You will rarely find Luke Stedman far from the ocean – born on the coastline just north of Sydney, Australia to a board-shaper father, he has since travelled the world’s beaches as part of pro-surfing’s WCT tour, competing alongside the planet’s best. Now retired, he calls the sedate Los Angeles neighbourhood of Venice Beach home, keeping himself busy during lockdown with the Blackball Challenge, an online program teaching the fundamentals of his craft to fledgling surfers. Photographed in our Resort collection on the beaches of his home city, we caught up with Luke to talk travel, lockdown and why it’s all about being present.

For the past six months, travel has mostly been on pause. What have you been missing about travelling, and seeing the world?

I miss the smell when you get off the plane. Every destination has a smell that always electrifies my body and climatises me. There is nothing better than going somewhere you have never been and the new scent that comes with it.

What’s your favourite beach in the world?

Whale Beach in Sydney, Australia. It’s also my home beach which I love.

What’s your travel uniform?

This is such an important part of travel. The outfit that ticks every box: comfort, temperature sensitive and doesn’t scream ‘this is my couch outfit’. Most of my flights are overnight flights as coming from Australia there’s not really a flight under six hours. I like to wear cotton pants that have a relaxed fit, a T-shirt and a hoodie, or something that I can snug up to and a pair of Vans with socks…

And your dream rental car?

My dream rental car was a purple convertible VW that I rented when I was in Croatia on the island of Vis. I asked my girlfriend at the time if she would marry me which she said ‘yes’ to and I actually think the purple VW sealed the deal!

Before we stopped travelling, what were your last three duty-free purchases?

Red wine, tequila and gin. All gifts and all very well received!

What’s in your beach bag?

Sunscreen, a towel, swim shorts and a credit card.

And what’s one thing you would never wear on the beach?

Shoes! I just don’t understand how wearing shoes on the beach is comfortable or cool. You have to feel the sand between the toes.

Have you taken a digital detox while travelling?

A digital detox is a must. I only check my phone in the mornings and evening and I avoid social media and emails. It’s actually hard to stay off your device and a real challenge for me but I feel it has a long-lasting effect on me well after my trip and I’m much more conscious and present.

How much activity do you like to do on holiday – do you look for all-out relaxation or do you need constant action?

At the start of the holiday I’m pumped because I’m not in holiday mode yet. It takes me a few days to slow down but when I do I almost stop completely. It’s a great feeling.