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Letty Mortensen

A Taste for Adventure

man surfing a big wave

There are worse places in the world to grow up than Sydney’s northern beaches, particularly the charming beachside village of Avalon. With abundant surf, a school a stone’s throw from the beach and a gang of grommet mates, it’s fair to say Avalon gifted young Letty Mortensen an idyllic surfing childhood.

“It was amazing. Mum and dad moved there specifically for us, saw it as the perfect place to raise kids,” says Letty, a stylish natural footer with a full repertoire in big and small waves.

“There was a sense of community, a lot of strong influences of people helping and guiding me, older surfers looking after me. My best mate lived by the beach; I’d partly live at his house. I started out surfing two-foot suck ups at North Avalon. By years 11 and 12 you got those half days, you’d bring your board to school or leave it at your mate’s house. It was a dream.”

man sticking his head out of a car window and smiling

From local contests to pro circuits

Letty began competing in local boardriders contests and regional titles, but an idyllic upbringing doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a deep competitive fire. “I was never crazy into it, never really got results. Then the year I Ieft school I did the Australian pro juniors and got a roll on then and that led into the qualifying series.”

He worked at the local surf shop, Beach Without Sand, to fund his contest travels from the ages of 19 to 23 but the results he needed to rise to the elite Championship Tour never came.

“My head wasn’t there, my confidence was gone. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough to compete with those guys who were hell-bent on qualifying. I think I needed to surf gnarlier waves, bigger waves, and get to know myself a little more.”

man driving a 4x4 truck

The best gear for chasing waves

So, that’s what he did. A friendship with Avoca power surfer Wade Carmichael led to a taste for long-haul surf missions to remote coastlines. And when his filmmaker buddy Spencer Frost was looking for surfers to join his film project to the wilds of the Russian coast in search of surf, Letty jumped at the chance. The resulting film Corners of the Earth was a huge hit and saw the crew travel the country and the world, roadshowing their production to great acclaim.

“That sparked something different in me, and those same kind of adventures really help me get out of my comfort zone,” says Letty.

With sponsorship from Rusty, and a fruitful collaboration with Dometic, he and Wade embarked on open-ended surf trips across Australia, exploring the east coast, South and Western Australia. “All last year was spent in the car and camping. We just needed some camping gear. On the road, you fully see what other people are doing to be comfortable.”

And that’s where Dometic stepped in to provide everything he needed for extended cross-country surf expeditions. “I got a roof top tent and put it on my Subura Outback, drove from Kingscliff to South Oz, and through WA to Margaret River, and eventually up to Gnaraloo.”


friends sitting around a campfire in the evening

Ultimate road trip comfort with dometic gear

By the time he embarked on his second road trip across the continent, he’d worked out exactly what was required to travel and camp in comfort. “When you list everything you need, with Dometic you can go to one place and they can kit you out with everything you need to live off grid.”

He rattles off his favourite Dometic products – the roof top tent, CFX3 fridge/freezer, portable lithium battery (PLB40, which charges from your car when driving or solar when stationary), Dometic GO camp chair, HUB inflatable shelter and the Pico inflatable swag.

“The lithium battery and solar keeps my fridge running, keeps my meat and veggies cool. We could do a huge shop for a week or two, feeding three or four people, and running the battery off solar was really cool. The swags take up no room and two seconds to set up. With a gas cooker, table, and camp chairs and gazebo, you’re set up for as long as you want. We set up camp in north-west WA for two weeks and would just go into town for supplies.”

There have been highlights aplenty on the road, usually far from civilisation, where the night sky reveals a cosmos of stars and the sense of space expands reality. “Driving through the Great Australian Bight was pretty crazy. It really felt like the bottom of the world.  It was kind of surreal. The north-west was beautiful. You can just get in your car and drive and you’re blown away by Australia. I kept thinking, how haven’t I done this before? I’ve kind of been blowing it. It was an epic trip. Now I just want to travel again to surf and make more content and document it, aim to be away a lot of the year collecting footage for a Rusty movie.”

Upgrading the Subaru to a hard-core four-wheel drive and kitting it out with all his Dometic gear is also high on his priorities. “They’ve made it so easy to set up things, nothing takes long. You can pull up and set up quicker than anything. They take the complication out of everything. You realise, this is actually making life easy. When you’re moving around you don’t have to be doing huge set ups. That’s important when you spend a lot of time camping and finding waves.”