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TRACKS MAGAZINE: Fear, Splendour and Flow States

Surf by day, Jam by night: A new book from the surfing blues musician, Ash Grunwald.

When Ash Grunwald looked up the definition of “flow state”, there might not have been a picture of him but it wasn’t far off, “it mentions surfers and musicians!” he exclaims.

I caught up with Ash to discuss his new book following the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

‘Surf by Day, Jam by Night’ is more than a book, it’s a backstage pass, your VIP invitation to hang out with Ash and his friends who just happen to be some of the world’s most awesome surfers and musicians.

Reading Ash’s one-on-one interviews is like chatting with your mates while cruising down the coast…well, if your mates were Jack Johnson, Steph Gilmore and Kelly Slater.

But it’s not just beats and breaks from Australia’s most-loved surfing bluesmen. It’s about being happy, finding meaning, having gratitude and living your best life.

Ash tells me that Patagonia surfing ambassador, Dave Rastovich, once described a towering right hander at Jaws as being “more beautiful than the Sistine Chapel the way that the light goes through the barrel, it’s a moving mountain that materialises and then is gone forever.”

Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement,’ adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Pope John Paul II once said it reminded him of Dave’s wave.

Ok, maybe not.

But he did write that if we are dazzled by its “splendour and fear” we must also understand it is permeated by “one light and one artistic logic…all things visible and invisible.”

It’s this relationship with splendour and fear, of the visible and the invisible and oneness that Ash is all about. He celebrates the ‘splendour’ of the environment but his ‘fear’ of increased degradation and pollution, the rubbish waves of Bali made up of nappies and single use plastics and flammable methane rivers caused by coal-seam gas.


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