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Shane Dorian And Anthony Walsh's Hunt For Surfing's Wildest GoPro Clip

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Shane Dorian And Anthony Walsh's Hunt For Surfing's Wildest GoPro Clip

The concept was simple in theory: two teams of the world’s best GoPro operators, the endless tubes of the  Australian desert, GoPro HERO7s, best clip wins. 

Shane Dorian and Anthony Walsh on one team, Ry Craike and Mikala Jones on the other. However, as anyone who’s ever tried to organise, well, anything, knows, simple concepts still take a mammoth effort to execute.

The puppet master behind this venture to the wild (on land and in the ocean) part of the world was Joel Scott (aka @js35) - content creator extraordinaire and certified POV addict. Joel was so behind the scenes that he didn’t even make an appearance in the behind the scenes film (which, it’s remarkable to note, was also shot on a camera smaller than the palm of your hand) so we decided to get him on the phone to get a first hand run through of his masterfully executed project.

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AW and SD double team a dense lump of Southern Ocean.

“This idea was inspired by the Billabong challenge back in the day,” Joel tells us. “I worked with Jack McCoy as a camera assistance on the Junior Challenge and always loved what they did on the old Billabong challenge when they took the crew to the desert. I just thought the whole invitation only thing would be cool, and why not take the best GoPro guys somewhere we knew there would be crazy barrels.” The “crazy barrels” part of the brief was certainly met, and Joel says that despite having seen the inside of more tubes around the globe than pretty much anyone else, his team - Walshy and Dorian - were freaking out on the quality of the set ups they found. “It was amazing to see how stoked were,” he says. “They were psyching on how good the waves were, and to be with those two was pretty special. They were like little kids: checking their GoPro clips on the back of the ski every time they got a good one.”

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Anthony Walsh is a high octane ball of surfing, fishing, coffee-necking energy.

Anthony Walsh is one of the hungriest vision-hunters on the planet, so unsurprisingly he’d previously spent time in the desert - “He’s unbelievable,” JS says. “He doesn’t drink but it’s like he’s taken 40 eccys, he literally wouldn’t stop surfing, squidding, you name it…” - but it was Shane Dorian’s maiden jaunt, and Joel says he was nothing but a joy to be around. “Ah man, he’s like the godfather of surfing,” he says, obviously still pumped on the experience of spending time in close quarters with one of his heroes. “It was my first time meeting him and I was a bit nervous, but after half a day I was like, ‘Wow this guy is so cool!’ He a small guy but he’s got a big presence. He was keen for a beer every arvo and just psyched on getting barrelled. Even though he’d never been there, first morning he was straight out and pulling into massive pits.” Interestingly, Joel also informed us that Shane’s chosen psych-up song for lurching desert slabs was Beyonce’s irritatingly catchy 2013 anthem “Drunk in Love” (see also: “Serfbort, serfbort etc”) - “Man he kept sneaking that on,” he says, laughing. “Shane was amping to that tune.”

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The Godfather does the mind warp again.

Shane was fighting an internal battle for the initial part of the trip between his love of large caves and fear of large sharks, but Joel say after a few days he followed Anthony Walsh’s gung-ho approach to surfing remote waves solo.”I was on the ski with Shane and Walshy jumped off and started paddling,” he says. “Me and Shane were so freaked out so I’d just tow him in and then go pick him up straight after.” After a few days (and some gentle coxing from Walsh) Shane eased into the desert life and started paddling, although soon after his fears were justified when a huge shark cruised through the line up. “We’d been surfing all morning and I was actually about to tow a couple and was and freaking as it was. You can’t tell quite how big the waves are from some of the POV footage, but it was macking.” Joel says. “Then it went onshore so we bolted, leaving the other team and a crew of bodyboarders. Just after we left a massive great white breached in the middle of the take off spot - the spongers piled onto the other ski and had to be ferried to shore.”

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Might look manageable, but take our word for the fact that 99% of surfers would want nothing to do with this wave.

Despite being the brains behind this operation, Joel’s quick to give kudos to the guides who put the crew in the zone day after day: surfer Jye Demmrich and lensman Kane Overall. “Jye’s just a lord down there and Kane’s so onto it,” Joel says. “Jye took care of Ry and Mikala and Kane was with us. They were so key, it wouldn’t have happened without them.”

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Stare at thing long enough and you'll go cross-eyed.

It’s easy to languidly hit play then throw stones at content that appears daily on the net, but taking something from ideation to finished article is no small task. Even if you score perfect waves and the sun shines every day, the stress is ever-present until the edit’s in the can, and you can tell how stoked Joel is that everything came together, despite such a small margin for error. “I hit GoPro literally a year ago with the concept,” Joel concludes. “To finally see it with my own eyes after so much time and effort just blew my mind.”

Stay tuned to Stab for Mikala and Ry's adventure dropping next Monday!

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