A pair of Australian surfing legends, undaunted despite their middle age, strapped tiny 3D cameras to their boards and went in search of big waves whipped up by Pacific storms.
The result was the documentary feature “Storm Surfers 3D” starring Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones, who take viewers on gliding rides through tubular waves or a pounding wipe-out. The experience for the audience is, Clarke-Jones says, like “surfing without drowning.”
As it happens, one of them almost drowned during filming.
Carroll, a two-time world surfing champion in the 1980s, and Clarke-Jones, a big wave pioneer are now 51 and 47, respectively. But rather than retiring from the sport, the long-time best friends went in the other direction, riding massive waves in the open ocean.
“Storm Surfers 3D,” currently playing in select U.S. theaters and on video on demand, follows Carroll and Clarke-Jones as they travel over 17,000 km (10,500 miles) during the course of four Australian winter months in 2011, completing eight surfing missions around Australia and Hawaii.
What sets “Storm Surfers 3D” apart from other surf documentaries such as “The Endless Summer” in 1966 and “Step Into Liquid” in 2003 is its 3D footage.
Filmmakers Chris Nelius and Justin McMillan used half a dozen camera systems, had crew members shooting in the water, on boats, wave-runners and helicopters to capture the giant waves, winds and rain.
However, the 3D GoPro wearable action cameras are what make “Storm Surfers 3D” a deeply immersive surfing documentary.