A small community of the world are crazy enough to do what many people are too afraid to even dream of – paddle into the world’s biggest waves.
These monsters – some reaching above 80 foot – are violent enough to crush the bodies of those who dare to ride them.
Award-winning film-maker Tim Bonython has been travelling the globe to capture the swell chasers but says he gets just as much thrill from the safe side of the lens.
The Big Wave Project was five years in the making and took Bonython to epic swells around Australia, Tahiti, Portugal, Hawaii and Fiji and features some of the best big wave surfers in the world.
Unlike other surf films, Bonython says the ocean is the star and the thrill-seeking surfers are there to enhance it.
“My plan is to go and document whenever the surf is bigger than 10 feet, to go out there and really find those crazy waves and … those big wave surfers and hopefully let them tame those kind of beasts,” he said.
“That’s what we live for … once I get that moment that’s my story, and the happiness of getting that moment and not getting killed by it.”
The biggest wave in the film was at Nazare in Portugal, where surfers are deciding to ditch the jet-ski and paddle into it themselves.
Bonython recalls it was early morning and not a lot of people in the lineup. Someone grabbed a rogue board in the surf to discover there was a body attached to it. Somehow this man is still alive to tell the tale.
The only downside of making epic surf movies are promoting them, as he says he could be shooting a massive swell in WA right now.
The Big Wave Project screens at Event Cinema Wollongong on June 15 at 7pm, with Tim Bonython on hand to talk about the film.
For more information visit: www.asmf.net.au