Ocean & Earth was started by Brian Cregan and some partners in Sussex Inlet, NSW, back in 1978 and made some basic surfing products. By the late ‘80s Ocean & Earth’s products had grown to a broad range of surfing accessories, backpacks and a small range of clothing.
In 2010 O&E released the “World’s Strongest Leash” – a fully moulded surf leash as opposed to three piece heat welded surf leash. Cregan’s introduction to urethane leashes happened in Durban, South Africa, when Shaun Tomson (IPS world champion in 1977) showed him the cord he was using.
“He gave me the address of where to get it and I bought back to Australia a roll to experiment with,” Cregan told an interviewer.
“From there we sourced it locally and then introduced urethane leashes into our range and the Australian market.”
Three years before the launch of Ocean & Earth, Breakway interviewed Cregan, then 20, during a trip to Bali where he was filmed for Harry Hodge’s movie Liquid Gold. This was July,1975.
He talked about leg ropes, professional surfing and even hinted at making a living from what he loved doing.
Cregan obviously relished the hollow, powerful Bali waves. And his surfing was impressive.
Riding his own boards, “Cool Curl Cruisers”, he was by far the best backhand surfer at Uluwatu.
Breakway: How big have you ridden Uluwatu?
I’ve ridden three times since I’ve been here. The first time it was a small 6 ft. the second time just a little larger and yesterday it was a solid 8 ft. with some 10 footers. There were two big sneaker sets about 14′ ft. I reckon. The first one broke in front of us and washed us way back down the line. I had a leg rope on and it pulled out the metal pin in the rope box. Luckily a guy got my board before it was battered against the cliff. Later there were only three of us out and another set with about ten waves poured through. We all managed to scratch over them. I think I was more scared the second time because I knew how hard they could hit. I think Harry Hodge got them on film for his movie.
Breakway: Is it like anything you’ve ridden before?
There’s a place on the south coast which definitely breaks in a similar way. It has as much power I think but more predictable, a shorter ride but as tubey as Uluwatu.
Breakway: Why do you make your own surfboards?
I never used to get exactly what I wanted from the guy who used to make them for me. I thought I’d be able to get closer to what I wanted by making them myself. The first couple worked all right and I’ve kept improving on them. I enjoy riding my own boards. It’s a fulfillment – you feel good riding a board you’ve made yourself.
Breakway: Would you like to make boards full time?
Maybe not for 12 months of the year, but through the summer it’d be feasible. I just enjoy being creative in my spare time and there’s not much to do weeknights in Sussex.
Breakway: What’s your opinion of professionalism in surfing?
It’s really great – for surfing in general and for the good surfers. It’s bringing surfing to older people and those who don’t surf. I think guys have got to understand that being a professional doesn’t mean just winning money in contests, it’s a whole lot of other things like endorsing products, appearing in movies and even shaping surfboards. At the moment it’d be fairly hard for a surfer to live solely from pro-contests.
Breakway: Would you like to become a professional surfer?
I think a lot of people would.
Breakway: Have you ever won any money?
I won a surfboard once; at Woolongong about two years ago, I just missed out on a trip to New Zealand. It was called the Aquarius festival.