WELCOME TO THE BEATING HEART OF YOUR ADDICTION
WE ARE THE SPIT
THE TRADE WINDS
THE HOWLING GALE
WE ARE BACKWASH
Projects that involve planting tree’s always interest us here at Backwash HQ, so when a friend sent over a link we dropped Chris and Christian a line to find out more about their project documenting their travels through Central and South America. If their film is funded it will result in up to one hundred thousand trees being planted in Madagascar, a country hit by massive de-forestation.
How did the project come about?
We both just wanted get out and live a little, see the world, see what’s left of the wilderness and not keep staring at a computer all week.
Watching other surf films and listening to friends talk about the different places they’d been was a good source of inspiration. One particular friend from Mexico was always sharing stories from home, the culture, the waves, the food, the chaos so this was the reason behind choosing Latin America.
We’re fond of trees at Backwash, tell me about your trees?
We’re planting 10 trees with every copy sold and all the trees will be planted in Madagascar.
Madagascar is a nation with over 200,000 species of plants and animals that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. But more than 90% of Madagascar’s original forests have been destroyed, displacing entire animal species and taking away the Malagasy’s ability to farm and live on the land.
We have teamed up with the Eden Projects who employ locals to plant the trees which in turns lifts them out of poverty.
During your trip you must of come across some amazing untouched eco-systems, yet also some harrowing views of how nature is being destroyed. Has that effected the project?
The main conclusion we come to in the film is that we want to join the environmental revolution, do something tangible to help reverse deforestation and restore a balance of carbon in the atmosphere.
The forests in Chapias and Oaxaca were awesome, the Galapagos, Chile’s Pucon, Huequerhue, Villaricca and the Carretera Austral.. Argentina’s los Alerces National Park and el Chaiten.. all recommendations for amazing wild eco-systems.
El Salvador has been 85% deforested and over 50% of El Salvador is not even suitable for food cultivation, and much of the country is plagued with severe soil erosion. However there are still small pockets of rich forests by the coast.
You learn through Central how the Mayans were affected by deforestation and it’s strange to see the same issue reoccurring with the knowledge of the past.In Chile as you head south of Santiago most of the original forest has given way to pine plantations, which chokes almost all other vegetation and causes aridity to the surrounding farmland. It’s not until you get down to around Pucon until you get to experience their healthy forest eco-systems.
Did the trip pan out as you imagined?
In a round-about way I suppose it did. Although one year turned into two and we didn't go straight through from north to south as we originally thought.
We finished the Central American leg in Panama by mid December and if we’d kept going south we’d have been too early for the swell season in Peru and arrived in Patagonia for the winter. Also, putting the car on a boat from Panama to Colombia was riddled with issues so we figured it was best to sell that car and have a month in the Galapagos.
We then raced down to Chile by bus and picked up a van for the South American leg. We caught the end of summer in Patagonia, prime autumn surf in Chile and slowly made our way north to Peru by the winter in time for the swell and trekking season. We then swung through Bolivia and headed down the Argentinean side of the Andes, arriving back in Patagonia by early summer. We really benefited from lining up the seasons correctly, a key consideration from a logistical perspective.
The trailer shows you riding with a mixed bag of passengers and hitchhikers, any good stories?
The locals were often happy to chat and gave a nice insight into their life and life in their town or city. We picked up a few other travellers and some stayed with us for a while; a South African stayed for a month and another Aussie for a month as well. Four Israeli girls joined us in Nicaragua and it was always fun to fill the van with whoever, we only had one regrettable passenger with severe hygiene issues.
You must have scored some good waves?
Yeah we had some memorable days, dreamy sand bottom points in Mexico, cobble stone rights in El Salvador and A-frame beachies in Nicaragua. The Galapagos has fun set ups and you share the water with surfing sea lions, iguanas and a host of other wildlife.
Autumn in southern Chile was spent alternating between the sheltered headlands that harbour long vacant lefts and a temperamental but quality beachie. Winter in Peru is filled with days of long wally lefts breaking along a surreal desert coastline.. Though if I were to pick a favourite spot it would be the Oaxacan coast of Mexico.
The Pacifico Kickstarter campaign has 7 days to go, pre order a copy here and help get the funding across the line - http://bit.ly/pacificofilm
Backwash Issue Two is a surf anthology featuring Japan, the photography of Chris Burkard and Sergio Villalba, Hamish Laing and Woody Gooch. Kalani Lattanzi swims at Nazare, whilst Amy Kotch surfs barrels whilst pregnant and John Peck knee paddles out as he has done since 1958.Purchase