney. Houllebecq also said the reason he wrote was to put down in words the scenes that played out in his mind which he found moving, or which gave him pleasure. Something like that, the interview is behind a paywall now so I can’t check exactly what he said. That’s a fair enough assessment on what excites about writing.