Surviving Survivor | Locky Gilbert

If you’d turned on the TV between July and October, chances are you saw our good mate, adventurer and base-jumper extraordinaire Locky Gilbert charging around the second season of Australian Survivor. With the series now wrapped up, we caught up with the 28-year-old to find out what it was really like on set and behind the scenes.

Thanks for the chat, man. Tell us about how the whole Survivor thing came about.
I was just finishing up a European trip last year and my girlfriend sent me an application. I started applying but then got distracted. I remembered when there was one day left until applications closed, so I thought I’d do a video. I base-jumped off an antenna for it and they told me I was the only one out of about 22,000 applicants who jumped for their video. There were months of interviews after that.

 Were you surprised when you were accepted?
I think I was but girlfriend knew I would be from the start. I thought “if I don’t then let’s move to Spain”, but she was adamant I’d get in. It was still a surprise when it happened: I was on the LKI base-jumping trip in Hong Kong and received the email from them saying they had news, but would talk to me when I got back. That really threw a new element to the trip as in my head I kept thinking “don’t get hurt or you won’t get on Survivor” haha. It made the Hong Kong Trip that much cooler and memorable.

How were the nerves when you stepped onto the island for the first time?
I wasn’t like, “oh my god” nervous, I was more excited and full of anticipation. I’d watched it for years and was excited to get there, build shelters, catch fish and live rough. I went into it knowing what I could bring to the table – in Survivor you need a strong person around camp, and that made me an asset and quite valuable to the team.

You probably get asked this a lot, but how much of the show is real and how much is staged?
It’s 100% real! Did we get food when the cameras stopped rolling? No. It’s 1,000 times harder than I thought it’d be. We went four-and-a-half days without fire and starving and fainting because someone broke the flint, and the crew didn’t help us at all. It’s full on.


It must’ve been tough knowing that those guys went back to nice accommodation every night though.

They were really good about it and weren’t allowed to tell you what they’d been eating or anything. After a while, though, you don’t even notice them any more. They’re there, wandering around, but you become so invested in the game, trying to make fire and keeping busy that they start to blend into the natural surroundings of it all. It’s quite weird.

How much did the politics within the camps affect the experience?
Politics and strategy is probably 80% of the game. There’s always strategy talk, and people always go off and talk and yeah, it’s easy to become quite paranoid about it and you worry that they’re talking about voting you off. It does affect your mind and made the whole thing a real rollercoaster. There’s always things going on and only 10% of the talking and strategy is shown on TV.

You made it all the way to fifth place, which is pretty epic. Why were you voted out and would you do anything differently next time?
I got to the merger by being a physical asset and the team needed me. Then it just come down to having to win the immunity challenges. I won the first three in a row and everyone was like “we need to get Locky out, we need to get Locky out”. I lost the last challenge by two seconds, then tried to save myself by pulling out a fake immunity idol, but it didn’t work out.
What would I do differently? I think I’d lie more, as bad as that sounds [laughs]. And everything would be on my terms. When things went wrong it was because I went along with someone else’s plan. I know I can trust myself and I think I’d rely more on that if I was to do it again.

You’ve done a lot of epic things in 28 years. How does this experience rate in your life?
Yeah I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff, but this was one of the best experiences for sure. I was living like a caveman on a tropical island for 50 days and I loved it. The flow-on effects have been huge too. LKI was the first company to back me and it’s been amazing having them in my corner, but now I’m being flown around Australia, going to big events, getting sent things like new mountain-bikes, it’s just been insane.

Haha nice one. What did you learn about yourself through it all?
I learnt that I am exactly who I am in that situation. Your true character comes out and the alpha male caveman came out, but there was the caring nature and strategic side came out too. I don’t hide anything in real life, much like what I did on the show.

So what’s next?
I’ve opened up our adventure guide business in Bali, Four Elements Adventure, and bookings are rolling in. Our first tour will be in March and we’ll be living in Bali from then on, which I’m super-excited about.

Awesome. All the best for it and we’ll catch up with you soon no doubt!
Thanks man!