It was March 2013 when we last caught up with Shed Nine’s Eddie Wearne. When we caught up for this edition, he was just going into lockdown number five as Victoria continues to battle the dreaded COVID. Fair to say plenty’s happened in Eddie’s many lives in the past eight years…
1. Eddie the Businessman:
Shed Nine is Eddie’s business. While it’s online too, the core store is at 362 Dundas St, on the way to Rye Ocean Beach, aka “The Caree”, in Victoria, where he sells all things surf, skate, snow, bodyboards, wetsuits, hardware and apparel.
“I’m a uni drop out, who had 57 odd jobs from a paper round in primary school until I opened the shop. Once I had a licence, the bosses were always aware I’d be leaving to go for the next surf trip.
“Living life on the road from a panel van was a little easier and more affordable than it is for the youth these days. Petrol was only 17 cents per litre, so you could drive to Sydney on 50 bucks.
“I’ve been here, in-store at Shed Nine, for 15 years this October and, despite an addiction for warm warm water holidays, I have no plan on leaving.”
Packed to the brim, the shop has become as much a destination, as a retail outlet. It’s a place where customers can go for good, hands-on advice and inspiration. The shop has a huge range of surf, skate, snowboard and bodyboard gear. Every spare surface has something to look at, floor and ceiling included. Out the back, there’s an outdoor, undercover entertainment and barbecue area, complete with a grom-sized skate ramp, an art room full of vintage treasures, a shaping and ding repair bay and, in winter, a snowboard hire and tuning room.
Eddie said the shop had grown a solid following online and his focus is on trying to be a positive, healthy, strong and open-minded role model to the groms coming up in the local area – many of whom the shop sponsors across a range of sports.
While the shop stocks many premium labels, Eddie said their own boutique range of Shed Nine
Surfboards, Skateboards, Bodyboards and Apparel were of premium quality too, and, where possible, were Australian made. “All Shed Nine apparel, is printed, embroidered and tagged locally and some of the clothing is 100% Australian-made. Something that’s hard to find these days!”
2. Eddie and Lockdowns:
“Times are uncertain, now more than ever and 180 days of stage 4 lockdown deep, still going with no clear end in sight, but I’m also blessed to be in a surf shop on the coast, while so many shops in the city have now closed for good. I’m lucky that people have still supported us.”
“As long as we have the basics like food, water, a roof over our heads, and something to stimulate us, we’re ok. In my case that’s a never-endinq quiver.
“Making more money and keeping up with the Joneses, really isn’t that important. Keeping healthy and being good to your friends and your family is.
“Where we are, on the Mornington Peninsula, there has been an uproar about us being deemed Melbourne Metropolitan where for example, when I look out my shop windows sipping a beer, all I can see is an empty car park and paddocks.”
“We non-essential sole traders have copped it harder in “Metro Melbourne” than most of Australia but still we are blessed compared to most of the world and we’ve had time to both reflect and learn.
“Looking through my folders to find these photos for your iconic Smorgasboarder 50th Edition brought back so many great memories and made me appreciate how lucky I have been to have lived, and still be living, my dream.
“Sadly, I lost nine friends to suicide from four high schools and uni, during these lockdowns last year, mostly middle-aged men with kids. Providers. That was really tough.
“Lockdowns are like hold downs. We have to keep paddling through the cold, small, grovelly days, and the chunky onshore messy days, to keep fit, to ride the solid waves of our dreams, but then, on those days we cop monster clean up sets on the head. We hold our breathe, duck-dive and get held down, knocked around, time slows down, up for a breathe paddle like all hell, and the next lockdown lands on our head. We get locked down, but we get back up again.”
3. Eddie the family man:
Last time we talked to Eddie, his daughter Chloe had not yet arrived, but was very close to making her appearance. Now, the seven-year-old Chloe’s favourite sports are snowboarding and skateboarding and she loves the beach and playing in the surf. She’s added a spark to Eddie’s eyes and he credits family life with helping him through a few tough years.
“I think being a father has been a huge step in becoming more successful and a better person, it’s like I’ve got to man up here, my daughter deserves me to be the best I can be.
“Becoming a father was the greatest thing that ever happened to me although I didn’t realise it at the time. It takes time and it’s a big adjustment. The reward you get back from being a father and seeing children follow in your footsteps makes you want to be a better human. Seeing them doing better than you were doing at their age across the boards is rewarding.
“She’s been to the snow every year since she was born, except last year because of COVID, been on a surfboard since she was two and a skateboard since she could walk – she drops in better on a skateboard at seven than I did when I was fourteen. Kids these days!
“I’m lucky to have a wife who understands me too – she’s a great mother who understands and has been supportive of my bi-polar condition and has allowed me the freedoms to travel to Indo or up the Coast or whatever for surf trips”.