I remember the first time as a twelve year old, I saw Endless Summer two. I didn’t just watch it once, I watched it again and again. I obsessed and studied Bruce Browns modern day box office flop for hours in front of the screen. At the time there was no way of realizing but this would not only inspire me to travel the world but it would shape my entire adult life. I later began to shoot surfing from a still stand point and then created a few small films and edits. But each one of these after the last inspired me to go a little bigger. I wanted to make a film that people could watch for more than three minutes and not get lost on the internet after twenty four hours. I wanted to create a film that took place in areas of the world that were cold, relatively unknown and exciting.
Our story begins on a road trip to Baja with my good friend and filmmaking partner, Ryan Meichtry. I had recently gotten back from a trip to Iceland and had scored, and I mean really scored. No effort, mellow drives, easy on the wallet and enough snowy, empty and offshore images to keep me happy for a long time to come. The conversation will forever be engrained in my mind as we passed that giant statue of Mexican Jesus on our way down the Tijuana freeway. “Man I just got back from Iceland and it was perfect and so easy to score. Nova Scotia has been pumping also! I think we should throw it all out there and make a surf film, I mean a real surf film. I think we should strictly shoot it in the North Atlantic, Its never really been done before and I don’t think it will be that hard!” And with this talk of scoring with simplicity we should have known that from this conversation on, we would be cursed, just as countless vessels before who thought they could conquer the North Atlantic with ease.
As we began to prepare, we realized if we were going to do this right we had to shoot it on the proper equipment. RED Epic cameras were a must. Since we weren’t made of much more than a few part time jobs and an embarrassing savings account we realized renting gear would be our only option. How expensive could it be? Well lets just say we could have opened a production house by the end of filming but thats neither here nor there.
We figured Iceland was to be a good start for the film. Why not right? I mean I had just had it so easy….. So we gathered our rented camera gear and illegally travelled with it out of the country and met our crew of young gentleman that weren’t afraid of the cold or adventure; Noah Cohen, Noah Wegrich, Logan Landry and local Icelandic standout Heidar Eliasson. From the moment we landed in Iceland we were plagued with rain, ice and what the local Icelandic surfers were claiming was the worst three weeks of wind they had seen…well…ever. Twenty three days in this area of the world when not scoring, hell, hardly even surfing, mixed with losing daylight at an incredible rate, paired with stress and $12.00 bottles of beer, things obviously began to get tense and our wallets empty. If it wasn’t for Noah Wegrich’s youthful stoke, Noah Cohens sarcastic wit and abilities in the kitchen, Logan Landry’s extreme froth for long drives and Heidar’s zen like positivity, this trip could have ended a little differently. But with two days left in our trip it finally happened. An unlikely slab came to life for two hours and the boys, god bless their little hearts, gave it their all. For the first time in weeks, morale was higher than ever just south of the Arctic circle. Although we technically did what we came to do the conversations began to rumble about what to do next….
Enter Nova Scotia, the beautiful seaside province with perfect point breaks for miles to which I had grown up surfing and the place “I have ever so figured out and dialled.” “Boys If you come here in February and post up, we will score, I promise, winter here is on fire!” Remember that youthful stoke I had mentioned Noah Wegrich had? Well that proved to trick him again into following me around the frozen coasts of the North. Noah came and we sat, we waited, we drank, we sat, we watched movies, we did everything except the one thing he came to do; big airs and tear apart those mile long, ruler edge point breaks. During Noah’s stay in the lovely maritimes we were blessed with the worst Ice storm the province had seen in well over a decade. The city shut down, the roads weren’t drivable, and guess what? This ten year storm brought zip..no perfect air wind, no ruler edge point break waves, no heavy slabs, nothing, zip. The ocean was as flat as the ice covered city streets.
God bless Noah and that youthful heart of his. He stayed as positive as ever and for this, we were finally rewarded that two hour window, where Noah finally got to stretch his legs above the lip and take out his pent up energy on those ruler edge points. I had still felt like I had let Noah down. I felt he didn’t get what he deserved and what he was hoping for. But after that two hour session the Atlantic let us enjoy, Noah glanced at me with a smile and said “You have something really special here.” That was all I needed from the young man with giant hair to feel that I hadn’t indeed let him down.
So, we have Iceland and a Nova Scotia winter chapter. The puzzle is almost complete! We decide to put the film on hold as the Atlantic goes into hibernation for the summer months. We would shoot the next chapter of our film during the famed Nova Scotia hurricane season. Its warm, the waves are perfect. The crew was assembled and everyone was waiting for that big sleeping bear to wake from his hibernation and shower us with what we deserved! Big surf and warm weather! Well that bear kept sleeping….and sleeping…September passed…October passed….then it was November. As I awoke one day from my own slumber I glanced outside to see that first small white thing fall from the sky. And with this I realized the curse was still alive and well. We had just had an entire hurricane season with not a single storm and hardly a single wave. Was this my fault? Was the curse ruining the surf for not only me but also my friends? I felt like I couldn’t show my face let alone talk about this silly production that since started had seemed to ruin the best wave sliding months for my local community. The Perilous Sea once again, felt like it was sinking.
“Whatever, hurricane season sucks anyways and its always busy in the lineup,” I thought aloud as I completely lied to make myself feel better. “Lets go to Europe, its always big over there!” Once again the crew was assembled with Logan Landry, Northern California positive vibe warriors, Dane Anderson, Wilem Banks and even Noah Wegrich, who for some reason still thought this film was a good idea. We landed on the Emerald Isle and settled in to a nice coastal town with waves in view. Our first night was spent drinking a Guinness under the beautiful clear Irish night. I blurted out “Boys, I am glad we are all here, this is it, I have a good feeling about this.” The next morning we awoke to a freezing rain storm with extreme winds that would fail to subside for our entire three week stay. Long drives, late nights at the local pub, early hopeful but futile mornings, and conversations with local surfers about how good it was previous to our arrival became the norm. Just as Iceland, those long drives and small town living began to wear on the crew. Thank god for those little old ladies down the street that poured a perfect Guinness. Just as things were coming to an end and the days on the calendar got more and more daunting, it happened. Two hours, that was it. But two hours at a heavy water spot with Noah Wegrich and the boys shining like the stars on that first Irish night felt like we truly experienced the luck of the Irish.
Upon returning home we would continue to wait out the following winter and wait out the curse of the Perilous Sea. The winter was lacklustre, both boring and a let down. I started to wonder and realize that this was the reason no one had tried to make a film strictly in the North Atlantic before. The local community turned to me again and blamed me for the curse with comments; “HURRY UP AND FINISH THIS THING!” “WE WANT TO SURF BROMLEY!” “RENAME THIS FUCKING MOVIE!”
“Whatever, hurricane season sucks anyways and its always busy in the lineup. Lets go to Europe, its always big over there!”
As winter ended, the Atlantic went back into its cave for the spring and summer and I desperately wished there was a cave for me to crawl into as well. I looked ahead to the fall for one more shot at hurricane season. If the last had been so bad it has got to be better this time, right? Wrong, it was awful. More storms just missing our coast, more flat water, more out of province license plates and more people blaming me for the curse continuing on. At the moment of thinking it might make more sense for the boys to surf in 5mm’s in Indonesia and pretend it was the North Atlantic, I saw it. A little blip heading towards an area of our coast that isn’t often surfed. Southern Californias Kevin Schulz saw that same blip and was ready to roll the dice. Remember that two hour window that is part of the curse? Well that just so happened again but what a beautiful two hours it was. Once again, Kevin Schulz just like the rest of the boys used that two hours to his advantage. We did it, we finally captured hurricane season and shooting was virtually complete.
This spring the film will be released, our 25 minute curse will be out there for the world to see. This isn’t a sob story, this maybe isn’t a real curse, maybe this is just real life with its own set of ups and downs. This is a surf movie that takes place somewhere other than perfect blue water. This is adventure. And this hopes to inspire you to get out and face the challenges, spend the money, live life and get your own two hour window of perfection that you will remember long after going grey.
NOTE – Our Film, “Perilous Sea” strives to be the first surf film to take place strictly on the different rugged shores of the North Atlantic. It stars Noah Wegrich, Noah Cohen, Kevin Schulz, WIlem Banks, Logan Landry, Dane Anderson, Sam Hammer, Will Skudin, Noah Lane and Heidar Eliasson. Perilous Sea was shot on location in Iceland, the Canadian Maritimes and Ireland. The film, with a completely original soundtrack, will be released this spring after three years of production.
Mike Bromley / Words