Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Braving the Storm and Surf

From an article in the Otago Daily Times By Tracey Roxburgh on Tue, 20 Jul 2010

Most people avoid storms, but one Queenstown man spent about a month recently actively chasing them with two keen Australian surfers to film their adventures for the Discovery Channel.

35MM Ltd location scout and photographer Daz Caulton said he and a crew of nine others, including Australian director Justin McMillan, spent a month intermittently filming "storm surfers" Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones in action around the West Coast and the southern South Island.

Carroll is a two-time world champion big wave surfer and Clarke-Jones had "won heaps of titles" in the sport.

"They chase storms around the world and they worked out the science behind them. "There's only a limited few that are brave enough to do it and get the skill and the know-how to do it.

"They're hitting their 50s. "They've been surfing since they were little grommits." Storm Surfers examines the phenomenon of big waves, the science behind them, the adventure of chasing them and the surfers who ride them in conditions which could kill.

Storm Surfers - Dangerous Banks premiered in 2008 on the Discovery Channel in Australia and across Asia. It was a huge success and has since gone on to sell into Europe and North America

Mr Caulton said in New Zealand the group headed to Port Craig, on Southland's west coast, where the weather front was so bad the local crayfisherman wouldn't head out.

However, Mr Caulton said the storm did not deter Carroll and Clarke-Jones, who headed out on a jet ski and surfed waves up to 40ft (12m) high. The pair also surfed Barn Bay, near Jackson Bay on the West Coast, which Mr Caulton said had never been done before due to the difficulty accessing it.

"At Barn Bay there were 20 footers ... it was absolutely horrendous. When we opened the helicopter door there was hail coming in, it was 5degC and the wind chill was about -2degC." The group also headed into the back-country ski areas, where they were towed by snowmobiles riding snowboards.

On Lake Wakatipu, they were towed by a helicopter and reached a speed of 41 knots, thought to be a world record. Mr Caulton said they also intended to go to Yates Pt on the West Coast of Fiordland, but were forced to turn back after heavy snow closed the road.

"Hannibal [Hayes] took us on a flight at Milford. "There were diggers in there [clearing the snow], so we filmed that. "We went up with Hannibal and he set off some avalanches in the back-country. "It's going to be one wicked show." The only casualty during filming was a jet ski, which almost sunk at sea. Mr Caulton said the camera rig was "ripped out" and the jet ski began to sink. However, a mad dash to the shore saved the jet ski, which was repaired and sent back out again.

Storm Surfers screens on Wedesdays at 8.30pm on the Discovery Channel (Sky digital channel 70). It's repeated on Thursdays at 3.30am and 10.30am, Saturdays at 2.30am and 9.30pm and Sundays at 4.30pm.



phoam surf blog Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Art Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template