The International OCEAN FILM TOUR celebrates our love of the ocean, its importance in our lives, and raises awareness of how we can protect the ocean.
International OCEAN FILM TOUR is the world’s original ocean film tour, featuring a selection of the very best ocean adventures and environmental documentaries. International OCEAN FILM TOUR originated in Germany and is now in its fifth year. It screens at more than 150 events across 10 countries annually.
The International OCEAN FILM TOUR was shown across Australia between March and November 2018, including a special set of screenings as part of World Oceans Day to raise money for ocean conservation.
The International OCEAN FILM TOUR turns five. With this year’s program we celebrate our anniversary and the pioneering spirit, the ocean brings forth in us all: Six films – six stories inspired by the big blue, that moves us and changes us forever.
Surfing all-rounder Kai Lenny hits the waves Hawaiian Kai Lenny is like a surfing jack-of-all-trades. Surfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, hydro foiling – the versatility of his talent knows no bounds. In PARADIGM LOST, the 25-year-old multisportsman upends the international surfing scene and its paradigms. Total surf action that compels you to get on and ride.
The Hawaiian is the face of this year’s International OCEAN FILM TOUR. Born on Maui in 1992, he caused a stir when he hit the waves off Ho’okipa when he was just a little kid. By now the 25-year-old ups his game in the international surfing scene and challenges its paradigms with his versatile talent.
Born into a surfer’s paradise, what is your first memory of the ocean?
I am so fortunate to have been born and raised on Maui. Without a doubt it’s a paradise and my earliest memories were going down to the beach every afternoon with my parents and playing in the water on body boards and surfboards. When I got older I began surfing, kitesurfing and doing other sports. But my earliest memory of surfing was when I was four years old on the South Shore during a beautiful picturesque day. My parents were on the outer reef. I grabbed a long board from the beach, paddled down a hundred yards and caught the first wave on my own. It was so awesome! I’m still chasing that feeling of catching my first wave. Robby Naish is an important figure in your life.
What is your connection with him and what is the most important lesson you learned from him?
Robby is without a doubt one of the biggest influences in my life. I wanted to mold myself to be the next generation of what he accomplished in windsurfing and kiteboarding. What I really learned from him is to never have a big head, stay humble, stay dedicated to your goals and try to figure out, how to do it as long as you can, because it is the best lifestyle in the world in my opinion. Kai, you’re the ultimate waterman when it comes to versatility.
Windsurfing, SUP, Foiling, surfing and big wave. How do you decide which board to pick up each morning?
My favorite thing in the world is to just ride waves. I really enjoy the feeling of gliding on this physical energy. The way I decide what sports I’m going to do is purely based on the conditions. When I go to the beach, I take a look at the conditions and decide what board to pick up. For example, if it’s really windy, I go kitesurfing or windsurfing. If the waves are really big or really small, I have equipment covered for that too. At the end of the day it’s pretty darn easy – just having to look what’s in front of you and the answer is always there.
Surfing has been a highly commercial and internationally competitive sport for some time. How do you walk the line between a professional athlete career and simply enjoying the ocean?
The best part about being a professional surfer is this: When the event ends, the first thing you want to do is go back out on the water. I think surfing is one of the few sports, that allows you to keep at it as much as you can, even when your competitive career is over. During the off-season you do the same as during the season. As long as you keep it in perspective and fun you can’t go wrong. I love competing and it only helps to elevate my level, when I go freesurf.
For PARADIGM LOST you joined forces with John DeCesare to make a film about your journey. How did this project come about, what was your role in the making of this film and what is the biggest reward for you personally?
I’m so fortunate to work with such talented people, who are so passionate about what they do: Capturing the highest quality footage of action sports. We have been filming for a couple of years and eventually we had enough great footage and a story behind it, so we could make something unique and exceptional. My biggest take away from the film was learning more about myself since I spent so much time reviewing footage and seeing myself from a third person perspective. It has really helped in the development of myself and where I want to go.
What is next for you? How does your ocean year 2018 look like?
Every year the goal is the same, which is to become a multi sport world champion. Innovate and create new ways to ride waves. And most of all to have fun living every day to my absolute fullest. For sure I have goals to to help me reach those ultimate dreams but those come up at random and I have to stay adaptable.
MY PRIVATE MONSTER
Of Monsters & Men
MY OWN PRIVATE MONSTER is the story of Australian Alastair McLeod,is the first windsurfer to test the waters at Pedra Branca. 26 kilometres off the Tasmanian coast. With high seas, rough winds, monstrous waves – something was bound to go wrong.
How did you get into windsurfing?
My dad used to windsurf a lot. He started teaching me and my stepbrother when I was thirteen when we still lived in Queensland. Then we moved down to Melbourne, which is in a big bay with no waves. So windsurfing made a lot more sense there. If it’s not windy I go surfing and if it’s windy I go windsurfing. Either way I’m surfing.
What was your first experience catching a wave between Eddystone and Pedra Branca?
That was pretty scary. The wind was really low. It made it very hard to catch waves, because the waves are moving so fast and the low winds had me moving very slowly. I was just on the edge of the wave when I fell. I was just far enough out to not be swallowed by the wave. I was really lucky. You don’t really know what a wave like that would do to you. Especially in Pedra Branca and Eddystone—it’s in the middle of the ocean and you’re a long way from help.
What was going through your head when you fell? When I started falling, I braced myself because I knew something bad was about to happen. It felt like going into survival mode and I had to focus on the next 30 seconds and I thought, ”If you can survive the next 30 seconds, you’ll be ok.”
What made you go back in after this first close call?
I was really frustrated that the wind was so low, up to point where I just had to catch a wave. We’ve been planning this trip for so long. The adrenaline rush of going from thinking that you will get really hurt to being back in the water, really got me fired up to catch a proper wave.
With windsurfing you have to manage two elements, water and wind. Can you explain the ins and outs of catching a wave?
You need a specific wind direction in order to surf a wave. On the wave face the wind accelerates. The wind will blow your equipment away from you, so if you get hit by your own equipment, you mistimed the wave. Sometimes you just get hit in the face—I broke my nose twice.
Do you think you can windsurf a barrel?
No one has ever really done that. You probably could but there are very few waves on the planet that would allow you to do that. Windsurfing is more suited for Big Wally kind of waves. Riding the face is much like snowboarding down a face. You have a lot more speed in windsurfing. You can kind of outrun the wave and you have a little bit more maneuverability. If you catch the wrong wave and you know it, you can race out of the wave and get in front of it, while in surfing you cannot develop that kind of speed.
When I was growing up, Jason Polakow was the main guy. And I thought he was going to windsurf Pedra Branca but he didn’t. I haven’t talked to him since I surfed Pedra Branca (laughs). I’m the first person to windsurf there, showing that you can actually do it.
What made you feel ready for it?
To me it’s really important to challenge yourself. I got injured along the way, slowing the process down, but I focused on training my lungs, working on my lung capacity and carbon dioxide tolerance. Building up over several months, I was able to hold my breath for three minutes. This gave me the confidence to pull it off.
Is this still your OWN PRIVATE MONSTER?
Well, I’d say it’s really Marti Paradisis’ own private monster, because he was the guy who found it. He lives down in Tasmania and if it wasn’t for Marti, this project never would have been made. I was lucky that he helped. But concerning future projects, I’d like to find some big perfect waves. Cloudbreak, Fiji, Pe’ahi, Hawaii—waves in those places get really big and they are also perfect waves. At Pedra Branca, you can’t just focus on the wave because the whole place is so intimidating and hardcore, so I’d like to go places where you can just focus on the wave—for once. (laughs) Pedra Branca was more about survival.
BIG WAVE PROJECT
A Band of Brothers Big wave surfing in Portugal The name „Nazaré“ makes all surfers’ hearts beat faster. The small fishing village on the Atlantic coast of Portugal has become synonymous with gargantuan mountains of water, massive waves that push the world’s big wave elite to its limits. When the tide is high in Nazaré and sets of Atlantic storms roll onto shore, only the best surfers dare to get in the water. We come aboard for a wild ride with Sebastian Steudtner, Garrett McNamara and Andrew Cotton.
An ode to the ocean An ode to waves: Morgan Maassen plunges under the water with his high-contrast, slow-motion camera to show us the world, the waves, and the sea from a new perspective. WATER II is Maassen‘s visual declaration of love for his muse, the sea.
With his photography, the young filmmaker Morgan Maassen evokes an instant longing for the ocean. For Maassen, who grew up by the sea, the big blue has become both his workplace and his muse.
Do you recall the first time you saw the ocean and what it felt like?
My parents raised me at the beach, so my earliest memories were by the sea. I’ll never forget when my dad pushed me into my first wave, at the age of 7. I felt like the whole world stood still for a moment, as the profoundness of sliding across the water was so surreal and enthralling.
In your film WATER II the ocean seems to be a blue universe onto itself, a blue void. Do you ever feel like an ocean dweller or do you sometimes wish you were one (in that case, which)?
I find all of my inspiration in the sea, and aspire to spend as much time in it as possible, so I think it’s safe to say I am a sea dweller. While I love the mountains and cities, I always gravitate back towards the ocean.
You’re travelling the world and have undoubtedly seen many of the most beautiful ocean shores. What changes have you seen over the last years, above the surface and beneath?
I’ve seen some amazing changes, both good and bad. It’s been incredibly frustrating to see the amount of pollution entering the ocean and its global health decline, but the flip side is that I have never observed more people opening their eyes through education and effort to help save it. Plastic pollution is a major issue, and I hope we can collectively take strides to solve the issue before it is too late.
One of your previous short films is about your father’s passion, hunting for sea urchins. Did you get your passion for the ocean from him?
Absolutely! My whole family is crazy about the ocean, between my dad and his work and my mother loving spending her time there equally as much. We’ve spent so much time at sea, at the beach, traveling, and exploring the ocean as much as possible. They have always instilled how much it means to them in me, and I’m elated to share their same passion for it.
How do you recover from shooting an entire day in the ocean? I exercise regularly to be in the best shape when I enter the ocean, whether it is for surfing or shooting in big waves. at the end of a long day in the ocean, whether for fun or for shooting, i always make sure to relax, and get excited for the next day.
The fascinating world of coral reefs Off the coast of Mozambique, a pristine and dazzling treasure chest awaits – one of the oldest coral reefs of the planet. But this paradise of biodiversity is under threat. Coral bleaching is a warning sign of global warming. VAMIZI takes us into the fascinating world of coral reefs and shows what we can protect by establishing HOPE SPOTS.
Coral reefs could be considered the rainforest of the seas. A healthy coral reef boasts greater biodiversity than any other place in the ocean. While these colorful underwater “forests” cover only one percent of the ocean floor, and estimates suggest that they are habitat for one in four sea dwellers. Over 4,000 species of fish, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, starfish, turtles, sea snakes, and countless invertebrates and tiny organisms live in reefs – a total of over one million different species.
A coral reef is an important indicator of oceanic health – and they are sounding the alarm. “Coral bleaching” is a chemical process that is causing entire reefs to die off around the globe. Rising water temperatures and increased levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans have unraveled the symbiotic relationship between the reef and the microscopic algae living on the coral.
The algae turn sunlight into food for the coral; in return, the coral serves as their anchor point. Without these algae, corals normally only survive for a short period of time because they become vulnerable to diseases that quickly settle on their surface. One of the causes of coral bleaching is increased water temperatures, which means there is a direct correlation between this destructive chemical process and global warming.
In order to protect places such as Vamizi, marine researchers like Dr. Sylvia Earle are advocating the creation of what are known as HOPE SPOTS around the world. These are protected zones in which corals and their inhabitants can flourish without being endangered by fishing or pollution, thereby giving the oceanic ecosystem a chance to regenerate.
THE OCEAN RIDER
En équilibre sur l’océan
One man – one boat – one wild trip around the world Around the world in 220 days. In a small catamaran without a cockpit and without protection from the elements, the Swiss sailor Yvan Bourgnon sets out to sail 55,000 kilometers around the world. Storms, shipwrecks, and real pirates await him.
“This is war!” Yvan yells, as he struggles to fight against the howling wind. At wind speeds of 50 knots, he is navigating his catamaran directly into an Atlantic storm. He hasn’t slept in over 24 hours. But if you’re venturing out to solo-circumnavigate the globe in a six-meterlong sports catamaran without a cockpit, you’ve signed up for a battle against the elements and a harrowing war with the weather.
What for mere mortals might sound like a lonely nightmare is in fact a grand dream for someone like Yvan Bourgnon, a sailing professional with a mind of his own. His goal? To sail around the world without a GPS, crew, cabin, or bunk. The Swiss talent was virtually born into the sport.
His parents were avid sailors, and when Yvan was eight years old, they took him and his brother Laurent on a sailing trip around the world. The ocean became a central element of the boys’ lives, even after the family voyage ended. In 1995, Yvan participated in his first yachting race—the Transat Jacques Vabre. In 1997, he won the race with his brother. He went on to break records in the Channel Strait Challenge, France’s Formula 18, and numerous 24hour sailing races. In 2013, however, Bourgnon took on a challenge that the international sailing community deems impossible—sailing around the world in a sports cat, a feat that no one before him ever dared undertake.
“A sports cat is very lightweight and really cuts through the water,” explains Phil Sharp, one of Britain’s best high-sea sailing professionals. “But sailing a boat like that, far from shore, is very risky because it is so unstable.”
A lesson that Yvan learns early on, while still on the Atlantic, in fact. During his 220-day voyage, his cat capsizes over 300 times. And even when the 43-year-old can cover long distances in good weather, he is still at the mercy of the elements. The trampoline of his sports cat does not give him any hold, and the “bed” he set up on the outriggers is makeshift at best. Not that he ever has much of a chance to sleep. He navigates with a sextant, uses the stars to guide him at night, and eats, weather permitting liquid astronaut food.
Every now and again, Bourgnon is rewarded with sunny days on which his lightweight boat is virtually surfing on the waves. But off the coast of Sri Lanka, his vessel reaches its figurative and literal breaking point. While Yvan is asleep, his boat ran aground on a reef. He survives, but his boat is a total loss. It seems his dream has come to an end. This is the moment for Yvan Bourgnon to show what he is made of. Even before he can reconstruct another catamaran, he makes one thing clear, “Quitting is not an option.”