Gill Hutchison – Social Media for Quiksilver

When and where did you learn to surf?

I started surfing when I was 35 while on holidays in Mexico at Puerto Escondido. A gnarly break, but around the corner I saw a guy teaching a woman around my age to surf. She went from nothing to standing up in a couple of hours so I thought, well if she can do it, so can I. After that I went to Ecuador and hired a bodyboard and went out into this massive surf, not even thinking about it, and had the best time ever. I came home and met up with a friend who was also keen to learn to surf and we took ourselves out every weekend. We slowly made friends with other surfers and started calling ourselves the Baberahams, it was all girls and these two dudes who were like our sensais.

Photo: Willem-Dirk du Toit

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Darwin, Brisbane and Auckland, so all over the place. I wasn’t an outdoors / beach person at all.

What’s your Education background?

I did a double major in English when I finished school then ditched that and went to art college and did a film degree and then tried to work in advertising. I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore and then got an assistant PA job at Penguin Books which was like my calling. That started a long journey in working in publishing and book editing. I did a diploma and have started my Masters twice. I’d like to do a Masters around social media and narcissism.

How did you make the transition to Quiksilver?

I was on Linkedin and saw a job pop up, I figured out that I knew a guy who worked at Quiksilver and tracked him down to have a beer and talk about the job, which funnily enough, was the one he was working in. I racked his brain about what was involved and then got the job.

How big is the Quik Social Media team?

There’s 3 of us globally. At the Pro, it’s great because we all get to see each other. We’ve structured it so that Quiksilver has a 24 hour presence so when I go home someone else is starting. We are based in LA, Torquay and Hossegor. We all activate globally together, we’re a strong team and it’s an unreal experience.

How do you collaborate with the burden of time-zones?

It’s a continual conversation because we never speak at the same time. I’ll Skype Rich in Hossegor at night while I’m at home with a glass of wine and he’s sitting at his desk with a coffee in the morning. It’s a bit of a game of Chinese whispers sometimes.

What content are you producing?

It’s been a completely rag tag bunch of content that comes in. Our team riders will work on a clip then drop it to us, sometimes I’ll do interviews, for blog posts and when we’re at events we produce as much content as we can.

What do you love about working in the surf industry?

I love coming to the events and working with like-minded people. Everyone is healthy and switched on and it seems we all share a similar moral compass.

I think promoting surfing to the general public is such a fantastic thing to be doing. 

Do you see yourself staying in the surf industry?

Absolutely. I can’t imagine moving to an industry that doesn’t let you go surfing on your lunch break! The work/life balance is great.

Photo: Willem-Dirk du Toit

Can you tell us about the Babes on Waves project?

Babes on Waves came about as a bit of fun. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years and just to keep that going I really wanted to collaborate. I was talking to Willem-Dirk, my best mate, after a surf one day and we realized how many great local female surfers there are and we wanted to know their story. We just started approaching people out in the lineup or in the carpark and getting recommendations from around the traps. It’s great fun. Passion projects just have a different flavor.

Do you see it growing?

We have some secret grand plans. It would be great to travel as a team and meet / profile people from around the globe. There are so many people with great stories.

Do you have a favourite interview?

Lucy Small. She’s a young 22 year old who is just super stoked on life. She grew up in WA and paddles out in 10-foot bombs. She wants to be a writer, and I’ve been there, so we just really got along.

What is it that you love about surfing and what keeps you doing it?

I just love it because the experience is so contemplative and fun depending on what you want from it when you jump in. There are so many different experiences you can have. I love the people I’ve met in the lineup over the years, it took a long time to crack but I feel part of a little community now down on the Surf Coast at some of the spots. All those sayings like

‘Only a surfer knows the feeling’ they’re true, a good wave can keep you going for days. 


Where can we find you online?

Instagram: @gillbraham

Posted by: Christina Niemi, on September 29, 2015
Categories: Interviews