SE’s foppish Online Editor went down to the Quiksilver Store, Regent Street in London to interview Gabe and Lauren Davies of Waveriders fame last week. Gabe is one of the world’s best big wave surfers, Lauren co-wrote the film that Gabe stars in. It’s a big, epic surf film with a story. Well received by the media, it’s caused a bit of a stir. Check out the trailer then watch the interview.
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SE: What would you say your greatest achievement is in your career as a surfer?
Gabe: I think that session at the end of the film is probably a high point, it was really massive surf in Ireland. I guess just coming from Newcastle and taking myself out of Newcastle and just living it for the last few years. Living the dream.
SE: What is about big wave surfing that you’re particularly drawn to?
Gabe: The constant challenge. Yeah, it’s so scary you’ve got to really push yourself.
SE: Is it pushing your own personal boundaries, and the challenge of surviving?
Gabe: Yeah, it kind of is. It’s like pushing your performance. Even if you haven’t surfed big waves for a while, surfing 20 foot waves is one thing, but then if you have a flat spell, and then you surf 8ft waves, you can get caught out by it.
SE: What sort of training do you do?
Gabe: The main thing I think you can do is just be in the water all the time, whether it’s surfing or swimming or anything, you always get a nice rhythm with the surf, so you’re ready for it when it’s there.
SE: Sounds like good training
Gabe: Yeah but then all of a sudden you’re out of the water for a while and you’ve got to think a bit more about running and swimming.
SE: So who’s better, you or Richard Fitzgerald?
Gabe: He’s better at talking.
SE: I don’t know about that.
Gabe: Richie’s fantastic, without Richie I couldn’t have caught those waves. We’re pretty tight, yeah we’re good buddies.
SE: I guess there has to be a massive amount of trust involved.
Gabe: Yeah, there really is. He’d come in and get me if I fell off and vice versa I’ll go and pick up the pieces when he does something spectacular.
SE: Last year you won the H30 Surfstock Biggest Wave of the Year Award, can you go bigger, did you go bigger?
Gabe: Not this winter, we didn’t really have any swells. There was one swell in France that I missed. Definitely though yeah, it’s just getting there on the right day, I can definitely go bigger. If I had that same day again, we’d probably surf it more confidently, catch bigger waves and go a bit deeper. We just don’t get those sort of waves often enough. Being there on the right day is the hardest thing.
SE: The film took five years in the making, which is a fairly long time, did you feel like it wasn’t going to happen at any point or was it all planned out carefully?
Lauren: At the start it was more like a dream really. Like the director had this nugget of an idea, then me and him wrote the treatment for it and that’s like seven years ago now, and then we didn’t hear about for ages and he plugged away at trying to get finance, but I think none of us really thought it would happen, and then amazingly he got the finance and started filming, and it was a real organic process, like one day we thought we’d had the biggest swell we could have had and then another big swell came, and it just snowballed and snowballed. And then the massive swell came on the very last day of filming, which was amazing.
SE: Sounds perfect. How involved were you in the filmmaking process, did you both see it through the whole way, were you there on set the whole time?
Lauren: It was a real team thing.
Gabe: Lauren at the start was helping Joel get his ideas together, getting the visual ideas onto paper, then you’ve got the finance, and working on the story. Actually filming was two years on and off, because we were trying to get good swells.
Lauren: We’d all just fly in and out and then the Molloys would fly over. Like one of the swells at Aisleens , the Molloy’s were somewhere else, Gabe was in Indonesia, Richie was at home, and we all flew in, so everyone was ready to jump.
SE: That must have been kind of nice.
Gabe: Yeah it was like the charts are good and everyone converged at that point.
Lauren: Everyone was behind it, none of us did it for financial gain, we all just wanted to make a good film, and then became like a team of good friends and we had a great producer.
Interrupted by homeless looking person.