Danny Fuller models for Chanel
In early 2011, a man walked into a Chanel campaign casting. At any casting for an advert or similar, the casting director supplies a reference image, or 'inspiration'. The inspiration in this case was a photo of angelic-looking pro surfer, Danny Fuller. "This guy's actually alive," said the man, recognising Danny. "He still looks like this. I know him!" So, he called Danny: "My friend told me about it," Danny says. "So I called my agent and said, there's this big Chanel job happening, maybe you should contact these people."
Fast-forward a few auditions and a coupla months, to June 2011, and Danny's standing on the beach in Hawaii at a secret spot on the west side, having his makeup done and watching a 150-strong crew prep for the shoot. "The way they had it set out, it was almost like they were shooting a feature film," Danny says. "I was like, are they shooting Lost? And they were like 'No, this is all for you.' It was just like, really?"
While he was understandably humbled, Danny shouldn't have been surprised. An advert for one of the world's oldest, most reputable and revered fashion houses, directed by the same woman who helmed Point Break and award-winning film, The Hurt Locker? "Working with Kathryn Bigelow was such a pleasure and honour," Danny says. "She couldn't have made it any more of a pleasant experience."
"The way they had it set it out, it was almost like they were shooting a feature film. I was like, are they shooting Lost?"
Big-budget though it was, the shoot wasn't without mishap. "There were almost some serious casualties while we were shooting," Danny laughs. "The camera crew were on this jet boat. I was looking out on the horizon and I saw this like, eight-to-10 foot (Hawaiian) set coming in. They were zipping around, but what had happened was that the boat had a malfunction and it was stuck doing a circle – they had no control over the steering! They got clipped by the wave but luckily it didn't flip and they rode it out to the beach. If it'd flipped, someone could easily have died."
The wave itself was a very serious, very real Hawaiian reef. Volcanic underneath and powerful up top. When he was told the shoot would be going down in June, Danny was concerned. Hawaii don't get big mid-year! "I was worried, but they actually couldn't have got luckier," says Danny. "They got the biggest swell that Hawaii's had in June for, like, 10 years." The surprise swell also left Danny very under-gunned. He had two shortboards and two grovellers, all sprayed with heavy, metallic, pearl-white car paint. "I would've easily ridden a 6'8" out there," Danny says. While they were gripped with Danny's signature Astrodeck tailpads, the boards didn't have any sponsor stickers on them – a fact Danny's sponsor, RVCA, is cool with. "At RVCA, with Pat Tenore, he's been very understanding of my situation and given me a lot of freedom. I actually ended up using RVCA boardshorts in the ad. For them, even though it's one of their very subtle pieces, just the fact that I'm wearing RVCA boardshorts in the campaign is something that's really good for them."
Ok, ok, but the thing y'probs wanna know more than anything else, is how much scrilla Mr. Fuller was gifted for the job. Forty thousand, Stab probed (with tongue firmly in cheek)? "A lot more than $40k," Danny says. "My kids will be going to private schools now!" – Elliot Struck