EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Nine-time world champion surfer, Kelly Slater, and his big wave companion, Raimana Van Bastolaer, have completed principal photography for Ultimate Wave Tahiti, the first 3D IMAX(R) and giant screen theater film to use extreme surfing to focus on the science of waves, according to its executive producer, K2 Communications, Inc. The film, scheduled for worldwide release next February, was primarily shot in the big wave environment known to watermen around the world as Teahupoo. The two surfers combine to blend various aspects of wave development and the island cultures they affect.
Directed by award-winning director Stephen Low and his team of in-water and airborne cameramen, Ultimate Wave Tahiti captures the power, majesty, and danger exhibited by ocean waves reaching their crescendo. Newly developed camera equipment was used to bring the theater-goer into the heart of these giant waves, capturing for the first time the energy and sounds familiar only to a handful of surfing’s best.
The film’s treatment of Tahiti’s historical relevance to the sport provides an engaging look into the people of this lush tropical paradise. Van Bastolaer, whose ancestors have surfed Tahitian waters for generations, brings a unique familiarity to the story-telling that is punctuated by Slater’s acknowledged mastery of wave formation. The two surfers bond together as they lead viewers to discover how the ocean’s waves influence not only geography, but the people whose Polynesian lifestyles are built on an ancient platform-part fact and part mythology.
Low’s camera team also delves deeply into the crystal blue waters to investigate and communicate the importance of the endemic sea life that populates Tahiti’s offshore reefs.
But, the true star of Ultimate Wave Tahiti is “that” wave. Teahupoo has challenged surfers for years-from the time men fought their way into it, until today’s more common use of personal watercraft to be towed into its towering strength.
The surfer committed to riding this type of wave is greeted with an upwelling of choppy water and the sting of sand vacuumed from the sea floor and fired from the wave. The noise is at times deafening, and the released energy sufficient to rocket the escaping surfer up and out of the wave trough, sometimes to heights of over 20 feet. Both Slater and Van Bastolaer bring this experience to film.
“Where waves come from and what causes their occurrence – the ocean science of waves – is the foundation for our film,” said Low. “The information is dramatically captured through the surfers’ interaction with this force of nature. The challenges of producing this unique glimpse inside and under some of the planet’s most treacherous water are unparalleled,” he said.
The production team and participating surfing professionals are quick to acknowledge that Ultimate Wave Tahiti is not a surfing movie.
“We considered how best to educate a viewing audience about the natural science of wave creation and its importance to the overall ocean ecology. To make these points as dramatically and effectively as possible, the combination of advanced IMAX film technology and the world’s best surfer challenging Teahupoo’s incomparable power was a tableau better than any other,” Low added.
The film benefits from the significant involvement of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other experts, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. NOAA scientists from a variety of relevant disciplines are consulting on the science content in the film, as well as its related educational outreach materials.
Ultimate Wave Tahiti will serve as an educational resource for those with an interest in the ocean and its dynamics.
It will also provide viewers with a combination of thrills and intense beauty never before seen on the giant screen.
Executive produced and distributed by K2 Communications, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., the film is produced by The Stephen Low Company of Canada. American Suzuki Motor Corporation is the film’s presenting sponsor, Tahiti Tourisme North America is the supporting sponsor, with Quiksilver, Inc. providing strategic partnership involvement.
Additional information: www.ultimatewavetahiti.com.