Electric Wave is a “true blend of midnight magic” as Audi teams up with Convicts Media, Collider Studios and director Dan Askill at Kelly Slater’s California surf ranch…
The rolling deep of the ocean is a wild and ferocious beast. Capturing her on film has historically presented a challenge to surfing filmmakers. The elusive perfect wave is an enigma sought after at surf spots worldwide. Something eleven-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater says he’s been “chasing all my life”.
So what happens when the search leads to hot and arid California, with three of the world’s top female surfers, one of Australia’s most innovative arthouse film directors, a hauntingly beautiful symphwave soundtrack and a world-class leader in innovative and sustainable technology? To put it simply, it’s electrifying.
Electric Wave presents the boundless possibilities of electric-powered technology in collaboration with Stephanie Gilmore, Coco Ho and Leah Dawson as they dance across iridescent waves located more than 100 km from the nearest beach.
Looking raw and stripped back compared to the bright and sunny disposition we have come to love in Stephanie Gilmore, she cuts a lone figure as she swirls across the water, the accompanying soundtrack adding an otherworldly element to the scene. Despite looking effortless, the prospect of capturing the cosmic elegance of the human body on a wave, at midnight had Stephanie, Coco and Leah musing about the challenges of the endeavour.
As they headed out to Slater’s ranch in the new Audi e-Tron, tasked with performing the intimate dance between a surfer and wave, perfectly in sync with one another, Stephanie discusses the challenge with Coco and Leah. They all agree, “It’ll be beautiful… if we can pull it off”.
Obviously, shooting in the water at night means there needs to be light. A lot of it. Lighting up such a huge expanse of water was a challenge for the team; one that would result in a stunning juxtaposition of the inky night sky of Lemoore, California against the white-tipped turquoise waters of the 670 by the 83-metre pool, the artificial wave created by harnessing the power of the sun.
In order to “showcase the beauty of electric” the girls were filmed using the most “advanced piece of surfing technology in the world” over ten hours, from 5 pm until 7 am at Slater’s ranch. The partnership between Kelly Slater Wave Co and Surf Ranch, with Audi as its Official Automotive Partner, aligned in their views on sustainable energy, allowed award-winning Australian director Dan Askill, Convicts CEO & Executive Producer Peter Maiden, Gilmore, Ho and Dawson to create the unique film which is “the first of its kind”.
Slater’s revolutionary technology generates the waves and allows every variable of creating the perfect wave to be controlled. As a result, his ranch is regarded as the home to the best man-made wave in the world.
While Slater is pushing the boundaries in the water, Audi is pushing them on the road, set to release their first foray into an all-electric car – the Audi e-Tron, this year. As the world increasingly turns its focus on renewable, sustainable energy, Electric Wave showcases the limitless possibilities such a focus can have on the future of surfing.
The search for that once in a lifetime, an idyllic wave that for so many, remains elusive, is now possible with the progression of technology in 2020.
With plans to bring a second surf ranch to Australia’s Sunshine Coast in 2021, Slater has considered the impact it may have on surfing; “as it evolves more and more, someone could sit down with the software, and someone who know’s what they’re doing and go, ‘Ok, why don’t we try this, this and this?’, and I think that’s the really cool thing about it”.
While he admits, “there is a purity in just getting in your car, driving down the coast, finding a nice wave and just going surfing every day, it’s a pretty personal thing you know?” he has overcome the “funny feeling of being able to find that perfect wave, the one we search all over the world for, at the touch of a button”. Slater explains that his ranch provides people with “another way to go surfing”.
As the azure wave rolls towards the crew shooting from land, a full moon hangs overhead and the ethereal figures of Stephanie, Coco and Leah emerge in perfect, graceful unison to the tones of an original score by Japanese composer and Malibu surfer, Aska Matsumiya.
Taking to her Instagram, Stephanie shared her thoughts of combining the purity of “just going surfing” while also celebrating “the beauty of electric” through working alongside a “true artist” mixing the “craft of surfing with his expertise” as well as a brand who “supports you career and shares in your message”. Describing the experience as a “true blend of midnight magic, this film portrays the beauty of sustainable progression”.
Driving out towards the ranch, Coco Ho, the youngest woman ever to qualify for the World Surf League muses; “The body does look so naturally cool surfing. Nobody’s ever focused on just the body on a wave because they’re trying to rip”. The film concludes with Stephanie seeming to fly through the barrel of the wave, before leaping into the unknown depths of a new surfing world, a figure of strength, grace and power.
What a ride it’s been on this stunning Electric Wave, a special thank you to the team behind this truly groundbreaking project
Directed by Daniel Askill (@danielaskill)
Images by Todd Glaser (@toddglaser)
Location: Kelly Slater Wave Co (@kswaveco)