Bra Boys are a surfing group centered around the
Sydney suburb of Maroubra. The group is named
after their suburb: "Marou-BRA." Members
of the group often tattoo "Bra Boys"
and the Maroubra postal code (2035) on their back.
members include the Abberton brothers, Jai, professional
big wave surfing champion Koby Abberton, and Rugby
League players Reni Maitua, John Sutton and Byron
Ford. Also surfers Mark Matthews, Evan Faulks
and Richie Vas.
May 2005 Jai was acquitted of a 2003 murder. Koby
was handed a suspended nine month jail sentence
after being found guilty of perverting the course
of justice in the same matter.
late 2002, some members of the group attending
a birthday party at the Coogee-Randwick RSL Club
were involved in a brawl with a large group of
off-duty Waverley policemen and policewomen leaving
a Christmas party on the same premises.
August 2005, the group led a protest of 100 people
against parking meters near the local beaches.
the Cronulla riot, in which the group was not
involved but was subsequently targeted, Jai and
Koby held well-publicised meetings with other
uninvolved groups to help ease tensions.
about the Bra Boys, entitled Bra Boys had its
premiere in Sydney on the 9th of March, 2007 and
was released on the 15th of March, 2007. It will
tell the story of the Bra Boys and is narrated
by Russell Crowe.
Bra Boys are linked with the Maroubra Surfers
Man Australia is delighted to have assisted ABC
'Australian Story' in relation to The Bra Boys
feature, 'Sons Of Beaches'
Man Australia is delighted to have been able to
champion the good name of The Bra Boys on Radio
2GB in relation to "What Is Success"
and community spirit - 24th December 2006
Bra Boys (movie released in 2007)
- Meet The Bra Boy
Man Australia Bra Boys Movie Review
Boys is one of the most powerful, amazing and
inspirational films I have ever seen. A modern
day classic cult film that will go down in history.
Society can learn much from this. - Greg Tingle,
Media Man Australia.
Boys, by Paul Byrnes , Reviewer
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Australian working-class male is putting his foot
down, in a hob-nailed boot.
Run Time 85 minutes
Director Sunny Abberton
Rating 2 stars
ONE DEFINITION, documentary is what the middle
classes do to the working classes. That sense
of superiority is always difficult to avoid when
stories are told from the outside. The family
in Sylvania Waters would have told a different
story than the one told by the British film crew,
what I found compelling about Bra Boys. It's completely
from within the fold of the group of Maroubra
surfers who call themselves the Bra Boys. You
may not come out liking them but the film gives
an extraordinary insight into the aggressive culture
that formed them. It's the debut of a new style
of "gangsta" surf movie that has its
antecedents in US subculture films such as Dogtown
and Z boys (2001), and an earlier Australian genre:
the bushranging film.
four Abberton brothers - Sunny, Jai, Koby and,
to a lesser extent, Dakota (the youngest, who
has little presence in the film) - are a lot like
the Kelly gang, riding surfboards instead of horses.
Their attitudes are similar - a sentimental attachment
to family, a hatred of the police, a distrust
of anyone outside the tribe. There's also a matriarch,
the boys' late grandmother, Mavis, who took over
raising them while their mother, Lynn, struggled
with heroin addiction. And there's a murder trial,
the much-publicised case in which Jai Abberton
was charged with killing fellow Bra Boy and standover
man Tony Hines, while Koby was charged with attempting
to pervert the course of justice, by lying to
police about the killing.
a sense, this film, co-directed by Sunny Abberton
and fellow Bra Boy Macario de Souza, is their
version of Ned Kelly's famous Jerilderie letter.
In its own way, it has a similar authenticity,
even eloquence, although it could also be seen
as a defence of the thug life and a massive exercise
in self-promotion. The addition of Russell Crowe
as reader of an almost unnecessary narration confirms
the idea that it's at least partly an exercise
in outlaw chic. The trouble is, the Abbertons
want it both ways, to be respected as iron-bar
toughs, while rejecting the label of hardened
you listen to the police, the Bra Boys are a gang
of thugs with ties to drug-dealing and organised
crime. According to the Bra Boys themselves, they
are surfing friends from difficult backgrounds
who guard their own territory and never back down.
Koby Abberton, famous now as a big wave surfer
(and something of a tattoo model), says in one
interview on the web (at surfermag.com) that the
gang drove heroin dealers out of Maroubra. "We'd
hear of a house that was selling it and we'd go
and kick the door in and sort it out ... Today,
by comparison, nobody is doing heroin in Maroubra."
not really necessary to believe him to have doubts
about the police version of who the Bra Boys are.
The bad blood between cops and Maroubra surfers
goes back years and is regularly rekindled. The
film revisits the night of December 22, 2002,
when the Bra Boys took on the cops at the Coogee
RSL and won. According to the film, 200 Bra Boys
were attending the 21st birthday party of one
of their own, pro-surfer Mark Matthews, when a
brawl broke out with off-duty members of the force,
who were holding their annual Christmas party
on the floor above.
also shows us ample evidence that the police could
hardly not have been interested in their activities.
In early scenes, we see several bare-knuckle,
one-on-one street fights and one large all-in
brawl, involving knives and clubs. These were
all shot by amateur photographers and are presented
as evidence of the group's toughness, a kind of
video bragging. Other footage shows us their fun-loving
side, reserved for days when the surf is flat.
We see one guy setting himself alight and jumping
off a cliff into the sea, others dancing on the
roof of a State Transit Authority bus during a
series of big outdoor parties. These are largely
all-male affairs; they're not called the Bra Persons,
the least satisfying aspect of the film is the
lack of detail about the events of August 5, 2003,
when Jai Abberton shot Hines and dumped his body
off the cliffs at Mistral Point. Jai says he and
Hines were once good mates; that Hines suspected
him and two others of sleeping with his girlfriend
(which Jai doesn't comment upon); that it was
self-defence. We don't learn of the testimony
offered in court that Hines was in the front seat
of the car, when Jai shot him from the back seat
or what Koby did that night when he found out
what had happened. I suppose it's not surprising
that the film lacks candour about these events;
they were the basis for the charges and were extensively
aired in court.
Boys is an accomplished, if contradictory, piece
of work. It gives a vivid sense of the cult of
masculinity in a working-class Sydney beach suburb,
the rampant physicality that values a brawl as
much as a barrel, and it's just as clearly a work
of bravado, a legend-making exercise, but I didn't
mind that. It gives us a glimpse of an otherwise
closed world, with its own rules and rituals,
told in the first person. It's like looking at
a side of Australian male culture that has all
but disappeared from our media - except perhaps
in rugby league.
Bra Boys don't need to bring back the biff; they
never lost it in the first place.
News search for "Bra Boys"
Boy rides a giant wave of sponsorship opportunity,
by Simon Canning - 8th March 2007
Abberton hasn't seen a big wave in more than a
year, yet he is riding a swell of publicity that
has drinking mate John Singleton ready to punt
that the Bra Boy gang member is the next big thing,
Australia's alternative Ian Thorpe.
Last night Koby and brothers Sunny and Jai looked
on as Sydney celebrities walked the red carpet
to the premiere of their autobiographical flick
was the next stage of the remaking of the brothers
after four headline-grabbing years that began
with Jai being charged with the murder of a notorious
standover man from the Sydney beachside suburb
is now the business of being the Abbertons. The
Bra Boys, they insist, will never be a brand,
but the big wave champion and his band of brothers
are growing rapidly beyond the Maroubra patch
where they began life as grommets fighting to
survive in a world of disadvantage.
recent weeks the Boys have been all over the likes
of fashion magazine Marie Claire, Nova radio,
talkback radio and the Seven Network's Sunrise.
is a name to be traded on. Sunglasses and accessories
brand Oakley saw it when he was on top as the
world's best big-wave rider but canned a $1million
five-year deal during Jai's trial and acquittal,
and Koby's subsequent charge and conviction for
lying to police.
sponsors also deserted Koby. The sentence was
suspended and Koby is rebuilding his value to
stands at the head of the queue, signing Koby
as the face of his Bondi Blonde beer and luring
him into a bikini model stunt with Paris Hilton
in January that reaped acres of coverage for the
brand during what journos call the silly season.
Blonde will be the first of many sponsors,"
Singleton says. "Koby will be a success and
he is going to make a lot more money overseas
than in Australia, and he can certainly transcend
the surf. There is nothing to dislike about Koby;
he is quick-witted and he has no pretensions.
When you stroll out with Koby, you are with royalty;
he can talk to anyone."
Blonde's first ad starring the surfer goes to
air next week.
the brands are beckoning. Last year the Bra Boys
launched their clothing label - My Brother's Keeper
- and the surf brands are circling. Singo believes
it won't be long before mainstream brands dive
in. Emerging sunglasses brand Sabre was the first
to come on board last August, filling the void
left by Oakley's hasty retreat.
were big admirers of Koby. He is a great person
to represent our brand," Sabre sales manager
Tania Rickards says. "We signed Koby in August
and we were the first. He is fantastic. Any time
there is an opportunity to promote our brand,
he is in there.
think he has huge potential, he is so professional
no matter what has been thrown at him."
was followed by surfwear brand Analog last November,
then by publicly listed Globe last December.
sponsors are re-engaging with Koby and his brothers
on the back of a seemingly endless wave of publicity
that surrounds the Bra Boys, one sponsor in particular
never left the surfer even in his darkest days.
Warner spotted Koby's talent early, shaped boards
that met the challenge of surfing monster waves
and is reaping the benefits of his re-ascending
an international star he is insane and I have
not even started to deal with Koby internationally
yet," Warner says. "I think he is someone
who can become larger than the surfing industry."
and despite the notoriety that has dogged Koby
in recent years, Warner sees the most immediate
results of his business relationship through the
grommets surfing Sydney's beaches. "He has
a big heart and the kids look up to him,"
he says. "They see him surfing my design
and they come in wanting to have the same as Koby."
Koby, Sunny (who directed the film) and Jai (who
remains media shy), the movie is about telling
their story their way, unhindered by the selective
reporting of journalists.
also hope to use the movie as a springboard for
a charity, Streets to the Beach, helping underprivileged
youngsters to connect with the beach and hopefully
find salvation in the surf as they did.
is where the comparison with Thorpe comes in.
highlights Thorpe's swimming achievements as helping
him to launch his charities and give something
back to Australian youngsters.
know there are kids that look up to me and I want
to do something with that. I can talk to kids
that Ian might not be able to talk to. They may
be going through things that I have gone through
and I can help them get over that."
Thorpe (perhaps the most successful example of
a sports star leveraging sponsorship) and Koby
have become friends behind the scenes and traded
ideas about their charities.
of the move to set up the charity, Singleton says
the value of Koby for sponsors within and outside
of surfing will be maintained only as long as
he keeps succeeding in the surf.
also notes that when you buy Koby, you buy into
the Bra Boys and Sunny and Jai.
like saying if you get Mick Jagger, you get the
Rolling Stones," Singleton says. "But
he will need to win something big or ride some
key part of the future, to bring in more sponsors
and more deals, involves sanding some of Koby's
rougher edges, much like shaping a surfboard.
Russell Crowe, who narrates the film, businessman
Peter Holmes a Court and Singleton are teaching
the surfer how to handle the media.
been doing some media training and trying to stray
away from the life I have led until now,"
still the most publicised surfer in Australia
next to Layne Beachley; she is awesome. But I'm
a happy-go-lucky person and I live life to the
fullest. I think I help people. Yes, I have got
issues, but I guess that makes me interesting.
But what I was born to do was surf big waves."