On Location: The Making Of Ezekiel’s New Surf Movie, The Calling

Excerpts by George Mays, Jeremy Heit, and Greg Browning

July 26¿August 12, 2000

Journal Entry One

by Conan HayesTraveling can be the best and worst thing. I love what I do, though, and wouldn’t change it for the world. Coming into this trip I was really excited. I’d never been on a boat trip. I think I was the last man standing in that regard. All of my friends seemed to have had the best trips of their lives in Indonesia. I just never was able to get out there. At this stage in my career, I think the most important thing is being able to have some time to check things out on your own. It’s opened my eyes and let me keep my focus.

At the start of the trip, our boat broke and we got stuck for six days in Padang. You could take it two ways: Go nuts in a hotel, or check the place out. Seeing such a poverty-stricken place really makes you appreciate everything you have in your life. The whole boat thing actually happened for the better. We ended up with an amazing boat and an amazing captain¿from one spot to the next, just like that. I surfed the most I have in a long time because for one, you’re out in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t too much to do except surf. Two, you feel stupid if you come in because the waves are good. And three¿no contest, no jersey¿just having fun with your friends, which is why every one of us got into surfing in the first place: Going out with your friends and having fun¿what’s wrong with fun?

Journal Entry Two

by George Mays

I was assigned the role of impartial documentarian, ready to catch any and all protocol that might come my way. If you miss it, then it didn’t exist. So you better have the camera ready, because even the mundane, when filtered through the lens of time, becomes history. I wonder why I have all this shit¿video, two 16mm Bolex cameras, an assortment of lenses from twelve mm to 300 mm, and more f-stops than you can count because space is infinite.

Larium dream number one: I’m traveling to Africa with a family to save a child from getting eaten by George Burns. Malaria paranoia hits our group, especially since snaggle-toothed Aussie-faced Captian John told us some guy died four weeks ago from a cerebral strain of malaria that cooks your brain like a sausage due to high fever. The solution: Larium, the anti-malaria medicine that dehydrates your body and causes insane dreams. No guarantee, but Larium does offer some peace of mind during moments of doubt like when I walked along the beach during sundown with a swarm of mozzys mosquitos flying out of the jungle ready to suck me dry. Apparently, only nighttime mozzys carry malaria. They have to be female, and they have to have bitten someone with malaria within 48 hours of biting the next victim. Those not on Larium, like Heit and Sommerville, slapped at imaginary mosquitoes even while crossing the open ocean at twenty knots: “I felt one, I swear!”

The waves here suck out and throw unsuspecting kooks over needle-sharp coral reef, rip off your rashguard, and leave you breathless as six-foot sets drain on your head in two feet of water. Conan looks at me, deadpan: “Are you kidding, George? Go get the camera!” Those of you who think that after seeing pictures in magazines or videos you’re gonna get off the boat and rip better be pro or expect a good compounding.

If you still find yourself at the beach with a camera instead of a surfboard, buy a film camera, either a 16mm or a Super-8. Anybody who tells you video looks as good as film or will someday look as good as film is full of shit. Vinnie (de la Pena, owner of Ezekiel) will pay you to travel around the world to shoot surfing on film, and let you abuse his cred card (Thanks, Vinnie!). Of course, you’re still standing on the beach like the full camera barney living vicariously through your friends as you watch another perfect back-lit tube ride through the lens, but it beats subscribing to the 24/7 workday public trough of shit.

What happened on the rest of our trip to uncharted waters somewhere between hell and Sumatra? You’ll have to see the Ezekiel movie to find out. I remember seeing a lot of boosting and barrels through the camera lens as we surfed unnamed break after unnamed break by ourselves. Let’s hope it all turned out on film.

It was then that all the lessons of the last fourteen days hit me in the head like a diamond bullet. I realized then that there are no secrets in this world, everybody knows everything, especially that we’re all just monkeys visiting this planet for a short time. We can do whatever we want, and some of us chose to cut the sleeves off all our T-shirts and shred glassy barrels. If you try to both film and surf, you don’t do either very well, which is why my grand total of waves was about five compared to my boat mates’ 5,000. Team Ezekiel consists of the classiest group of individuals on any team: Sommerville, Pascal, Browning, Heit, and Conan. We started as acquaintances and ended up friends.

Journal Entry Three

by Jeremy Heit

We were lucky enough to fly on a pimped-out aircraft designed for our entertainment. It wasn’t the ordinary low-budget, booty-ass, movie-playing, stale-nut ghetto bird. This beauty allowed us to view over ten updated movies and play some of the more popular video games on a personal TV.

Arriving at our destination, some of us (including myself) found we’d unfortunately had our boards left behind at the stop before our transfer. We were told there were only two flights to the island a week, and that someone would be able to deliver them to us. At that point, I pretty much wrote my boards off. The plan was to stay at the hotel for one night and then board a boat the next morning. That next morning turned into five next mornings¿the captain of our boat arrived every day with the same sad story: “Uh, mate. The bloody engine ain’t quite workin’. I’m jus’ waitin’ for the part to come, and then we’ll leave.”

Yep, every day he came with that bullshit story ’til we decided, “F¿k this, let’s get a different boat and captain.” While being stuck in the hotel for a week, we were lucky enough to see the arrival of our misplaced boards. Somehow shit just seems to work itself out like that¿we got our boards, a better boat, and a captain who had his head screwed on right.

After traveling overnight on the boat, I awoke and walked out onto the deck¿it felt like I’d just woken up on Christmas morning. There were presents sent to us in the form of perfectly wrapped lefts. This had to be a reward for keeping our sanity and not blowing up the hotel while we were waiting or beating the shit out of our original “bad news” captain.

The trip continued to go smoothly¿day after day we surfed uncrowded perfect waves. Our captain and crew amazed me; they made all the right calls and got us to all the best places. The waves we surfed were all different from each other, except for the fact that they blew any wave I’m used to away. Some of the waves I caught were so perfect, I didn’t know if I should get barreled, hit the lip, do an air, or just carve the shit out of it. On these waves you can do all of those combos a number of times, but some times I’d find myself just cruising and seeing how fast and far I could go.

Surf, eat, chill, surf, surf, eat, chill, sleep¿that was the routine. If you weren’t able to get a peace of mind by sitting on the deck gawking at all the amazing deserted islands and all of nature’s natural perfection, you were able to visit Bobby Digital world down below in one of the air-conditioned cabins that had DVDs, VCDs, MP3s, Internet, and PlayStation (That’s right, kiddies! Tony Hawk 2 in the middle of nowhere!). All the luxuries were used during downtime, and there wasn’t too much of that going on. Our time was mostly spent posting up on perfect peaks and getting our shred on, bro! We were fortunate to have some incredible documentarians on the trip (George Mayes and Jason Reposar). These troopers were hiking through deadly territory and taking their chance on a Zodiac in order to capture this journey on film for TWS and the new Ezekiel movie.

After two weeks of this kind of living you start wondering if it might be a good idea to peace out your normal daily operations back home and disappear on a chain of small islands. So chill out and daydream on these photos. Also keep your eyes out for the Ezekiel movie, The Calling. The shit’s going to be hot! You heard?¿Jeremy Heit

Journal Entry Four

by Greg Browning

It seems that whenever you travel to a Third World country, one of the main concerns is getting sick from the food, especially when you’re planning to stay on a boat for eleven days. Well, in our case, we were scheduled to only have one night in a hotel, so that meant only one night of food. It was so funny, because from the whole menu, someone decided to get the pepper steak. Don’t ask me why. I mean of all things, it sounded the sketchiest, but we all ended up getting it anyway. I guess we figured if one of us is going down, we all might as well go, too. Luckily it stayed down, because we got stuck for five days in that hotel and ate pepper steak religiously. Twice a day, every single day.

I swore after this trip I’d never forget these three sayings Jeremy Heit said every day. Sure enough, when I got home I forgot two of them. So I called a couple of the guys and asked them, “Hey, remember those things Jeremy was saying on the trip?” and almost immediately we’d start laughing. It was funny because each guy I called could only remember one of them to tell me, but was laughing about all of them. Anyway, they were:

Post Up: Basically means to stay for a while.

Oops A Poops: Farting with a little bit extra stuff.

Compounded: Getting worked by a wave or the reef.

I remember the first day we surfed. Our captain took us to this spot that was below sea level. Conan and Pascal both paddled straight out and got two of the sickest barrels ever. So I paddled out, caught this wave, tried to drop in without grabbing my rail, and straightened out because I didn’t think I could get under the lip. When we got back into the boat and watched the footage of the session, I heard everyone say, “Why didn’t you pull into that?!” I told myself that no matter where we go, there’s no way in hell I’m straightening out again¿even if it means taking a lip in the head.

If there was one person who stood out on the trip, I’d say it was Pascal, because I’ve never really seen him surf. Even if I had, I don’t think I could or would have expected him to surf as wan do all of those combos a number of times, but some times I’d find myself just cruising and seeing how fast and far I could go.

Surf, eat, chill, surf, surf, eat, chill, sleep¿that was the routine. If you weren’t able to get a peace of mind by sitting on the deck gawking at all the amazing deserted islands and all of nature’s natural perfection, you were able to visit Bobby Digital world down below in one of the air-conditioned cabins that had DVDs, VCDs, MP3s, Internet, and PlayStation (That’s right, kiddies! Tony Hawk 2 in the middle of nowhere!). All the luxuries were used during downtime, and there wasn’t too much of that going on. Our time was mostly spent posting up on perfect peaks and getting our shred on, bro! We were fortunate to have some incredible documentarians on the trip (George Mayes and Jason Reposar). These troopers were hiking through deadly territory and taking their chance on a Zodiac in order to capture this journey on film for TWS and the new Ezekiel movie.

After two weeks of this kind of living you start wondering if it might be a good idea to peace out your normal daily operations back home and disappear on a chain of small islands. So chill out and daydream on these photos. Also keep your eyes out for the Ezekiel movie, The Calling. The shit’s going to be hot! You heard?¿Jeremy Heit

Journal Entry Four

by Greg Browning

It seems that whenever you travel to a Third World country, one of the main concerns is getting sick from the food, especially when you’re planning to stay on a boat for eleven days. Well, in our case, we were scheduled to only have one night in a hotel, so that meant only one night of food. It was so funny, because from the whole menu, someone decided to get the pepper steak. Don’t ask me why. I mean of all things, it sounded the sketchiest, but we all ended up getting it anyway. I guess we figured if one of us is going down, we all might as well go, too. Luckily it stayed down, because we got stuck for five days in that hotel and ate pepper steak religiously. Twice a day, every single day.

I swore after this trip I’d never forget these three sayings Jeremy Heit said every day. Sure enough, when I got home I forgot two of them. So I called a couple of the guys and asked them, “Hey, remember those things Jeremy was saying on the trip?” and almost immediately we’d start laughing. It was funny because each guy I called could only remember one of them to tell me, but was laughing about all of them. Anyway, they were:

Post Up: Basically means to stay for a while.

Oops A Poops: Farting with a little bit extra stuff.

Compounded: Getting worked by a wave or the reef.

I remember the first day we surfed. Our captain took us to this spot that was below sea level. Conan and Pascal both paddled straight out and got two of the sickest barrels ever. So I paddled out, caught this wave, tried to drop in without grabbing my rail, and straightened out because I didn’t think I could get under the lip. When we got back into the boat and watched the footage of the session, I heard everyone say, “Why didn’t you pull into that?!” I told myself that no matter where we go, there’s no way in hell I’m straightening out again¿even if it means taking a lip in the head.

If there was one person who stood out on the trip, I’d say it was Pascal, because I’ve never really seen him surf. Even if I had, I don’t think I could or would have expected him to surf as well as he did on the trip. There were so many insane things that stand out, but best of all was having two of my friends who I’ve grown up with since we were kids there, and watching them get perfect waves.

Conan described the trip perfectly: “It was the worst, best, worst trip ever!” To explain that: It took two days to fly there, four unexpected days in a hotel, seven perfect days of surf (which were supposed to be eleven days on the boat), one shitty boat ride with the Florida guys, two more unexpected days in the hotel, and no boards for two weeks after we got home. A grand total of eighteen days, with only seven days of surf.

SIDEBAR

Greg Browning quotes:”I think the hardest thing we had to go through on the trip was letting these perfect waves go by, because we were just too tired to paddle anymore.”

“We surfed so much we were wearing wetsuit tops to help pad our ribs because they were so sore.”

“I don’t know any better feeling in the world than getting a good barrel, and we were doing that every single day.”

“To top off the trip, Vinnie put up money for the best cutback, aerial, and barrel. I don’t think Conan won the cutback on just one in particular¿every time he did one he was worthy of the win.”

“One of the days I think Conan got twenty stand-up barrels in a row. It was almost annoying.”

Jeremy Sommerville quotes:”One Japanese Coast Guard boat gave me brain damage after all the thousands of times I hit my head.””Anybody want to go sleep on the island for the night?” ¿Major Malaria”Some woman has been studying rare monkeys for years on the remote islands.””Does the monkey lady still speak English?”

“If not, there’s always the international language of love.”

Pascal Stansfield quotes:

On Conan: “Why the f¿k is it that on every perfect wave I paddle for, Conan is always deeper than me because he charges so hard?”

On Greg:He’s truly a surf-stoked grommet. Greg sat in the channel more than anyone. After each barrel Greg purchased, he’d sit in the channel with an instamatic waterproof camera snapping photos. Just as you were coming out of the barrel of your life, there was Greg with his ghetto instant camera stuffed in your face.”

On Jeremy Heit:”Hooty Hoo’s” from dusk ’til dawn. Jeremy had the entire Indonesian crew of the Huey One throwing out “Hooty Hoo’s” after each bro exited shack after shack.

On Sommy:”Psycho in all aspects of the word. He never ceases to amaze me. Whether he was gaffing lips, or taking sips¿he was owning it.”as well as he did on the trip. There were so many insane things that stand out, but best of all was having two of my friends who I’ve grown up with since we were kids there, and watching them get perfect waves.

Conan described the trip perfectly: “It was the worst, best, worst trip ever!” To explain that: It took two days to fly there, four unexpected days in a hotel, seven perfect days of surf (which were supposed to be eleven days on the boat), one shitty boat ride with the Florida guys, two more unexpected days in the hotel, and no boards for two weeks after we got home. A grand total of eighteen days, with only seven days of surf.

SIDEBAR

Greg Browning quotes:”I think the hardest thing we had to go through on the trip was letting these perfect waves go by, because we were just too tired to paddle anymore.”

“We surfed so much we were wearing wetsuit tops to help pad our ribs because they were so sore.”

“I don’t know any better feeling in the world than getting a good barrel, and we were doing that every single day.”

“To top off the trip, Vinnie put up money for the best cutback, aerial, and barrel. I don’t think Conan won the cutback on just one in particular¿every time he did one he was worthy of the win.”

“One of the days I think Conan got twenty stand-up barrels in a row. It was almost annoying.”

Jeremy Sommerville quotes:”One Japanese Coast Guard boat gave me brain damage after all the thousands of times I hit my head.””Anybody want to go sleep on the island for the night?” ¿Major Malaria”Some woman has been studying rare monkeys for years on the remote islands.””Does the monkey lady still speak English?”

“If not, there’s always the international language of love.”

Pascal Stansfield quotes:

On Conan: “Why the f¿k is it that on every perfect wave I paddle for, Conan is always deeper than me because he charges so hard?”

On Greg:He’s truly a surf-stoked grommet. Greg sat in the channel more than anyone. After each barrel Greg purchased, he’d sit in the channel with an instamatic waterproof camera snapping photos. Just as you were coming out of the barrel of your life, there was Greg with his ghetto instant camera stuffed in your face.”

On Jeremy Heit:”Hooty Hoo’s” from dusk ’til dawn. Jeremy had the entire Indonesian crew of the Huey One throwing out “Hooty Hoo’s” after each bro exited shack after shack.

On Sommy:”Psycho in all aspects of the word. He never ceases to amaze me. Whether he was gaffing lips, or taking sips¿he was owning it.”