Core Stories | Dakoda & Harley Walters

Core Stories | Dakoda & Harley Walters

Walters Brothers Shaped by Core Lords

Words by Ben Mondy

Photo by Mitch Imgraben

 “I reckon core surfing is about simply surfing for the love of it,” says Dakoda Walters. “I was lucky that I grew up in Angourie and my dad surfed, and his dad surfed - Pop used to live in Grafton and they’d make the way out to the coast on weekends and surf their longboards with no legropes and I feel that’s pretty core. Doing whatever it takes to go surfing and building your life around it. 

WATCH 'Something in the Walters' a 3 minute clip of the boys ripping at home!

Dakoda and his younger brother Harley had a pretty core surf upbringing. Their dad Jeremy aka Walt was a talented surfer, who competed on the QS in the early 2000s and runs a successful surf school. In the small town of Angourie, the Walter kids would surf with homegrown heroes like Nav Fox, Laurie Towner, and Dan Ross. Their next-door neighbour was Dave "Baddy" Trealor, star of Alby Falzon's watershed 1971 film Morning of the Earth and a legend in Australian surfing.

 

“When I think of core, I think of Baddy,” Harley said, through a very impressive teenage handlebar moustache. “When the fires were ripping through Yamba near our home the first thing I grabbed were a couple of singlefins Baddy had shaped for me and Kodes. He just lived a life on the ocean; all he did was fish and surf, every single day.”

 Photo by Andrew Shield

“Baddy was epic to us kids, and for all of dad’s generation too,” chimes in Dakoda. “He just wanted everyone to get outside and go fishing and surfing - he pushed you hard, but in a supportive way. And he was ripping up until the day he passed away.” 

Whilst Dakoda was bitten by the surfing bug early, Harley, five years younger, initially was more into soccer. He trained three days a week at the Liverpool FC International Football Academy in Lismore and spent most weekends playing matches on the Gold Coast.

 “When Harley started surfing full on around 14, he got so good, so quick, and we just surfed together every day,” said Dakoda. “That was great because there weren’t that many kids around who wanted to surf all day, every day, like me. We just paired up and pushed each other.”

Photo by Andrew Shield

With surfing in their blood and having grown up on some of the most consistent, quality points and beaches on the East Coast, the Walters brothers were quickly identified as some of the most talented surfers of their generation. Both had easy styles groomed smooth by the points, but punctuated by creative, unpredictable flashes of progression.

“We had Baddy's singlefins and everyone in Angourie was open to boards other than just performance-based shapes,” said Dakoda. “I think that shows in the way Harley and I surf – we always look for the fun aspect, and maybe some different lines. But the goal was always to be a pro surfer and make the CT.” 

Harley too has always experimented, pretty rare for one so young and so talented. When he was 14, he came across one of his Pop's surfboards, a huge volumed quad fin with no dimensions, and spent a few weeks surfing it. That led to him starting a YouTube channel where in each episode he and Dakoda would ride old boards and give their feedback.

Photo by Andrew Shield

Boards included their first surfboards shaped by Angourie legend Albert Fox, an experimental, finless Greg Webber spaceship and a late 1980s thruster donated by Jughead Allport. He even surfed Taj Burrow's twenty-year-old surfboard in the Rip Curl Grom Search National Finals. The highlight of the clip though was always when he and his Pop measured the volume using a rubbish bin full of water and a rough version of the Archimedes Principle. 

“These boards all have unique stories of their life previously lived and I wanted to see how they go for me and what I can learn from them,” said Harley. “They make you draw different lines and the more different they are, the cooler they look.”

But if the brother’s environment has shaped their unique, creative take on surfing, the ultimate goal is to get to the top. Dakoda describes himself as “pretty quiet and reserved, who takes my time with people,” and Harley as “mellow too, but a bit more out there and less likely to give a fuck what people think.” However, despite their laid-back vibes, both are determined, driven and competitive. 

Photo by Andrew Shield

“I feel like the best surfing done in the world is being done in a singlet, and that's what I want to work towards,” said Dakoda. “I think I do my best surfing in a rashie and that’s good to have in the locker. Elite competition still allows you to surf with your own personality and style and that’s a cool thing.”

 “The CT is the dream, and while I’m so young, it would be amazing if Kodes and I could qualify together," concludes Harley. "Imagine travelling the world with your brother, getting paid to get barrelled and have fun. That sounds pretty core to me.”