A major part of the film focuses on the preparation and training that goes into your trips, especially for the water rescue teams, who rarely get any love.
The advancement of big-wave surfing is directly influenced by the progression of [water safety teams]. Swell after swell after swell, they’re pulling guys from the impact zone, keeping them safe, keeping them healthy, and helping them prepare for what's next. We wanted to show exactly what goes into it and why this is important. Without them, big-wave surfing wouldn’t have seen this incredible spike in progression over these last few years.
Now, obviously a lot of it is a testament to the talent in the water, but it’s also the talent on the skis, minimizing the severe risks as best we can. You can’t control much in big waves—shit’s going to happen, shit’s going to go wrong. But if you can minimize those risks, you should. I wanted to communicate why we go through the training we do, and why we prepare for these days the way that we do. You see why that work is required, and on the payoff, you see why it’s worth it. At the end of the day, we want to push ourselves, but we want everyone to come home at the end of the day. None of it should come at the cost of someone’s life.
Do people recognize how miraculous it is that no one’s drowned or has died at places like Jaws or Mavericks recently? I mean, we’ve seen some of the most historic massive swells in recorded surfing history throughout the last few years, and certainly the most impressive big-wave surfing. That no one has died does seem incredible.
I haven’t really taken a step back to think about that. What a testament to the work of these teams. Greg [Long] drowned, but survived. Aaron [Gold] drowned, but they were able to save him. And that’s all from the ability of the rescue teams to grab someone onto the ski, get them out of the impact zone and somewhere safe, and perform CPR, with a really concise plan in place. Because that scenario - we’ve all been there. We understand how to deal with the situation and how to get these guys to the next level of care.
And a lot of times, the teams don't get the recognition. You don’t see the rescue guys in the mags, you don’t see them in the movies. But they’re out there, putting their lives at risk to save somebody when help is needed.