Brothers Luke and Ben are involved in youth events, dedicate their lives to the ocean and are inspiring the young people of the Great Lakes to live a creative life. Amongst the surfing community, they are local legends.
Names: Luke and Ben Sounness
Ages: We might have to keep this one a little cryptic. There are two years between us, we grew up watching Astroboy and Transformers, we are younger than our dad and officially old enough to know a lot better.
Where did you go to school?
Luke: Well I went to school at Tuncurry Public, Forster High where I was school captain and then completed a degree at Newcastle University. Ben however spent most of his school days doing skids on his BMX, eating $1 scallop burgers from Bogas and surfing classic ‘Peak Bank’ at Tuncurry. In fact that’s still pretty much what he is doing now.
We are both Skorpionz.
Luke: Well if I am going to put a label on it I am a Buddhist. We were lucky to have a very liberal upbringing and the freedom to explore our worlds without limitations. Not hearing the word ‘no’ gets you in plenty of trouble but it also helps form a bit of character. I do my best to live with an open mind, be appreciative for what comes my way and remember that fundamentally all of us are the same.
Ben: I don’t really follow a set religion. You know I am not really sure about that dude in the clouds with a massive beard thing – a fresh juice from Trento’s juice bar in Tuncurry is evidence enough for me that the world is perfect. Although, I do have an interest in all the art from different religious periods, especially the Mexican stuff. Some of my tattoos have these kinds of themes in them, I just started a full side piece of a stone angel that I can’t wait to finish.
What were your early aspirations?
Ben: When I was younger I didn’t really think much past the moment. I just did things I enjoyed doing without really worrying about the future. If you were to ask me now, it would be to just keep doin’ what I’m doin’ and continuing to grow my denim label NCAC through Australia. Also I will be doing my best to avoid becoming a proper adult.
Luke: Ever since I was three years old I wanted to own a rad shop in the Forster main street, that has the best Street Surf Skate brands at crazy super cheap warehouse outlet prices for the good people of Forster Tuncurry. Yeah, that’s a shameless plug, but I would be mad not to make at least one today right? Ha ha!
First memory on a surfboard?
Both Ben and I began wave dancing when I was about four years old out at Seal Rocks on the mad rat. It was a big brown thruster tank that we shared, it had an 80s style rat graphic on it and fluro pink deck grip – we both loved it. Our Mum Leonie taught us to swim and our dad Wayne would push us onto waves all day. Thanks Mum and Dad.
What does NCAC actually mean?
It’s the name of our denim label that we started a few years ago. It stands for ‘New Cash and Clothes’. Essentially it’s about getting money, how you live and staying fresh while doing it. Most people think that it’s an image or ego thing – but that’s not true, it’s more about a way of being. Any of us has the capacity to make a living doing what they enjoy – I mean if a couple of ratbags like us can do it then anyone can. More people should do what they love. That’s what it’s all about for us. Staying true, being creative and making a life out of it.
Most rewarding and challenging parts of your work?
Ben: The lifestyle is most rewarding for me, I get to surf whenever I want and the freedom of not having a boss is very important in my life. Ironically, not having someone tell you what to do can be the most challenging part – you gotta stay motivated and make the right moves to keep creating the lifestyle you want.
Luke: We are always working to grow and improve our business in some way. But this is not unique – plenty of people work hard. I would say the biggest challenge for me is remembering not to not take things too seriously and just have fun. The most rewarding part is all the people we get to meet – all the support we get from friends and customers is appreciated and I am taking this chance to say ‘thanks’. I don’t want to lose touch with that mindset – I don’t ever want to wind up being comfortable or taking things for granted.
Who inspires you?
Ben: I look towards anyone who is making something outta nothing and doing their own thing without stressing about what other people think. I guess that’s where I get my inspiration and motivation from – all different kinds of people in music, entertainment, sport and day to day life …
Luke: I am currently reading a good book by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche – so that’s what’s doing it for me right now.
What is your next step?
We have a new range of denim and clothing in production just now – so we are getting ready to do all the stuff that comes with that, like building new websites, doing catalogues and getting it out there to the best stores in Australia.
It’s just ongoing organic growth for us – the same thing we have been doing for the last few years really – selling rad clothing and wave dancing as much as possible.
Thank you Luke and Ben.
Thanks Focus for taking an interest in what we are up to and thanks to all those that support what we do.