The latest Pack Heavy Chase Light episode sees filmmaker Sam Moody shadowing Craig Anderson in New York. The pair were in The Big Apple for the launch of Db x C. Anderson collection, and Moody took the opportunity to delve deep into the heart and mind of the inspirational freesurfer, and surfing iconoclast. 

Much of the episode deals with Craig’s path from brand ambassador to business owner with his brand Former. We thought we’d follow up the episode with an interview with Craig to discuss that transition and see where the man described by business partner Dane Reynolds as a “low-key maniac" is heading next. 

“The way he surfs is cinematically a gift and a style that transcends the sport.” 

Filmer Tom Jennnings on Craig

Hi Craig, the latest Pack Heavy Chase Light episode deals with your transition from sponsored surfer to business owner. How would you describe that process?

Well, over the last few years, my life has changed. Riding for Quiksilver and travelling the world I did all fairly nonchalantly, and then that finished. I started the brand Former with Dane Reynolds and Austyn Gillette, and that took a few years to get going. Then Covid hit and I couldn’t travel, but my girlfriend moved up to Newcastle from Sydney and found work here. So we created a more homely environment where surfing wasn’t the sole focus. So my priorities changed and I got married. I suppose it's called growing up (laughs). 

Did that allow you to focus more on Former?

I try and dip my toes in on the fun stuff. We have a team that is really good at their jobs. In the beginning, I wanted to get stuck in the business side and I feel I have a relative handle on that side now. Now I have a level of involvement that isn’t too stressful but lets me do the creative side that I enjoy more. My strengths and real passion are my surfing and documenting it so that’s where I feel I am best utilised. 

“There's something about Craig that just works, and he navigates through life so smoothly, and it can be frustrating sometimes, but not at the end of the day. He has his own way, and that’s why we all love him for he is.”  

Austyn on Craig

The episode shows that it’s taken a while to get to that stage though, right?

I’ve been working with the brand now for six or seven years and it has had its highs and lows. At the start, we made all the possible mistakes you can make, but I feel like we are in a good spot now. There are marketing budgets, and we are paying team riders. There is a beautiful feeling that we can be a force to be reckoned with. Look, it’s never been about that, but to be able to pay a young freesurfer a great wage, the same way I was looked after at Quiksilver, is really nice.

And what is the best part about being a business owner?

It’s always been a creative endeavour and we thought we could offer something that wasn’t directed
by sales reps or marketing teams. We thought we could be ourselves and make clothes and films exactly how we wanted. We’ve had to conform to certain guidelines of how a brand works, be it seasonal drops or being on-calendar, and we have to sell enough product to have a functional business, but the attitude remains the same; we always just wanted to make films and hang with surfers we like and respect. It feels like we seem to be getting close to that ideal now. 

I’d say his surfing is reflective of his personality. He’s pretty refined. I don’t know, he’s a low-key maniac. He’s low-key one of the gnarliest dudes when it comes to heavy waves. And he drives fast.

Dane on Craig

And that still involves you chasing waves and surfing as much as possible?

Absolutely, as I say in the Pack Heavy episode, my whole deal has always been about going on surf trips with friends I respect. I never really felt or expected anything career-wise from surfing. I was just grateful that I fell into the space I did. But now I have the travel bug back. I was injured last year and sidelined for eight months, so I’m looking forward to a big year of chasing waves. The aim is not just to travel for the sake of it, which I have done previously, because there were always opportunities. Now I have a wife and a dog, and a vegetable patch, so I have responsibilities at home. I need to be less self-centred and pick the right destinations. The aim is to pack the Db 3-4 surfboard bag, spend a solid chunk in a location (after New York, Ando bolted to Chile and Peru for four weeks) and then come back to check-in, and I’m so excited to do

Good luck with the business, and the waves.

Thanks, team, I’ll keep you posted. 

“Taking chances, doing the way you want to do it, and not giving a fuck.”

Craig on Risk

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