...into the the blazing, incandescent, irrefutable light of the southern hemisphere late-summer sun...
Granted, we are lounging in the relative sublimity of New South Wales, but our project itinerary has us marching up the coast straight into a double cyclone storm. We think we have presciently devised a route that would allow for any number of eventualities.
Friends and campgrounds, sites and surf spots dot the coast all the way up through Noosa and we are set for a leisurely drive that would grant us all sorts of options. The one thing we haven't fully accounted for is a need to completely turn our trip around and head south instead of north.
Granted, the cyclones would mean some pretty epic surf conditions along our prepared route, but "epic surf" is not "learner's surf" and torrential rain is not all that conducive to surfy filmmaking. We refigure our itinerary and make our way down the long, long... long! southeastern coast to the Melbourne area.
Local Steve Lennon shows us his corner of the Blue Mountains, and around the Northern Beaches of Sydney, the massively knowledgeable surf journalist Nick Carroll gives us a guided tour of the formative stomping grounds of his legendary brother Tom and the influential Derek Hynd among others.
Mick Sowry, filmmaker, artist and a creative force behind the astoundingly crafted Great Ocean Quarterly sets about finding us harbor and home for the rest of our trip, introducing us to Justin Brady, who lends us his shack in Mallacoota, and Steve Demos, who offers us a home and hand on Phillip Island. Steve also introduces us to Matt and Sandy Ryan.
Mick then welcomes us to Torquay, home of Quiksilver & Rip Curl, Bells Beach, Winki Pop and a thousand other breaks. He introduces us to the legendary surfer/shaper Maurice Cole (who has pioneered any number of surfboard designs), the incredibly surf-addled Day family (Papa Ben helps run GDJ and each and every member of the family absolutely rips) and we even paddled out with Gideon Obarzanek.
While the first leg is completed, our own journey of making a film about a boy learning the passions of his father remains ongoing. The vagaries of process dictate writing, editing, thinking, revising and reimagining. And perhaps (or always) shooting more.
As Robinson turns in his journal of the trip to his 3rd Grade teacher, the last page is filled with answers to the question of what he's learned along the way:
"I learned to be more comfortable in the ocean... and to surf!"
"I learned that having good friends can be one of the most important things in the world."
"I learned that even when bad things happen, it's what you make of it that counts."