The Pursuit: Pat Cahill (Sunburnt Mess, Bondi)
At the northernmost corner of Gould Street, Bondi, there's a shop called Sunburnt Mess. Inside the shop, there's a man called Pat. He's probably drinking coffee and talking about surfboards - it's what Pat does best.
Passionate about all things surf, Pat stocks a range of high quality boards from local and international shapers, accessories, books and most importantly (sorry everyone else) - our Eco Ultimate wetsuit range.
Hello Pat. For the crew out there that don't know - Who are you & what do you do?
Pat, owner / bossman at Sunburnt mess in Bondi. I drink coffee, talk surfboards and hang out. Its a content existence.
What's your coffee order?
In the AM, Cappuccino - Strong! Maybe a little piccolo after lunch for an arvo buzz.
How did you first get into surfing?
Lots of beach holidays when we were young, riding boogie boards and whatnot. My Parents didn’t surf, but my uncles did. So It was always something I thought was cool and wanted to get into. I wouldn’t really say I started until I was about 12 yrs old. I convinced my Dad I needed a really high performance 6’0 shortboard and went from there - terribly. After that I was hooked, my buddy and I surfed as much as our free time would allow. After school, weekends, sometimes during school hours when we were older. Not unlike the route most kids on the coast take when they discover surfing, Its pretty much all you can think about. After all these years and all the people to surf with who have come and gone, its still something that’s always on my mind.
How did the shop get started?
I had been working at Surfculture in Bondi for the best part of 4-5 years and in that time had become curious about board design and alternatives to your standard high performance thruster, especially after the Lost film "5’5 x 19 1/4 Redux” was released. Watching that everyday on loop really inspired me to try a whole bunch of different boards. In 2013 I started a little blog with my then flat mate (@lynden_foss), who had just picked up a new SLR camera. The idea was to shoot and display the more alternative boards that were hanging in the corner gathering dust in a different way. After a while the idea to do a store with all the various surfboard designs in their own space became a priority and eventually in 2016 we opened Sunburnt mess. I feel like we’ve stayed true to that original idea. It's all about exploring board design, high quality products and going surfing, everything else is peripheral.
What's the story behind the name / logo?
When I started the blog, I didn’t really know what to call it. All I knew is that I didn’t want to have a name that was really generic or cliche. Its an easy trap to fall into, as picking a unique name isn’t easy. Everything has been done. At the time I was still listening to a lot of punk / garage rock and had picked up a new record by a band called CLOAK / DAGGER. They had a song called Sunburnt Mess. After seeing that, all I could visualise was this sunburnt corpse laying on the couch after a marathon surf session, feeling absolutely exhausted, but totally content. Name sorted. The logo came about the same time as the name and was a bi-product of me shaping a few boards for myself. My buddy Rick (@foureyestattoo) told me I couldn’t have boards without a logo, so in his free time, he drew a few sketches for me. We arrived at the smoking Penguin. I'm stoked as he’s a pretty cool mascot.
What's selling well at the moment?
Obviously the 'mid length' thing has been pretty steady the last year or 2 but honestly it's pretty spread out in terms of what people are buying / riding. Partly due to the fact that everybody has a different hole in their quiver to fill. And, secondly we have a pretty big spread of designs that are similar but subtly different. There's always other shapes or designs that i'll throw on the table that someone might not have considered riding before. Staying open minded when buying new surfboards is key. I also think people have shifted their thinking when buying. Its more about high quality products that last longer, rather than saving a few bucks here and there but buying a lot more often.
Talk to me about the Bondi surf community
Its crowded and the waves aren’t great, but I love it. Like anywhere else there’s a lot of characters and there's a lot of history. Despite it being a very transient place, there is a dedicated and forward thinking surf community here. Everyone is pretty open minded. The 'shortboard only' mentality doesn’t really exist. We’re also very lucky to be able to live so close to a major city and have somewhere to surf with clean water and open space.
What are you currently riding?
I have a 5’4 Christenson Fish that I cant get off. I never have a bad surf when I ride it. I've got a 5’10 Christenson Lane splitter for when its kind of hollow and a 7’6 Gato Heroi Acid for when I want to cruise or if its small. There’s a few others in the quiver but those are the standouts.
What's on the store stereo this week?
"Young Guv - Guv III" has been on high rotation lately, however I mainly prefer instrumental stuff. Vocals kind of kill it for me these days.
Anything else to shout out whilst we're here?
Shout out to you guys at PROJECT BLANK. Its great that brands like this exist and are trying to change the materials we use to make items we need to surf more environmentally friendly. Everyone knows that most of the stuff used to make wetsuits, boards, wax etc is toxic as hell. So its nice to have people looking for high quality alternative materials without straying too far from the original idea.
Been thinking about a new steamer for a while but struggling to commit to buying one online? Pop into the store today to get your hands on the plant-based rubber by Yulex so you can see what all the fuss is about.