If you could string your moments of pure bliss in surfing through your entire life, like pearls on a string, then a great story would unfold and your time here would not have been wasted. It would be the story of a deep connection with the ocean forged form a lifelong commitment to an idea. As humans, everything that we are, everything that we have done and everything that we have yet to do must first exist as an idea.
The great works of art and science and healing that have everlasting benefits for the life of humankind, originate as ideas. As such, they materialise from somewhere beyond time and space. In the east, this place is known as Akasha, a universal dimensions from which all ideas, all like and all creation originate.
"According to the philosophers of India, the whole universe is composed of two materials, one of which they call Akasha. It is the omnipresent, all-penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of combination, is evolved out of this Akasha. It is the Akasha that becomes the air, that becomes the liquids, that becomes the solids, it is the Akasha that becomes the Sun, the Moon, the stars, the comets, it is the Akasha that becomes the human body, the animal body, the plants, every form that we see, everything that can be sensed, everything that exists. It cannot be perceived; it is so subtle that is is beyond ordinary perception; it can only be seen when it becomes gross, has taken form. At the beginning of creation there is only the Akasha. At the end of the cycle the solid, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, and the next creation similarly proceeds out of Akasha…"
In the beginning of the Spirit of Akasha project I had this idea of some of the best modern surfers in the world riding boards inspired by the boards that were ridden in Morning of the Earth. These boards would be single fins, as that's what was predominately ridden back in 1972. I had this vision in my mind of re-creating the beauty and dance of the Michael Peterson sequence at Kirra - folly really, as Kirra today, is only a shadow of the wave it once was. And, in my opinion, the sequence is one of the most beautiful series of ridden waves ever captured on film. In essence: a boy discovering with each ride the possibilities of what he could be: agile and naive - but open to understanding the spark of what he felt. Still young enough to have that skeletal structure without muscle, a lightweight drifting at the highest of speeds across waves with very few humans around to interfere with his chosen track. Riding a board shaped by his own hands, engineered in his eighteen year old mind to ride the perfect sand bottom suckers - in boardies no less. Moments unable to be repeated because life moves on, change takes placed in the mind and body and, as we all know, waves are like snowflakes. For some reason these moments were recorded on film for others to watch and wonder about for eternity.
"By chance. I just turned up and Michael happened to be surfing," is Albert Falzon's recall of how the sequence came about.
And Michael's recall, "If they'd taken that movie on the first or second day they would have seen some better surfing, everybody was worn out, everybody was a lot slower because they were worn out. That cyclone lasted for weeks."
One can only imagine…
And so the Earth keeps turning - it's been forty revolutions around the sun since Albert burned celluloid of this kid in yellow and then red boardies. Call it a celebration, call it an inspired move - at the beginning of 2012 Albert and I began working on a new film - attempting to capture the values and spirit that was represented in Morning Of The Earth.
In the new film I wanted to feature women surfing. I wanted to show the unique relationship women have with the sea. I'd first seen this relationship in the early nineties, when I'd watched Rell Sunn drift across a wave at Makaha. Her ride was like nothing I'd ever seen before.
Australian artist Andrew Kidman works in many mediums. Each discipline, be it music, writing, painting, photography, surfboard shaping or films is born from his innate connection to the ocean.
Kidman’s documented and recorded works evolve over many years, allowing them to take on a life of their own. His patience and dedication to subject is remarkably rare in the modern day commercial arena.
Often dealing directly with the documentation of his peers and his own personal experiences, the stories he chooses to tell don’t expire but grow more complex with time.
Among his works are the films Litmus, Glass Love and Last Hope. Last Hope in particular being a film that merged the creative aspect of surf and art.
Andrew is also an accomplished musician, having released albums as Andrew Kidman, The Val Dusty Experiment and The Brown Birds of Windy Hills.
Andrew has also published a number of books, most notably Lost in the Ether, Way of the Bird and a film/book documentary detailing the finer points of surfboard designed, Ether.
The end result offers and un-namable and moving familiarity to those it reaches. Yet it consistently embodies an unfamiliar meditative ‘otherness’ very particular to him. This ethereal aspect is an invitation to take a deeper look.
His inaugural feature film, Morning of the Earth was the first Australian film to receive a gold record for album sales. His entry in the Cannes Film Festival Crystal Voyager featured music from Pink Floyd. Talking Heads and Brian Eno accompanied an Indian Saddhu’s pilgrimage in Same as it ever Was.
Falzon’s career in film making was a natural progression from international still photography, and later combined with magazine publishing, in Australia, Israel and the island of Bali in Indonesia. He was co-founder and publisher of the surfing newspaper Tracks.
His perceptive and sensitive photographic eye almost suggests that he was born with a camera to it.
A penchant for travel, particularly to remote and spectacular regions in the world has had a major influence on the themes of Falzon’s work. A six part documentary series focused on traditional Festivals in such Far Eastern countries as Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Ladakh and Tibet has sold to over forty countries world-wide.
The significance of filming some of these regions is only evident today with the political closing of Tibet and Burma to travelers and the civil strife in Sri Lanka. And not all locations were easily accessible.
Another film The Road to Timbuktu followed a path from Casablanca across the searing Sahara Desert to Timbuktu on the African Ivory Coast.
He has also directed two long version music videos for Chris Blackwell founder of Island Records and was DOP on Women of Spirit a one hour television program recently filmed in India, NY and London.
Jon Frank is the artist of the ocean image.
His twenty-year career has seen him work as a photographer and cinematographer across the globe. Jon has photographed and directed the surfing films ‘Litmus’, ‘Super Computer’ and 2 x World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning’s biopic ‘Mick, Myself & Eugene’. Previous commercial clients include Rip Curl, Red Bull, Disney and Sprite (France).
For the past twelve years Jon has worked as senior photographer for Surfing World Magazine (Australia). His images have been featured in numerous magazines and books including his own Waves of the Sea (1999). Jon’s photography has been exhibited in Slovenia, Portugal, USA and Australia. He has also been the recipient of several awards, including World Extreme Sports Film of the Year at the NEA Awards, Best Cinematography & Photo of the Year at the Surfer Poll and Video Awards (USA) and Surfing Photograph of the Year at the Australian Surfing Awards.
In 2009 Jon collaborated with Richard Tognetti (Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra) and select members from the Slovene Philharmonic for ‘The Glide’, a concert of ocean-related imagery set to classical music. ‘The Glide’ was also performed to sell-out audiences in Sydney and Melbourne as part of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s 2011 season.
In September 2010 Jon and Richard Tognetti premiered a new concert titled ‘The Crowd’. The work examines the nature of the crowd, in its many manifestations, both human in the in the natural world. It looks at sport, feasting, mating – forms of congregation that bring people together in a common purpose but which also highlight the aloneness, the solitariness and the independence that often resides at the heart of the crowd.
During 2011 Jon has once again collaborated with Tognetti on a concert called ‘Nothing’ which was premiered in Slovenia in September. ‘Nothing’ again features stirring and hypnotic video projections scored to live classical performance and features performances by soprano Aleksandra Zamojska & Barry Humphries.
Mickey Smith is based in Ireland and is one of the world’s best up and coming surf cinematographer / photographers, having been acknowledged with an incredible array of awards within the last 12 months.
Having been primarily a photographer, his debut film production entitled ‘Dark Side of the Lens’ has created quite a stir among the art and film community, having been recognized with an incredible amount of awards.
Mickey works consistently with musician Ben Howard and has produced music videos for his songs.
Winner – Best Cinematography, Rhode Island International Film Festival, 2011
Winner – Best Cinematography, 5Point Film Festival 2011
Winner – Grand Prize – Chamonix Film Festival 2011
Winner – Best Short – New York Surf Film Festival 2011
Winner – Digital short of the Year, Surfer Poll
Winner – Relentless Short Stories 2011
Winner – Amstel Surf Film Festival, People’s Choice Award
Winner – Best Short, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
Winner – Best International Short, Canadian Surf Film Festival
Patrick Trefz is a unique cinematograph/photographer/author who consistently works in the medium of merging surf, surf lifestyle and art.
He has undertaken film and photographic exhibitions throughout the world over the last 15 years including the Los Angeles Film Festival, New York City Film Festival, the Moonshine Festival at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts as well as a exhibition with artist Wolfgang Bloch in California.
As a film maker, Patrick has produced three critically acclaimed films – Bicycle Trip, Thread and most recently, Idiosyncrasies.
Patrick has also published a number of books to support his work.
In his continuing quest to merge surf culture and art, Patrick cites numerous influences from each side of those worlds, from Rick Griffin, Jim Phillips and Keith Herring through to Marcelle DuChamp, Giacometti, Ansell Adams and Art Brewer and many more.
Mick Waters’ road to surfing has always been about long journeys. Born in Western Sydney, Mick arrived late into surfing but this has shaped his desire and outlook on the lifestyle he loves. After a major football injury and completing the safer option of a Graphic Design degree, Mick decided to pursue his dream of documenting surfing and the people he believed best portrayed it.
His movie, ‘Believe’ (2007), was an incredibly rich experience and highlighted an honest style of movie making which brought back the simple art of making one feel good about their surfing life. His images reflect back to those pure child-like feelings that surf trips and surfing give us deep within our unconscious.
A road trip film, ‘Little Black Wheels’ (2009), followed Mick’s romantic journey around Australia diving deep into our country's genuine characters and brought all the same realness and sweetness to the screen.
Mick’s understated technical camera skills, unique eye and his fearless water footage are evident in ‘Spirit of Akasha’. The opportunity to work on this film is a career highlight.
Mick is currently in Tasmania - one year into an 18 month trip around Australia with his wife and three children.
Mick has contributed to:
‘Ulu 32’, Steve Cooney
‘Lost in the Ether’, Andrew Kidman
‘The Present’, Thomas Campbell
‘A Deeper Shade of Blue’, Jack McCoy
‘Idiosyncrasies’, Patrick Trefz
‘Uncharted Waters – The Personal Tale of Wayne Lynch’, Craig Griffin