As The Byron Bay Surf Fest is quickly approaching, it's time to meet some more of the local eccentrics who make this world famous surf town just that little bit more magical. Maddie Gross and Cass Hurrell are local lady sliders who are on the forefront of pioneering change in the world of women's surfing in Byron Bay. Maddie and Cass are at the heart of the positive attitude that the girls from this part of the world are projecting, making women’s surf culture a more inviting and encouraging place.

_ _

INTERVIEW WITH MADDIE GROSS

Hey there lady slider, tell me your short story?

I grew up in Sydney, moved to the Northern Beaches when I finished school and got into surfing after watching my brother and wanted to have a go. Then I migrated to Byron and got hooked as everyone does. Been living a rad life of adventures and freedom ever since.

When did you move to Byron?

I have been here for five awesome years!

What are your thoughts on girls surfing in Byron?

Sickkkkkk... seeing so many chicks in the water in Byron is really inspiring. Everyone has their own unique style and I love watching them all shred. Pretty much why I moved here. I have met some of my closest friends out in the water.

What do you do other than surf?

I am not one of those people who can draw or sing but I enjoying giving it a go despite of how it sounds or looks. Surfing is probably my creative outlet and I have been super inspired by traveling this year so if I can do both of these I'll be happy. Otherwise I'm either riding a motorbike, doing yoga, eating, hanging on my family farm, pretty much anything outside with a sense of adventure.

What made you want to start doing that?

I suppose it is something that naturally progressed from the people and places I surrounded myself with. Opportunity can come from the smallest encounters and so far it has worked out just dandy. I guess I will keep doing what I'm doing and await the next step of the journey.

If you ever left Byron where would you want to go and why?

A California summer is definitely next on the Bucket List. I have met so many amazing Gurfers from Cali and I'm dying to surf some dreamy point breaks. Then New Zealand for cold but empty line-ups.

Who is your favourite person to see in the surf?

Hmm, pretty frothing to see anyone in the surf, but favourite might have to be my wacky goofy footed brother, Luke.

Describe your perfect day?

Rise after and not before the sun. Move my body a bit, aka yoga. Ingest something caffeinated then boards on the roof. A long and relaxed surfed with all the Gurfs, followed by a delicious and nutritious lunch, inevitably ending with a nap into the early afternoon. Maybe an afternoon drive into the hinterland to a waterfall and if this day is fortunate enough to be in the summer it ends with a sunset surf at the pass then lights out.

Do you think surfing is creative, How so?

Yeah for sure! Surfing makes you feel awesome. You can express yourself whether it is trying a new move or coffin riding the whole wave. When you’re on a wave you’re free to do whatever you want for that brief moment in time.

What’s the next step you’re going to take to get you where you want to be?

Keep traveling and networking with the cool and creative people I meet. Whilst getting a wave in wherever possible.

Describe the feeling after riding the loveliest and longest wave ever?

Pure bliss and sore legs.

Where can we see more?

Probably floating in the line up at the pass.

What’s your all time solo mission to the surf song?

Some Kinda Love - The Velvet Underground.

_ _

INTERVIEW WITH CASS HURRELL

Cass Hurrell @casshurrell

Hey there lady slider, tell me your short story?

My name is Cass. I've surfed since I can remember, and I could swim before I could walk. I live and breathe for our great Mumma Ocean. It's home to me. I have 2 doggies, Ulu and Charles. We live in a majestic farm house, far enough yet close enough to the Bay. My heart is full of love & gratitude.

When did you move to Byron?

3 lovely years ago.

What are your thoughts on girls surfing in Byron? 

We dance, we share, we encourage and inspire. It's a beautiful evolving revolution, celebrating an expression of one's self, femininity and all things women, no matter what size shape or experienced a surfer they may be. Growing up in Avoca Beach, there were only a few girls out the point. Here in the Bay you paddle out and see more chicks surfing than dudes at times, all having a go. It's definitely my social meeting place.

What do you do other than surf?

I teach a community Yoga class each Wednesday at Broken Head Hall. I love Wednesdays.

Also, I've recently started my own surf agency, Sunshine & The Eccentrics. A boutique agency representing surf creatives around the Bay - Salt Gypsy, Feel Good Inc sunscreen, Atmosea & Celeste Twikler. All amazing ocean lovers. I saw their magical creations, combining my creative flare and desire to step out of my complacency – then, S&TE was born.

Cass Hurrell @casshurrell

If you ever left Byron where would you want to go and why?

The past year,  I've had the opportunity to live in Sri Lanka and Bali, yet Byron kept called me back. So for now I know this is exactly where I’m meant to be.
Who is your favourite person to see in the surf?

My dolfriends! (Dolphins) Person, Lady La La (Lauren Hill) lights up my surfing world.

Describe your perfect day?

Awake at first light. Jump into my van with Ulu and Charles, grab a coffee and arrive at Wategos as the sun is rising. Surf with my dolfriends. Squeeze in a Yoga practice. Potter around at home on the farm, then head back to the Bay for sunset golden hour... the waves are 3ft and clean! Yes, this is a nice day... surf all day... cruise all night.

Do you think surfing is creative? How so?

Most definitely. You're in your flow, connecting feet to board, intuitively dancing with the sea. Yoga has definitely helped my creativeness when riding a wave, not just physically but mentally, harmonizing, outer nature with my inner nature. I'm present, breathing with the sea, expressing me, for me. And then comes my surfing attire. The Seea, Atmosea & Salt Gypsy, all whom add to the flavour when getting ready to paddle out! And now I've started using the best new water sunscreen Feel Good Inc

Cass Hurrell @casshurrell

What’s the next step your going to take to take you where you want to be?

Well I just started my new chapter, Sunshine & The Eccentrics. I believe in S&TE, what my friends are creating, them trusting me in representing their craft. I'm super excited to adventure in my van with my dogs along the East Coast, whilst continue living the happy quiet life on the farm, trusting in the trust, as we live this crazy magical dream called life.

Describe the feeling after riding the loveliest and longest wave ever?

This feeling is very familiar to me. Smiling from ear to ear, completely present with the sea. Ha, sometimes I almost want to call my shaper Sean Nettleton and tell him thanks for creating such a beautiful piece of art!!! Do you ever think about that? How much fluent love went into the board that you’re riding?

.....It's more than just the wave, it's the surf break we dance in and the lands surrounding us. The sunset rising or falling. The sea creatures visiting. All adding to the simple joy, in awe, repeating to myself - "it's free.. it's free".

Meet these rad lady sliders at the Byron Bay Surf Festival on February 24-26 2027