Australian Anniversary Re-Tour of Thundercloud

10 Jun 2015 1

Article provided by onepalmMEDIA

In June of 2012, Fiji’s Cloudbreak delivered one of surfing’s most historical days and on the anniversary of this swell, it still stands as the most relevant swell in professional surfing history, never having been repeated since. 

A momentous swell rolled smack-bang into the middle of the contest window for one of professional surfing’s most anticipated events, the Volcom Fiji Pro, and surf fans salivated at the thought of the world’s top rated surfers being put to the ultimate test.

As many contestants prepared themselves to face down the fear of annihilation at the hands of the ocean at it’s most awe-inspiring, a decision was eventually made to call off the event. It was a decision that divided the surfing world and cast further doubt over the professionalism of the sport.

A select few paddled out anyway and joined by a host of big-wave surfing’s most dedicated performers, uncovered a new realm of bravado. A realm where immortality was not certain, but certainly tested and where Cloudbreak, a wave that had been off limits to the surfing public since its discovery in the early 80s, revealed herself as almost inexplicably frightening and simultaneously beautiful.

THUNDERCLOUD is the documentary that traces the history of one of the world’s most controversial and revered surf spots through to this epic day.

Directed, produced, filmed and edited over three years by One Palm Media’s Talon Clemow, the two hour film was originally intended to showcase the incredible surfing captured from three key, groundbreaking swells at Cloudbreak, the first of which occurred in 2010.

As filming progressed, it became clear to Clemow that a deeper, richer story about one of the world’s first-ever surf resorts, Tavarua Island - established on the atoll closest to the infamous Cloudbreak – had for the most part, remained undocumented and this became the background narrative for THUNDERCLOUD.

“After they set up camp there in 1984, Tavarua’s American founders, Scott Funk and Dave Clark, established one of surfing’s most unique agreements; they were granted exclusive access and control of a world-class wave via a collaboration between the regions local custodians and the Fijian Government - and that access was heavily enforced,” explains Clemow.

“As a business strategy it was a master-stroke, but as a precedent for the globe’s nomadic tribe of surfers, it was downright scary. How many other idyllic surf spots might also become restricted? Fortunately, the exclusive resort model remains largely unduplicated and it is only because of the recent decree (change in Fijian law) that these groundbreaking sessions became possible.”

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