The Grail lives on. Video: Haydenshapes
Watch: For The First Time Online, Craig And Dion Star In 'Forward To Past'
A Haydenshapes flick that was previously confined to secret emails and requested downloads.
A few months back, Haydenshapes released a film on its hip*, relatively new craft, the Holy Grail.
We use the term "released" loosely.
If you wanted to watch Forward to Past, which starred Haydenshapes studs Craig Anderson and Dion Agius in the rolling surf of New Zealand, you had to send them an email specifically requesting the download link, which they would then deliver free of charge (and with a friendly note!).
But there was no Vimeo, Youtube, or Facebook link available. The only way to watch the film was to take the extra steps of requesting and dowloading. With such a strategy, one mightn't expect to get a lot of viewers.
"Surprisingly, that wasn't the case," Dion, who starred in, directed, and edited Forward to Past, told Stab.
We caught up with Dion in a brief moment of reprieve, as he'd been stuck in his Tasmanian editing bunker with Blake Myers for about a week, making Haydenshapes' next team flick (coming soon).
So watch Forward to Past above, then read the interview—which offers more context on the film, the reasons HS didn't initially release it on video-sharing platforms, comments on the Grail, and what Dion's life looks like right now—below.
Stab: Hey Dion, what are you up to?
Dion Agius: I’m just editing a trip I did with the Hayden team about four or five months ago. I was injured at the time, so I just went on the trip to shoot and direct the project. We actually got really pumping waves, so it’s gonna be pretty cool, I think.
Speaking of videos you edited for Hayden, we wanted to chat with you about the Forward to Past video that came out a few months back. And when I say “came out,” I mean that you guys left an email for people to message and receive a free film download. Why did you choose that method of distribution?
Well, I did the same thing with Smiling Bag a few years ago, and I had the best experience by releasing a film online that way, because I felt like people that actually wanted to see the film came looking for it, rather than just stumbling upon it online and watching it because it was there.
The other side of it, for me, was that I just put out my persona; email, so I got all these amazing messages. People asked me questions and told me the craziest shit—their life stories, some issues they’ve had, etc.—so it was just this crazy level of interaction that you don’t usually get when you put something out online. Obviously, the views would probably be lower, but that’s not a huge concern for me. So that’s what I pitched to Hayden because I thought it could be cool for this little project as well.
How did it go?
It’s pretty crazy, I think it shut Hayden’s server down or something. He only has so many people who can email in, and it ended up getting fully closed down. He had to upgrade whatever his thing was to allow all those people to email.
And when you release a film in this fashion, you’re probably not gonna get the people who watch the film just to hate it, so you can be fairly certain that those are fans mailing in.
Yeah, exactly. They’re not gonna waste their time to download the film then email me and tell me it was shit. I mean, they can. That would be totally fine if they did. I’m all for constructive criticism. But that hasn’t really been the response.
So tell us about Forward to Past. Who, what, when, where, why, etc.
It’s kind of a funny one. Craig [Anderson] and I went to New Zealand on a little swell, and we didn’t really get the best waves. You usually can’t tell that in a film, because they always show just the very best clips, so if you were to watch FTP you might think the surf was super fun, but I can assure you it was not.
So we surfed for a few days down there and came home not feeling especially motivated, which led to us sitting on that footage for ages. But we’d been meaning to do this edit on the Holy Grail for Hayden—that was the whole reason we went down there, to film on the Grail—so I just started fucking around with the clips, and as I started going through it, I realized there was actually somewhat of a little vibe in there.
And also, it’s Craig. I feel like I could just watch Craig do nothing on a wave and it’s still sick. So I thought, if people want to watch Craig and see how this board goes, maybe they’d be down to watch it even if the waves are average.
Speaking of average surf, you first rode the Holy Grail about three years ago and instantly fell in love. Do you still feel the same way?
Yeah, at the moment I have like four or five of them in my quiver, and I’ll usually take one of them with me wherever I’m going. I used to have fishier boards—or even the Untitled—for if the waves were smaller, but I still wanted to rip it. But now I mostly use the Grail as my step-down board. Especially if you ride the Future Flex ones, they’re so light and quick, but you can still turn on them really good, and I also have a lot of fun doing airs on them.
New Zealand was actually super fun to try the Grail out because... the thing is that it can still hold a line really well. Something about that tail allows you to dig the rail in, which is kind of nice at a wave like Raglan.
I can’t agree more. The Holy Grail was the first board I ever tested for Stab, and it’s still one of my favorites. I’ve gone through a couple but keep begging Hayden for more.
Yeah, it’s such a unique little shape. It has such a funny look; it goes against what you’d traditionally look for in a board, being a really clean outline from the nose to the tail, but it just works so good that you can’t deny it. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but now I’m pretty sold on the design.
And as far as your personal development goes, it seems like you’re really getting into the filmmaking process. I know over the years you were heavily involved in the films Kai Neville was producing, but how do you feel now, taking the lead director role on projects like Forward to Past and the next Hayden video?
I love it so much. Besides surfing, it’s my next favorite thing to do. And I grew up doing it. There was a point in my life, when Kai and I were making all the films together, that I was either gonna go to university to try to do more film stuff, or follow surfing, and I obviously went the surfing route.
But ever since then, I’ve always made little surf films and messed around in that world. I would have no idea how to do anything outside of surf, but I just love making little surf films so much. I think it’s because I grew up watching so many surf films. It’s been so ingrained in me since a young age. And lately I’ve been injured, so that recent trip I did with Hayden is the first time I went on a trip without trying to surf as well. Once the surfing gig starts to dry up, I could definitely see myself focusing on this sort of thing.