We discovered two month ago an amazing part from the surf film called « Little Black Wheels » (see teaser below) starring soul surfer Kristian Spencer riding perfect lefts by himself somewhere in Australia. We wanted to know more about the making of this movie so we interviewed the man behind the camera : surfer-filmmaker Mick Waters. He kindly answered our questions via email. Mick tells us about the story behind the story of his own familial surf trip and gives us some tips about travelling, surfing and living large Down Under.

Surf-prevention.com : Tell us about your surf trip with your pregnant wife and your daughter. Is it true that you left your job and everything to go on the road ?

– Mick Waters : Our trip, which you see in ‘Little Black Wheels’ is based around a Road trip we did as a Family, (myself Mick, Susan my pregnant wife, my daughter Ruby and our dog Jedda) across Australia. It shows the locations we visited, but more importantly the people we met.

The trip came at a very important time in our lives. I released and premiered my previous film ‘Believe’ on the Saturday night and we were on the road down the coast on the Monday morning. We left so quickly because we had rented out our house, left our jobs and had nowhere to live.

This was all planned though, we wanted to leave our old life for a while and just spend time together as a family with no distractions. The reason we wanted to leave and travel was due to our losing a son, who was stillborn. We felt like we hadn’t grieved properly due to being so busy in our lives here and needed some time where we were anonymous and could just be by ourselves.

Making a film was definitely not part of the plan, but after spending time on the road for a few months and after looking at the footage Susan and I decided there might be some sort of film amongst it all. I had just been filming the family and then when the waves were good or after I had surfed I would pull out my cameras.

I thought it might be a good way of being able to make some extra dollars when we got back. Sell the surfing footage to the Surfers’ sponsors and help fund the trip because neither of us were working for six months. But, the actual process of making it all in to a film came much later when were back home and when I had a chance to check all the footage. Some of the interviews were done after the trip because we had never intended for the trip to be a film.

Who’s the surfer who has impressed you the most ?

Dain Thomas’ beautiful shapes, Johnny Abegg’s beautiful lines on those shapes, Jimmy McMillan’s determination, Beau Young’s path, Dave Macaulay’s family, Rasta’s flow, Kristian Spencer’s life. They all have great traits that people can hopefully aspire to. They all impress me in different ways, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the film.

Some of these people became our friends and after spending time with them I would ask if they would like to do some filming together ? The result is their thoughts, experiences and surfing. Hopefully, I have captured what makes these people special and what makes them tick.”

I like to spend time with someone to get to know him or her before I feel comfortable in showing their lives on film. I hope this is shown in the way they are portrayed in the film. Each of the featured surfers were part of the editing process for their sections. They had a definite say in what and wasn’t included and how they were shown.

You also met a french surfer during the filming of the movie, Antoine Cardonnet

Yes, Antoine is a classic. A mischievous little man who never stops smiling and looking for barrels. Antoine has been hanging in Byron Bay on and off for years, surfing and working. So, when I had the chance to work with Dain Thomas it was a natural progression to highlight his shapes under Antoine’s smiley little feet.

Who is Kristian Spencer ?

Kristian Spencer is one of those underground guys every surfer has seen or someone knows of. They operate a little different to the rest of society and as a result, find people are envious of their lifestyle. We could all be living this way if we were committed enough, but not everyone is. He loves barrels, fixing dings, fin and surfboard design, growing his massive beard, flextails, Esperance, his veggie patch, his dog Fluff and his girlfriend Anna. Pretty simple, and that is the way he likes and lives his life.

What have you learnt during your surf trip ?

I guess we learnt lots. I know we are very lucky to live in Australia and to live the lives we do. To have the flexibility to choose the way we live is a blessing. From that understanding and appreciation comes the choice of living the way you believe in and following your heart.

If you follow your passions then everything else, eventually falls into place. That includes happiness, health, money, friendships, relationships, the lot. Be responsive to your heart and follow it. Plus, keep surfing. That keeps you sane.

Have you returned to « normal » life since then ?

Well, yes. But, by some people’s standards we don’t live a « normal » life. Life is good! My Family and I live a great life. We live on a rural property, which is close to the coast. I live with my beautiful wife Susan, our two daughters Ruby and Skye and our newborn son Sunny. Life is rather busy at the moment with three kids under 6 years old, but I would rather live a busy life with family than a busy life as a single man. I am lucky that I have my own office which I work from, so I get to work whenever I can and also have lots of time spent with my wife and children. I guess, at the moment I am a semi stay at home Dad who films surfing. My wife works as a Physical Education Teacher when she has to.

There are always jobs to do around here, we have chickens, grow our own fruit and vegetables, bake our own breads and the like. We try to recycle, reuse and make our own stuff wherever and to be self reliant as much as we can. Our property has Solar Electricity and Water and we have a fresh water stream that keeps us connected. I guess that is the way I try to run my business and website, www.littlehouseproductions.com.au as well. Do-it-yourself !

Tell us about your latest projects ?

I haven’t really got many filming projects at the moment. I have been filming for other companies and film makers, but that is pretty rare these days. I would love to make another film, but the funding and inspiration isn’t really happening at the moment, so I work around here. Maintaining our property, trying new things and helping out with the kids and Family life.

Have you ever been injured while surfing or water shooting ?

I’ve received a few stitches here and there. Mainly on the hands. I have been held under or rolled along reefs, but nothing too serious or life threatening, just little heart pumpers that let you know you are alive. I did have an encounter with a big shark one day, which after I got out of the water safely sent me to the Liquor shop to buy a beer and contemplate life.

Have you ever worn a helmet while surfing or shooting ? Do some surfers wear a helmet in Australia ?

I always wear a helmet when filming in the water if it is a heavy reef break or rock bottom. I know it might not look cool, but there are too many variables that are out of my control, so I try to minimise the risks. Plus, I have a big head which has a tendency to get in the way and get hit a lot.

Surfers don’t really wear helmets in Australia. I guess they want to look cool before being safe, so helmets are out. (Note : Kristian Spencer and Dave Macaulay wear a helmet in their part of Little Black Wheels).

Do you have safety tips for the surfers who go on a road trip in remote areas of Australia ?

Be prepared and respectful. If you do your homework and listen to the Locals then you will have a great trip that you will remember for a lifetime.

What is your advice to be happy in life as a surfer and a family man ?

Spend as much time with your kids and Family as possible. Try not to let stuff or work get in the way of connecting or being there for your Family unit. That doesn’t mean you neglect yourself and not surf or whatever. You have to take time and you have to give time. A friend once told me this, which made me laugh and is so true. »Happy wife, happy life. »

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You can download « Little Black Wheels » on iTunes here (téléchargez le film ici).

A propos de l'auteur :

Surf Prevention est le site sur le Surf, la Sécurité, la Santé et l'Environnement.


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