If it started anywhere it started with the surfers.
Overlooked due to its blue collar history and the dedication required to reach its breaks, the Illawarra was once the best kept secret in New South Wales. Only the willing were rewarded.
The reputation for relaxed and unbusy line-ups and options for whatever the swell would bring only increased with the building of the famous Sea Cliff Bridge. What sets the region apart from Sydney hot spots and the renowned destinations to its north, is the public access to beaches. Where millionaire hang pads and walled estates, impenetrable woodlands and roads that track deep inland make access to the northern beaches impossible, the opposite is true of the southern communities from the Illawarra down to the Sapphire Coast.
Over 100 breaks, with swell options in every direction along the 140 km route, gives each beach village its variety of long board hot spots or shredder headlands. Thus defining the stores and the communities, the boardwalk culture that links them and the commuting choices of skateboards, e-bikes, surf vans as well as the car parks, cafes, bars and venues that churn them, from dawn to dusk.
The northern villages along Grand Pacific Drive is what we lovingly call our front yard. From here we surf and ride.
Each village has its own surf store mecca with our small village of Thirroul home to a legendary Finbox surf craft arts and board store, two famous shapers DP and Byrne and their surf stores and the HQ of Grand Pacific Customs. Why are we called 'customs'? Because we find graphics that are part of the rich historic patina of the region and re-imagine them for current day. Everything from graffiti to servo signs. Last century moto insignia to refound articles from long forgotten surf books and ghost adverts hanging onto the walls of buildings that were built before our parents were born.
The village of Thirroul nurtures Grand Pacific Customs as well as supporting a theatre, twelve coffee bars, eleven international restaurants, four live music venues and numerous evening bars that collectively create a neighbourhood usually only found in the main cities. It's a mecca, no doubt.
Being deeply connected to these places and spaces provides us with endless faces, spaces and content, real and unmanufactured. This is one of the reasons why we confidently pump out a GPC Radio playlist on a bi-monthly basis from purely Illawarran musicians.
Skaters, surfers, petrol heads and those wanting a memento of their adventures and struggling to say goodbye to the brink, just want to wear their love of the world's edge.
FURTHER READING |
To chat about collections, exclusives, content, price lists and trials, just reach out to us at email@example.com and we can arrange a call.