Passion Comes in Waves
Portfolio

DAMEA DORSEY: LIFE BEYOND THE SHUTTER


Former pro surfer Damea Dorsey has always followed his passions wherever they take him. His commanding surf photography express the same approach he brings to his surfing. Aggressive, courageous, composed. Currently he lives in Bali and, extraordinarily, is also among the best barbers on the island. You can find him upstairs at the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm in one of the grooviest spaces in town. His authentic, old school barbershop, but with a subtle modern flair. Portraits of famous celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis hang on the wooden walls, but look a bit closer and you will see the photoshopped tattoos on all of them. A clever riff in a very clever atmosphere. Recently correspondent Stephanie Moon sat down for a chat with this Southern Californian native who has made Bali the home for his art and his… well… hair.

When did you first make it to Bali?
I first came to Bali in the early 1990s.

Was it love at first sight?
It had amazing surf and good people. I was stoked to be here. It was to me a literal paradise. I wanted to come back as much as I could. I was addicted.

When you first came to Bali, was it to surf or shoot photos?
Initially I came to surf, later it was for both. I’d surf and hang out at Tubes. That was the main place to hang out back then. That was all we were after, amazing surf and good people.

What was Uluwatu like then?
It was like getting lost in time. You’d just arrive at Uluwatu and it was the friendliest place on earth.

Tell us a Bali memory that really stands out to you.
People always remembered your name. It was incredible. If you returned to a place you had passed through years before they always remembered your name. I was so impressed. Bali was the coolest thing.

When you chose Bali, why Canggu?
For the vibe, both with the locals and with the foreigners. It’s a small community but there is always enough happening to keep it interesting. You don’t get bored here. Also, people respect your space. Also, let’s not forget that Bali magic. That unseen, but very present current of energy from the land. Unless you’ve been here, you can’t explain it.

How did you get in to the barber shop Business?
When I came to Bali two years ago I needed a trim, I was getting hairy here, as you do. I tried a few spots for a simple grooming. One was a local shop that cost me 10 rup’s. He did a great job but the paper scissors he was using weren’t happening. So, since I have a barber license and once owned a barber shop in Carlsbad California, I thought why not open a barber shop here? It’s been great.

What is the Best thing about having a barber shop in Canggu?
The clients. It’s the feel good feeling you get from your clients. Every 30 minutes you get results and a sense of accomplishment. Fun. Social. I have people who walk into my shop, men and women alike, with these disheveled looks. We clean them up. They feel good. We feel good. And the whole world looks better.

How do you judge a good hair cut?
Mess it up after you’ve cut and styled it. If it still looks good, then it’s a good cut.

Switching gears, try these questions…what you can’t leave home without?
Camera, of course.

Above or below water?
Underwater for sure.

What would you like to be reincarnated as?
An eagle. Being an apex predator that could fly would be amazing.

Desert island hit?
The Eagles “Hotel California”. It’s “On a dark desert highway” that gets me every time.

Any regrets?
No regrets. Life throws situations at you to see how you handle it. It doesn’t always work out the way you want, but it challenges you and gives you the opportunity to build character.

What inspires you?
Simplicity. Passion. Surfing. What more do you need?