How A Group Wielding Five Machetes And A Baseball Bat Denied Us Beach Access
The Dock 2.0 FAQs (or what went right and very wrong in the heat of Mexico).
In 2017, when The Dock dropped, it broke our preconceived notions of what a viral surf clip was. Millions of views hailed down. Double taps cheered, and so did we. We pulled out our flagging fingers and swiped it off as many Instagrams and Youtube pages trying to pass it off as their own content, or at least not throwing us the very appreciated @stab tag, that we could.
The Dock 2.0 is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. A sequel was inevitable and we put our efforts into anchoring the Candock Modular Floating Systems platform into proper tubes.
This year, we took the Dock down to Oaxaca, we flew in Noa Deane, Chippa Wilson, Eithan Osborne and Dion Aguis, and jumped through municipal hoops to make our shoot happen. You may, or may not, recall back to April when we live fed our experiment of mishaps onto our Instagram Stories. During this time, we fielded a lot of questions and critiques via our friends and DMs.
The Dock 2.0 presented by Monster Energy is dropping tomorrow. Here the answers to our most frequently asked questions, here's what went right and what went very wrong:
Eithan Osborne flings while Dion maintains his sealegs.
How much does The Dock weigh? How many people does it take to anchor it?
Two tonnes. It’s 180 cubes, 60 cubes long and three cubes wide. It’s over 36 metres long. We’ve spent a lot of years trying to create these “concept shoots” in the ocean and the challenges are unthinkable. The power behind a three-foot wave can be horrifying. On the Bali shoot, we used a Boston Whaler. A handful of times saw us nearly sink that boat as a wave picked up the boat and dragged it backward. The challenge isn’t a dock hitting the wave, it’s when the dock is side on to the wave and that surface area is copping the full force of the wave.
After the close calls in Bali, we decided to hire a tug boat this time. As it turns out, tug boat drivers are used to dealing with exceptionally precious cargo and the skippers of these boats are calculated. We wanted this skipper to be 150 metres from six foot waves. Despite all of our preparation and instruction, this was never going to be a reality. So, the only choice we had was to drop an anchor and make a calculated gamble at where to drop the pick.
Where do the lines of gimmick and concept end? Which is this?
We were complimented that The Dock was the pinnacle of performance art and the height of creativity in surfing. We were also called a tacky and cheap gimmick. It sounds insufferable but The Dock was about reimagining how a wave can be ridden and to push us to do something that’s never been done before. The true test for us is when you’re scrolling and your thumb has to hit the reverse gear to see what you’ve missed, to create something that looks photoshopped but isn’t.
We’ve walked the line between gimmick and credible idea. Bruce Irons surfing with a flare at night created some of the most extraordinary surf photos of all time. Jordy Smith doing airs with a flame coming off the tail of his board, not so much.
Why did you choose these surfers?
We wanted a mix of goofy and natural footers. And guys who can adapt to running and jumping from a floating dock. It looks quite easy but it’s really difficult.
This time around, who took to The Dock the easiest?
Noa had it from his first jump. Eithan picked it up really quickly. Everyone refers to Chippa’s catlike skill and that was evident immediately. Dion’s entry was unique and more dramatic. He’d jump up when launched and land tail-first, not dissimilar to how a sailboarder would land after doing an air. Because there was so much wind, every guy had to double grab... which upset these guys a lot.
Why do this again, don’t sequels usually disappoint?
The first iteration of The Dock in Bali exceeded all expectation. We thought it was a cute idea, we put together the film and it just took off. We never expected it to be such a viral hit and it’s our most viewed film of all time. It was re-purposed, reposted and went viral in every sense of the word. In all transparency, the waves we got weren’t that great and we were hoping to get it into barrels while in Bali. Even though places like Bali are more lax when it comes to rules, launching anything near an international airport becomes problematic. And, our plans here were very close to I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. Since then, all we’ve really wanted to do is have surfers run and launch themselves from The Dock and pull straight into the tube. However, any world class waves that barrel feature crowds so there’s a very small percentage of waves in the world where this is possible.
Our sense was that if we could get this into big standup tubes, it would usurp the success of the first film. We actually thought that shot from above with a drone, two surfers running down a dock splitting the peak and getting barreled had the spectre of being the most viewed surf clip of all time. Yeah, yeah, lofty we know, but we love all those cliched motivational quotes like Gretzky's best: You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
Dion’s entry was unique and more dramatic. Because there was so much wind, every guy had to double grab... which upset these guys a lot.
The single most difficult moment of the trip?
We were on our second of four days shooting. Day one was a write-off. Our boat captain bailed, neither of our skis showed and we had been dragging this two-tonne dock around Mexico trying to find waves. We’d found a spot and had approval to shoot the following day. We got up at four am and our team started to assemble The Dock at the beach. When our crew arrived at 7 am, we were greeted with a roadblock. Alongside a makeshift rope blocking the dirt road, was an angry group who were awaiting our arrival. Five had machetes and one had a baseball bat. It turns out we had approval from the wrong municipality and both had jurisdiction over this one beach.
According to our host, this group had ties to a cartel and surfing that day was an absolute non-negotiable. Flying in people from all around the world and you’re two-thirds of a trip into it and you haven’t ridden a wave is a scary prospect.
What is it like when the anchors pull and it washes into shore?
Getting an anchor to grab is relatively easy. You drop it, have the boat get dragged by the wind and the force solidifies the position. For us, we’d drop anchor, try to move with the wind and then we’d go against the offshore wind and approach the break. But, it’s like a cork floating on the end of a line. Each time a wave with decent force would hit it, the anchor would slip. To rectify, the best we could do was let The Dock get caught by the offshore wind and hold it by hand from the shore with a line. It was a fucking crapshoot. And not only did the surfers have to jump off an unanchored dock in solid surf, they then had to navigate around the rope to us on the shore.
To rectify, the best we could do was let The Dock get caught by the offshore wind and hold it by hand from the shore with a line. It was a fucking crapshoot. And not only did the surfers have to jump off an unanchored dock in solid surf, they then had to navigate around the rope to us on the shore.
Eithan wanted the ollie across it so bad and fell on the dock on our first day of shooting. That was it, fortunately. We had a lawyer draw up liability waivers for the trip but we never got around to printing them out and getting them signed. On the last big day, we said to our surfers: make sure you’re safe, don’t do anything silly and let’s shut this down if it’s not safe.
What did the surfers think of it?
They were thrilled. We’re not sure whether it was because of the concept or the fact that surf media still invite surfers on trips or the fact we picked up their airfares…
Was anyone not into it?
Understandably there were some guys on surf trips and they weren’t stoked when we showed up. We were respectful of other guys and surfed only when the waves were shitty. They were cool after that.
Eithan wanted the ollie across it so bad and fell on the dock on our first day of shooting. That was it, fortunately. We had a lawyer draw up liability waivers for the trip but we never got around to printing them out and getting them signed.
Where is The Dock now?
After the shoot, we shipped it back to the Candock office.
Compared in Bali, what should we expect?
The same kind of fun you don’t see in surfing very often.
The most memorable quote you heard all trip?
We asked if we should push it? To try to surf this one particular beach with no one out.
The response: “These guys are crazy. Cartel crazy. They’ll kidnap you and there’s a chance no one will ever see you again.”
Will there be a Dock 3.0?
The Dock 3.0 into a Teahupoo tube is for someone else. That’s it from us.