Psychic Migrations – Come with us behind the scenes
With cutting edge surfing and amazing art direction Volcom’s films have cut a swathe through surf culture since 1993. Their latest is set to be let loose in September. Come with us behind the scenes and chat to Mitch and Ozzie some of the main protagonists.
What’s it like to be in a Volcom movie? As a kid BS was the highlight of my career. Everything I’d ever done surfing it all came down to that … it was the pinnacle. It’s all downhill from here.
Did the old movies like Magnaplasm inspire you as a grom? I remember watching them all and thinking ‘that would be the coolest thing in the world.’ Not getting into specifics of particular movies but even before I was sponsored being in a Volcom movie seemed liked the ultimate. To end up being sponsored and appearing in them now is mad. It was a pivotal moment when it came to figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
The films helped you get to where you are now? For sure. It gave me a level to achieve.I wanted to be Dustin Cuizon so badly. Then when I was on the team I got two waves in Creepy Fingers. It’s not what I wanted but to be featured as a kid was huge. I was still stoked. Any young kid would be. You’re being showcased on a world wide stage. I’m still so grateful to be involved in anything they do.
How is being in Indo filming with Ozzie Wright… Ozzie’s 156 Tricks from my childhood memories … was so different. I had a whole wall of his photos and art. Pretty baffling that I’m here now on a trip with him filming for a section.
He’s still a big influence? He’s certainly got longevity… He’s a legend. An actual legend. If I can get a section in a movie when I’m nearing my forties… He’s still reinventing himself. He’s still surfing more than anyone on this boat trip and having more fun than anyone. Surfing all kinds of boards … whether it’s one foot or whatever. He’s stoked if he’s doing the biggest air of the day or a cheater five.
Stoked to be working with RT on this project? I’m excited for this movie. He has a vision. We are all working towards the same goal. I can’t wait to see it unfold. I want to do more trips, film more with this crew, get the best I can for the film. I’m really excited too see how it turns out. You’re involved with what he’s trying to accomplish, you’re part of the film, rather than a puppet on a string.
Best filming trip? Definitely South Australia with Ozzie. Just us two in the water. Pretty low key, it’s an isolated spot, you don’t get many camera crews allowed down there. It was a privilege. We partied with the locals, the waves were just insane, it’s the sickest spot. We all got to embrace the real Australia. I love going to the desert. That was the best for me.
Tell us about Carlos Munoz? Everyone on this trip has baffled me in some way … in the way that they surf. I’ve been surfing with him a few years now and even more than Dane Reynolds he is the most sporadic surfer in the world. You never know what the kid is going to do when he takes off on a wave.
How about Yago? Intimidating to surf with him? (Mitch does a hearty laugh) He’s out there every second of the day doing back flips. As soon as the boat pulls up he’s out there. You can’t even try and comprehend. You just have to stick to your own game plan. He will blow you out of the water nine times out of ten. I’m just trying to keep up now with the way that everyone’s surfing. He’s definitely proven to me over and over again he’s the future. One of the coolest kids coming out of Brazil and I’m stoked on the path he’s taking. He’s doing it right and I’m stoked to be working with him. The kid’s insane.
Droid? He is been my favourite surfer to watch on this trip. So different to everyone else. It makes you think about the way you surf. He shapes boards for specific turns that he wants to do?! The shit that he does is so different to anything I’d ever try. It’s just baffling.
Miguel Tudela? Peru’s pretty sick. He did two flips the other day at Lance’s Right which was pretty baffling. I was all ‘it’s perfect flip conditions’ the kid went out and did two. I was all ‘right, I’m going back to the boat!’ I’ve known him for a few years and the worldwide crew from all over are so sick. He’s been ripping the whole trip.
How do you see your career path if you weren’t with Volcom? I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I would probably not be surfing. I’d be [email protected] What we’ve been trying to accomplish in all parts of my career they’ve been amazing. It’s the raddest thing in the world.
What was your first impression of Volcom films? The first film I watched was ‘Alive We Ride’ before I rode for Volcom and my friend Spillsy surfed for them and was like the first Aussie rider in there and I was like ‘Oh my God.’ It changed the way I looked at everything and it was the first time I had ever seen such awesome youth. I don’t know, it just made me want to shred so much. It changed my life. I had to ride for Volcom and I was stoked when I got to. I think they are just the best movies they are cult classics … So much heart and soul.
The trips I have done for the films have taken me to the next level. I mean I got to go on trips with people like the late Barney Barron. Barney was such a big influence on me. He was the life of the party in and out of the water every day. If you were surfing with Barney it was like being at party. Every wave he surfed made me laugh my head off. He was always painting and drawing and just being hilarious. I did crazy trips with Bruce Irons and he was shredding … it was awesome.
What do you think about this movie? I can’t wait to see it. The Volcom team is in a really awesome spot. The characters in the team are massive and everyone has a really good personality and surf with a lot of character so yeah I can’t wait to see it.
What do you think of Mitch? Mitch is heavy hitter. He don’t muck around, he wants serious shit. If the surf isn’t the best best waves you have ever seen he just stays asleep. He gets lots of sleep and that’s good for health and healing and when he does surf like three foot he does airs that are like five feet. He does he biggest airs, it’s sick. Mitch rips.
What do you think of Yago? Yago is like a freak of nature. He’s like ‘Robotron’. He is 16 and six feet tall, his bones are made of rubber even though they have broken. He rips everything. He is cross between Damian Hardman and Christian Fletcher. He can do eight turns to the beach and the craziest airs you have ever seen. He’s an absolute freak.
Carlos? Costa Rica’s finest. Looks like a palm tree and surfs like a God! He’s classic!
Droid? Droid is one the biggest natural talents the world has seen. He is super humble and the natural ability inside of him is another level. It is so instinctual. He can play the guitar like a freak and he can surf with pure instinct. It is really good to watch. He fits the wave, there’s no thinking, he is an animal.
What’s this trip been like and what’s it like to be a veteran on the team now? It’s been a really cool ride and the flavour of the South and Central Americans … to have that international vibe is amazing. They come from such different backgrounds. As an Aussie we are brought up on the Aussies and Americans owning all the media and whatever you see, so it is good to see the guys having the chance to display their moves and personalities and I think it will bring something new. I would love to know all about these guys and where they grew up as opposed to us who grew up in first world countries like spoilt brats. A lot of these guys come from places where they had to fight so hard for anything and you can see it in the lineup … they are working so hard.
Who are your favourite guys that you have filmed with over the years? Gavin Beschen who is one of the most unique individuals I have ever met. He’s a really inspirational guy but you will never got to the bottom of him. You will never figure him out. And then we had like Brad Anderson who filmed ‘Computer Body’ in Australia who was really funny. Somedays you would look at the surf and it was would be really good and you’d be like ‘Where’s Brad?’ and he would have like disappeared into town an hour’s drive away to pay for some exotic massages.
156 Tricks was sick because I met ‘Hollywood’ who was making movies way before iMovie and the like. We call him ‘Hollywood’ because he was he only person we knew that could make movies! Then he decided he didn’t want to travel around the world visiting amazing places for a year filming, so I had a friend ‘Cowboy’ who was like one of my oldest buddies and a cabinet maker, so we hired him! We had one day in France where I surfed a shorey and I was having a full shorey bash and it ended up with like 50-60 people all on the beach screaming and applauding and it was like best session of year. Cowboy was in the next town shacked up with a beautiful French woman. I couldn’t blame him … But I was definitely bummed! But he did a great job on that film. He is the kind of guy that can do anything, modelling, filming, cabinet making, drumming.
Do you think that part of surfing is gone: party first and everything else falls into place, instead of work your brains out until they are fried? I do feel it is so professional now and everyone has to try so hard. There is something to be said about living your life and surfing when you are in the mood and capturing it when the planets come together. You just get that special feel. Like you can have surfing as a job but I don’t think you should ever feel it is a job. It should be a celebration of how you feel. Volcom has always embodied that and captured the life we live.
How has surfing for Volcom affected your life? For me it was almost like college. I quit school and hooked up with Volcom and luckily it wasn’t a bunch of robots doing their job, it was a bunch of artists that were so into everything: music, art, surf and skate. There were so many mentors who schooled me on everything I need to know. I wouldn’t be half he person I am now without their help.
What has this Indo trip been like? The surf hasn’t been that great a lot of the time so this trip has been a little like a slumber party with 15 dudes all wrapped up in blankets in a dark a room with the air-con on watching movie after movie after American teen movie. The other day was hilarious, Yago said, ‘Hey you guys, what’s a boner?’ Haha! He opened a Pandora’s Box of ‘A boner is…’ and fifty words to describe it. We had a boner-thesaurus.
So one filming trip went to South Oz which is a really sharky. How does it feel being a father surfing these places? It is pretty unnerving to surf these places. The first day we had to surf a spot where I know a kid had been killed. And my leggy broke and I had to swim across the channel worrying about being eaten by a shark. The second day we came in and Nate, one of the filmers, was like, ‘Did you see that Great White, there was a 20 footer right there. I would have screamed but you guys were already coming in.’ I looked down the beach and saw a 20 foot Great White jump out of the water and eat a seal. It is pretty frightening, no one is ever in the water and the waves are incredible but … every beach you go to there is a remembrance plaque where someone has been eaten by a shark. So the ratio is terrible. It is scary. For me now as a family man with two children I definitely self preserve a lot more than I used to and try to stay alive as long as I can. So surfing death defying waves I’m over it! And sharks … I don’t like them!
Article is from Carve Magazine #162. Buy it here.