Stoked Vision connected with Peahi Surf Media to learn about the company and to get some tips on how to pursue dreams of becoming a photographer and filmmaker in the world of Surf. “Shoot your passions, and look for emotion. Nurture your creativity through music, drawing, reading, writing and nature – it’s all connected.” In other words, being Committed To Boardriding is a given and a very good start.
Filming on location with Discovery Channel.
PEAHI SURF MEDIA
Peahi Surf Media is a Maui based movie production company. They focus on producing quality content that is true to the nature of the Islands and its people. We were interested to know a little bit more about this company, that we have seen popping up on social media, and connected with the current owner and director at Peahi Surf Media, Wangdu Hovey.
WHO IS WANGDU HOVEY?
Born on the Big Island of Hawaii and residing in Haiku Maui, 35 yr old Wangdu is the founder and current owner of Peahi Surf Media. He is a filmmaker, photographer but also a surfer, father of two, husband and owner of two dogs.
Wangdu Hover, owner and director at Peahi Surf Media
Wangdu is raised on the north shore of Maui (what an awesome place to be raised) and graduated from Maui High School. He is a USCG veteran and served in Iraq as a diver and Quartermaster. Wangdu also graduated from the University of Hawaii, at Maui.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY & FILMMAKING
My father and older sisters are photographers and they passed down the interest to me. I learned videography while in Maui High School and produced an award winning project with some of my friends during our senior year. After the Coast Guard I was looking for a trade and I gravitated back towards videography.
“Being inspired by the films shown at the Maui Film Festival, I made a determination to have a film presented there.”
I traveled to NYC in 2005 and attended a 4 week intensive digital filmmaking work shop at the New York Film Academy, producing small projects throughout the city, and more mini docs when I returned to Maui.
“When surfers started to paddle into JAWS, I knew the world wanted to see it, so I pointed my lens that way.”
I’ve shot nature and lifestyle stills for fun since a youth, throughout the Coast Guard and traveling around the world. This is the first year I’ve focused on still photography at JAWS. I’m really enjoying the simplicity and the beauty of capturing a single frame.
JAWS: CHANGING THE GAME
“It is an incredible story about a group of surfers paddling in to some of the biggest waves ever ridden.”
In 2012 he directed and produced Jaws “Changing the Game” – a 42 minute documentary giving the world it’s first JAWS paddle in movie. Wangdu says: “We screened at Maui Film Festival, New York Surf Film Festival, San Sebastian Surf Film Festival, and many others. The film was distributed internationally through X-treme media.
In other words, he produced and directed Jaws “Changing the Game” which was selected at multiple international film festivals and received international distribution on TV and digital platforms.
Watch full movie here: JAWS: CHANGING THE GAME
TIPS FOR FUTURE PHOTOGRAPHERS & FILM MAKERS
Wangdu’s personal goals are to work together with surf companies and surfers to help build their brands and social media followings. To become a brand ambassador for a socially conscious label that helps use photography to inspire people creatively to make positive changes in their lifestyles and local communities.
PEAHI SURF MEDIA GOALS
The goals for Peahi Surf Media would be to work seamlessly with larger media outlets like WSL, Surfline, and Surfer Magazine to bring high quality surf media content instantly and directly to iPhones as well as traditional print media and to continue to be at the heart of big wave progression at Jaws and around the world year round.
Thank you Wangdu for taking your time and sharing your story & visions with us. We are Stoked to connect with you!
READ ALSO: Memorable Moments at Jaws 2016
READ ALSO: Entries in XXL
READ ALSO: A Wipeout
Wangdu Hovey from Peahi Surf Media pointing his lens, sitting on a jetski or surfing and sharing some awesome Jaws moments, including his own wipe out.
1. Shane Dorian
Watching Shane Dorian pull into his February 10 ride of the year nomination barrel. I probably was the closest human to him when he came out, and seeing his mastery in that intense situation was inspiring.
Shane Dorian, JAWS 10th Feb 2016 Photo: Wangdu Hovey from Jetski
2. Mark Healey
Being on the left at Jaws during the Mega Swell and watching Mark Healey drop into a 60 footer right in front of me. The left is intense and there’s a smaller window of safety to shoot from than the right. You have to be really aware of your surroundings and shooting it makes it twice as difficult and dangerous as just being there.
3. The historic Brock Swell
Watching my friends have Jaws all to themselves during the historic Brock Swell. The Eddie Aikau invitational at Waimea Bay was running so all the big name surfers stayed on Oahu. The ultimate soul session went down, and watching the boys tackle massive, stormy Jaws was incredible, oh yeah, I towed into a few that day too.
DK Walsh Brock Swell, Photo: Wangdu Hovey
Tikanui Smith, Brock Swell. Photo: Wangdu Hovey
Will Skudin, Brock Swell. Photo: Wangdu Hovey
4. Big wave surfing skyrocket
Seeing the level of Big Wave Surfing Skyrocket led by a group of young surfers from Maui, particularly Albee Layer, Tyler Larronde, Paige Alms, and the Walsh Bros. On February 10 the Maui crew went off, and Tyler and Albee were both sent to the hospital, within two weeks Albee was back on the water scoring a ride of the year nomination. Unbelievable.
Albee Layer. Photo: Wandu Hovey
Paige Alms, Feb 10th, Photo: Wangdu Hovey
5. Wangdu’s Jaws wipe out
The day after the historic Mega Swell, my partner Micah Harris and I went out to Peahi, the conditions were epic, glassy and approachable but there was still some size. I got into a nice sized left in the first twenty minutes and started feeling comfortable. I let my guard down and the next thing I knew a large set was rolling in. I was deep on the north peak and a little too far inside. I paddled vertical up the face of the wave, when I got to the top I felt it pulling me back like a waterfall, I threw my board to the side and relaxed as I as thrown backwards over the falls, I fell for what felt like 4-5 seconds landing deep in the water. panicked, I pulled my inflation chord and my buoyancy vest inflated giving me a sense of security, the underwater current pushed me towards the shore for a solid 30 seconds, when I came up, another large wave landed right on top of me as I corked up and down in the whitewater, then one whitewater ball after another hit me all the way to the rocks as I barely missed the worst part of the whole bay, the jagged point in the middle, luckily my board was still attached and I jumped on it and mustered my last 10 percent of entry to paddle to the East cove the” last resort”. I was so happy to get to the shore, it took me 10 minutes to regain my composure enough just to walk back over the jagged rocks with my big wave board back to the main bay worst of all, my pregnant wife watched the whole episode from the cliff.
6. Rescuing friends
Being out there as water safety for a few of my friends was just as intense as surfing it, you have to rush in over the boiling soup of white water and time your pick up just right, being careful not to hit the surfer or miss them leaving them gassed and stranded. Once you have them on your ski, you have to race around a giant white water ball to get to safety hopefully not tipping your jet ski and losing it on the rocks. Much respect to all the dedicated water safety guys, like Kurtis Chong Kee and Kolomoana, and Daniel Silvagno.
BIG WAVE AWARD
The 2016 Big Wave Awards will stream live April 23rd, 2016. An entry has to be nominated, then viewed and finally accepted. To read more about the Big Wave Award check out theWorld Surf League website.
Peahi Surf Media had about 15 nominations in the WSL big wave awards this year, previously known as the XXL. The prize money and prestige has gone up exponentially since WSL took over control. Wangdu Hovey currently has 1 entry in the paddle category top five finalists of surfer Pedro Caladoo, and 1 entry in the Women’s Surfline Performance category finalist of Paige Alms. Check out all the nominees & submissions We wish Wangdu and Peahi Surf Media good luck at the big wave award giving show on the 23rd.
Pedro Caladoo ,WSL-Finalist. Photo by Wangdu Hovey