471 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Playing to two shows at the La Paloma Theatre on March 22, Surfer magazine presented the San Diego County premier of its new film, The Cradle of Storms. The 25-minute documentary follows three West Coast surfers as they travel for 14 days to one of the most remote Aleutian islands in Alaska, where the west coast’s winter storms begin.
Editor-in-chief of Surfer magazine, Brendon Thomas, says this was a “very high risk trip to an obscure region.” Daily the three adventures would have to travel for over two hours by quad runners, loaded with surfboards, extreme winter wetsuits, and supplies, just to get to the shoreline. Sometimes it was so cold they didn’t want to go into the water, though witnessing perfect, large waves.
For over two years, the film’s cinematographer, Ben Weilandin, checked out NOAA weather satellites, Google Earth, and weather cams at local Alaskan airports. Once green-lighted by the magazine, Weilandin choose November of last year to shoot. “There was a window where the hunting season was over, and before the winter storms really kicked in,” he said. Even so, the gang had to bivouac for several days in a rural hunting cabin due to a winter storm.
Weilandin, along with a still photographer, were the only crew beside the surfers. Editor Thomas was biting his nails. He had no way of communicating with the crew to see if they had found waves at all.
The magazine tried a photo-spread trip to the volcanic chain of islands near the Russian border before, in 1998, with little wave success.
While the article and photos of the trip appear in the current April issue of Surfer, the filmed documentary will be launched on YouTube on Thursday, March 27.