Watch: A Mind Melting Reel From One of the World’s Leading Surf Cinematographers

by Chandler
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Tom Jennings is one of the world’s leading surf cinematographers. 

Hailing from Western Australia, he’s used to wild and wooly surf, and he isn’t scared to swim in anything — including the sharkiest spots in Australia. 

While you’ve seen his action clips in all of the leading surf edits this year, this trance like reel from Cyclops showcases his skills from a different perspective, and he released it alongside a thoughtful note:

“A day in the southern desert. As a clean swell fills in, the tide drops and nature comes to play. Almost playful surf evolves into something more typical – southern ocean sculptures.

“It’s been a number of years since I’ve been able to get back over to Cyclops. It can be very difficult to pick the right window as well as balance my commitments with shooting pro surfers, but once every so often the stars align. 

“On this particular occasion there was a really nicely directed swell heading for home but with really light and variable winds. I was pretty sure that waves would be fairly sloppy and not that great for surfing footage. The conditions, however looked flawless for Cyclops with ideal winds and a solid high tide peaking at mid day. The only issue was that the swell was supposed to fill in throughout the day. 

“I’ve always been interested in seeing just how surfable the wave could be on a more manageable clean swell so I thought it the perfect opportunity to find out. I fired up my mate Rex (frequent filming collaborator) and we grabbed his jet ski and committed to the mission. 

“The usual dramas (unsealed roads and beach driving disasters) ensued but we managed to get ourselves where we wanted to be with minimal damage. We spent the entire day from sun up to sun down on the water with not another soul in sight (with the exception of the sea life that greeted us). Taking turns driving/filming and witnessing the ocean in its most refined rawness. We were pretty well prepared and luckily nothing did go wrong (as we weren’t exactly playing it safe with the ski positioning), but if something had gone wrong we would have been fair pickled. It was quite a relief to get back to shore all safe and sound with the added bonus of coming across an echidna having an evening wallow in the coastal stream. Natures greatest show all in one day. 

“I had been waiting along time to shoot a roll of 16 on my Bolex and Im trilled with the results. It’s a wonderful contrast to compare the film footage with the most modern of high end digital cinema cameras, they both have their nuance. 

“I think “Right in two” by TOOL was playing in my head for at least haft the day while I was shooting. That song if one of the more subdued by the band but to me its one of their more powerful. I feet that it matches the majesty of nature that Cyclops produces at the same time, the destructive power and terminal energy that is released by a wave like this. Id absolutely love for the band to agree with me on this one (I hope they don’t mind me editing the song to suit).”

If you haven’t already, click play now. 


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