Johnny?s a credit to surfing life
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BYRON Bay surfer Johnny Abegg is no closer to paying off his $26,000 credit card bill.
But the story of how he reached his financial plight is about to hit the big screen.
Johnny returned to the Northern Rivers from the Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series in November with a ranking of 193 and a credit card debt of $23,475.02.
With financial sponsorship scarce, he decided that the only way to fund his adventure was to apply for four credit cards and max them out.
After sleeping on the streets of destinations, including the Maldives, South Africa, Canary Islands and Brazil, he has now turned his tale into a documentary called On Credit.
And, it was a lucky credit limit increase which ended up financing the production costs of the film.
"I bought my handycam on credit before I left," he said.
"When I got home from the last trip the bank gave me another credit increase.
"So I bought a computer and went about learning how to edit and put all the music behind it.
"If I could get another increase I'd do it all again."
He described the film as more of a travelogue than a typical surfing movie.
"It does have that surf film element, but it's about my journey more than anything else, and what it takes to follow your dream," he said.
"I tried to portray the fact that sometimes you can have a goal in life, but it's more about appreciating the jour- ney it takes to get there."
He said he planned to travel to Europe again in August in an attempt to retain his seeding in the top 200 surfers.
However, with monthly bank repayments of $576 ($341.51 in interest) he is still figuring out exactly how to get there.
"I don't think I'll make any money off the doco after I pay for the hire of the com- munity centre and everything else," he said.
"But it was something new to give a go.
"It's all about the experience."
On Credit will be screened at the Byron Bay Community Centre at 8pm tonight and tomorrow. Tickets will be available at the door for $7 with no concessions.