Orcadian WIP: Beyond The Scars

In the elements with surf filmmaker Chris McClean and his crew while shooting the sequel to their award winning short Uncommon Ideals.

Skaill House panorama over breakfast, the ghosts are eternally great hosts

Skaill House panorama over breakfast, the ghosts are eternally great hosts

Lewis Arnold, seeking angles under flat light

Lewis Arnold, seeking angles under flat light

Despite the majestic sunset we all see the same thing – square and wide open

Despite the majestic sunset we all see the same thing – square and wide open

Ever-changing cloud structures; layer upon layer of light

Ever-changing cloud structures; layer upon layer of light

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Makes the toe-stubbing slide across the reef many times worthwhile

Makes the toe-stubbing slide across the reef many times worthwhile

Ferry port dawn after the uneasy graveyard shift drive through the night

Ferry port dawn after the uneasy graveyard shift drive through the night

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Lewis, checking and re-checking the housing before swimming into the pit

Lewis, checking and re-checking the housing before swimming into the pit

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High latitudes, cold water, fresh air. A belting low out there somewhere raging destruction and another way south, soaking England, swinging us offshores. It’s a disparate crew, swept from the East Coast – Suffolk to Tynemouth. The brutal drive reinforces feelings of departure. We are up here on Channel 4′s bank to chase the sequel to Uncommon Ideals – a pro trip with sponsored riders, cameras rolling. There’s a lot of pressure on the ocean to perform.

The pros’ pulses rate at a different tempo to the common man, hoping for the peculiar elements that create mean, twisted barrels. Chris McClean and Lewis Arnold seek the light, the angles. Giulietta Verdon-Roe, an old friend and photographer, applies her own touch. My work is done, the poem Beyond the Scars written. I’m here to observe.

The shredders are revered journeyman Gabe Davies and a young hellman from the North East called Sandy Kerr. It’s awesome to see the lineage of one of our great surfers (Gabe) passing through to the next generation. Irishman Fergal Smith arrives for the day and then leaves for a predicted epic run at Aileens in his native County Clare. Such is the fluid existence of a full-time swell chaser.

From the Palladian might of Skaill House we watch the ebb and rise, bailing north for long walks across mighty rock formations, slipping through the bull kelp, dodging the monster seals.

I keep to the other slabs, one up or one down, surfing chunky shoulders on a McCoy spear shaped in 2000, wondering pleasantly about the many faces of surfing right now.

 

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