Making-of: Electric Wave

Three surfing legends and a photographer travel by Audi e-tron to the set: Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, over a hundred miles from the Pacific.

03/13/2020 Text: Cameron Higgins
Photo: Todd Glaser Reading Time: 4 min

The Audi e-tron on its way to the set.

The morning of the trip from Malibu to Lemoore, Steph, Coco, Leah, and photographer, Todd Glasser, loaded their gear into three silent, space-age e-trons in Malibu, then set out on a one-of-a-kind surf trip. After all, what Californian has ever driven east in search of the surf? On the road to Lemoore, there were butterflies in stomachs and adventurous vibes in the air. Disco tunes pumped through the radio as granola bars were passed around. Directions were given in surf lingo: “cut back on 101 to get to the 5.”

 

Charging the Audi e-tron in the time it takes to eat a double-double combo

A heady mixture of uncertainty and confidence hung about the team. Would all three surfers really fit on one wave? The nervousness was quelled by a stop at In-N-Out Burger, a detour without which no California road trip would be complete. At “Camilla”, the EVgo 50 kW fast-charging station in Bakersfield, they discovered that charging the e-tron takes about as long as it does to eat a double-double combo. After rejuicing both cars and bellies, the gang arrived at Surf Ranch and hurried to catch up with collaborators and old friends.

The morning of the shoot was spent prepping equipment and gearing up the wave for its first ever 24-hour run. The wave of anticipation finally broke at sunset. The three women charged deep into the night as the cameras and drones rolled, capturing the magic. At the 2 AM dinner break, no one rested; instead an impromptu, celebratory guitar jam session broke out amongst the collaborators. At dawn, there was a sense that something grand, something wild and new, had come to life overnight. As Steph said of the project, “it was quite cosmic and atmospheric. Dreamy, surreal … at the end of the film, it’s like I lift off into this light. Into this space. Whatever it is.”

The three surfers on their way to the Wave Pool.

A magical, electrifying feeling in the night air

As the ladies finished their lines and slipped into the water, a high-voltage energy continued to linger in the night air. “That was amazing,” director Daniel Askill said, “I got goosebumps seeing the three of them come in on that wave.” Which means something coming from a director of Askill’s stature. As he explained, “I’ve always loved the idea of filming surfing because it’s so beautiful. I love water and elemental stuff like movement and dance. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to do something with surfers, but through a different lens.”

The team on the nocturnal set.
The surf in the light of the headlights.

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