All photos this post by William Henry.
"All Points South" is a feature-length surf film documentary about Chile's fishermen and surfers and their struggle against pulp mill water pollution. You can read and download a detailed synopsis of the film at www.savethewaves.org.
Last Sunday I returned to Santiago after 3 weeks on the road with our crack team interviewing, filming, surfing and feeling the coastline like a solid Antarctic groundswell. The surf never got over 5 feet - one of the smallest spells Chile has seen for quite some time - but we found waves... so I will let YOU be the judge when the film comes out. Below are some stills from the action.
Imagine a giant plastic PVC pipe with a 5-foot diameter flushing toxic liquid waste into the ocean 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Now look at the photo of that pipe under construction: this is exactly why we are here opposing this project:
Our film & protest team consisted of 11 gringos and various local Chileans: ocean activists, filmmakers, fishermen and surfers included Chilean Ramon Navarro, Californians Keith Malloy, Timmy Turner and James Pribram, Canadians Raph Bruhwiler & Jeremy Koreski, as well as Brett Schwartz (backside wave-killer who stole the show almost every session), Will Henry, Cameron Henry, filmmaker Vince Deur and myself (and El Diplomatico showed up one evening to heckle Timmy T.). Writer Gabe Sullivan dropped in later as the official media hound. Our mission: surfing, ocean activism, interviews and unbridled creativity.
Ramon Navarro, Chilean waterman phenom, surfed giant beachbreak and schooled us on how to dive and eat well for free every day. His raw urchin snacks are straight off of King Neptune's lunch menu, and the small sea crabs that live inside the urchins are the most delicious live thing i've ever eaten. I could actually feel its tiny pincers making a spicy taste in my mouth as I ate it alive.
Keith Malloy, waterman, surfed more than ever; but he surprised me with his awesome guitar-picking style. He ought to tour with Jack Johnson. I think he's investing in the future after this surf thing stops paying the bills! His commitment to the earth is stronger than ever, yet he makes no fuss about it;and his stories of diving and fishing offshore California are radical.
Timmy Turner, Indonesian tube-riding maniac, is a legend. He's got complete hero status in my book - even though he didn't find the gaping barrels he was looking for on this trip. He can surf normal waves, too, and I think he surfed every single day of the trip in spite of conditions. Look for his new documentary film, The Tsunami Diaries, about his relief work in the Indonesian tsunami zone.
James Pribram, The Eco Warrior, was ripping the waves so hard that he destroyed his back on a particularly impressive maneuver. This was the wave that did the destruction, and he didn't surf again after this photo was taken. He managed to turn bad into good, get focused and get to work on his writing after this one:
Brett surfing: Schwartzy ripped, always with a smile and no ego involved. He's a freakin' tube-riding machine and always stoked to be in the water. Inspiring.
Will Henry, Director of Save the Waves Coalition, is a freak in the best sense of the word. I hope he never stops, and I hope I get to be there the whole time. Thanks to Will, this trip happened. Thanks to Will, this project will be finished with style. Enough said.
Vince Deur, Michigan Great Lakes surfer, is a filmmaking machine. Now he just has to figure out what to do with our 100+ hours of footage.
Photo: Berry/Henry. Personally, the most intense moment of the trip was visiting the last section of the huge waste pipeline that is going overland from the pulp mill to the ocean. Vince and I watched the bulldozers as they dug the last 100 feet of trench on the beach where the pipeline enters the ocean. It was very emotional for me, and Vince with his ever-present lens got it all on tape. It was the culmination of two years of passionate opposition to a project that is now reaching its wrong conclusion. It's just more fuel for my fire as a critic of another giant industrial waste pipeline emptying into the ocean. It clarified exactly where we need to go from here: to work, with a bounce in our step.
With All Points South I am just thankful and stoked to be along for the ride as a "Chileanized" gringo, and I'm happy to make things happen for this team of creative geniuses (don't fool yourself, of course I had to crack the whip and motivate the pro-ho's once or twice).
Above: What a bunch of posers. Nice wool sweater, Raph!
In the water, on land, behind camera, at the pulp mill gates, in executives' hair, with guitar in hand, next to a beach bonfire far from you: stay tuned.
Timmy T. and "El Diplomatico". We had to eject E.D. soon after this photo was taken for security purposes.