RCJ on big Nazare
Ross Clarke-Jones is the unsuspecting star of the new adventure film, 'Magnetic'. Described as "a tale of men and women attracted by the magnetic force of unleashed elements", and made by Thierry Donard, it's a multi-sport film with a heavy serve of surf.
Just hours before the Australian premiere, Swellnet spoke to RCJ about 'Magnetic' and his own attraction to Nazare.
Swellnet: Hey Ross!
RCJ: Is this Stu?
Yeah, hey look I’ve gotta interview you about a film and I've only just heard about it.
Me too! I’ve got no idea…
Rightio, let's just wing it then, hey?
Yeah OK, it’s an adventure film by Thierry Donard, who's made a few great films. It's not just surfing, but the surfing in it is big Nazare and Teahupoo with Matahi Drollet.
But I didn’t even know I was in it. The film starts with a wave of mine at Nazare - the big right I got. That’s featured at that start, and they’ve asked me to do some Q&As at the film premiere tonight.
Well, you better get some material ready.
It’s about Nazare. I can talk about that place forever.
So let’s talk about Nazare. You’ve relocated over there, is that correct?
Yeah, well not yet. I’ve spent the last two winters there and I’ll do it again. So six months there, or a bit shorter really.
Clearly you’re still magnetically drawn to the wave.
Yeah, I still haven't had enough of that fear.
It's the one wave where people think all the size records will be broken. Do you think that waves bigger than we’ve yet seen will be ridden out there?
Oh definitely. To be honest, I reckon there’s been bigger waves ridden than what’s so far been recorded.
It’s a hard place to shoot. You see the angle from the fort and there’s often spray obscuring the following wave. From that distance it still looks big, but it wasn’t until I saw Tim Bonython’s footage from the back of a ski that I got an understanding of scale and speed.
Yep, it’s not just the surfers pushing things. The photographers are getting better angles. I saw a shot from….ah, whatshisname. French guy. He shot a wave of me on a left.
Yeah, Laurent Pujol. He shot a left from the back of the ski and mate, he was right in the trenches with me. He was right there. That shot brought another perspective of the wave and that's what the photographers are starting to do.
What boards have you got for this season?
I’ve got a six foot, nine kilo board. I’ve been using this guy, a local shaper, called Hugo Silva. They seem to be really stable, especially as it’s really narrow.
I usually ride Maurice’s [Maurice Cole] boards but it’s just survival over there, and Maurice's boards were too fast, the concave wasnt handling it. They work everywhere else in the world except for Nazare.
Because of the chop?
I think the chop. The speed of it. And the weighting: we never weighted it properly. The weight needs to go in before the glass, instead of after, which makes it too stiff.
You need someone on site then?
Pretty much. You can't travel with a ten kilo board.
I was talking to Axi Muniain and he said he was using a larger centre fin on his Thruster to keep contact while bouncing across the chop. Are you doing anything like that?
I usually use C-Drive fins. They work there, but again, they’re so fast and sensitive that I wasnt getting a stable feeling, so I went back to the old Gerry Lopez fins, with stabilisers and a big fin at the back.
OK, so it is similar to Axi’s?
Yeah….but for me it’s just more of an anchor. Slow it down a bit. It’s a safer way to go.
I started using bigger side fins but at the speeds we’re going they seemed to lift a bit. Cant have that.
Sounds like you’re really playing around with different designs.
Yep. It’s just the speed of it over there. Like I was going too fast. I was going out in front of the wave. I’d be on the shoulder because I was going so fast.
Because it is an oversized teepee, I’ve noticed some surfers going down the wave, maybe even fading, to keep themselves locked in.
I figured that maybe it’s cos if they do get a photo taken then they’re right under the apex, not heading for the shoulder, and it looks bigger.
That’s not really the way to ride the wave. For one, you might not make it. You do not want to be cleaned up there.
That’s all for photos I guess…
So what’s your take on it, Ross? How should it be ridden?
I just want to ride it correctly. I want to get in the pocket as much as I can...but I also want to make the wave. It seems like you have to backdoor the peak to get it right.
Andrew Cotton tried that…
Yeah...ha...he even put a speed check in there. Faded a bit.
Nup, he should’ve kept his line.
To have a wave like Nazare, a wave that we haven't yet seen the best of, is incredible.
Totally. Like Jaws has just got so crowded. Everyone started paddling there so we stopped towing there. And now it’s got even more crowded while paddling.
Have you got any inclination to paddle big Nazare?
None. None at all.
What about the comp at Nazare? You’ve got a run..?
Yep, Mick Corbett and I. Team Australia, mate. We’re on with that if the comp gets called on. I’ve towed with Mick a bit. We did the 60 Minutes thing at Nazare.
Mick and I have got a mutual understanding of the wave. He knows what I want and I know what he wants, plus he’s a really good ski driver. He spent the whole of 2015 there so he’s committed to the wave.
Well good luck in the comp Ross, and good luck with the Q&A tonight.
It's been a good warmup. Cheers.
AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF 'MAGNETIC' - FEATURING Q&A WITH SPECIAL GUEST ROSS CLARKE-JONES
Tuesday 12 November, 6:30pm
Melbourne - Village Jam Factory
'MAGNETIC' In select cinemas NOV 12 - 20