A Talk With Ian Walsh On His New Movie

This is Ian Walsh. He does this for fun. Photo: Brent.

Ian Walsh is coming out with a new movie. It’s called Distance Between Dreams.

If I were to speculate, and I’ve been known to do my fair share of speculatin’, I’d say DBD will be the surf movie that rivals Step into Liquid in terms of mass appeal. But that’s not to say it will be anything south of awesome.

Because Ian Walsh is a rad dude. He absolutely rips on a 6’0 (see: Stranger than Fiction), but prefers the heftiness of a 9’0. He’s made a career out of this big-wave gig through the help of companies like Red Bull, and he’s also made a hell of a lot of fans along the way. Fans who, very soon, will be graced with the spectacle that is Distance Between Dreams.

I decided to talk with Ian a bit about the film, to help get the details out and to help get everyone psyched. Because as I said before, this thing is gonna be awesome. – Michael Ciaramella

The man himself. Photo: Brent.

Surfing: How long have you been working on Distance Between Dreams?
Ian Walsh: The film has been years in the making, but we fully dove into production last year. The big swells of last summer and winter were when the majority of the filming occurred.

S: What type of vision do you have for this film?
IW: This film offers an understanding of and chance to experience from a first-person perspective what’s going on when we’re surfing big waves. From the fear to the danger and the excitement, we want people, even those who will never come close to waves close to this big, an opportunity to feel what we feel from our vantage point.

S: Where did you film for the movie?
IW: A lot of the movie is filmed in Hawaii, because the waves were so good at home last winter. It was hard to get away, because swell after swell after swell rolled in. We also went to a couple secret spots both during the summer and winter. We originally planned to spend more time looking for a new spot, but the way the waves played out kept us locked to Jaws.

S: Who's helping you produce the film?
IW: Distance Between Dreams is a Red Bull Media House production, directed by Rob Bruce, in association with Freeride Entertainment.

S: What other surfers were involved with this film?
IW: My three brothers Luke, D.K., and Shaun are enormous parts of my life, both in and out of the water, so they have big roles in the film. Beyond them are some of the other surfers that are in my immediate world including Shane Dorian, Greg Long, John Florence, and a few others mixed in.

Ian always seems to position himself juuuust right. Photo: Brent.

S: Does this film get into your personal life or is it all action-based?
IW: It is both. It's a 360-degree view of my world, which includes a lot of action, but also the personal aspects that build into the big days. We wanted to show in a captivating way exactly what goes into chasing these waves, all the time and energy and whatnot. You'll leave the filming having learned a lot about the world of big wave surfing and how my life is built around that.

S: What is your favorite big wave to surf?
IW: Definitely Jaws. I feel strongly that there are other better waves out there, but we don't have access to those yet. I would like to explore and try to find those waves, but for right now Jaws is definitely my number one.

S: Is there any towing in this film? Or are you against towing entirely at this stage?
IW: It's all paddle, but we will touch back a little bit about how we ended up where we are with paddling now, which obviously involved jet skis. I'm not anti-tow by any means. I like many aspect of paddling into big waves, well really all waves, but there are certain waves you simply can't paddle into, like maxing Teahupo'o or sometimes even Jaws when it's gigantic and super windy.

S: Who is the best big wave surfer in the world?
IW: It's hard to look past Shane Dorian. He's an insane surfer, even when looking past his incredible knack for big wave surfing. His ability to surf small waves, his conditioning, his desire to ride some of the biggest waves in the world, and the way that he rides them are all pretty unique.

S: When is this movie set to release?
IW: Distance Between Dreams comes out this December, the world premiere will be on Maui, November 26, then to Oahu on December 2.

You don’t want to miss this.