In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the East Coast is doing everything the can to get back on their feet and overcome one of the largest storms to ever hit the north east. Filmmaker Cole Slutzky just released his latest reel for his film Preconceived Nocean in hopes to show people who have just seen the power of the ocean at it’s worst, a few magic moments to hopefully get them through this time.
Most of the footage in this reel was filmed in locations that no longer look the same. As the reel went live on Sunday night, Hurricane Sandy began making its way to shore in New Jersey. The irony; Preconceived Noceans was a project started by tracking storms on the Great Lakes and filming surfers who battle through some of the most treacherous conditions on the planet to slide waves. And as I celebrated the two-year birthday of the project, one of the most powerful storms to hit the North East was fiercely spinning into our local shoreline.
Preconceived Noceans began filming surfing on the Great Lakes, but as the project matured I started noticing an incredible connection opening up the concept of my project. I was interested in the spirit, draw, and therapeutic elements of surf culture. I started filming with a bunch of different programs such as Surfer’s Healing and The Best Day Foundation which both use surfing as a tool of therapy for children with autism and special needs. A.M.P Surf is another incredible foundation that takes veterans and amputees into the water to experience the awe of surfing. When you witness someone with a prosthetic leg teaching other amputees how to surf, and then vicariously living their success, your mind is pretty blown. And that is exactly what my interest with the film is, that incredibly unique and intimate experience that surfers have collectively. From jumping off icebergs to autistic children catching their first wave and brightening a usually distant mind, there is an incredible similarity that can only be explained by stoke. Though varied in cause, the effect of stoke is perennially the same.
Now here in the Northeast we saw a side to the ocean not often demonstrated. I was born and raised in New Jersey and have spent the greater portion on my life surfing its coast. Most of my home state is now destroyed. Iconic places on the Jersey shore such as Seaside Heights, Long Beach Island, and Atlantic City lie in ruins, and in some devastating cases, drift at sea. The uncertainty of friends and families domestic welfare is haunting to say the least. I have seen so much destruction to a place I had never imagine possible.
But through this, Jersey will be rebuilt and reborn. Surfing has gotten so popular here that a Jersey proud mentality has manifested throughout the shore points. I think these rebuilding stages and watching the different generations of local surfers go through it will be fascinating…heck I think it will lead to a short film or chapter within this one. The mentality in locals I spoke with after the storm is so strong. Everyone is staying positive and looking to the future. So many companies, organizations, and people throughout the country are banding together to give support to the victims. The Great Lake surfers about whom I started this project are putting together an Indigogo account to help those affected by the storm. It’s amazing to see everyone working together to help a wounded little brother. It’s even more incredible to me to see the surf communities helping out, really tying together the spirit and compassion encompassing my film.
I hope this reel demonstrates how special and magical the ocean and surfing is to the soul. To those affected by the storm or for those who lost touch with the base importance of surfing, I hope this serves as a reminder of all the positive things surfing is capable of producing. For me it’s not about the biggest air or deepest tube, the best surfer to me is the one with the biggest smile.
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