No Limits: The Mad Hueys

A BUNCH of mates from the Gold Coast are giving the sportfishing scene a much-needed injection of fun and irreverence. BEN JOB interviews Shaun and Damon from The Mad Hueys and gets an insight into their passion for living life to the full.

GOLD Coast-based fishing and surfing crew The Mad Hueys are quickly becoming something of a global social media and marketing phenomenon. What separates these guys from the pack isn’t their cutting edge fishing gear or techniques but their ability to have fun while doing what they love most. To the Hueys, the best fisho on the water is the one having the most fun. The Mad Hueys is made up of a group of mates who live to surf, fish and make the most of life. The crew was formed by Shaun Harrington and Damon Nichols, both ex-pro surfers, along with Joel Scott, who is a full time news videographer for a local television network.

The trio are regular competitors in the Gold Coast’s Flathead Classic and started documenting their fishing – and their crazy antics – during the comp by posting footage to social media channels. It didn’t take long for the boys to develop a cult following, with their videos ending up on computer screens all around the world. The Mad Hueys clothing line started with 20 shirts and hats which the boys got made for themselves and a few close mates. Within weeks there were emails and phone calls raining in. Fishos and surfers were keen to get their hands on their own Mad Hueys merchandise. Recognising the following they now had, the three guys, along with a few others, including Shaun’s twin brother Dean, got together in 2012 and established a company.

Over the next 24 months The Mad Hueys experienced rapid growth and by 2014 the company had a factory, sponsored athletes and full-time employees. One of the sponsored athletes is Carl Jocumsen, who is the first Australian to ever compete in the American Bassmaster Elite series. Carl is a great promoter of the sport and is paving the way for future Australian bass anglers looking to make a career fishing overseas. Although now a local success story, the Hueys have remained grounded, still doing charity work on a regular basis, which includes fund raising for the ANZAC Legacy and the Cancer Council. I recently caught up with Damon and Shaun and asked them a few questions about their past, what they’re doing now and a little about their plans for the future.

Fisho The Mad Hueys have really taken off in the past 12 months. Did you ever expect that it could get to this level?

Shaun: Not at all, it all started with the Flatty Classic and us just trying to have a good time. We think that Australia and the world follow us because people can relate to just wanting to have fun with your mates. I guess you could say we were just in the right place at the right time.

Damon: Not in our wildest dreams did we expect this. We’re just a couple of good mates who love surfing, fishing, having beers and really enjoying ourselves, no matter what we’re up to. It’s amazing this recipe for a company hasn’t been started earlier by a big corporate organisation, but in saying that we never intended on starting our own company in the first place. It really did happen overnight for us and kind of started just from mucking around with the boys and having a laugh.
I don’t think any amount of money can capture or mimic the times you have on a good old fashioned boys’ trip!

Fisho: You both have had successful careers as pro surfers, who did you ride for and what did you do?

Shaun: I surfed for Rusty from 1997-2010 as a free surfer. I didn’t like the pressure of surfing in comps, I just loved surfing all around the world and travelling with the boys.

Damon: Yeah, well I’ve been surfing my whole life and got sponsored at a young age. I competed on the world qualifying tour and did a whole bunch of photo trips, so travelling and having amazing times with my mates was what I did from when I left school until I was about 30. I loved competing when I was younger but I loved travelling and doing photo trips for magazines later a lot more and did that towards the end of my surfing career. Best times ever!

Fisho: Besides the Hueys, what are you guys doing with yourselves now?

Shaun: I’m a qualified plasterer now as well as a dad. I have a two-year-old daughter named Ever. I still like having beers with the boys when I’m not in the doghouse at home!

Damon: Now, I’m a full-time dad! Haha, I’m lucky enough to have a four-year-old daughter as well as twins (a boy and girl), so I’m busy as hell! But besides the Hueys life, I work in the civil construction industry as a machine operator. But I’m still the same old bloke always trying to have fun, travel and have a few beers!

Fisho: What’s your greatest surfing milestone?

Shaun: Making the cover of Waves magazine while being the first person to ever surf “The Right”, a massive wave over in WA which is now on the top of the list for a lot of big wave surfers. Getting a cover shot back then was the pinnacle of free surfing. That was before the days of social media so getting shots in magazines was everything.

Damon: My greatest surfing milestone was being sponsored for the first time when I was a kid. I was frothing out so hard being picked up by Rip Curl. That led to me being able to live my dreams and travel around surfing for about 15 years. I think my other greatest milestone would have to be surfing and competing against guys I used to watch in movies, it was the best feeling ever! Some of those guys are now some of my best mates.

Fisho: What’s your best or biggest wave and your best catch? And how would you compare the rush of the two?

Shaun: My best wave was definitely my wave at “The Right”. It was so big and so scary and to add to that I nearly fell off! My most memorable catch was a big yellowfin I caught on a trip to Papatura Resort in the Solomon Islands, all the boys were there and everyone was so stoked!

Damon: I’ve had lots of good waves on lots of trips all around the world, but sometimes it’s just as much fun trying to get a GoPro shot in shitty waves at your local break. My best fishing catch was our first little black marlin we caught together on a trip out with all the boys, it was probably pure arse but was the best fun ever! We went a little overboard with the celebrations …


Fisho: What destination around the world would you most like to go on a fishing and surfing trip with the boys?

Shaun: Definitely Tahiti. The fishing is mental over there and the waves are so big and perfect. It’s the pinnacle of surfing.

Damon: Well, I’ve always wanted to go barra fishing, so that’s definitely on the hit list. It would be pretty fun up there in our boat Animal 3 with all the boys and just let loose. I’m sure it would be crazy fun!

Fisho: What does the The Mad Heuys brand stand for, in your opinion, and what does it mean to you?

Shaun: That’s easy. The brand stands for having fun and loving every minute! It’s about not caring what anyone else thinks, just to live life to the max!

Damon: The brand means a lot of good times. It’s something that came to us out of the blue and we have made it into something that everyone can enjoy and come along for the ride. We love what we do and we love sharing our times of pure madness with anyone who also loves to enjoy themselves. We’re just a few mates that get to do what everyone dreams about when you’re stuck at work and can’t wait to get back out in the surf or in the boat and enjoy life. After all, we are just a group of mates that love doing crazy stuff and never really know what’s going to happen next, so we always have a GoPro handy.

Fisho: Where do you see the brand going in the next five years?

Shaun: To the top! We hope it can get big enough that we can give jobs to all of our mates. We want to grow bigger so we can afford to be able to do bigger and better things and keep the dream alive.

Damon: Just keep on doing what we are doing and having fun along the way. We want to keep making epic gear that people can enjoy. Obviously, keep making videos and bring our followers along for the ride. Things have really gone ahead overseas now so we have a busy couple of years ahead of us trying to expand the Hueys lifestyle around the world.

Without a doubt, The Mad Hueys has cemented a place in the International fishing and surfing scene. Stay tuned to see what the boys get up to in the future!

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