This just had to happen. You know when you think of two ships that are slowly and inevitably locked on a collision course. They take their time, it happens almost in slow motion, they come into contact with many other vessels, smaller frigates on the way and are almost a mirror image of each other. Both seeking the same thing but from a different perspective and holding a slightly different purpose.
I am of course talking about the Outside Crowd and Surf Bunker. (Really! How could you not have guessed that?)
A long time vision of ours here at Surf Bunker HQ is to be able to explain ourselves via the medium of video. Unfortunately for us there are a lot of skills and equipment needed for this. We did not have the skills, the knowledge, the time, the cash or the equipment. For us making a video about what we do would be like giving an ant a tooth-pic and asking him to move a volcano. It might happen but it would take a while.
What to do then? Wait and an opportunity might present itself, is normally my philosophy. So three years later and no filmmaker had magically dropped out of the sky. We needed a decent video production for a project so it was no longer a ‘want’ but more of a ‘need’.
Enter The Outside Crowd. As I alluded to, there was some kind of destiny at work here, I am sure of it. For years Joao and Filipa who are The Outside Crowd have been covering the same people like us but via the medium of film while we concentrate on annoying you with the badly written word. We knew each other virtually but had never worked together or even met in person.
All the bosses at Surf Bunker agreed that these guys needed to be the ones to help us with the Surf Bunker video. Arrangements were made, discussions had and after a few false starts due to weather (pesky weather), a meeting place of Baleal Island was conceived. Filming commenced and was completed. We have our video (which you will not have yet seen) and two things kind of sum up how we feel about it.
We could not have been taken care of better, the guys knew exactly how much to offer in the way of advice without changing any of our ideas. It was a perfect balance and I am sure it required a lot of patience. One word is stoked.
If we had tried to achieve anything like this without Joao and Filipa, I now concede it might have been an easier task to paddle into mac-ing Nazare on a skimboard (what Domke has not done that yet has he?) In short it would have been impossible. Both from the visual, creative and adaptive techniques the guys used, all of which we did not even notice. A huge tip of the hat to these two.
Anyway, we thought it would be cool (in a non dick slappy sort of way) to introduce you to them. What better way than to ask a few questions?
SB: Hey Joao, how did the idea for The Outside Crowd come about?
Joao: The idea came after a project for college. I had the pleasure of interviewing, and now know a bit better: Nick Urrichio from Semente Surfboards, Ivo Nisa from 58 Surf and Inês Tralha from Good Surf Good Love. After that, the seed was planted and the main goal was to get to know people that were outside the water doing something related to what happens in the water. Later The Outside Crowd was born, and the first video was with Marlin Fins which makes surfboard fins.
SB: What is it that you guys want to achieve exactly? Whose stories do you want to tell?
Joao: The project has evolved in many ways and the starting point changed. Firstly the technical side was the path. How things were made, what was the reason to do it, and how that "thing" was useful for surfing. Right now The Outside Crowd is about the cultural side of surf and if it keeps evolving, it will be way more than that.
SB: What do you see as different to what others are doing in the industry?
Joao: We are looking for what happens outside the water. We are looking for people that have a connection to the ocean. We are looking for people outside the "mainstream" circuit. And I think that that is the difference. We respect the professional surfers and their skills. But more than what they do surfing a wave, here, it is their life stories that matter. It is the story of the guy that makes surfboards. The artist. The owner of a surf shop that followed a dream. Brothers that are in a foreign country. We really care and this is not just about producing content. It's really about people and getting to know them. Getting inspired and inspire others as well with our content.
SB: How long have you been surfing and how did it change your life when you started?
Joao: My first wave was caught in 2012. It changed everything. It has changed the game at a point that makes you want to deal with it every day.
SB: Can you name a few people you have worked with that really stand out?
Joao: Everybody is important. And it's not cliche, I'm being honest. It's unfair to name a few. All of them gave a lesson and taught something. All of them made us richer, and better.
SB: What direction to you see for The Outside Crowd next and into the future?
Joao: "The Outside Crowd" was a name that came to my mind when I was watching the crowd and thinking if I should enter or not. "That's it, I want to meet people that are outside the water doing something that has a reflex inside the water, so they are The Outside Crowd". Today, The Outside Crowd is more about people Outside the "Mainstream" spirit. And this can be translated in several areas. So many options, so many stories, so many everything. The future of the project is definitely to expand to other areas and reach more public. It's time to grow up.
SB: Both you and Filipa really know your stuff, how much of the creative side of it just happens as your shoot?
Joao: More than everybody thinks, and there's no problem at all. That is an awesome characteristic of the documentary, and the results are better this way, more genuine, in my opinion. At the same time, it is a challenge. You are not faking anything, and there are no "redos" because it won't be the same. You need to know well the person you are filming, or the place, and then you start doing your stuff. It's not just about recording and editing. Overall integrity is everything and when you deviate yourself from it you are going in the wrong way. Later you'll know that and you can't go back. Just learn.
SB: Who would it be your dream to document and why?
Joao: The answer could be easy, but it's not. Sometimes you think that some person is awesome and when you get there you're wrong. Sometimes you think that there's nothing there and you almost cry of joy. And this is also magical. But trying to answer, I would love to document the first ones. Listen to their stories of courage. How it was to do something that people didn't understand at that time. It must be awesome getting to know how it was to paddle against the current. So inspiring!
Conclusion: Since this article was conceived until now, Surf Bunker and The Outside Crowd have collaborated many more times and each with success, joy and a sense of ‘correctness’ about the whole thing. We can only say good things, these guys have the skills, patience and insight to make it. Long may it last, time to raise our glasses to people who love people, maaaan.