Surfline's 'Pipeline And Kelly Slater: Oakley Wave Of The Winter' Screens At Newport Beach Film Festival
Every winter season Hawaii's North Shore buzzes with talk of the "wave of the winter." It's the epic ride surfers chase every year for as long as most can remember. Four years ago Foothill Ranch-based Oakley and Huntington Beach's own Surfline decided to reward surfers who risk their lives annually at Pipeline for the ultimate wave. This year, Surfline's documentary showcasing the 2013-2014 contest made it into the Newport Beach Film Festival lineup. While the 32-minute film can be viewed online, it should absolutely be experienced on the big screen.
The Oakley Wave of the Winter, powered by Surfline, crowns the surfer who successfully rides the single best wave during the contest period on the North Shore. Judges analyze countless rides and hours of footage, selecting monthly winners, then plucking one name from the group of finalists to print on the $25,000 check. With an unbelievable ride at Pipeline during the 2013-2014 stretch, 11-time ASP World Tour Champion Kelly Slater scooped up the honor, along with the $20,000 Clif Bar Overall Performance Award.
Surfline's feature, "Pipeline and Kelly Slater: Oakley Wave of the Winter," details why Slater beat out fellow surfers Jamie O'Brien (2014-2015 winner), Torrey Meister, and Reef McIntosh (2011-2012 winner), mixing in stunning clips of curling barrels kissed by rainbows, rippling swells, and interviews with some of the best talent in the water—all set to a soundtrack of artful sound design and sweet beats. We hear from judges Pancho Sullivan, Ross Williams, and Gerry Lopez, as well as O'Brien, McIntosh, Meister, Kalani Chapman, Mason Ho, Matt Bromley, Makua Rothman, Ricardo Dos Santos (2012-2013 winner), Anthony Walsh, and of course, Slater himself. The athletes speak passionately about the sport, its competitive and motivational camaraderie, and Slater's legendary skills, some struggling to define the ideal wave of the winter.
Meister says in the docu of Slater's winning ride, "Obviously, Kelly's wave was insane. The way he rode it, I don't think anyone else in the world could've done that. It was out of control. It was beyond human."
Kevin Wallis, Surfline's lead forecaster, even steps in front of the camera to explain why Oahu's North Shore is the most epic surfing wonder in the world. Surfline Director of Video Content Marc Beaty, who also directed the docu, wants viewers to not only walk away with an elevated respect for surfers who brave the North Shore, but also an understanding of the geological and oceanic factors responsible for the dramatic, consistent swell.
The bulk of the footage from November 2013 through January 2014 was shot by a combination of cameras, including drones and GoPros, submitted by filmmakers, cut with b-roll and interviews rolled by the Surfline team, who also managed, with much determination, to capture the exact moment when Slater learns he's won. The project, which flew through post in roughly two to three weeks, was "challenging," says Beaty, who remains surprised and humbled that the film won a spot at the festival.
"Pipeline and Kelly Slater: Oakley Wave of the Winter" screens as part of the Newport Beach Film Festival at The Triangle in Costa Mesa on Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m. for $14. Details here; tickets here.
This film is not only for surfers. It's for anyone who loves the sport, who's passionate about something, and who waits patiently for the bliss on the tail of chaos.