Born in one of Sydney’s poorest neighbourhoods to an absent father and a heroin-adicted mother, Abberton left home aged 12 after his mum’s boyfriend — who would later serve 12 years for armed robbery — turfed him out with the aid of a baseball bat. He rose first to local and then global prominence both as an exceptionally talented surfer and as a co-founder of surf gang the Bra Boys — “Bra” in reference to the beachside suburb of Maroubra.
The Bra Boys dominated the local area both in and out water — appropriating for themselves the nearby (but not immediately local) Cape Solander, which they renamed “Ours”; leaving 30 off-duty and outnumbered police officers wounded in a street brawl, after the police Christmas party coincided with a Bra Boy’s 21st; even intimidating local drug dealers in an attempt to rid Maroubra of its heroin problem. On one occasion Abberton supposedly tried to break his way out of police custody, first by bashing the shit out of the inside of the police van, then by launching himself at the cop who opened the door on arrival at the station. Meanwhile he continued to excel at spots like Ours, Shipsterns and Teahupoo, and in 2001 was rewarded with an Oakley contract worth $250k a year.
Abberton famously has a tattoo around his chest and shoulders that reads “My Brother’s Keeper”. It’s the Bra Boys’ motto, and they take it seriously. In 2004 Koby was arrested in connection with the shooting of Anthony Hines, a Bra Boy whose body had been found at the bottom of the Maroubra cliffs the previous year. Jai Abberton, Koby’s older brother, confessed to the killing, claiming self-defence; Hines, a convicted rapist not long out of prison and convinced that Jai was sleeping with his girlfriend, had kidnapped Jai and a female friend at gunpoint (another man Hines suspected of the same offence had recently been killed). The jury acquitted Jai, but Koby was nonetheless found guilty of perverting the course of justice in order to protect his brother, and handed a 9-month suspended sentence.
Oh, and in 2008 he spent three days in prison after assaulting an off-duty policeman in Hawaii. And rumour has it that he onced bashed in Johnny-Boy. But that actually he’s a lovely bloke with a heart of gold. And that he once went out with Paris Hilton!