AERO THEATRE — Santa Monicans who have yet to grab a board and surf can come close to the experience of riding a big wave at the Aero Theatre’s screening of “Storm Surfers 3D” this weekend.
Flying over from Australia, the film’s stars Tom Carroll, two-time world surfing champion, and Ross Clarke-Jones, big wave surfing pioneer, will hold a discussion after Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. screening.
The documentary chronicles the duo’s four month expedition across the Great Southern Ocean using meteorologist Ben Matson’s technology to hunt down the biggest and most dangerous swells Down Under.
A press release of the film noted that the crew made the 3D cameras used to capture all the action out at sea specifically for the documentary, which Clarke-Jones said helped make it a must-see for anyone who has not surfed before.
“They can actually ride a wave, quite a big wave, without the risk of drowning,” Clarke-Jones told the Daily Press earlier this week.
While the 3D cinematography added a unique element to the final product, Carroll — who has worked with Clarke-Jones on several 2D film projects — said that the filmmaking process became a hassle with more equipment and the need to frequently wait for a crew of about 25 people to set up in the middle of the ocean.
“Mother nature never waits for anyone,” Carroll said.
Regardless, Clarke-Jones said that since first meeting Carroll on the set of the 1987 surf film “Mad Wax,” the experience of bringing surfing to a larger and broader audience on the big screen was worthwhile.
“To come 30 years later to be in a feature film documentary together on the biggest scale we’ve done toward the end of our career, it’s been really rewarding,” Clarke-Jones said.
Though the long-time friends are reaching the age when they need to start being judicious about choosing what waves to surf, they both agreed that surfing is a lifelong endeavor.
Clarke-Jones added that the day before his father died at the age of 81 he took him out to the water in a life jacket where he was still able to make two strokes.
Carroll added that even if he can only bodysurf at the age of 90 he would still make an effort to go out into the ocean.
Teddy Vecchione, marketing director for ZJ Boarding House on Main Street, said that in Santa Monica he sees surfers as old as 80 and as young as 4 (accompanied by parents) grabbing a board and hitting the water.
Though the film’s stars hope to help non-surfers experience something new, surfers young and old can also gain a unique perspective.
Vecchione said that local surfers might not get a chance to take on big thrills if they stay around Santa Monica Beach where the waves are better suited for instruction than for high-octane adrenaline.
Even with the more moderate surfing conditions, Vecchione said that the city still boasts having a large and perhaps the friendliest surfing community out there.
“Santa Monica has history and a huge community so you’re always going to have a plethora of surfers here,” Vecchione said.
“Storm Surfers 3D” is co-directed by Chris Nelius and Justin McMillan and runs for an hour and 35 minutes. General ticket pricing is $13 and $11 for students/seniors. Cinematheque members pay $9. For more information, visit www.stormsurfers.com.au.
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