I’m guessing that a convoy of surfers traipsing around the coastline had a pretty big impact on the local scenes?
From what we’ve been told, the locals were pretty blown away, especially the teens and the burgeoning surfers in France, Spain, and Morocco. The traveling surfers brought surf style, fashion, music, and attitude with them. They inspired local surfers to not only get in the water, but to travel for themselves, finding their own perfect spot and experiencing foreign cultures and, in many cases, a sense of freedom that they didn’t have at home, as both Spain and Portugal were still under military dictatorships until the late '70s.
Have you being doing the road trip in the traditional way: no charts, no satellite navigation, no budget?
I would love to romantically claim that we’re doing the road trip in a 1960s style [“Only looking at the school atlas for directions, reading a couple of shared surf magazines for breaks, and watching the latest surf film in the local village hall to learn how to surf said breaks” – British surfing champion Linda Sharp], but we’re not! We’re taking on a big project that’s meant a lot of traveling and planning, so we’re playing it safe, equipped with reliable vehicles, using satellite navigation, and we’re shooting all of our new footage in 4K. Sorry!
Okay, so our road trip may be a 21st-century cop-out, but it’s not really about us: it’s about finding the people who first did this trip, who first found the breaks that are now world-renowned, and finding the people whom they inspired to surf and to hit the road themselves. It’s their stories and archive footage that will bring the film to life. We’re just trying to pull it all together and show off just how diverse and beautiful Europe is.
That said, we haven’t based our shoot dates on the charts. We’ve just hit the road and gradually made our way south, spending time with the right people to get a sense of each individual surf scene. Some spots we’ve scored, some we’ve missed, but that would have been the nature of the beast back in the day.
The wonder of shooting in this way was turning up at a spot when it was pumping, and nowhere was this more amazing than at Mundaka. We rolled into Europe’s most celebrated surf town in April - almost two months later than we planned, so surely we’d missed the winter swells? Nope, we landed just as the best swell of the year rolled in, and the icing on the cake was that it was also Kepa Acero's homecoming. We had arranged to meet Kepa at the Bilbao bus station as he returned from his latest adventure in the Galapagos Islands. We met up with him, got some sleep, and then woke up to two days of pumping Mundaka, a dream situation and one that had us all grinning from ear to ear for the next five days. Just a little slice of what the early surfers felt when they rocked up at a new and unknown spot when it was firing, no doubt, but we’ll take it.