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Meet the locals: Craig Thompson

12-Jan-2015

Craig and Art Thompson on Lord Howe Island

Keeping your sanity on such a small island is challenging, especially when you’re working as part of a family business, but that’s the reality for many on Lord Howe Island, including fifth generation islander Craig Thompson. With the majority of businesses on the island being run by generations of families, it’s not always smooth sailing, and even in paradise there can be problems.

For Craig, surfing equals sanity on Lord Howe. Following him around the guesthouse he helps run, he tells me that without his love of surfing he would have struggled to live on such a tiny place. He grew up surfing these breaks, with the coral reefs being his favourite, and attributes them and the art of surfing in general, as a way of keeping him out of trouble as a young fella. “With surfing you can challenge yourself every time you go in the water, whether it was the size of the swell or doing new maneuvers,” says Craig.

It’s clear that within Craig there resides a solid love of surfing and the island that has kept him living here. He’s also fond of a challenge. However, due to the island’s isolation most locals are privy to a difficult situation or two, and families have to depend on other families on the island. “Even to this day, we still rely on the friendships that are generations old, whether something breaks down and we need to ask another family for a part to fix it, or when a plane doesn’t land we need another family lodge to accommodate our guests.” On Lord Howe, if someone needs help most of the time people will jump, “we all appreciate what other families go through to have a successful business.”

Difficulties of the island aside, Craig has so much pride for his family. When asked about his family business, Blue Lagoon Lodge, he says that the one thing he is proud of is the fact that he gets to work on buildings that his father, grandfather and great grandfather have worked on. “I don’t think many people working in cities have that experience of working on buildings that have been created by their ancestors.” This is definitely part of the Lord Howe charm, and people are proud of their families and the success they have created from not much at all.

When asked why the island is good for him, Craig answers that the island has always been his home, and when he's lived off the island, he's always longed to be back here. It’s clear that a mix of ancestral pride and divine nature has captured Craig’s heart.

Contributed by Lena Thompson

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