In an era where the best aerialists see hospital beds on a regular basis, Noa Deane just might have a death wish. The 20-year-old Australian is often seen in magazines and webclips, including the recent Dane Reynolds–directed epic, Loaded, launching himself into massive, tweaked-out grabs nearly 6 feet above the lip.
It’s this kamikaze approach that has quickly lifted Deane far above the majority of his fellow freesurfers—both literally and figuratively. But he wasn’t always on track to push the limits of modern freesurfing.
“I tried the whole ‘QS thing for a little while,” says Deane. “I went to China, Newcastle, and Bali, but it just felt super stale. I still like competing, but a lot of the time it’s not about the person who surfs the best, but about who can hassle for the best waves, and you don’t know if you’re going to get two chances in a heat. That’s all you ask for in a heat, but you never know if you’re going to get that.”
Feeling disillusioned after his first few ‘QS events, Deane booked a ticket to Telo Island in Indonesia, hoping to cut loose in some real waves. The resulting web edit, Radio Friendly, was filled with the kind of make-or-break frontside airs that have since become his trademark, and people noticed.
“I started getting asked to go on a bunch of trips,” says Deane. “I got invited to Mexico with Dane Reynolds, and France to film with Kai Neville, and I just thought, ‘Holy crap. I’ve got to step it up now.’”
And step it up he did. His clips in Loaded were some of the best in the movie, which is a tall order considering the cast, which included Craig Anderson, Andrew Doheny, Nat Young, Taylor Knox, and Dane Reynolds himself.
“It’s such a different vibe surfing with those guys,” says Deane. “Around contests, guys give you the death stare if you land something good. But on freesurf trips everyone just gets so psyched. If someone lands something big, then someone else will try something bigger. It’s the best feeling when everyone is feeding off each other like that, and it pushes your surfing like nothing else.”
Deane is currently filming for Joe G.’s new movie, Strange Rumblings, as well as Kai Neville’s new project—that’s if he can keep himself in one piece.
“I want to try to mix it up,” he says with emphasis. “I want to surf some bigger waves and try to do some really big airs.”