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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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
Do you prefer SUP (stand up paddling) or using a short board?
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
The film premieres Fri., Feb. 12, at the California
Science Center, 700 State Dr., Los Angeles, (323) 724-3623; www.californiasciencecenter.org. (Also don't forget to
request the movie at your local theater!)