Dale Staples – Pathways Interview
Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Dale “Ducky’ Staples is a 30 year old surfer, and more recently, family man from the quiet coastal town of St Francis in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Having spent his early life chasing the elusive competition win, and succeeding on a number of occasions, he’s now settled into his career and life as an all-around waterman.
Having recently filmed the first of a series of AK video features with Tao Faren-Hefer, entitled Pathways, we caught up with him to get the interview on paper.
Ducky, where’d the nickname come from?
(Laughs) Yeah, I looked like a duck bobbing on my board when I was a kid, and couldn’t really duck dive, and I guess it stuck.
You got into surfing at a young age, how did that come about?
My childhood was freaking awesome. I’ve got the best parents I could possibly ask for. My dad, with a lifesaving background, took me surfing when I was 3 years old. As soon as I started surfing, I wanted to be a professional surfer. I started competing on the World Qualifying Series, travelling around the world, chasing the Summers.
You were quite successful on the competitive circuit, that must have all been an amazing experience. Were there any drawbacks?
With competitive surfing, you’re losing most of the time. You keep going and you finally get to that goal, and you win the event. But, surfing very bad waves 90% of the time, you’re so bummed every time you lose, spending all your life savings (and your parents life savings), just to get to events. I wouldn’t say I hated surfing at that stage, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have been.
Right, not as dreamy as it might seem from an outside perspective. What’s keeping you busy these days?
Now, having my own film company, I’m using my own money to surf good waves as often as possible. And now it’s just about doing other things, like all of the other watersports, rather than just focusing on surfing.
It’s actually made me enjoy the ocean more.
How’s your hydrofoiling career going?
It’s really difficult in the beginning. (Laughs)
You learn how to fall, and just getting the initial lift and feeling the foil is amazing. You progress so quickly that it just gets you hooked. There’s no resistance on the foil, so surfing a half a foot wave is like riding a 10 foot wave on a surfboard.
You can connect limitless waves depending on how fit you are.
You’re a father now, that’s got to be quite a lifestyle change!
Bringing a new life into the world is really amazing. It’s a massive humbling experience, and to just see that face smiling in the morning, makes you so stoked on life.
All I want to do is give him the experiences my parents gave me.
Famous last words?
Surf when the waves are good, foil when it’s average and small. It’s the perfect combo!