COASTALWATCH | FEATURE SURF MOVIE
Retrieved from deep within the catacombs of the How On Earth Did We Miss This? department, we have this full-length 2012 documentary film, The Africa Project. Have you seen it? Has anyone seen it? Please say no. Because frankly, we’re a bit embarrassed that we haven’t heard about it until now, eight years later.
“My good friend Jason Hearn, a South African filmmaker now based in the UK, and I did this collaboration back in 2012,” explained South African photographer Greg Ewing, who handled stills for the film and was kind enough to alert us about it. “Apart from one or two festivals, it was only released as a limited amount of DVDs, therefore it’s not really been seen outside of South Africa.”
Produced, directed, filmed and edited by Hearn, The Africa Project was shot between 2009 and 2012, and as far as we can tell, this hour-and-a-half documentary just might be the most definitive, comprehensive, and visually enchanting look at the African surfing experience of this century. Wave-wise, this is as close as you’re gonna get to a full curriculum that, despite a few conspicuous hold-outs like Durban and Mozambique, runs the gamut of wild destinations along the African coastline, from Senegal to the East Coast.
“Up until 2009, Greg Ewing and I had shot a few projects together but everything was Indo-based,” Hearn told us. “Tropical island vibes, you know, it’s what everyone was doing. We both like to approach things a little different, so we talked about a project that was against-the-norm. At the time no one was really exploring and documenting Africa, our own backyard, at great length. And we thought, ‘What better place to base our next project than the continent we both grew up on?’ There’s so much diversity — from the people and the cultures to the landscapes and the array of crazy good waves — it seemed the perfect subject matter and ‘The Africa Project’ was born. Greg initiated the first location, Senegal, and we were off exploring and documenting select locations from north to south, east to west.”
“Our goal with the film and stills was to show Africa as a whole in all its beauty, beyond just the incredible waves,” Hearn continued. “Each place is unique, and showing the people was as important as scoring. We wanted people to fall in love with it. What I’m most stoked about is that, through the visuals and the stories told, the movie really puts the viewer into each location. Since the film project started, Africa is now more widely explored and celebrated, and hopefully The Africa Project had a little something to do with that.”
This article also appeared on Surfline