Marcus Hyett or Hydro to his friends started his surfing life on boogie boards and nipper boards in the Port Campbell Bay before moving onto the point behind the jetty. Every night after school from the age of about 7 or 8 just about every kid in town hit the point til dark. It was busy, friendly, sometimes challenging, and always a good teacher in the ways of the ocean, in one of the wilder parts of the world. And a diet of mostly backhand waves in your formative years does wonders for your surfing ability.
It wasn’t long before every nook and cranny that held a surfable wave between Princetown and Warrnambool were known and frequented. And later on, visits to the Surfcoast were added to the travels, especially Bells and Winki. Since then there have been many years of exploring the hidden gems all the way along the Great Ocean Road. From Barwon Heads to Portland there aren’t many waves that have been missed – handy knowledge when tailoring boards to a particular local break.
Around 2005, and having come from the Warrnambool area originally, Maurice Cole reappeared in Port Campbell with his new ultra-small and ultra-concaved tow boards. And before long Marcus and his brothers were riding Maurice’s super-concave and super-fast short boards. Also around this time Marcus won a 5’8” quad fin fish in the local boardriders contest. This was when his surfing style forked along new ‘lines’ – the start of an ongoing interest and ability in riding boards of all shapes and sizes. From fish to mals, from one fin to five fins.
Marcus started shaping boards in 2013 when he moved to Torquay and before long took up residency at the legendary “chook shed” with Maurice Cole. In the course of doing an obligatory apprenticeship sanding boards for Maurice he continued shaping, but under the master’s watchful eye. And guidance. The lessons in design theory were unstoppable – digging deep into the complex relationships between curves created by rocker and rail-line, bottom-contour and plan-shape. Not to mention everything else, from hydro dynamics and fins, to quality control and alternative materials.
But all things come to pass, and when the chook shed was decommissioned Marcus went solo. His surfing mates in Port Campbell embraced him and the town has virtually been rebranded board-wise. Hydro Theory boards are created entirely by Marcus. Every aspect of manufacture is under his control, right down to the mixing of colours. If you’ve got a history of breaking boards, Marcus will discover it and tailor the glass job to suit. Fin placements and cants are customised, as well as every aspect of the shape.
Craftsmanship has been of the utmost importance to Marcus and so learning to hand shape at a production level was Marcus’ main goal during his time under Maurice. While most of the current Hydro Theory performance shortboard designs come from pre-shape files scanned from magic hand-shapes, his longboards and guns are all still hand-shaped from scratch. ‘Mowing’ big boards with his trusty modified Hitachi planer are always the most rewarding days in the office.
Product testing, obviously, is all important and something Marcus is very conscientious about – his personal quiver being the envy of many. Feedback also plays a big part in development and a good chunk of that comes from some very talented friends and family riding his boards in all types of conditions. Catching him in the lineup is a good start if you’re considering something new, and all the better for him to understand your needs. Otherwise give him a ring anytime or make contact through email or social media.