I got the call...or rather the text...that we were on for shooting in just two days. I'm learning that's how things work in this biz. Everything is last minute and you squeeze it all into one day. Since the content of the shooting right now is my training, for me, that meant surfing, paddling, working out and swimming all in one day. This was almost a week ago now and i'm still recovering, feeling the after affects of an insane day...and for an insane person to call a day insane tells you how beyond normal perception the level of exertion had to be.
The producers showed up at my place not early but not late, about mid morning. We discussed the plan, they played around with the equipment (which the technology of blows my mind) and we began shooting promptly. First priority on the shot list was surfing and everything involved, so after a few life b-roll shots, they captured me loading my big ass board into my 4-Runner and we were down at the beach pretty quickly. The day before, the surf was overhead and the dark sky swirled around. Now, not even 24 hours later, the small surf gently lapped the shore and the sun warmed everything. Much different. Not exciting surf conditions, but perfect light for our project.
Now, i can get my board to and from the water completely solo, but it doesn't happen very often. On a given day, i show up at the beach and 90% of the time some benevolent stranger grabs my board for me. That's the beauty of Cardiff...the people. This day, although i was surrounded by film crew, we were documenting my lone plight to and from the water so no help whatsoever. Depending on the tide, getting down to the water involves a few hundred bar dips. Now, add weight. Dragging the board is a whole other ball game. Especially, when i get down to the sticky wet sand. Like i said, i got this. No big deal, but in a given day that's it. I do that and i'm done. Hot shower, lunch and maybe a nap. No cycling, pull-ups and swimming after. This day meant all the above. You see where this is heading?
The water always feels refreshing at first touch. It covers my hands as i maneuver over the sand and instant excitement always rushes through me no matter what the conditions. I love the ocean. This session was fun and mellow. Small playful waves and the comforting warmth of the sun making it all that much nicer. A telephoto lens on the shore and a waterproof camera at the break captured it all. Even my first little lipper i've ever done since sitting down out there. My roommate and i took off on a waist high right together and as it closed out between us i thought 'I want to put my board up on that lip.' So i did. I bottom turned, propelled my board up the wave and the crashing whitewater rebounded me back into it. After the reentry, the left reformed and i rode it almost all the way to the sand smiling. My first lipper as a butt boarder. It feels good to be getting better.
We shot some paddling, some wipe outs in the shore break and then the hike back up the beach. I feel like a sea turtle inching along. Only i don't have any eggs to lay, just a seriously large board and an unshakeable resolve to get from point A to B regardless. After a hot shower and lunch it was time to head to the gym. Physically, i was spent already, but didn't say anything. This had to be done.
The first shots at the the gym were of the stationary hand bike. I love this thing. Honestly, i call it the lab rat cycle. That's how i feel. Everyone stares and the fluorescent light blares down. Its not inspiring to me, but it is my version of a pure workout. I always talk about the simplicity of throwing on running shoes and heading out the door. That's beauty and i miss it sometimes. Everything involves massive gear and a shit load of preparation, except this. I roll up and start cranking. Simplicity returns.
Now, the director wanted me red faced, sweating and grunting so although i wasn't supposed to get a workout doing this, we turned up the intensity to get it right. After 25 minutes or so, they got the shots and i got tired. Next came pull-ups. Yikes. "Really guys?" Yes, this was happening. After 50 or so pull-ups they got the shots and i wanted to collapse into a little ball in my mommy's lap, but did my best to keep my composure. I might have been tired, but i has happy. Stoked as could be filming what i believe to the purpose for my little life here on this Earth. Fueled by passion, i gritted my teeth and we headed out to the pool to film some laps. I had a little left in the tank still.
At first, i was disappointed because it was now late in the day, the sun was setting and i felt the light was no longer good. Not only that, but the pool was full of people and commotion and i thought the producers would be bummed. A water polo game, shrill whistles, crowd noise, an obnoxious father, swim lessons, lap swimmers, nervous mothers, old men in speedos, lifeguards switching shifts...it all seemed overwhelming, but once the pool lights flicked on the shot became me doing my thing at all hours in the midst of it all. Brilliant.
One producer was in the water with me and i felt as if we were dancing. We've shot together quite a bit now and work really well together. He bosses me around and i like it. No questions. No bullshit. I get clear direction from him and know exactly what he wants. He doesn't need to make it flowery and nice for me and i respect that. This was different though. We were in the silent water passing smoothly within millimeters seamlessly anticipating the other's intentions. I loved it. I'm not gonna lie though. My left arm did not like it. It got very angry and was screaming at me to stop. This was very close to my threshold. By the time we finished, i could barely lift myself out of the pool and the hot tub never felt better.
From there, the crew setup a makeshift studio at my place where we collected some VOs and filler shots. A hot spicy chai giving me a slightly rejuvenated edge, just enough caffeine to be dynamic in front of the camera despite my affliction with a nearly comatosed state.
All-in-all, the day was a success and i'm excited to see the teaser edit when its all finished. It should gain tons of support for the Drop In Project. To read more check out www.facebook.com/dropinproject. Like it if you like it and spread the word.
Thanks for being interesting and staying interested. Ski ya later!