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Mon, 21 September 2015

Dane Staples won the Wavescape Shortcuts Film Contest 2014 with a film featuring screaming tubes in Namibia. We chat to him and screen the film he made with Red Bull Media House as his prize.

Staples won the opportunity to work with Red Bull Media House (South Africa) and Jason Hearn (who produced Exploring Madagascar, among many others) on a collaborative project and the edit of Slade Prestwich above, was the result. These are his musings:

At the moment I'm living in Cape Town. With a booming film industry and a wave to surf around every mountain I find it's the most ideal location to base myself to chase my dreams. I kept myself very busy over this winter period with a lot happening in the surf scene, and was fortunate enough to get involved in some really cool projects - along with a new surf film I am currently producing. After I got back from a film trip to Namibia I had a bit of a break between projects so decided to go on a spontaneous surf trip to Bali which I've just gotten back from.


I would say I've been shooting professionally for a solid four years now, although I have had interest in it and fooled around a lot before that. I studied film in 2012 to broaden my knowledge on general film making along with learning the basics of post production, which was important especially if you're looking to put your own films together and free lance in the surf industry like I planned on doing.

I almost get asked this question every time I'm on a surf/film mission. As any stoked surfer coming out of the water from cooking waves would struggle to understand, the way I justify it is that whether I'm doing it or filming it, I really love surfing and being involved any way I can.

It would be a lie saying that I don't get a bit bummed watching my mates get barrelled while I sit on the beach, but sometimes I just have to sit back and look at the bigger picture. I still surf as much as I can and am never planning on stopping so there will always be time. Sometimes even after you're done filming you can sneak a few waves for yourself but for me capturing an unforgettable session of surfing brings just as much stoke to me and especially others. I would say it's a more permanent and lasting sense of stoke. Being able to call the footage your own and have the right to get as creative as you want with it in the edit is exciting too.


I've been watching surf films for as long as I've been surfing, so I've been fortunate enough to see how they have evolved and have definitely taken as much as I can out of it. My goal in anything I produce is to inspire others and get them amped on surfing, which was why I loved watching surf movies so I could get fired up to go surf. I like to challenge myself to make each film as unique as I can and try not stick to a specific style.

Each surf trip is completely different to the others, as I like my films. I would say the major influences on my way of making films would be the stylistic edits of Taylor Steele, the narrative story-telling approach by Jack McCoy and the new school transformation of Kai Neville. There's so much freedom and possibility when it comes to making films which keeps me hooked and interested because it's forever changing.


I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity by Red Bull Media House and Wavescape to work with and learn from one of my biggest inspirations in the industry since a young age, director and DoP Jason Hearn.

Jason made the surf film '15 Below', one of my most memorable trips to date. It featured SA's top surfers at the time in the Maldive islands. I was 12 years old and it was my first time being exposed to the process of making a surf film and ever since then after watching Jason work it's stuck with me and really got me interested in the fact that this also could be a dream profession.

The project we worked on recently together was an athlete profile on Slade Prestwich, SA's next hope of following in Jordy Smith's footsteps. Slade and I competed against each other for many years and he was always the young grom the pro juniors would dread having in a heat. Now being a pro junior himself and his surfing maturing past expectations Slade has a very bright future representing the country and possibly qualifying in the near future. It was a good time and opportunity to catch up with Slade and capture a few training sessions in his hometown of Scottburgh for a day where he explains his thoughts and background.


As a freelancer there are so many possibilities so you can never tell what you're going to be doing or where you're going next, which is the exciting part. My plan is to carry on working consistently in and out of the surf industry and be involved in as many different kinds of projects that I can, to learn and improve my vision on making films.

I still have a few surf edits I'm working on right now coming out of this winter season which is keeping me busy and amped. While I'm watching the charts for the next possible swell I'll be shooting events, festivals and anything interesting that comes my way.


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