Sunday, November 04, 2007

Surfing Poseidon's Peaks, By Kati Turcu - The Epoch Times

Surfing Poseidon't Peaks (Credit: The Epoch Times)

Describing a good wave or the feeling of surfing it isn't easy. Not before long one finds oneself in superlative wipeout, much like the surfers who attempt it only to fail.

Luckily surfing is not about words. There are those who do and those who watch.

Though the thrill of riding a wave can hardly be described, at least it can be documented in film.

To this end, the Australian Surf Movie Festival (ASMF) is in its sixth year and presents the best opportunity for fans to see spectacular footage from around the world.

Film and Event Director Tim Bonython has been shooting surfing footage since 1978 and understands what makes a good surfing film.

He explains: "It's easy to shoot good surfing as long as you got a good surfer in good waves, but what we'd like to have in relation to the festival is a good story. We transport people to amazing locations and, in most cases the location is scarier than just guys having fun in waves."

One of the features of the festival called Down the Barrel documents the lives of four talented surfers: Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Kalani Robb and Australia's Joel Parkinson. It won The Best Cinematography in this year's Surfer Poll and Video Awards in the US run last month for its underwater barrel shots and masterful jet-ski angles from exotic destinations such as Teahupo'o in Tahiti.

Mr Bonython explains further: "In a festival we want to chop and change and keep people totally entertained from the start to the end. So we start with something exciting and then we pull it back and go on a bit of a profile of a person's career and then we come back and do something exciting.

Then there's the kind of excitement that is best left for viewing."

Filmmaker Brook Sylvester, captures Mark Mathews catching the heaviest wave ever surfed in Australia at the most feared break nicknamed Cyclops. "Surfing this wave is really dicing with death," says Mr Bonython "It's very very thick and it contorts; a beautiful wave but it's deadly."

Sydney's fearless big wave surfer Mark Mathews, whose objective is to surf the biggest and heaviest waves on the planet is also in Three Days at OURS.Shot at Sydney's Cape Solander outside Botany Bay in April 2007, Mathews and the "Bra Boy crew" – Ritchie Vaculik, Evan Faulks, Koby Abberton – and Bronte surfers Kobi Graham and John Dwyer tackle some of the most spectacular barrels ever surfed in Sydney or anywhere else on the planet.

Mr Bonython says: "I promise you that when viewing this footage, which is our finale you will be blown away by the intensity of the action. This is one serious wave, where really only the gutsiest surfers on the planet could take it on."

But Mr Bonython's excitement also masks considerable frustration at seeing Australian filmmakers battling it out financially while surf magazines have been giving away mediocre free DVDs as part of their marketing strategy. The situation makes it difficult for independent producers to make something out of genuinely good films.

He tells The Epoch Times: "there haven't been any good surf-DVD's release in this country for a while now."

The films in the festival are shown exclusively and will only be released next year with tracks as a DVD package.

Alhough the ASMF documents the near impossible feats of the big names in surfing, not all of the films shown focus on the stars. "It's good to have a film where it's not just full of surf stars. It's actually just got your Jo normals out there having a good fun time and in that film it's not life threatening waves, just beautiful endless perfection. When a wave is that good, really the wave is the star," Mr Bonython says.

Sounds like the audience will definitely be stoked.

The Australian Surf Movie Festival premieres at the North Bondi RSL on October 31, 2007 at 8pm and will tour nationally for three weeks, travelling to 22 venues until November 25.

See for a list of venues, dates and ticket purchase information.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Australian Surf Movie Festival