Chasing the Swell

The video “Chasing the Swell” was chosen as a finalist for online video journalism productions by the Online News Association and the School of Communication at the University of Miami’s 2011 Online Journalism Awards. Although they were edged out by another LA Times production, Caught in the Crossfire: Victims of Gang Violence, it goes without saying that The Times obviously has an awesome videography contingent.

For those that want to get into multimedia, a $33,000 prize might be enough to convince anyone. The sum was awarded to eight categories of online journalism courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation.

“A Videographer’s awesomely busy year: The making of Chasing the Swell,” by Sachi Cunningham is a 31 minute feature project on professional surfers, their lifestyle, culture, and how they survive. The footage is extensive in range from interviews to scenes. Some of the most impressive images are super tight views of surfers in the actual crest of the waves. Interviews for the video were conducted with many surfers, following certain pros in their pursuit of the perfect wave: Mavericks, one of the biggest wave contests in the world.

Cunningham accompanies the film, which is actually a three part video, with text explaining the process behind the film. He explains looking through microfiche of papers from the ’50s trying to find a seminal photo of big wave surfers to contrast with images of today. The combination of old and new images, video footage,  with audio clips and talking head interviews of pros blend to tell the story of big surfing from past to present.

The video was made to be published through the LA Times for readers.



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