Lliam “Letty" Mortenson is an adventurous young man who loves to explore the world and surf, with a big smile and high vibes. This year Letty and his good mate / photographer Guy Williment @Gfunk_ went on a surf trip to Russia of all places. More on this absolutely crazy adventure to come soon...
Letty immediately followed this trip with a journey to the Wilds of South Western Australia with his surf sponsor Rusty and then diverted through the South Australia desert to explore more crazy waves on his way back home to the Kingscliff on the Australian East Coast. He then jumped onto the magnificent Mangalouy yacht to explore and surf the Indonesian Archepelogo.
Wild adventures and great times for a young man making his life full as a professional free surfer. Always humble and polite, in return Letty shows and is shown the respect in kind for human nature in every aspect.
We welcome Letty to the Childe familia to spread his positive vibrations across the globe to the communities he meets and respects throughout his travels. I caught up with Letty recently when we invited him to the city of Melbourne to shoot in our "All Time" campaign, to hear some insights of his latest escapades.
Hi Letty. With all this travelling where is home at the moment mate and where have you been surfing the last few days?
Im living up at Kingscliff on the north coast of NSW right now, been up here from Sydney for a year or so.
We’ve just had a big storm hit off the east coast so Kirra has been pumping for the last two days surfing there with my mates.
How are you surfing now as a professional career?
I’ve felt a little lost the past two years surfing career wise, but this year I feel like I’ve finally found my feet. The Rusty team and I are working on a full length movie, as well as my accessories sponsor Ballet working on a movie. So I feel very busy going on trips and collecting clips for both projects.
The first time I caught up with you was in Lisbon in Portugal back in 2017 and we checked out local street artist Mario Belem who gave us the epic guided locals art tour.
That was when you just started surfing on the world qualifying series surfing tour. How would you describe that first year experience?
Yeah what a time with you that was! Felt lucky to have experienced that little tour with you, meeting all the locals, it was such a nice mix up from competition.
I’d done the odd competition on the qualifying series beforehand, but 2017 was definitely the first year I got momentum and started getting results. The experience was amazing, I travelled with a lot of different people that year, always mixing it up.
I spent some time in Japan with my friends Harley and Guy who lived there, and ended up winning the competition there, which made me have such a good relationship with Japan. I really love that place, the people are so embracing and welcoming.
After that I went to England with my friend Jordy and I won the event there. So this crazy momentum shift happened in me that year. I learnt a lot about competing and myself.
How has your perspective evolved and what have you learned spiritually since then?
I’ve learnt to focus on my breath in general life. It applies to literally everything I do, surfing and things you come across in life.
You certainly get around mate. Where have you been this year since we got out of lockdown?
Last year in the middle of lockdown I got out to Costa Rica or a few days which was incredible. Since then I’ve been to Russia, Western and Southern Australia and Indonesia. Been a busy year!
How on earth did you end up in Russia looking for surf?
Two of my best mates; Spencer Frost @spencerfrostfilms (cinematographer) and Guy Williment @gfunk (photographer) were looking at doing a trip somewhere extremely cold with waves with coastline that hasn’t been explored. Eventually they came across this place called Kamchatka in far east Russia. After we knew where we were going, it took about a year or so of planning to make it happen.
Did you get waves in Russia?
Haha you’ll have to wait and see!
But yes, it exceeded our expectations..
Photos thanks to @gfunk_ from Instagram
Tell us about the local people and culture please?
The people in Kamchatka welcomed us with open arms, it was actually really beautiful. The surf culture there is real, they were just so excited to talk surfing and the world, it was very cool. The boys (Spencer, Guy, Fraser) showed the last movie they made, A Corner of the Earth, at a local bar and that really brought the town together and we were able to meet everyone and party together. I didn’t really know what to expect of the people there, but when you share the same interest in surfing its extremely easy to get along. We did countless vodka shots with them, they showed us how they eat the local fish (kind of dried out and fried, I was too drunk to really remember) and toasted to family and health before every shot of vodka, it was beautiful. And man, they absolutely love vodka!!
What else did you discover in Russia that you didn’t expect?
How excited they are to surf. Our very good friend, Anton, runs a surf camp over there, even through winter when its snowing, and they just love surfing so much and don't seem to even feel the cold. I did not expect the surf froth to be there in those conditions.
When does the movie come out?
They’re working to have it done November/December time.
How was it going from snow in Russia and then straight to West Oz and then road tripping across Australia to surf the Great Australian Bight in South Oz?
I can tell you, going from surfing in 2 degree water in -10 degree air, with extremely thick wetsuits, to coming home to Australia and surfing in boardshorts was insane. I felt unusually free and it actually took some time to get used to the freedom in movement haha.
I had two days at home between Russia and Western Australia, so after 2 months in Russia I barely had time to digest what we’d just done. But to come home straight into an Australian road trip was well fitting.
And you just got back from a boat trip surfing Indonesia too.
The Rusty team and I had 2 weeks on a boat called the Mangalui (the mighty mango) and we moved around the Mentawai islands finding waves, was beautiful.
What do you love about a road trip and just travelling in general?
Just being somewhere where your bearings are completely out the window and you have no clue where you are. Meeting new friends of course, and just generally being somewhere that throws surprises at you.
Who is your travel buddy?
Wade Carmichael and I are spending a lot of time travelling this year. Plus we live together so its a hell of a time.
What is the most important action you can take to respect local cultures from your experience and perspective?
When I go somewhere new I like to keep a low profile and ease into where you are. I feel like that’s a good way to meet the locals and get a feel for what the people are like and how they approach things.
Tell us about your style influencers mate. Who’s got the vibe you digging right now?
A$ap Rocky, he doesn’t stick to one thing, mixes it up and always pulls it off. Wears plain dark shit, then throws real colourful items in there. I’m into everything he does.
Are you a denim or suit pant kind of guy and have you got an excessive shoe, sunglass or jewellery collection?
I’ve just started to appreciate denim actually, a comfy pair of denim pants that you can wear for a week, that’s a travel dream. If anything I have too many shoes, but I’m talking 9 or so pairs. Nothing too crazy. But my favourite are the Nike SB dunks, I only have 3 pairs of them but I love them.
What music inspires you? Whats poppin on the tunes right now?
I love music, but I’m not a person that makes playlists, I just hop on other peoples playlists that have made shit I like. I wish I put in the effort, but because of that I listen to so much different shit. The only consistent artist I listen to is Bon Iver. I get into Lo-Fi stuff a bit, I stream the live video on YouTube while you’re hanging round the house, its kinda cool and easy. I’ve just came across this song and I’m loving it. Galaxy surfing by Jadu Heart. They’ve got a few good tracks.
You are renowned for your awesome amount of energy and positive vibes. You can see that smile a mile away. What gives Letty that positive energy and big smile? Meditation, exercise, food, sauna etc?
Haha thank you, I appreciate it. The right amount of social time verse my solo down time is a huge one.Although hanging with friends can give you energy, if I feel like I need my solo down time then I’ll do that. Sleep, if I have a good solid deep sleep I’m a happy boy. But that also comes from the wind down before bed, hanging at home and cruising to ease into the evening and sleep, that’s when I feel good the next day and actually want to give people energy.
I wish I could say I consistently meditate, but I dont, I go through stages where I’m really consistent for weeks to even months, then I'll forget one day and that will go for a month. I try not eat too much shit, drink heaps of water everyday, 3 litres at least, not sure if that’s the right amount or not but that’s what I do. And I like to keep track of it too, so I have a 1 litre water bottle, if I don’t have 3 of them I freak out haha. Thankfully I have a sauna and ice bath at home so I hit that 5-6 times a week, that makes you feel fucking incredible!
Taking time to myself lets me give more time to other people.
Thanks Letty. Keep on keeping it real mate