Surf Scene: Big waves fire up theatres
IT'S hard to go past the excitement of watching big waves on the big screen, and this weekend will see two epic showings of Tim Bonython's latest big wave blockbuster on the Gold Coast.
Ever since the inception of surf movies, the thrill of watching big waves and the risks attached have always kept both the surfing and non-surfing public glued to their seats.
Picturing yourself on a wave that is the size of a two-storey building or bigger is daunting enough. Originally, it was the domain of Hawaii and the notorious North Shore spots like Sunset, Pipeline and Waimea Bay.
Nowadays, there are numerous locations around the globe that dwarf the original big wave hallowed grounds of Hawaii. Some of the prime locations that come to mind are Nazare Portugal, Teahupo Tahiti, Pe'ahi Jaws Maui, Mavericks San Francisco, Todos Santos and Puerto Escondido Mexico, The Right and Cowie Bommie in West Australia, Shipsterns in Tasmania, Pico Alto in Peru, Punta Da Lobos in Chile, Mullaghmore Head in Ireland, and Belharra in France.
Most of the above staggering big wave spots are covered in Tim Bonython's last Big Wave extravaganza,The Big Wave Project, which has been screening to sell-out venues across Australia.
Bonython prides himself on chasing the Big Swell events worldwide. He has made an art out of documenting these non-competition events that feature many of the new but virtually unknown generation of Big Wave surfers.
It's only in the last two years that the WSL has jumped on board to create a Big Wave World Title circuit.
One of the stars of the Big Wave Project, Jamie Mitchell, was mentioned in Surf Scene last month when declaring his intentions to aim for a Big Wave world title. Originally from Currumbin, Mitchell is now based on Maui in Hawaii. He has been better known in Hawaii for his 10 consecutive Paddle from Molokai to Oahu wins but has now established himself as one of the Big Wave contenders.
One of Hawaii's best at Jaws or Pe'ahi (as it's called locally), is Maui rider Alex Gray, who said the fear and danger is a sizeable part of taking off on bigger waves to defy the odds.
"The danger level increases as we attempt to climb a mountain of water where the peak keeps getting higher,” said Gray, one of the film's participants.
The progression of big wave surfing skill collides with the best swell season in 30 years as the world's best and bravest paddle, and also tow, into some of the greatest waves ever documented. This includes what has been called the biggest wave ever attempted, featuring Hawaiian Aaron Gold's infamous massive paddle-in wave at Jaws, in Hawaii.
The Big Wave Project travels across Australia, Tahiti and finally to Europe's new frontier of Nazaré, in Portugal. Featured surfers include Jamie Mitchell, Aaron Gold, Mark Healey and Gold Coast's Ryan Hipwood, with insights from Mavericks champion Peter Mel, the late Brock Little and original big wave icon Greg Noll.
Gold Coast night-time shows will be at Coolangatta BBC Cinema on Friday and Broadbeach Pacific Fair on Sunday. If sold out, there could be extra showings. For online bookings go to www.ASMF.net.au