There aren’t too many 20-year-olds like Cyrus Sutton. Like many surfers who sit in the line-up staring into a daydream, transforming themselves into the writer/producer of their very own Endless Summer, Sutton’s idea for his debut surf film, Riding Waves started in the water. But few individuals possess the discipline to follow their dreams, and fewer get the opportunity to have their wave-riding heroes star in their dream project. Young Sutton did. For the past year and a half he’s traded opportunities to party with friends for early morning dawn patrols behind the camera. Instead of chasing girls, he chose the solitude of an edit bay, and rather than hit mom and pop up for dough, he took out a hefty loan from the bank. It wasn’t easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
The hardest part was tracking down five of the most diverse personalities in the surfing cosmos: Joel Tudor, Rob Machado, Dane Reynolds, Donovan Frankenreiter and John Peck, then selling them on the project. Personal sacrifice and discipline aside, sometimes you have to have a little luck helps in this area. When Cyrus was still in the planning stages of the film he was casually perusing through the board rack in a San Diego surf shop when he spotted Rob Machado who, coincidentally, was inspecting the same equipment. Sutton introduced himself as an aspiring filmmaker and surprisingly, Machado showed immediate interest in the project. Machado was so impressed with young Sutton that he eventually signed on as the executive producer of the film. With Rob’s weight behind it Steelehouse Distribution offered its well-connected distribution services, and suddenly Riding Waves had legitimate legs to stand on.
As far as Sutton’s attitude towards the release of Riding Waves he comments, “Waves travel a great distance across the ocean. When that wave–that opportunity–finally arrives, it’s your chance to shine. You may blow the take-off, but you never know what will happen until you turn around and start paddling…it could be the ride of your life.”
Be sure to check out this month’s video review of Riding Waves (SURFER pg 146 Vol. 44#12) for more details about the film itself, or click on this Riding Waves link to to view clips of the film.