Of Two Minds

Skip & Jerry

Jereme ‘Jerry’ Aubertin, 37, and James ‘Skip’ Skivington, 34, have been mates for decades.

Jereme ‘Jerry’ Aubertin, 37, and James ‘Skip’ Skivington, 34, have been mates for decades, sharing a passion for surfing. They started quarterly publication Damaged Goods Zine six years ago. Jerry shoots films, photos and manages content, while Skip is art director and designer.

Jerry (pictured on right):

Skip and I have been buddies since we were both surfing in the Mount as kids. Our relationship is like a marriage of sorts. We lived together and worked on the mag for three or four years, making the mag from home. The first bit was hard going, but it was all exciting and it didn’t matter, we were just driven to make it happen. We’re real honest with each other. We’re friends first, always, no matter what happens with this shit. I don’t want the mag to affect our friendship. The business stuff is secondary.

For the most part we’re on the same page, we want the same things from the mag. We see things differently, too, which challenges me to not get too attached to a certain image. I might not like what he sees, but I have to accept his vision.

We run on different schedules. Skip likes to sleep in. He’s a slow-burner in the morning, but will work till 3am. Whereas I like to do stuff in the mornings. I’ll be up early if the surf or the light are good.

We once did a trip and we ran two separate camper vans and theirs was always 30 to 40 minutes behind us. That’s just him — he has a creative mind. His mind works in a different way, it’s stronger in some ways.

Skip’s best trait is his creativeness — his art direction is impeccable. He’s a super perfectionist, he won’t settle for just getting it done. He’s got a vision and he’ll work till he gets that. When you see what comes out at the end, you’re like ‘holy shit’.

I really admire his confidence in his work — he knows what he wants and having created 21 magazines, you get pretty good at what you’re doing. It was a pretty harsh learning curve for us to go into print and create a publication. I was dabbling in photography and shooting surfing and film, and then all of a sudden we’re learning to make a magazine. He’s learned a lot in that time. It was just DIY, hard work off our own backs. It’ll never be Damaged Goods without both of us. His vision is just as important as mine.

He’s taught me to not let work get in the way of our friendship. I’ve learnt so much about him. When we get together and brainstorm, we’re constantly bouncing ideas. It’s always positive.

My favourite thing is that he just understands surfing. He’s so in tune with everything and is very open-minded about all types of surfing and surf culture. He just gets it. His knowledge of surfing history is really expansive. That reflects in what we do together.


We were living together when we started the magazine, so it was kind of hard to separate work from home, but it didn’t matter too much because we were so into what we were doing. The mag is work, but we love doing it, and surfing, so the two mesh together. Even if we weren’t doing the mag, we’d still be hanging out talking about surfing.

Jerry’s definitely a perfectionist. He’s a real craftsman. He was a cabinet-maker and made benchtops, now he shoots films and photos. He hones in on his tools and gets real nerdy about what he’s using.

I trust him in everything. Jerry shoots most of the photos and organises the trips. He shoots everything in a way that’s not contrived. Everything’s there, he doesn’t miss any moments. It makes my job easy to piece it together. Every now and then I might not use a photo, but I know how hard those guys swim, it’s a really hard job getting that shot so I understand his frustration if it doesn’t get run.

Jerry’s got an eye for detail and is really organised. He’s doesn’t let anything slide. We’ve probably fought, but we get over it pretty quick. We’ve known each other so long that I know what his reaction is going to be, and he’s probably the same. There’s nothing that is worth arguing over anyway. It’s such a minor in the whole scheme of things.

Jerry’s into shaping boards so he’s spending his spare time doing that, which is great. I’ve got two of his boards and they go really well.

He lives around the corner and I love that he’s always amped to go surfing. He’ll be outside my house beeping the horn at 6.30am and I’m in bed! He’ll drag me out, but you know he’s been up for an hour already, waiting for the sun to come up. Jerry’s 100 per cent passionate about surfing. It’s good being around a person who’s so stoked — even if the surf is crap he’s talking about the board he’s riding or a great surf he had. You get so much energy out of it.

You know those moments when you’re with your mates and you’re surfing, hanging or camping, those are the things you really cherish when you’re older. And with surfing, you can never plan anything… it’s constantly changing, so you can plan a trip and the weather will change or the wind will swing, so it takes a lot for all those elements to align. But once that happens, and you’ve got your best mate there and the sun’s out, a piece of magic happens.

Jerry (left) and Skip at the 20th issue celebration for Damaged Goods Zine.