London Surf Film Festival bids a fond farewell to Riverside Studios, the festival’s home for the last four years, with a special night of cult films including Andrew Kidman’s era-defining Litmus on Tuesday, July 22. Peter Hamblin, director of Wright Side of Wrong, will also be on hand to present his new four part series The Ripple Effect that profiles some lesser-known surfing icons Bob Hurley, Lance Knight, The Coolie Kids and John and Paul Witzig. Huck spoke to Peter to find out about his journey from photography into film making and collaborating with Tim Baker, writer of Bustin’ Down the Door.
What was your first introduction to surf filmmaking?
I use to shoot stills on the ASP professional surf tour and found myself wanting to capture more. When the Canon 5D came in to play a few years back I just started playing around. To be honest my first attempts were terrible, home movie style with my parents and girlfriend in tow, making them walk past the camera in creative ways on holiday in Portugal, real rookie stuff! I loved and still do love Taylor Steele’s work and so films like Sipping Jetstreams were my inspiration.
It’s weird though cause when I made my first short Wright Side Of Wrong on surfer Warwick Wright, it was nothing like Taylor’s work. It was totally unplanned, with no real clue about what I was doing. I kinda just went for it and when I sat down to edit the style of the piece developed from there. I went with my gut and laid down what felt right at the time, and the result was a raw edgy, pop kinda style which has lent itself to my projects ever since!
How did you decide on the ‘icons’ you picked for the Ripple Effect series?
I didn’t decide. Myself and the very talented Tim Baker (the author of Bustin’ Down The Door) were commissioned by Evan Fontaine and Tom Howell from Red Bull who came up with the original concept. Tim has a deep knowledge of surf history and was tasked with choosing the ‘icons’. Truly I have never met someone who is so passionate about surfing. Every other week he will be holding a panel discussion on surfing, he absolutely lights up when he’s in front of an audience talking about surfing!
What have been the challenges in bringing The Ripple Effect to life?
Coordinating and working around peoples schedules, but to be quite honest it has been a bit of a smooth process thanks to the support of Evan and Tom and the solid line producing from Tim.
What have been the major inspirations for this project and all the other surf-related films you’ve made?
To create something that is visually fresh. Even if it is a story from the past, which traditionally has a set recipe of story telling, the motivation is to spice it up and keep the audience entertained! Oh and to travel, get out there and explore!
Do you plan to continue the Ripple Effect series? If not, what other future projects have you got on the cards?
I would love to. The decision rests with how the first batch of shorts are received, so time will tell! I have just started working with big wave rider Frank Solomon on a new feature called Let’s Be Frank. This should be a fun one as it is based around the conspiracy theory, that Frank Solomon is not who he says he is!!