Where are you from/ where do you live?
I grew up on the east coast of the U.S. and gradually made my way to more rugged terrain. I've traveled and lived all over: coastal Canada, New Zealand, many Pacific islands, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific northwest of the U.S. Right now I live on the central coast of California (local spots are Waddell Creek, Arroyo Laguna, Ventura, Jalama, Oceano).
What's your day job?
I'm awake about 19 hours each day and I try to do as much as I can during them. When I'm not riding and filming, I write software, which helps keep the lights on. I try to emulate what Steve Jobs from Apple says, 'I don't have a job -- I have a life!'
What/who is killedthewind and how did it start?
I have a music background and a strong sense for applying music to images. In 2008 after learning to kiteboard, I put a cheap pocket cam on a center strut and filmed myself riding to see what it would look like. The footage looked like a cameraman from a Jason Bourne film shot it. After smoothing it out with software, I was mesmerized. Since then, I've tried to make films with a purpose: to have viewers feel to something when they watch ? not just analyze the tricks. So far, the films have connected well with audiences. 'Press Pass' won the 2009 Riders-Match.com Online World Contest and 'A Year In The Life Of A Kiteboarder', released eight weeks ago, has been seen in more than 100 countries on over 300 websites. It has become the third most viewed kiteboarding film ever on Vimeo.
Regarding the 'who' of killedthewind, I have several friends who are a regular part of the riding team in addition to me. I do most of the filming and all of the editing/post. Currently, I'm looking for someone with standout talent in motion graphics to become part of killedthewind.
What is your ultimate goal with killedthewind?
To create a film of kiteboarding that surpasses the best films of snowboarding and surf. The quality of filmmaking in those sports is tremendous and they've had many more years to progress than we have. However, the unique aspects of kiteboarding -- inordinate power, record-breaking speed, inherent global exploration, and diversity of riding styles -- are a foundation for what I think can be the most stirring portrayal on film of any board sport. I have many ideas and am putting together the components to attempt this. I also want to direct music videos and make feature films in this decade.
What does the name 'killedthewind' mean?
It is a combination of the word 'wind' with the phrase that kiterboarders use when talking about a rider who excelled ('he killed it'). I want the phrase to become synonymous with the most stunning films of our sport.
What came first - kiting or shooting?
I have no formal background in film; kiteboarding got me into it. I started riding in 2007 and filming in late 2008. I put out the first film in early 2009 and have made five more in a year.
What was your first set-up?
A cheap point and shoot camera (Pentax W30), electrical tape, styrofoam, an Apple laptop, and little idea of what would happen next. For kitegear, I rode Waroos and a Jimmy Lewis Model III.
What are you currently using?
A respected extreme sports filmmaker advised me to not buy the fanciest kit, but to focus on the shots and story. I try to follow this advice, and even though I've acquired some of the tools of advanced filmmakers (cranes, dollies, better software), I buy used gear or make equipment myself when I can. I just feel more at ease with low cost gear; when you film in high wind, salty air, and wet conditions, the setup needs to be replaceable. For kitegear, I now ride several different brands because killedthewind provides subtle placement of equipment in the films for many kite brands.
What are the main issues with using kitecams?
The waterproof cameras used for kitecams have poor video quality compared to current video cameras. Also, you have to capture and process a large amount of film just to get a few good takes. The shaking of the camera from the kite flexing in good winds (20 to 30 knots) makes 90% to 95% of the film I record unusable, even after processing.
Do you get nervous having expensive kit dangling up there in the lines?
Not really, you can't do this and not expect to lose equipment. I'm a rider who leaves a laughable trail of destruction for weeks before learning a new move and a filmmaker who doesn't wait until I've learned something to film it (crashes are fun to watch). So, I've made several donations of battery-powered electronics to the sea in the past few years. And though I've spent hours of riding back and forth looking for downed equipment, I've never found anything that went under. The sand covers it up immediately.
Had any expensive mistakes?
Other than losing cameras, no I haven't. But I've had some kite scares while filming. Last year in 20-foot seas, 30+ knots, filming way offshore by myself with no buddy system, I was crushed by a wave and my kite blew away without me attached to it. The backwash coming from shore pushed me even further out to sea and I was continually pounded by 5-second period closeout. I nearly drowned, but somehow ended up washing ashore 3 km from my start point about an hour later. I was lucky and am more careful now in those conditions. Friends are a must.
Why specialise in HD kitecams?
It is where I started, but now it is a component of a film, not the whole thing. I'm working more on the feeling of the films and am using new cameras, expanded subjects, and new point-of-view angles. 'A Year in the Life' is an example of this.
What projects are you working / set to be working on that we can get excited about?
I have some super talented friends that I am filming this year and we'll be traveling to some new locations. Also I just put boots on for the first time last week. They felt great, so comfortable. We'll see what comes of that. I think the next film is going to be called 'A Pain That I'm Used To' which will be a killedthewind version of a GoPro style film ? it will be unlike anything I've done so far. Stay tuned for that.
Thanks Ash and everyone at KITEWORLD. And thanks to my friends in the kite industry: Jimmy Lewis, Chris at KiteNaked.com (Wainman Hawaii), Stephane at CamRig.com, Simon at BEST Kiteboarding, the folks at Riders-Match, and Kinsley at Xtremebigair.com ? all great people in the sport who I am lucky to know.
To check out some killedthewind films on KWTV just click on the appropriate thumb nail below:
|Click hereto watch A Year In The Life Of A Kiteboarder
||Click hereto watch Press Pass
|Click hereto watch California Surf From Above
||Click hereto watch Mauricio Sliding In Hood River
|Click hereto watch Project Kahoona
||Click hereto watch Project Kahoona|