Glen Murray and his media brand Korupt Vision, is one of triathlon’s biggest media names. Trizone caught up with Murray to chat everything from kayaking, to meeting Liz Blatchford and learning the power of social media.
“I started surf lifesaving when I was ten, and my whole life revolved around going to the beach, paddling and surfing,” Murray told Trizone. “I wasn’t so good at sitting and studying at school, I always wanted to get outside.” After school in Melbourne, Murray moved down coast of the Great Ocean Road to work for Go Ride a Wave, an adventure company in Anglesea. “I really looked up to the guys who ran it. They taught me a lot. I was surfing a lot, and paddling a lot. That’s how I travelled along for quite a while.”
Gold Coast’s sunshine and sports lure Murray north
Without a camera within reach, Murray’s focus was on his sport. He loved the water and took his passion to the national surf lifesaving championships as Victorian captain. “I loved my surf ski, but I also took up flat water kayaking a bit more seriously with a potential option to go to the Olympics. I was serious about it, and went up to the Gold Coast to do a training block.”
With his eyes firmly focused on his kayaking on the Gold Coast for a singular training block, Murray wasn’t expecting his entire life to change. “I met Liz through mutual friends and we hit it off, but I was working full time for Go Ride a Wave. I’d thought of moving to the Gold Coast for the weather as it’s such a focal point for sports,” said Murray.
“Once I’d been back in Melbourne for a while I was chatting to Liz every day and I made the decision to move. I put everything that would fit into my Ford panel van including my surf ski, and moved up to the Gold Coast. I probably moved six months earlier than I would have, but I left sooner to be with Liz,” said Murray. While the Gold Coast was new to Murray, he had already locked in a job with his old bosses from Go Ride a Wave who had a surf school based in Surfers Paradise. “It was an unknown, but I had some stuff in place, I was 27 then.”
Injuries end Murray’s sporting career
Kayaking daily, Murray was on his way to competing on the world stage, but his body got in the way. ”A few back injuries shut down my paddling when I was 32. I got stress fractures in my sacrum, and arthritis in my hips,” said Murray, and with that, his paddling career was officially over.
“I could have kept paddling at 32 if I’d been injury free, and I would have kept chasing the Olympic dream. I can see why people do that and why they go for it,” said Murray. “Liz and I were engaged and we’d bought our first house. I decided I couldn’t keep beating my head against the wall as a semi professional.”
Murray had decided his own sporting career was over, so he moved his focus to Liz’s triathlon career instead. “I started making videos to promote and help Liz. It was a great way to promote her sponsors.”
At the same time, the social media wave was just beginning and Glen was approached by a number of brands. “The digital age had begun, and all of a sudden everyone wanted content,” Murray told Trizone.
Thanks to his hard work and persistence with his new found passion for film and photography, the timing was perfect. “The start of Korupt Vision [Murray’s media business] and the end of my sporting career rolled into one,” Murray told Trizone.
Triathlon contacts prove handy for Korupt Vision
“Having connections in the industry may have also helped turn Korupt Vision from a hobby into a career,” said Murray. “You’ve got to have an eye for photography, but you also really need to be in the right place at the right time.”
While Liz was focusing on qualifying for the London Olympics, the pair divided their time between Australia and the UK; spending six months in each. “That’s when I started doing more video work and my hobby started to grow. There was a need for someone to provide content for athletes and their sponsors,” said Murray.
Cupcakes with Cal
One of the periods the pair spent overseas was in Boulder, where the infamous ‘Cupcakes with Cal’ was born, comedic interviews, led by Callum Millward, filmed and edited by Murray. “After we posted the first episode, we were all just bouncing ideas around and it was pretty rough. The first interview was with Berks [Tim van Berkel] and next was Liz then Tim Don. Since we were in Boulder we had access to the best triathletes in the world,” Murray told Trizone.
With his athlete interviews gaining momentum, Murray and Millward set their sights on Kona, creating ‘Cupcakes in Kona.’ “We aimed to get sponsors on board for the Kona coverage. We got some great athletes on board, social media was kicking in and it started to spiral.”
Korupt Vision had a dedicated following, and by the time Murray got back to Australia that summer, he was busy balancing film with life guarding. “I got a job with Budget Forklifts cycling team to do a set of videos for the year around Jack Bobridge’s hour record attempt,” Murray told Trizone.
While a regular filming gig sounded like a dream, it was a huge commitment to balance with his regular lifeguarding work. Each weekend Glen flew around Australia filming for the cycling team, then he’d come home and work on the beach life guarding. “I kept life guarding towards the end of the summer, then I got some social media gigs. By the time I came back after Kona that year, I had decided to go full tilt at growing Korupt Vision.” Once that decision was made, Murray has never looked back, and continues to grow his business from strength to strength, now the official content producer for Australian Triathlete magazine.
Photography vs. content creator
“I don’t think of myself as a photographer. I do content creation for brands,” said Murray. “I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and I have really good friends in triathlon who want to use me for work now,” Murray told Trizone. “I’ve been in this industry for a long time, and the fact these guys might want to work with me is pretty great. I’m really lucky,” said Murray modestly.
Glen Murray has developed his media skills around many of the athletes who have been developing their skills at the same time around the sport. “I remember Dave Dellow racing ITU and now he’s kicking goals in Ironman. To see him come back to win Port and be back on the podium this year is really special, I really enjoy that side of the sport,” Murray told Trizone.
Murray makes his mark in Port Macquarie
Despite his fierce hard work at his own business and endless hours editing and filming, Murray has a huge admiration for the athletes he captures. “In my opinion the pros deserve as much online content, photos and video as they can get. They put in so much sacrifice at those races and in the training before they get there. That’s what drives me – they’re out there for 8+ hours so I should be out there driving as hard as they are.”
Murray’s key moments
Each career has a key moment or two, and Glen Murray’s has had many. “One of the most special things for me was being part of Liz’s journey after she almost quit the sport, then got on the podium in Kona twice,” said Murray, “that’s been something pretty special. Also going to shoot Froomey at the Tour de France last year was a highlight.
As with everyone who has ever been to Kona, Murray remembers each trip there with fond memories. “Kona is always a highlight,” said Murray. “Outside the Olympics, it’s the best race in the world. It’s savage out there, and it’s a brutal course. You see guys and girls who are on their game get reduced to rubble out there. It’s always a highlight going to Kona and being part of it,” said Murray.
His best photo? “The recent cover shot I took of Jake Montgomery is a great image. There was so much we had to do to get that shot, and I really love it,” said Murray.
Glen Murray’s ‘vision’ for Korupt Vision
“At the moment I do social media for five different brands plus two of my own pages, and I want to grow that,” said Murray. “As a photographer, these brands are my base wage. Photo shoots and video jobs also make up my income”
Murray knows not everyone has the budget for video, but he’s thrilled he’s able to help showcase triathletes’ individual talent. “I’d love to be able to do more in the triathlon market to promote the athletes via video work, but not everyone has the budget for video. I think that’s why people love social so much.”
Murray’s favourite photos blend water and landscapes
While Murray is incredibly motivated, he’s also passionate about the non-work related aspects of his profession. “I get up and see the sunrise most mornings. I have had to sacrifice a bit of surfing myself to get surfing photos, but they’re just my favourite photos to take. I also loved the photos I got from Zion Canyon; the whole southern part of Utah and Northern Arizona is just insane, it’s great for photos.”
A few favorites from Glen’s gear bag:
- Canon 1DX (he has three!)
- 16-35mm lens for landscapes
- 70-200mm f2.8 lens for its versatility
- DJI Inspire 1 drone for video
- Aquatech underwater housing for swimming and ocean images
As one of triathlon’s most beloved media pros, plus a huge supporter of the sport itself, triathlon is lucky to have a guy like Glen Murray.