Profile: The Bubble

Words: Craig Cunningham
Photos: The Bubble Crew

So what’s this whole Bubble film thing about? This is a question that a lot of us have been getting lately. Why spend all this time on a full length video when you guys could be stacking followers, views and likes on Instagram and Facebook like all the other pros? Well I think I speak for the whole crew when I say that we just wanted to do something a bit different. In a time where videos are consumed quicker than a bowl of cereal and forgotten about faster than that questionable bird last Friday night we knew we wanted to do a project with more depth, the way we thought it should be done. A film with substance, a film that will hopefully inspire people to get after it themselves and if we’re lucky, a film that they will watch more than once.

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Although we weren’t able to stay 100% off the grid, we did our best to keep as low-profile as possible and keep our heads to the ground until this project was finished. We’re done shooting now and as I’m typing this, Noè is probably sitting in his room at home editing up a storm 12+ hours a day. Editing a film that we all poured our hearts and souls into. Put our bodies on the line for. Stayed up until 3am sorting clips only to get up for sunrise to do it all over again. Now we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and although we’d like to take another year to do all the tricks we aspired to and build all the features we wanted, time has run its course. At the end of the day, you’re never going to be satisfied with what you got, or at least not us. That being said, I think this is going to be the best video part that any of us have ever put out and having them all combined into one edit directed by Noè Font, it is going to be primo. We got a lot of inspiration from a lot of different places and a lot of different people… everything from the AutoFocus crew (if you don’t know, Google it now) to WhatYouth and everything imaginable in between. Noè is in charge of the creative direction in the Bubble, editing and all that jazz but every one of the riders including Aaron Hadlow, Colleen Carroll, Stefan Spiessberger, Tom Court, myself and the media crew of Vincent Bergeron, Toby Bromwich and Bas Koole have been involved in the creative process and have had their own ideas incorporated. It’s a true team effort with a collaborative concept.

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For sure, web edits have their place. I watch a handful almost every morning while I have my coffee but after so many rushed projects, it felt like the right moment to do something a little more profound, it was time to dig deeper. We knew we had the right squad and the motivation to do it, so it was just a matter of convincing the guys at North Kiteboarding to support a project that would be out in left field, a stark contrast from anything we’ve done in the past but, fingers crossed, something that people are going to froth on.

Swaying the marketing team to let us do this project was surprisingly easy. I thought going into the meetings at North HQ that they might just laugh at me when I tell them that Aaron, Colleen, Stefan, Tom and myself want to work on a full length with Noè (still a fairly new and young member to the crew at this time), and drop off the social media scene quite heavily. But Noè had just released Melancholy in Cursive and I knew and believed he had the skills to do a much larger scale project. So we put together a proposal and thankfully they saw the value of having us creating a project 100% on our own, detached from the brands normal marketing strategies. A film without any direction or requirements from our sponsors… it was a blank canvas and we had no idea what we were going to do.

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So we did what we knew best, travel, film and have a lot of [email protected]$king fun! Knowing that as we started brainstorming with everyone it would all come naturally, or at least that’s what we had hoped. The snowball effect that has since unfolded could not have been scripted any better. A month or two into shooting the video, we had a lot of different concepts and a few terabytes of footage but nothing concrete as far as a storyline goes. Until one day on the way home from the airport, Noè was telling his father about our last trip. He said to Noè, “You guys live the good life, traveling around, having fun, no worries, just remember… you’re living in a bubble!”

Noè didn’t really know how to respond to that and if it was a good thing or not. He called me up the next day, told me the situation and within a few minutes we knew we had an interesting concept that we could really build on. A few days later we ran the concept by the others and everybody instantly had ideas. The ball was officially rolling and on a daily basis, new thoughts were being brainstormed and thrown into the mix. Some people may think we’re oblivious to the fairytale world that we live in. But to be honest, we know we’re in it and we’re just trying to enjoy it as much as possible and of course make it last as long as our bodies will allow! Everybody lives in their own bubble though, you may not think so but look around… I guess I feel like if you’re aware that you’re in a bubble like we are, you appreciate the life it gives you and you plan to work your ass off to stay in there for as long as possible, then why not, right?

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So without giving too much away, we basically all live in this proverbial bubble, but we all come from such different backgrounds and walks of life. I mean, if you look at Noè, Aaron, Tom, Stefan, Colleen and myself, we don’t really have that much in common other than we all love to kiteboard, travel and search the globe for conditions. Looking back on it all, it’s pretty cool that a sport like kiteboarding has brought us together and created these lifelong friendships and has given us all these opportunities to do countless all-time trips together.

So we had our concept and everybody was getting inspiration for their parts. We planned a combination of trips and realized it was going to be a full on year. I can’t imagine the airmiles Noè has racked up flying to all the locations. We really wanted to make sure everybody’s parts were filmed in distinct spots and have completely different vibes. In the end, we traveled to 15+ various locations including Hood River, Brazil, Cape Town, Philippines, Australia, Grenadines, Italy, Greece, Fuerteventura, Egypt, Turkey, Cape Hatteras, UK, Austria and Spain.

But it’s not all jetsetting, glory, bikinis, beers and perfect sessions. We’ve had a lot of adversity along the way. Blown knees, torn shoulders, windless trips, more windless trips, lost luggage, lost footage, sickness, etc etc. I’d say about halfway through the project, sometime in the Grenadines we started to see the tasks piling up, countless hard drives of footage to edit, media plans, magazines, giveaways, websites, promos, premieres, planning the last trips, ahhhhhh it was all starting to stack up swiftly. We knew it would be a lot of work initially and we were definitely up to the task but, as you learn in life, nothing is as easy as it looks and the grass is always greener on the other side. Also, with a full length part comes expectations and pressure. Not only the feeling of pressure from the industry, sponsors and fans but the pressure you put on your own shoulders when it’s a childhood dream to put together a full video part, which, for some of us, is more pressure than winning any contest. We want these parts to speak for themselves and to be as near to perfection as humanly possible. Each rider has the chance to show what their style is all about; no heats, no time limits, just a camera and memory card, or a roll of film in some instances.

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That brings me to the format. From the start, Noè wanted to mix 4k with Super 8 film. It is something that hasn’t been done in kiting much and in my opinion looks super rad! It was a bit of trial and error at the start but when it works the results are spectacular. I guess I could go on and on about why this project is different from anything we’ve seen in the past but you’ll just have to head over to https://www.thebubblefilm.co/ and sign up, because that is the only way to get your hands on the video if you can’t make it to one of the worldwide premieres! The film will not follow the conformity of a normal online release. It will not be available on the world wide web, sorry, we know you’re wondering why, but you’ll just have to wait and see.

Well that’s all the info that we can drop for now, keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground, our teaser should be coming soon! Lastly, we just want to say thanks to North Kiteboarding for supporting us and giving us the freedom to dive into a project like this. It feels good to know that guys like Tom Kaiser and Philipp Becker, the marketing bosses, and Till Eberle the big bossman, believe in us enough to let us tell our story the way we want.
So grab a beer, get comfy and get your popcorn ready ‘cause it’s just around the corner!

This article originally appeared in TheKiteMag #20. To subscribe, go here.

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