Manly Beach local lifeguard Cam Gray has been a long-time friend of the Okanui family and supporter of the brand for many years. We have also admired Cam good work ethics and aspiration to live life escaping the Everyday. Cam doesn't exactly have the traditional 9 - 5 job having worked as a lifeguard at Manly beach for over 19 years.
Spending most of his days at the beach either working, surfing or catching up with the locals and if you can't find him at the beach, he will be on yet another road trip either along the NSW coastline in his beloved 1975 Kombi. We took some time to catch up with our favourite lifeguard, listen and learn some of his stories from over the years.
Where you grow up?
I grew up in Manly, born in Manly hospital, went to Manly surf club now part of Manly Malibu Club and support the Manly Sea Eagles. I've got Manly in my blood. Just Manly Manly Manly hahaha
That's great, have you lived anywhere else?
No, oh England actually in Cornwall. I used to their lifeguarding once a year for three years in a row. In the early naughties 2001, 02, 03
What did you think of Cornwall, and how did it compare to Manly?
I loved it; we had so much fun there. Not as much as Manly but in Newquay, it's like Saturday night every night, it's so much fun there are no rules there haha. Everyone is up for a good time.
How long have you been a lifeguard?
I've been a lifeguard for 19 years now.
Did you do anything before that?
I was a carpenter before that.
How did you start working as a lifeguard?
I always wanted to do it from when I was in the second year of my apprenticeship, but my mates who were lifeguards wouldn't let me work until I finished my training. They thought I might not like it and need to go back to my other trade. But the day I completed my carpentry apprenticeship I went surfing at Manly and the lifeguards there just went Nah Nah you're not surfing today you're going to work. Here's a pair of shorts, here's a whistle & a hat get up the beach and show us what you can do. That was it, that was my job interview.
What does a day as a lifeguard look like?
Early morning start, check the surf, put the flags up, sit on the promenade have a chat to a few people and save some lives. Then you pack up and have a beer.
Most memorable career experiences?
I don't have a specific day; most days are epic. A good day would be small surf, the sun is shining, everyone is chilled on the beach, and you've just got time to stand around having a chat to people on the promenade. We can get really busy in the summer so; my favourite days are when we can relax and enjoy the day more.
Who or what has motivated you in your career?
Erm, the lifestyle. Yeah, the lifestyle has definitely motivated me, I love the beach, I love surfing I have an interest in the ocean and thought how good is this I get paid to do something I love.
Why do you love Okanui?
It's just been a brand that's been around since you've been a kid and you've just got good memories surrounding it. Every time someone puts it on, you get a bit nostalgic; you can talk about memories of your childhood. Like this photo
There is such a good memory of this day, me and my mate surfing up at Pottsville, and we went out surfing for hours, catching the best waves.
When do you wear your Okanuis?
All the time but mainly for surfing.
Why are Okanui board shorts better for surfing compared to other brands?
Because they look cool, it's all about the look. They are long-lasting as well but mainly about looking good haha.
If you had to choose a favourite item, what would it be?
Oh, wow that's a hard one, it's hard to go past the classics. Although I don't wear them all the time because I live in my boardies, it's so good when you get an opportunity to get them out.
How do you escape the Everyday?
Oh, just jump in my Kombi and go surfing somewhere at a quiet beach.
You probably don't want to tell us, but what is a quiet beach?
A nice little back beach somewhere up the north coast that is protected by a nor'easter.
Favourite spot if you had one? (apart from Manly)
I love the area near Woolgoolga; they have beautiful beaches up there, and it's a good vibe. Yeah, that's where we go to escape the Everyday.