Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer Hit IMAX
Jeff Hornbaker

Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer Hit IMAX

Nine-time world championship surfer Kelly Slater is gracing the giant IMAX screen with an educational and thrilling 3-D surf ride, in The Ultimate Wave Tahiti. The three year project directed by Stephen Low uses the same technology as box office mega hit Avatar to take its viewers through the ocean with Slater and Tahiti native Raimana Van Bastolaer in search for the ultimate wave.

The animation of the film shows how the islands were formed and how chaotic storm-driven waves evolve and become ordered sets of waves, to the final influence of the ocean bottom in shaping breaking waves. With underwater cameras, the film goes through the coral reef ecosystem and ocean life. Viewers get to watch the two surfs rip some of the worlds most dangerous waves.

Yusuf Shariff (OC Weekly): What was it like working with Raimana?
Kelly Slater: Easy, super easy. He's a great friend and just a great person.

How is this different from anything you've ever done before?
Slater: A lot more tedious, a lot more work to be done. A lot harder to get the timing right. You can be surfing and you can feel when the action is going to happen and when the wave is going to be good and when the wind is going to get right and all that stuff, but that doesn't mean the camera's going to be ready because it takes a long time to learn it, and it's hard to be in the right spot. It's not a light camera that you can throw around. It's a pretty ticky deal.

Kelly Slater
Kelly Slater

What was it like working with Kelly Slater?

Raimana Van Bastolaer: It was very easy to work with Kelly, because we have known each other for a really long time.

They say that surfing in Tahiti is one of the most dangerous surfs, did you guys run into any problems during production?

Bastolaer: Yes, we had a couple of close calls. When Kelly and I went on a jet ski ride through the wave, the put a camera in front of the jet ski and then we took off on the wave, and then didn't get the speed we needed, so the camera came close to clipping us. The other danger was having the camera in the water, where Kelly came close to hitting.

How was this different from anything you've ever done?

Bastolaer: Usually I'm behind the camera supervising for like water safety, and making sure to provide what they need--this was a new thing for me, with new experiences and new challenges.

How's your way of surfing different from Kelly's?

Bastolaer: Kelly is more about traveling and contests, and taking down people in heats. My surfing is about free surfing and hosting people in Tahiti, taking them surfing. And I have more time to appreciate life, compared to Kelly who has to jump on a plane to be in Australia, New York, or wherever he has to be, and I'm more focused on surfing in Tahiti and going to other islands.

Are you excited to see the film?

Bastolaer: My family is excited and Tahiti is excited, too. They are all behind me and I'm behind them. I'm trying not to show it, but inside I'm really excited.

Do you prefer SUP (stand up paddling) or using a short board?

Bastolaer: I use a short board, but for the movie they wanted me to SUP. This sport (SUP) is getting really big. It's really hard and really difficult. You have to learn it early in the morning when there are no waves. Doheny for example in Dana Point, you can easily learn it down there.

The film premieres Fri., Feb. 12, at the California Science Center, 700 State Dr., Los Angeles, (323) 724-3623; (Also don't forget to request the movie at your local theater!)


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >