The Surfersvillage Interview
A designer's sensibility covered in foam dust...
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 January, 2015 - The world at large loves good-looking, well-spoken Australians. Surfers love new, forward thinking surf designs and the shapers who build them. Hayden Cox has these traits and talents and consequently the surf world is smitten with him. He’s made boards for media darlings Craig Anderson and Creed McTaggart while still keeping it real with underground heroes like Big Ben Wilkinson.
As his business takes off - due in huge part to the popularity of The Hypto Krypto which just won “Board of the Year” in Australia and is the subject of the “I Love Hypto Krypto” Facebook page among other things - Mr. Cox branches into ever more haute couture with a recent display at Alexandar Wang in New York City.
As a big, bright future unfoldes before Mr. Hayden Cox we wonder if he is more comfortable covered in foam dust or fashionable threads? We poked him with some questions pointing at the larger directions in life and he politely obliged us with answers. Read on...
Hayden shapes with marbled designs for Alexander Wang project
How would you describe what you do for work to a very small, inattentive child?
I shape pieces of foam and make them into things can you can stand on and float in water. Like a skateboard, but for the ocean.
What is that you do professionally that you are most proud of?
My favourite moments are always when I’m out in the surf and I see Haydenshapes customers on their boards stoking out. I like creating boards that not only my team love, but every day surfers also really dig too.
Tell us what has been your biggest mistake?
Gosh I have made so many. A few years ago my old Japanese distributer, who is actually a Australian guy from Manly, went behind my back and trademarked my brand. Even though it was stealing on his part and I eventually got it back, it was a major headache and a lot of money and time was wasted. I was bummed that I allowed that to happen by not jumping on it quick enough myself.
What did you learn from that mistake?
I was pretty young and trusting at the time, so it really was an eye opener. I learnt that when it comes to business, you always need to be two steps ahead of those around you – not behind. I also learnt that some people are just assholes.
Hayden holding a Hypto Krypto with the ever-popular futureflex technology
Is there something going on in the world that makes you scratch your head and think: “But this is soooo important! Don’t they get it?”
The one thing lately, would be environmental. Just recently I went on a trip to Indo and went snorkelling with giant Mantarays. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and the water was so full of trash it made me physically sick. These amazing creatures, amongst old buckets, plastic, food wrappers etc. I thought to myself…. “Wow.. how can people allow that to happen?”
Share with us your biggest Rocky Balboa moment.
I’m not a tough guy in any sense of the word. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had a moment like that. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t even believe me if I said I got into a fight. In saying that, I can be argumentative when I need to be and I’m not a pushover when it comes to running my business. Although, my fiancé Danielle who runs Haydenshapes with me, tends to win most of the time.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Selling shoes?
I’d be designing or creating something. I have always been the type of person that can’t ever really focus on something unless I find it interesting. So basically product design and surfing being my main interests, only gave me limited options.
Hayden with a very unique gun for hellman Big Ben Wilkinson
OK, you get to drop into five moments in history – surf or otherwise. Please name them and why.
Well this is hard…
- The year Tom Carroll did “the snap” at the Pipeline Masters in 1987. Witnessing that would have been cool.
- 1993, November 18. Nirvana played that iconic unplugged show in NY. That was my first ever CD I bought. It would be rad to actually have been there.
- 1997 – The Quiksilver Pro and G-Land Indo. Watching this in high school on VHS inspired me to go to Indo and surf my favourite waves ever.
- Id love to go back in time and see the Australian coastline and waves before it all got discovered.
- Just for curiosity sake… Partying with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick in NYC back in the day when disco was all the rage.