After years of travelling the world, Sydney couple Jay and Hana Jackman discovered Christchurch during a 10-day trip around the South Island. Jay and Hana now run a “quasi-beachshack” – Sadhana Surfboards and House of Creativity – at boutique shopping emporium The Tannery. Jay spoke to ChristchurchNZ about what he and Hana like about living, shaping boards and surfing in their adopted home.
What brought you and Hana to New Zealand originally?
The surf, mountains and a change of pace.
Were you planning on living here or was it on a whim?
We decided Christchurch would be a great base for work and lifestyle, so we stayed. That was 10 years ago.
How does it compare to Sydney?
It's quieter, more relaxed and considerably colder.
What goes on at Sadhana Surfboards and House of Creativity?
We hand build surfboards at our instore factory [and make] our own line of clothes. A broad range of music on vinyl, books and tiki trinkets make up the mix. It's a quasi-beachshack.
What do you guys like about living in this city/region?
I can walk to the beach in under a minute, sit on a chairlift up the mountain in 90 minutes and be at work in 5 minutes. And the beer's good too.
How did you end up being based at The Tannery?
Before the [Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011], the Woolston industrial complex had the cheapest industrial units close to Sumner, where we lived at the time. This helped get us off the ground. When a new complex was mooted after the quakes and the name changed to The Tannery, we were asked if we would like to be part of a boutique shopping and craft precinct, which we jumped at. So we've been at the The Tannery since day one. There's a similar mindset between us here with having something a bit different to show, which is cool.
What’s the story behind the name – Sadhana?
It comes from Sanskrit meaning 'daily practice for the soul'. It embodies the pastime of surfing as a complete holistic experience.
How would you describe the Christchurch surf scene?
Christchurch has such a rich history – New Brighton was one of the first beaches in Australasia to witness the legendary surfing display by Duke Kahanamoku in 1914. This is reflected in the second biggest urban surfing population in New Zealand, [which] is growing all the time, but still maintains a friendly vibe not found in other populated centres.
Do a lot of locals ride your boards?
You'll find a Sadhana being surfed across all the Christchurch beaches. We have great local clientele.
Where is your favourite spot to surf in Canterbury – or is it a secret?
There's a couple of secrets, but the breaks around Kaikoura are – hands down – world class!
How does the surf scene in the South Island compare to the North Island?
[It’s] not as crowded down south here, and generally localism is mellow. You can drive four hours south and you're guaranteed to run into someone you know.
It sounds like you have got an impressive vinyl collection and have had several instore gigs – any on the horizon for this summer?
There's some pop-up summer vinyl afternoons across the summer months, and we'll be doing our 'Ride the Wild Surf Night' again early next year, which brings together classic surf-inspired bands and tiki-themed shenanigans.
What are you hopes for our city in the next few years?
That the city will push to encourage creative small businesses and venues to set up and have a go. A vibrant city relies on this – not just expensive office and chain store floor space. And also that New Brighton will return to become the beach town destination it deserves.
What are your future plans for Sadhana Surfboards and House of Creativity?
To keep being part of the South Island surfing fabric and have fun while we're doing it.
Where do you and Hana live in Christchurch and what do you like about living in your part of town?
We live in South Brighton. It's sunny, pretty slow, great for gardening and you can hear the surf break at night.
What are your favourite things to do on a day off?
Go snowboarding in the winter for sure. A sunny Sunday afternoon picnic in the Botanic Gardens is a goody.
What is one of your favourite day trips from Christchurch?
Beach day at Hickory Bay, followed by fish and chips in Akaroa. Winner!
Where do you go to get a good feed/coffee in the city?