Brittany Gadd has just left school, she had had a long and fruitful relationship with coach Spider Murphy. Here’s her story:
SPINNING WHEELS WITH SPIDER
I was thirteen when I was given my first surfboard. It was a vintage Safari Spider board from back when boards were only made with fixed fins. It was 6’6″ long by 19” wide and belonged to my dad’s friend who heard I was interested in learning to surf. When he gave it to me, in December of 2013, we organized to meet up at North Beach the following Saturday morning at 5:00am, but he didn’t show.
After a while a car drove by and parked across the road from where my family and I were parked. My dad took a look at the car and then at my board, both of which displayed an identical looking Spider logo, and so my dad walked up to the man at the car and asked him if he could teach me to surf, to which the man replied, “Well I am Spider Murphy.”.
My dad, not knowing what that meant, just said “so can you teach her or not?”. Since that day I have been training with Spider Murphy every chance I get, especially Saturdays and Sundays at 5:00am. Spider has taught me everything I know about short boarding. He started teaching me since before I could even stand properly on a board.
Spider first started me off on a Carver skateboard. He and Courtney Sim taught me to surf on land. This helped me tremendously with getting a feel for how to surf and over time has helped me improve my surfing. Spider shows us before every surf what he would like us to do in the water and what the latest new style or trick he has learned is. This helping us master maneuvers and increase our speed in the surf. Our Carver skateboards were the catalyst.
Being able to surf with Spider from such an early stage of my surfing career has given me so many opportunities and has increased my interest in the sport daily.
Through Spider I have been able to ride numerous surfboards and new designs that he has come up with. I have been able to experience the feel of countless boards and their different styles allowing me to identify what suits me best. Due to Spider’s undying faith in me, I have also been able to surf waves I probably never would have thought I could, without him by my side.
Every so often we get someone who comes to share their ideas and experiences with us. Through Spider I have had the privilege of meeting and surfing with Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Davey van Zyl, Shaun Tomson, Matthew McGillivray, Tasha Mentasti, Heather Clarke, Paul Canning, Tanika Hoffman, and various international surfers from places around the world like France, Reunion Island, Japan, Australia, etc. all of whom have come down to get boards and advice from Spider, or even just to surf with him. Being a part of Spider’s web has allowed for me to hear all about these uniquely diverse individuals’ different experiences varying from stories about 30 story waves, incredible beach breaks, breathtaking destinations, close shark encounters, training techniques, etc. etc. All of which have taught me so much about surfing and intensified my stroke for the sport – and that’s not even including Spider’s life long stories.
Spider Murphy’s knowledge is endless. He always has more advice to give us every day we surf with him. Growing up with him as my coach, I really have been privileged. He is an incredible man who has really given me so many opportunities in life and has taught me so much. Some people have asked me if he is my dad, and honestly that is possibly the best way to describe him. He is like a second dad to me. He has taught me so much and I would never be where I am today without him.
He’s one of the most genuine, caring people I have ever met. His respect for every person he encounters is matched only by his utmost respect for the ocean and the life in it. His attitude towards life and everyone in it, from his wife to the people working in his factory to those he surfs with, is truly an inspiration to all. He has influenced more than just my surfing. He has influenced nearly every aspect of my life.
He has had the biggest influence on my surfing, apart from my parents. His advice both in and out of the water is priceless and never ending. I am beyond grateful to have him in my life and to have had the privilege of surfing and training with him for the past five years.