One of the world's most entertaining and popular freesurfers, Dusty Payne has been at the forefront of progressive surfing's pantheon ever since his mind blowing section in 2009's era-defining flick, Modern Collective. Two years later and Dusty was stealing the show in Kai Neville's highly anticipated follow-up, Lost Atlas, while still managing to test himself against the world's best on the WCT. Since then however, there've been plenty of challenges thrown the Hawaiian's way - from wrecked ankles to torn MCLs, he's been tested like few other surfers in both his mental and physical capacity to overcome injuries. After winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Halewia in 2014 to both re-qualify for the Dream Tour and finish runner-up to Julian Wilson for the Triple Crown, Dusty announced his return to form in typically dramatic fashion.
Thanks to his dedication to rehab and eventual ongoing strength work, his solid new physique combined with perfect board selection allowed Dusty to display a rail game even more impressive than ever before: “I’ve been sitting on the couch a lot for the past few years [with injury], so I was really motivated to surf. I just went out and had fun and did it with a smile. I started out riding a 6’10” on the big day, then went down to a 6’8” and then a 6’3”. Then I used a 6’1” in the final (a 6'1" x 18 3/4" x 2 3/8" x 27.9L Forget Me Not rounded pin with XCF carbon). Thank God, because I almost went out on a 5’11”. If I would’ve, there’s no way I could’ve surfed the way I did on those waves.”
After another standout section in Volcom's 2015 opus Psychic Migrations, Dusty continued to mix his brand of electric free surfing with contests around the world, with another comeback from injury at the end of 2017 culminating in a victory at the Pipeline Invitational trials for a start in the Pipe Masters. However, at the start of 2018, an accident at Backdoor nearly ended his life.
A broken skull, jaw, and numerous other injuries came within millimetres of being fatal, but with amazing efforts from other surfers, lifeguards, medical staff all over Hawaii and Dusty himself, just 9 months later he was back in the water.
Now, Dusty's headed into 2019 with a lot on the horizon - and a sense of gratitude like never before to still be here, doing what he loves. Whether it's more freesurfing endeavours to film for another ridiculous movie part, or a wildcard into the next WSL Dream Tour stop, we'll all be watching.
- 2015 - Starring section in Volcom's Psychic Migrations
- 2014 - 1st, Reef Hawaiian Pro (QS)
- 2013 - 1st, Margaret River Drug Aware Pro (QS)
- 2011 - Starring section in Lost Atlas
- 2009 - Starring section in Modern Collective
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