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parkway drive surfing

Photo: Mitchyll Ferris

Every once in a while we see a name that has nothing to do with surfing pop up in surfing. Like, Nicholas Cage, when he decided to make besties with KS and hang in the VIP lounge at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Or Patrick Swayze, because Point Break. Or Matthew McConaughey, who apparently shreds Malibu on a log. Or Rihanna, who learnt to surf with Makua Rothman. Or Luke Kilpatrick, whose face occasionally drops into our inboxes after it got ridiculously barrelled at 10-foot P-Pass.

In case you’re not familiar, Luke is one of the guitarists in a band called Parkway Drive. And if you’re not familiar with Parkway Drive, then you’re not Australian (or European, or American, or normal). The band actually just finished a new record – the first in a few years – so we decided it was a good time to have a lunch with Luke at the Brunswick Pub and ask him how he ends up inside such big blue barrels, so frequently.

luke kilpatrick parway drive surfing stacey

Photo: Andrew Shield from '13.

So, Luke, how do you end up inside such big blue barrels, so frequently?

Well, in between tours we all just go on surf trips, unless we have to write or record. We did our recording in Canada earlier this year, so when my bit was done I went to Mexico and spent time cruising down the coast. I was there for one of those big Puerto swells, but decided it was outta my league, so I went and found some points down south.

Would you consider yourself more of a musician, or a surfer?

Oh, I don’t even call myself a musician. I just happen to play guitar. Surfing has always just been fun for me. I suppose I surf way more than I play music, although that gets made up for on tour.

Do all of the Parkway Drive guys surf?

Yeah. Well, Jeff and I have always been stand up surfers, pretty much since we were five or six. The other three all bodyboarded for years.

Did you make fun of ‘em?

Of course! I still do. But now two of them have converted. Winston (who fronts the group) is still leading the booger race, but he’s good. He gets Riptide covers and does flips and charges and goes in comps and stuff. He can pull it off. But as a 30 year old…

riptide cover

Two Riptide covers, nearly back-to-back (there was one issue in between these two). Both were shot in Ballina, and feature the frontman of Parkway Drive, Winston.

Haha. Yeah, we heard that Winston is working with something called the Bright Youth Foundation*?

Yeah, that’s all Winston, not me. Winston usually does all the interviews and the only reason I’m doing this interview is because he bodyboards, and I was like, nah, a bodyboarder isn’t doing this! But from what I know, it’s a really good thing, and Winston’s been getting pretty involved.

Do you think your surfing ability has boosted your profile as a band, or changed how people look at you?

Not our ability, but maybe our image, because we’re just different than other metal bands. They’ve got long black hair and they look like metal dudes, and we kinda don’t. We’re just surfers from a beach town that happen to play the music. So in that sense, we are different. Band dudes are fucking weirdos – we kinda feel like we’re more normal(ish), and maybe kids can relate to that a bit more.

Why’d you guys play metal?

It just progressed I think. We listened to punk when we were teenagers during the Momentum generation of surf movies. I can’t believe surf movies don’t have punk music anymore, with all the shit that goes into ‘em now. But anyways, from there we started listening to hardcore bands, and then from there it turned to metal.

I’m actually not even into metal, at all. I don’t listen to metal at all.


Never. I’m not into it at all. I just play it.

That’s weird. Do you like your own music?

To a certain extent, because I’m involved with it. I kind of have to like it, because I have to play it all the time and have to get into it live. I still enjoy touring and playing shows and playing fast, heavy music and watching the crowd go mental, it’s a good feeling up there. Our crowds make it all worth it, they go nuts!

slab hunting with andrew shield

Slab hunting with our staff photog, Andrew Shield, somewhere south.

If your latest album could be the soundtrack to a surf movie, who would you want to be in it?

Probably big wave dudes, because it’s heavy. Like, Marti Paradisis from Tassy loves it, Josiah from South Oz listens to it – all those chargers sort of relate to it a bit more. Like, Jaws with a Parkway song. That works.

Do you think on some subconscious level that’s why you surf big waves?

Um. I don’t know. I don’t really surf that big of waves, I don’t think. Maybe? It kinda makes sense.

What’s the best big wave trip you’ve ever been on?

Well, I go to PPass every year, and this past year was absolutely insane. There were two swells, and all the pros went on that first swell – I was recording or touring or something, so I couldn’t go. I flew out for the second swell, and no one else was there. It was 10-15 foot and seriously pumping. I was out there on the biggest day, but I’d try to get the little ones. The little ones were still huge for me.

And, uh, what do you think about sharks (as you’re from Byron Bay)?

It’s a huge deal right now. Aside from the tragedies that have happened, I kind of like the media hype about it. It’s really stopping a lot of people from surfing, especially at home. I’ve been surfing down at Ballina every day pretty much, and there are like five or 10 guys out, max.

luke kilpatrick parkway drive barrel surfing stacey surfboards

Kinda silly of us to ask the question below, after looking at this. Photo: Mitchyll Ferris

Are you scared?

Yeah, you think about it, but the chopper goes over every morning and does a little circle. They actually got a shark the other day, just tagging it.

It’s definitely a real problem, and it’s scary, but I still think that down at Broken Head there have been nearly 80 guys out, from Broken to Suffolk, and there are that many sharks around and birds diving and bait balls, and no one’s been touched. They don’t want humans. I still think that. It’s just really unlucky if they happen to get confused and get you. I’m against the whole culling shit, and I still surf in the sharkiest spots.

Would you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie?

Ah, by some people’s accounts, probably. But I’d say not really. There are dudes that do some gnarly shit. I’m just doing a little bit of stuff.

Speaking of doing gnarly shit… you guys jumped out of a plane in your latest video.

Yeah! Right after Mexico, we learnt to skydive. We had the idea that it’d be cool to play on the ground while people were skydiving. And the director wrote a script saying that we’ll make it look like the band is skydiving. We’ll do doubles and stuff. And then when he said that, we were like, Fuck that, we’ll learn! It can’t be that hard. It’s just jumping out of a plane.

So we learnt to do it solo. The first few jumps people jump out on either side of you, and they tell you all this stuff to do, and then the last few jumps before you get a license (at nine jumps) you just do it on your own.

Vice Grip, Parkway Drive.

What’s scarier? PPass at 10-foot, or skydiving solo?

Ha. It’s pretty similar. But I think skydiving is a bit scarier, because the 20-minute plane ride up is so weird. Everyone is quiet and thinking their own thoughts. But surfing big waves, you’ve only got a few minutes between sets. And once you make the take-off you’re generally sweet. Skydiving, you’re freefalling for a minute.

Did you ever think about Point Break while you were learning?

Oh yeah. I thought I was the man. Haha, no, actually, the dude that filmed us, Joe Jennings is actually one of the guys who filmed the new Point Break. Some big Hollywood guy but a total legend! He’s apparently the “skydive guy”.

And, lastly, the name of the new album is Ire. What does that mean?

I don’t know, look it up! Haha. Nah. It means angst, or anger, or something like that. That’s Winston, and I guess it’s an interesting word, so, whatever!

Tune into Ire, released on September 25th, and make sure you have a listen to Vice Grip (the skydive video, above). If you want to know a bit more about Luke, we asked him a few random short answers, below. Hint: read “biggest regret”.

LUKE KILPATRICK X STACEY CREW from Stacey Surfboards Pty Ltd on Vimeo.

Note: This interview is from the legends over at Surfing Life

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