A friendship established many moons ago over a few Grande Plage corners on sundown followed by the obligatory côte de bœuf & bottle of rouge. An aquaintence which somehow blossomed into living with us for the best part of a month. Our much adored / adopted / prodigal son. Noz was then thrown in the van with us to Portugal as guest Monster team rider to see out his Autumn in Europe before parting ways.
Pandemics and personal endeavours have kept the man busy and far away, but whispers of a return to Europe made us pick up the phone.
For those somehow unacquainted can you tell us where you’re from and where you call home nowadays?
I’m from Los Angeles, California and I still call that home.
What’s your go to spot when you’re home and looking for waves?
El Porto, or the Manhattan beach area near the airport…it’s the most convenient and the most consistent but still one of the worst waves in California (laughs).
We gather you’ve been experimenting with Blake from PANDA (surfboards) there a fair bit on shapes.. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I’ve been loving the feeling of Twinzers as they’re just a little bit different to the usual twin fin. They’re so fucking fast and have so much hold. There’s a couple models from Blake that are different enough where I was like, just put twinzers in all of them! That fin set up, that loose feel, but drive so you can go super fast and push as hard as you want… 9 times out of 10 it won’t slide out which is what everyone’s afraid of with twin fins I guess. Everything about the twin fin problem solved.. It’s all I’ve been travelling with this year, a bunch of twinzers,then a couple swallow tails, and an 80’s shortboard beak nose thing. That’s what I’ve been working on with him right now..
How long have you guys worked together?
Maybe like 5 years or so now.
It looks like you’ve been in Indonesia a lot recently (including right now). What keeps bringing you back?
Quite a few things…. Obviously, the waves are as good as waves can get for the most part. The Ability to chase a swell to a couple islands away for not very much money is really productive and where I base myself in Bali is super fun to go out, there’s a couple cool scenes.
On top of that there’s all of the factories I’ve been working with for my clothing design side of things. I’ve grown great relationships with them over the last couple years since coming during COVID with a sewing machine; that’s what kept me busy during quarantine. I sewed for a week straight in the quarantine hotel.
It’s pretty much all possible here.. being able to chase a swell for a week whist samples are getting made, then tweak and approve production, then skip out on another swell whilst production is going on. There’s no place like it, it checks all those boxes.
Who’s the crew you normally roll with in Indo?
An eclectic crowd, it just depends on who’s in town or posted up. I hang with Jimmy (Jazz) everyday who lives out here. Crews are forever coming in and out. Last year Alex Knost and Ozzie (Wright) were hanging a bunch. Everyone popcorns in and out and films with Jimmy. Creed (McTaggart) came out recently… and we got skunked. There’s a different crew all the time.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
I’ve been working on a traction pad with BALLET which is coming out pretty soon… It’s pretty complimentary to this new model I’ve been working on with PANDA, so it will probably be a two piece video part. And then I’m working on a little capsule of clothes which will release with it too, linked back to the pad. It’s an 80’s inspired little flat grip with holes in it… if you see it it’s definitely and ode to the past. Basically It’s an ode to not the current era (laughs).
Can you say when it’s dropping?
It will be in October.
And you’ve mentioned a Euro visit in August. Tell us more?
I’m going to put another month in here in Indo, hopefully score a swell as it’s been kind of slow… and then finish up a few projects. I’m not really ready to go home yet. Then the plan is to go and visit my girlfriend in London for a bit, and then come and hang with Jamie (Krups) in Biarritz and Hossegor. After that maybe Portugal… see how we go.
We wanted to pick your brain a little bit more on Noah Collins Designs. Can you tell us how you got started
I injured myself in my late teens and my mum had a sewing machine that I began to mess with… at the time I was really just exploring other creative outlets outside of surfing.
A homie of mine was going to fashion school at the time and so I’d sneak in and see what he was up to. I’d be in there asking questions and one day met this dude working on a clothing collection. when I asked him to make me some pants he just said he’d show me how to do that, and from there it was a snowball effect. It came from a place of real curiosity the more I learnt about it and what goes into different products .
It’s learning how to make something fit a certain way or the specific finishing details with pockets, buttons, or zippers in certain places that help communicate your own signature design style…There are endless amounts of details and ways to finish a garment that give it it’s own point of difference without making it the wildest thing you’ve ever seen…It’s really just preference but becomes an outlet and a way to express your own personal style.
It must be nice to have other stuff going on besides surfing.
Surfing is the coolest fucking thing ever and pretty much everything I’m into is in one way or another because of surfing but having other creative outlets definitely puts less pressure on the way I surf or how one specific session went.
Do you have your studio still?
Yeah it’s right in Downtown (LA)… it feels a little like NY or something as being down there is just the polar opposite to any surf town. The homelessness is sad but there’s a bunch of interesting individuals running around – skaters, artists, the businessmen. It’s stimulating to say the least.
Do you sell your clothing?
I try and keep it exclusive. Last year I rented a warehouse space off Quinn Mathews downtown and had a show. Nick Green helped weld all these racks for it, my friends Joey helped shoot everything. It’s just something I like to have fun with. My intentions aren’t really anything more than making things that I’m passionate about and proud to stand behind, and push a certain conversation stylistically, I guess. Being able to get everyone I know who has a creative outlet which can come in and compliment something and make something cool together.
Before we let you go what does your average day look like right now?
If the waves aren’t good I’ll wake up and surf in the morning to get wet and then I’m off to the factory, then fabric market, then trims store, then back to the house to refine the pattern to take it back to the factory. I feel like I’m the person driving around the most in Bali (Laughs). My back is so tweaked, the route has 4 stops which are 40 minutes apart every day.
See you in France soon Noah xxx