Christopher Wilson… Humble, wide-eyed, and soft spoken. “Chippa” Wilson…
Explosive, tattooed, and wild. They are one and the same. No alter egos, just one amazing free surfer.
Hailing from Cabarita Beach, 34-year-old Chippa Wilson blindsided the surf community with a series of surf film edits, which displayed manoeuvres that redefined the sports progression.
Dometic is proud to introduce Chippa as the brand’s newest global ambassador, where together they will share their mutual passions for the outdoors, adventure, and mobile living.
Find out all about Chippa in this interview.
Tell us a little bit about your background – what was your journey to becoming a professional free surfer?
Surfing for me started when I was about 10 years old, my old man got me and brothers into it. As a kid – and even still now – surfing was just something that I did for fun, I wasn’t too serious about it and didn’t compete much. The way that I surf isn’t suited to competitive surfing – I’ve always been more into unorthodox tricks and skateboarding-style manoeuvres. These kinds of moves generally don’t score very highly in competitions, but they’re great to video and photograph, which is what free surfing is all about.
When I was 21, I entered and won a free surfing video competition run by Stab Magazine which became the launchpad for my full-time professional career. It sounds young now, but 21 is actually a pretty late start in the pro surfing world, so this was a really lucky breakthrough for me – it got me off the tools and into the salt water which I’m very grateful for. My career has taken me around the world surfing some amazing waves and getting to work with some great brands and sponsors.
What are your favourite travel destinations in Australia? And where are you based at the moment?
I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of Australia – there isn’t anywhere in this beautiful country I wouldn’t go!
My favourite spots are the South Coast of NSW, the beaches in South Australia, and the whole state of Tasmania – it’s a stunning place great for camping, fishing, hiking, and surfing.
I currently live between Tasmania and Western Australia – so there's a bit of distance there! I moved to Tasmania from the East Coast about four years ago for a more quiet and simple life. I then visited WA last year and fell in love with the place. I bought a block of land in Exmouth so I can escape Tasmania’s cold winters and enjoy the warmth all year round.
You’ve been busy restoring vintage cars, trucks and vans. How did this hobby start and what are you working on now?
It started pretty organically for me, I got my first vintage truck about eight years ago. It’s an old 1963 Chevrolet C10 and I’ve still got it today. I like having a big ute, it’s so easy to throw my surfboards or bikes on the back and just take off. Since then, I’ve owned a few different vintage vehicles. Sometimes they can feel like a bit of a bottomless pit, they require a lot of work and a lot of money. I’ve learnt a lot about cars and how vehicles work through doing these restorations - you don’t have much of a choice when you’re breaking down so often!
At the end of the day, I just love putting in the effort to make something so old keep rolling, kind of like recycling for cars. If everyone could restore something old, maybe we wouldn’t need so much mass production. They look cool as hell too.
My latest project is a 1965 Chevrolet C10 4WD. This one is going to be pretty cool when it’s done - I can’t wait to deck it out with Dometic gear and make it my adventure car.
What is your favourite part of mobile living?
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of it lately! My partner and I have been living in a camper trailer while we build our home in Exmouth.
The best part of mobile living for me is feeling a little bit free. You can be here, there, and everywhere all in the space of a week. I love seeing new places and faces, it’s very cool.
Dometic is a brand committed to driving sustainability. What role does sustainability play in your own life?
I’m all about sustainability, the more effort we put into it the better our world will be. I do my best to keep it green, care for animals, and recycle. My partner Brinkley is a Marine Biologist and we’re both passionate about living sustainable lives.
Image credit: Chippa Wilson