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O’Neill South Pacific just dropped their latest campaign ‘The O’Riginals’ and it’s a departure from the normal lineup up of brand ambassadors we’re used to seeing from O’Neill.  The first three part O’Riginal series will feature throughout August and includes artist Billy Bain, design student Dan Johnson and gardener Lachie Rombouts. The O’Riginals is captured and is crafted by former Surfing World Editor Vaughan Blakey, filmmakers Shane Fletcher, Darcy Ward,  Max Zappas and Josh Simpson, produced by Rob Bain and Lulu Wilkinson and with sounds by  underground pub lords Pist Idiots.

According to O’Neill’s press release “The O’Riginals are living in the city and going to art school and frothing about surfing crowded weekend slop whenever they come home. They’re holed up in the bush, growing their own veggies and charging slabs on 12-foot guns, when a low pressure system drops its guts. They’re shaping their own boards under their mum’s house and doing 360s out the point with a smile as wide as a split watermelon.”

Surfing makes their lives better and these are the people Jack O’Neill developed the brand for, way back at its inception almost 60 years ago. O’Neill dropped the first instalment of their new series today: The O’Riginals via @oneilloz

ASBMAG caught up with ONSP Men’s Brand Marketing Manager, Rob Bain for more insights on the campaign.

“We all celebrate the professionals in our sport – and rightly so,” said ONSP Men’s Brand Marketing Manager, Rob Bain. “But thinking of surfing not as a sport, but as a pleasure – we want to celebrate people who break barriers in different, yet also important, ways.”

Commenting on the project scope Rob Bain said that director Vaughan Blakey was a natural choice to lead the project. “To really get the subjects to open up and share their passions, their vulnerability and feel comfortable in front of the camera, Vaughan was the right fit, due to his relaxed easy-going style of interview.”

“These O’Riginals films are about examining the influence surfing has had on these guy’s lives, how it affects the choices they make and the way they want to live, and ultimately, who they want to be,” said Director Vaughan Blakey.

According to Bainy, “These are the people Jack O’Neill developed the brand for, way back at inception. Their innate froth really matches with his famous catchphrase, “First in, Last out.” By just following their own instincts, these guys are original. And in really interesting and different ways, their surfing helps them be happier and more creative in their daily life too.”

“As a brand we’re accustomed to sharing our brand DNA, our technical merit in product with our brand ambassadors, each of whom has an extraordinary story to tell in their own right” observed Bain. “ Through our O’Riginal series were able to do a better job of communicating in the lifestyle space, one that’s raw, real and honest as can be.”

“Through this project we wanted to share the same passion, commitment and a more personal encounter with our O’Riginals, something that’s outside the product loop, that’s real, genuine and relatable,” Rob Bain.

“These are just young people for whom surfing has made a positive difference and intersects their lives, not every day, but has been the driving force for their creative expression.”

The O’Riginals series kicks off August 8 with Billy Bain. In an alternate universe, Billy Bain may have gone on to be an elite professional surfer. He cut his teeth in junior contests and enjoyed success, the thrill of sponsorship and even a few magazine spreads. The future was seemingly laid out before him, but inside there was conflict. Billy wanted to draw and paint.

The O’Riginals first instalment follows Billy’s story from up-coming grommet through to his decision to leave his suburban beach home and move to the city. It captures the struggles that came as he tried to adjust, and eventually the acceptance that he was on the right path and that he hadn’t abandoned surfing, but rather, he’d embraced in a new way that was even more fulfilling.

“Like so many kids who show promise as talented juniors, their journey with surfing doesn’t just stop when they finally decide the contest rash vest isn’t for them. If anything, it’s just getting started, that’s what makes Billy’s journey so cool. That – and the fact he’s doing it on his own terms,” said O’Riginals Director Vaughan Blakey.

In part two, scheduled to drop August 15th, we meet O’Riginal ambassador Lachie Rombouts who grew up a two-hour bus ride from the beach and never flinched about grabbing his board and making the journey at every opportunity. As soon as he was old enough he moved closer, but along with the increase in surf time came the trappings of being a young man fresh out of school, living the party life. Lachie struggled to balance the so-called good times on land with the actual good times in the water and eventually his mental health nosedived. Until, one day his home break lit up with the swell of a lifetime.

“In the end, it was finding a connection with giant surfboards and even bigger waves that re-invigorated Lachie’s love for the sea and helped him identify what sort of man he wanted to be,” explained Blakey.


In the final instalment of O’Riginals series we meet Dan Johnson’s whose mum moved to Crescent Head from Sydney, a place they visited often on family holidays, he couldn’t believe his good fortune. The classic point was now, his front yard and the with no holiday crowds he had the place to himself.

But what he didn’t know was that in the down season, when the surf went flat and the holiday crew went home, there was not that much to keep his vibrant, tireless mind occupied. So, he did the only thing that seemed logical. He built a shaping bay under his Mum’s house and started hacking away at chunks of foam.

That was four years ago, and since then Dan has become the good time pilot of the point, out there on any given days riding all manner of designs on his self-shaped Snarly Surfboards. He studies design at Uni and doesn’t care about being the best guy in the water, just the bloke with the biggest smile.

“Dan Johnson represents the O’Riginal mind of the next generation,” explains Blakey. “Kids who surf for the pure stoke of it, who want different sensations, and who don’t understand why you’d restrict anything as fun as surfing. I’ve never seen him not having a ball in the water and it gets everyone else in the line-up so stoked.”

Stay tuned for the first instalment of O’Neill’s  O’Riginal series on August 8th.