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May 29, 2017 3 min read

Tim Bonython has been in the surf-filmmaking scene for over thirty years. His Australian Surf Movie Festival series is an annual event designed, as he puts it, to “bring back the good ol’ days and go on the road and show surf movies in pubs and clubs.” One of the most passionate filmmakers in the industry, Tim puts his blood, sweat and tears into not just his films, but the entire premiere tour he takes across the country. As the presenting sponsor for this year’s ASMF, we wanted to chat to Tim about his headline film; the aptly titled Big Wave Project. 

Images courtesy of Tim Bonython/ASMF.

Tim, how long have you been filming The Big Wave Project? 

I realised I wanted to make a definitive film about three years ago, but I’ve actually accessed older footage for the film too. Big wave surfing is a unique genre of the sport, it’s not about competition, it’s more about the freedom of catching the biggest wave. There’s a select group of guys who enjoy those waves and their stories were interesting to me.

Once I went to Nazare and realised it was the biggest wave in the world, I started constructing a story based around that being the finale to the film. The common thread throughout is the ‘band of brothers’ who surf these spots.

You’ve always seemed to gravitate toward big wave surfing/filming, why is that?

It’s a no brainer – to me it’s more exciting than a guy doing aerials and cutbacks to the beach. I mean a nice aerial is cool, but I’m more in awe of the ocean as a piece of nature. I’ve always said the ocean is the star and surfers just enhance it. At the end of the day I just love to be there and watch the ocean unload. Every place I go to is different and has its own character. I reckon there’s a hundred great waves still waiting to get discovered, I think the future of big-wave surfing has only just started.

In this day and age of ITunes, social media and so on, you’ve stuck with touring your films in cinemas across the country, what’s the attraction for you there?

That’s another no brainer to me, when you’re shooting big waves, there’s nothing better than watching it on a big screen. I started back in 1981, I went to Bells Beach and shot the biggest Bells ever in an event with these old analogue cameras. Within a few weeks, I had the clips edited and I put them through a Super 8 projector and showed them to a crowd.

Just overall, there’s nothing better than watching the big waves on a big screen and you get a broad audience coming to watch – it’s not just surfers, there’s lots of mums and dads and people who enjoy nature. All the shows I’m doing now, I think a good percentage of the audience is over 50 because they’re just in awe of the ocean. I think that’s the beauty of what I do – the ocean is the star.

Back to the movie, are there any particular waves that stand out for you? 

Every place has it’s moments of glory, over the past few years I’ve really tried to pick the best moments in that time and I’ve compiled them into stories of their own. One that comes to mind is a wave of Matehau Tetopata at Teahupoo, he’s a local kid who I’ve never seen towing in, he just paddles and is an incredibly talented surfer. He paddles into this wave and it’s totally transparent – you can see through to the reef, there’s no wind and he’s just sitting in this huge barrel. Owen Wright has some great waves there too.

Obviously Aaron Gold’s 80 foot wave out at Peah’i is a definitive moment of history, one of the biggest waves ever paddled into, and Francisco Porcella’s monster wave at Nazare is another that springs to mind. The wind was onshore when the wave came through but there was no haze or spray and I was able to capture it perfectly.

Last one – hypothetical. There’s a dream swell heading to any wave of your choice, where do you go? 

I think Teahupoo is the most exciting slab in the world. I think we’re all waiting for the next Code Red Swell to occur there again. It’s amazing to watch the surfers charge out there and the wave seems to be able to handle swells of any size. I think the world really reverberates when there’s a notable swell event there, it seems to capture a lot of attention.


Size Chart

MEN

SIZE

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HEIGHT (FT)

WEIGHT (KG)

WEIGHT (LB)

CHEST (CM)

CHEST (IN)

WAIST (IN)

WAIST (CM)

XS

170-175

5’7” - 5’9”

57 - 64

125 - 140

88 - 93

34 1⁄2 - 36 1⁄2

28 - 30

71 - 76

S

173-178

5’8” - 5’10”

61 - 70

135 - 155

93 - 98

36 1⁄2 - 38 1⁄2

29 - 31

74 - 79

MS

174-179

5’6 1⁄2” - 5’8 1⁄2”

64 - 73

140 - 160

98 - 103

38 1⁄2 - 40 1⁄2

30 1⁄2 - 32 1⁄2

74 - 79

M

175-180

5’9” - 5’11”

68 - 77

150 - 170

98 - 103

38 1⁄2 - 40 1⁄2

30 1⁄2 - 32 1⁄2

77 - 83

MT

180-188

5’11” - 6’2”

73 - 82

160 - 180

98 - 103

38 1⁄2 - 40 1⁄2

30 1⁄2 - 32 1⁄2

77 - 83

LS

171-177

5’7 1⁄2” - 5’9 1⁄2”

73 - 82

160 - 180

103 - 108

40 1⁄2 - 42 1⁄2

32 1⁄2 - 34 1⁄2

77 - 83

L

178-183

5’10” - 6’0”

77 - 86

170 - 190

103 - 108

40 1⁄2 - 42 1⁄2

32 1⁄2 - 34 1⁄2

83 - 88

LT

183-188

6’0” - 6’2”

82 - 91

180 - 200

103 - 108

40 1⁄2 - 42 1⁄2

32 1⁄2 - 34 1⁄2

83 - 88

XLS

174-179

5’8 1⁄2” - 5’10 1⁄2”

82 - 91

180 - 200

108 - 113

42 1⁄2 - 44 1⁄2

34 1⁄2 - 36 1⁄2

88 - 93

XL

180-188

5’11” - 6’2”

86 - 95

190 - 210

108 - 113

42 1⁄2 - 44 1⁄2

34 1⁄2 - 36 1⁄2

88 - 93

XLT

191-196

6’3” - 6’5”

91 - 99

200 - 220

108 - 113

42 1⁄2 - 44 1⁄2

34 1⁄2 - 36 1⁄2

93 - 98

2XL

183-191

6’0” - 6’3”

95 - 104

210 - 230

113 - 118

44 1⁄2 - 46 1⁄2

36 1⁄2 - 38 1⁄2

93 - 98

3XL

185-195

6’1” - 6’6”

104 - 113

230 - 250

118 - 124

47 - 49

41 1⁄2 - 43 1⁄2

98 - 110

WOMEN

SIZE

HEIGHT (CM)

HEIGHT (FT)

WEIGHT (KG)

WEIGHT (LB)

CHEST (CM)

CHEST (IN)

WAIST (IN)

HIPS (IN)

6

165-170

5’5” - 5’7”

48 - 57

105 - 125

80 - 85

31 1⁄2 - 33 1⁄2

24 - 26

34 - 36

8

168-173

5’6” - 5’8”

50- 59

110 - 130

85 - 88

32 1⁄2 - 34 1⁄2

25 - 27

35 - 37

10

170-175

5’7” - 5’9”

54 - 64

120 - 140

88 - 93

34 - 36

26 1⁄2 - 28 1⁄2

36 1⁄2 - 38 1⁄2

12

173-178

5’8” - 5’10”

59 - 68

130 - 150

93 - 95

35 1⁄2 - 37 1⁄2

28 - 30

38 - 40

14

175-180

5’9” - 5’11”

64 - 73

140 - 160

95 - 99

37 - 39

29 1⁄2 - 31 1⁄2

39 1⁄2 - 41 1⁄2

16

180-183

5’11” - 6’0”

73 - 82

160 - 180

99 - 103

38 1⁄2 - 40 1⁄2

31 - 33

41 - 43

KIDS

SIZE

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HEIGHT (FT)

WEIGHT (KG)

WEIGHT (LB)

CHEST (CM)

CHEST (IN)

WAIST (IN)

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2

95-102.5

3’1 1⁄2” - 3’4 1⁄2”

13 - 16

30 - 35

51 - 56

20 - 22

19 - 21

48 - 53

4

117-124

3’10 1⁄2” - 4’1 1⁄2”

16 - 19

40 - 55

58 - 64

23 - 25

20 - 22

50 - 55

6

124-132

4’1 1⁄2” - 4’4 1⁄2”

16 - 23

50 - 65

64 - 69

24 1⁄2 - 26 1⁄2

21 1⁄2 - 23 1⁄2

53 - 58

8

132-140

4’4 1⁄2” - 4’7 1⁄2”

20 - 27

60 - 75

69 - 71

26 - 28

23 - 25

55 - 66

10

140-147

4’7” - 4’10”

34 - 41

75 - 90

71 - 75

28 - 30

23 - 25

61 - 66

12

147-155

4’10” - 5’1”

41 - 48

90 - 105

75 - 79

29 - 31

25 - 27

63 - 68

14

155-163

5’1” - 5’4”

48 - 54

105 - 120

79 - 84

31 - 33

27 - 29

68 - 73

16

163-170

5’4” - 5’7”

54 - 61

120 - 135

84 - 88

33 - 35

28 - 30

71 - 76

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