Australian Stories: Pro Longboarder Evan Ledger

Australian Stories: Pro Longboarder Evan Ledger

Motivation to compete for me, I feel, comes more down to the community that surrounds long boarding competitions, they're so welcoming and some of my best friendships have come through them.

Evan Ledger, aka, The Glassman, brings an architect’s nuance to the art of surfboard making, forming fibreglass and resin into functional pieces of sculpture. When he’s not handcrafting surfboards (a rare thing to find these days, yet infinitely more personal than the factory made boards), he’s competing in national and international events, earning himself the Open men’s 2021 Longboard State Championship title and coming in third in the Australian Titles in 2022. In 2023 he created the inaugural long-board event the South West Log Fest in Denmark Western Australia and, in a surf comp first, men’s and women's heats are alternated to provide a fair chance of riding on the best waves of the day. We chat to Evan about competing for joy and finding community in surfing.

evan ledger etto australian stories longboarder

What kind of Australian environment do you live in?

I live in Injidup. Inji is a special little place just south of Yallingup, It’s like my sanctuary where everything is so peaceful, it's a beautiful combination of being by the sea but in the bush.

You spend a lot of time in and on the ocean. What is the pull for you toward water and the waves?

There are so many things that attract me to the coast and to the ocean. At the very heart of it, it probably comes down to enjoyment, enjoyment of the ocean itself in a variety of different ways, but also enjoyment of the culture that surrounds the ocean that I find myself in.

long boarding in south west australia

You started the South West Log Fest – a traditional surfing contest, tell us a bit about this and how it is different to other surf comps?

The South West Log Fest (SWLF) was an idea I had for many years travelling around Australia and internationally to attend similar 'competitions'.  They bring out the best of what the longboarding community has to offer, so much fun and like-minded people who all share the same passion. I wanted to bring something like that to WA, especially with the longboarding scene here growing so rapidly. The SWLF differs to other comps in WA as it’s the only invitational logging comp, which means the standard is tremendously high with people coming from all over the country to attend. I also came up with the idea to run alternating men’s and ladies heats which gives both sides a fair chance to make the most of the best conditions of the day, very fair! I was really proud to see other events adopt this idea after the success of seeing it work at the SWLF!

When will the next Log Fest be and will it be in Denmark WA again?

I am planning the next one to be in Yallingup this year, with the idea to have 3 different locations around the state and rotate through them to keep it exciting!

You are also a surfing state champion and part of the long boarding Australian championship tour, what motivates and drives you to compete?

Motivation to compete for me, I feel, comes more down to the community that surrounds long boarding competitions, they're so welcoming and some of my best friendships have come through them. Seeing old mates from all over the country and the world at these different events bring me so much joy. The logging community really does feel like a big extended family. It could be that community side of the competitions that attracts me more than the actual performance side - which I should probably take a bit more seriously! 

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How long have you been surfing for? Tell us a bit about your journey competing.

I have been surfing since I was 13, which is actually quite a late start compared to lots of my friends, but I haven't looked back since! So, I've been surfing for about 14 years.

It was only until I was about 17 that I did my first comp. It was a state titles event that I was dragged to by a friend. I don't think I had ever even surfed a longboard before, but I was keen to be a part of it and instantly met a great group of people. I think it must have felt like I have found my people.

Since then, I’ve been doing every longboard comp I could get to, from ones up in Gero (Geraldton, WA) to Denmark (South-West Australia). Then beginning to tap into some of the east coast ones like the Byron surf fest and the Noosa longboard fest, then to international ones like the single fin mingle in New Zealand and the single and Unattached comp in the Philippines. This all sparked the idea for me to begin one of my own here in Western Australia, taking parts that I liked from all these different comps I had been attending. 

Does competing take the joy out of surfing for you?

I think if i took competitions a little more seriously there is a chance they could take the joy out of surfing for me, that one's a bit of a double edged sword though because I want to do well in the comps but I also want to make the most of having fun with everyone while we are all together. It's a bit of a give or take however, I'm pretty happy where I find myself balancing that, I think it’s important to enjoy what you do, so despite me not taking the comps maybe as seriously as what I should sometimes - I have certainly been having fun doing it!

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Your other passion project is handcrafting surfboards with Moonshine Surfboards, how did you get into making surfboards? It does seem like a sweet mix combining your love of surfing and your degree in architecture.

I got into making surfboards maybe 3 years ago. Jack, who is my best mate, had always made my boards and I felt that I wanted to help him out, he taught me while I was in my last year of University, while I was still living in Perth. I would drive down and stay with him in Dunsborough and for a couple of days a week, in-between uni classes, he would teach me how to build boards. Eventually I finished my Architecture degree and moved straight down to Injidup and have been working with Jack at Moonshine, living the dream ever since.

You spend a lot of time a lot of time in nature, what do you get up to (other than surfing) and how does it nourish you?

Outside of surfing I have been getting into a bit of golf here actually! Lots of my mates and I are members of the Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club so there's heaps of mates to play with. Other than that just being outdoors, going to the beach and a bit of skating usually keeps me out of trouble. I find myself in nature sometimes not even by choice as I am known for having car troubles haha however, that has made me learn lots about bush mechanics and fixing things on the run.

surfing etto australian stories

Your favourite beach in Australia?

Tough one! I don't think I could pick one because there's different reasons for going to different beaches, but I will narrow it down to my top 3:

Lights Beach, Denmark

Tea Tree Bay, Noosa

Wategos, Byron Bay

What do you love about Australia?

There is so much I love about Australia. I love exploring all the amazing places this country has to offer, so many beautiful landscapes that are unique. The uniqueness is probably what I love the most, thinking about it, the animals, places, people, culture so much to experience but I do love that it feels like home no matter where I am in this huge country.

Follow Evan to find out more about the next South West Log Fest and if you are interested in your own hand crafted, bespoke surfboard, Moonshine Surfboards will be happy to help you out. 

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