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Published by James Hollmer Cross

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Published by: James Hollmer Cross on Nov 24, 2010
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A nube  ac cnbue  he hapng  a bg-wave de, uch a genec, penaly,leanng and bevan ang bg-wave dng pee and hw ne nepe heavy cean expeence. Whle he expeence  ealy chldhd advey ay n decly hape a bg- wave de, advey and k even can play a le n develpng pychlgcal “elence”,whch  an pan capacy  ucce n bg-wave dng.
James Hollmer-Cross hasnever been much of a talker.
 His reticence to engage withothers might be explained throughunderstanding the energy andfocus he puts into his surfing.James’ shyness has been mistakenfor arrogance, vagueness or evenintoxication, but beneath thesometimes cold veneer there’s afeeling something’s burning deepdown below, making him tick.
beneA th the
Comments From the CouCh
AsL akd  pclg rcadb  c   l clddadv a pla   dvlp  ag-wav d, ad  al qd  p l  l-ag a a gla a.
(rcad b  a  
the sue’ mnd 
ad a wkd cll w dz  g-wav.
the sue’ mnd 
 all a ag  d  pak pac   fg,cp, g wav-dg ad wd l. Faarcad’kadvcg  www.d.c)
A DiFFerentKinD oF stArDom
James Hollmer-Cross seeks solace in theocean and this is how it treats him back.Strapped in at Shipstern Bluff, gunning forglory on one of the biggest waves ridden inAustralia this year. H: GBS
As a whole, surfers are appreciativeof the gifts the ocean throws us.We’re thankful; it’s an escape froma range of complications and offersclarity. Many of us use surng as aretreat when the chips are down andknow one good wave can changeyour mood, your self-esteem, yourperception on life. You leave yourtroubles in the shorebreak. ForJames the sea was a place wherehe could escape the turbulenceof a childhood fraught with familyinstability, and the spectre of losinghis mother long before he was readyto face such grief.
James was born in Victoria, lived infour different States by age six. henomadic lifestyle was the result of twoyoung parents struggling to negotiatea rollercoaster relationship, andstruggling to look after themselvesand their young child.Hollmer-Cross has early memoriesof being set up in a makeshift bed inthe back of an old VW, parked outsidethe coastal pub where his parentswould party. His folks, entrenchedin ’70s Victorian surf culture, met intheir teens and found themselvesliving together before they eventhought about where they wereheaded. James’ mum, Sonya, rode aHodgeman surfmat and dad, Mike,surfed the length of the Great ceanRoad. James’ early years were beach-based, surrounded by surf.Mike, still young and unsettled,could never hold a job for long andwas easily drawn to partying, andany surf that was on. Sonya keptthings together as best she could onthe homefront. he family moved toasmania after being burnt out of
Clealy bg wave can peen hgh e and penal caaphe, alhugh elen ue ae gd a ceang ucce n hee hgh-k uan, can anage he e well, ecve quckly  nene wpe-u and ndully ule heavy cean expeence  ngng enhanceen  he bg-wave dng peance.
beneA th the
relence ay be defned a he pve capacy  deal wh e and caaphe. relen ndvdual have hgh ably  ceae gd uce egadle  k, denae cpeence unde e, ecve well  aua and ue challenge  penal gwh, hu enung bee adapan and anageen  uue hadhp.
home in the Ash Wednesday res and,despite a series of on-again, off-againattempts to make things work, nallyseparated soon after James’ brotheryler was born.he boys did the mum’s place/dad’s place shufe for a while beforethey were rocked with the newsSonya had leukemia and wasn’texpected to make it through. Jameswas eight, yler just two. James’sense of security, almost solelybased around his connection with hismum, was under attack. his threatof loss remained in the balance foryears while Sonya bravely took onthe cancer, the transplant rejection,an ensuing double-lung transplantand a host of associated chronichealth problems. “Looking back,Mum’s woes made me realise thatlife’s short,” says James. “And it alsoshowed me it’s possible to overcomeanything. Even cancer.” James stillhad a ways to go, but watching hismother overcome adversity sowedpersonal seeds of determination.James’ tough times were oftenoverwhelming, and he tried to copeby retreating into himself, shuttingout the world or by disappearing intodrug and alcohol benders. He couldoften be found staring blankly intothe void, not quite present. herewas no doubt that the absenceof the fundamentals in James’childhood had a major impact onhis behaviour. n his early teens,under the influence of guys mucholder, James mastered the art ofcat burglary, sneaking into holidayhomes to steal booze, or sometimes just to sleep.he situation was far from theideal foundation for a career inprofessional surng. asmania is nofarm for pro surfers, with few olderguys to look to for inspiration. eopleof the Apple sle know too wellthere’s been plenty of talent bred inthe State that has come and gone,submerged by constant battles withisolation, cold weather and tall poppysyndrome. o make matters worse,ark Beach, James’ local, was ratedAustralia’s shittest beach break bya magazine in the ’90s. Yet time andtime again James turned to the oceanfor clarity. he tide was turning in thelocal surf scene, and James foundhimself competing with those aroundhim in a bid to nd joy in among thefear and confusion. “here weregood people around me,” he says.“ark Beach developed a strongsurng community. A lot of us hadrocky backgrounds and connectedthrough surng.”
Looking back, Mum’s woes made me realise that life’s short, and it also showed me it’s possible to overcome anything. Even cancer.
tain’tallmondoextrememadnessinasmania.here’sthousandsofmilesofcoastalwildernessoffering up empty, perfect barrels for you andthebirdstoenjoy.H:CHSHLM
the ce enaly  bg-wave de  ple – hey wan  and hey lve , and  hey Go! t gve a lle e deal, n 2000 i cnduced eeach wh e han 30 bg-wave de and und hey haed a naual hll-eekng, cnfden and gal-ened penaly, a hgh level  enal engh and cnl, a cal, cnfden and ced nde n he en when chagng bg wave, a deep dee  de bg wave and an nae, penally eanngul elanhp wh he cean.reeach n elence n chlden denfe gd cgnve uncnng n e  el-egulan and nellgence, and pve elanhp wh cpeen adul a “pecve ac” n uan  advey. Lvng he ufng le and cng  he exee puu  bg-wave dng peen abundan ppuny  evlve he nd and culvae eanngul elanhp wh aly, he lcal ufng cuny and he naual enegy  he cean. the pve eelng  eed, exhlaan and jy expeenced  egula wave dng al eve  culvae a happy, elen huan beng.
Around the time James realised thatsurng could possibly be his lifeline,his father vaulted back into action.
“Mum’s sickness was a blessing indisguise,” says Hollmer-Cross. “Dadrealised the severity of the situationand did everything he could to lookafter yler and me, including takingus surfing.” Hollmer-Cross seniorrecognised that his sons had a passionfor wave riding and from that momenton went out of his way to get his boysin the water. “ remember Dad didn’thave much money, but he madesure we had a roof over our heads,”recounts James with pride. “He eventook us to ndonesia once.” His mother,although sick, realised that James’surng was his ticket and got behindhim 100 percent. “She was really ill,but  knew all she wanted was for mewas to make it,” says James. Mike’sstepping up came at just the time itwas most needed. “f  could pinpointthe moment where the wheels wereset in motion for me becoming a prosurfer, that was it.”As modern technology brought thesixth State closer to the mainland,James was one of the rst aswegiansurfers to grab the opportunitiespresented by the balls. “ set myselfa goal. f  was going to make a livingout of surng  had to make it workby the time  was 25.” James focusedhis attention on gathering as muchmedia attention as possible and soonlearnt his talent and courage alonewere not going to get him to the levelhe dreamt of. “ realised  had thecapacity to become a pro surfer, but had to go above and beyond to getnoticed by people in the right places.t’s not just about the talent, there areso many more factors these days.”During this period of self-discoveryJames began to appreciate that thelack of direction and instability hehad encountered in his youngeryears were having a profound effecton his personal skills. “ had towork really hard to communicateand trust people,” he says. Withencouragement from his parentsJames talked to a lot of people, whogave him techniques on everythingfrom how to deal with feeling self-conscious to being down aboutthings not turning out as planned. t’sfunny to think that a man who rideswaves that require making split-second decisions so as to avoid lethalconsequences could be anxiousabout whether a photo of it ends upon a magazine cover, but that’s whatmakes James different.here was also one other, unex-pected but cheerier, hurdle toovercome. “Well, yeah, my time framedid get pushed back a year,” laughsa happy Hollmer-Cross. James gottogether with his girlfriend, SarahHawson, and after a whirlwind romancea bub was on its way. “here was threemonths of passion before we found outSarah was pregnant. t was really hardto imagine throwing another personinto the mix at that time, but Sarahhas always supported what  do, andhelped me through tough times. She’sa pillar of strength.”Harry was born in January2004, and James now had all themotivation he needed to chase hisdream career. “ was young, but  hadthe responsibilities of being a fatherand partner and wasn’t going to blowit completely.”
I realised I had the capacity to become a pro surfer, but I had to go above and beyond to get noticed by people in the right places.It’s not just about the talent, there are so many more factors these days.
beneA th the
“’m frothing on this joint, the wave goes seriously dry on so manywaves.  reckon the one of Jimmy is epic, it’d be good to see him getrewarded with some shots. He goes so hard, probably the hardest outof all the assie lads and really hasn’t had the recognition he deserves.”- Email from photographer Stu Gibson in May, accompanying this shotfrom a newly surfed assie slab.Compulsory 1000-yard-stare-waterman portrait. H: GBS

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