Friday, September 11, 2009

Surf Fridays!

Cyrus holding handplanes that he made
Photo by Scott Sullivan

After meeting him and seeing his film, Under the Sun, I have come to admire Cyrus Sutton. Especially after learning of his newest project, You've probably seen the trailer.

And I bet you heard about (or attended) the alaia shaping workshop at Patagonia in Cardiff last month. But did you know about the new film, Tom's Creation Plantation?

I watched Tom's Creation Plantation last night (trailer here). I wondered if I'd be bored during the "Alaia Creation Tutorial", as Tom Wegener shows us precisely how we can make our own alaia. But as it turns out, I was really into it. I truly appreciated the slow paced nature of the visuals and the wholesome subject matter.

The gentleman sitting next to me said, "I could do that". And I think that is the highest compliment, because it means that Tom and the filmmaker did an excellent job of showing us that if we wanted to, we could make our own surfcraft.

There is another portion of the film, the "Alaia Creation Surf Film", that shows all sorts of surfers riding alaias and having a great time. This was my favorite part of the movie. There are great bonus features, too, such as "Ding Repair".

Well, I had some burning questions on my mind, and I thought it would be fun to check in with Mr. Sutton...turns out it was enlightening as well.

Cyrus, what are you doing today?

Just got done hiking in the mountains after visiting with family. It was a great hike, no one around for miles.

What did you have for breakfast?

A can of beans and an apple on the trail.

At what moment did you realize you wanted to create Korduroy?

I woke in the middle of the night a couple of years ago and realized all I knew how to do was buy and sell things. Making films and ads, all you're really doing is selling stuff, you know? Being a child of the 80's I didn't know how to make anything myself. I think there's a lot of us out there who are in the same boat. Korduroy is my attempt to change that in its own little way.

Can you briefly describe your vision of Korduroy?

We are in a culture that associates happiness with owning new things. Surfing has taught me that that's bullshit. Happiness comes from enjoying what you have and connecting with something greater than yourself. Korduroy is just a place where surfers can watch others attempt to create things and hopefully be inspired to make something themselves.

In the surf film on the Tom's Creation Plantation DVD, I saw you riding an alaia really well! How often now are you grabbing an alaia to ride, vs. other surfboards in your quiver?

I'd say probably 40% of the time when I'm not logging at Cardiff or riding a shortboard at a local beachbreak.

You have been figuring out ways to do things naturally that are good for us and our environment. Can you tell us about a few of your discoveries - I believe you make your own sunscreen, your own wax for your board...OH and your own packaging for the DVD! Awesome.

I'm not trying to make some green statement. I just don't like making things out of toxic materials that make your skin itch and your lungs hurt, you know?

The sunscreen is one part zinc oxide, one part bee's wax and one part coconut oil. The most expensive organic sunblock at Whole Foods is basically oxidized metal like zinc or titanium dioxide and natural oils. The bee's wax makes it waterproof and there's nothing better for your skin or your body than coconut oil. So in the end you get a sunblock that's every bit as good as the expensive stuff for pennies on the dollar.

The surf wax is more of a novelty. It's two part bee's wax, one part pine resin and half part coconut oil, depending on the water temp you use it in. It smells great and works but it costs as much if not more to make than normal wax, so I'm not making a ton of it.

The packaging from our new DVD was made from cardboard boxes we found in dumpsters. We then stamped the cover from a block print, and bought these two centimeter diameter, self-adhering foam dots that you can get for like $30 for 1,000. The result is something that looks unique, is cheap to make and doesn't add any more needless plastic into the world.

How did you figure these things out?

Just through a few google clicks for the sun block and surf wax and I just came up with the DVD packaging.

Is Korduroy your main focus right now or do you also have another feature film on your horizon?

Right now just Korduroy thankfully.

What are you most excited about for this Fall?

I'm excited about sticking close to home, just hanging with my girl and my friends and making things.

I really liked a quote in Tom's Creation Plantation from Tom Wegener where he says, "Surfers have been missing out on so much by focusing on the 'perfect waves' instead of focusing on what's right here - because what's right here is what you have. And you're wealthy because you have it."

Do you resonate with that?

Oh yeah, there's so much we don't have and we're reminded of that every day. But it changes everything when you turn the tables on the mentality of scarcity and start focusing on the abundance all around us.

What is your favorite surf movie of all time?

I saw Surfing 50 States lately and I really liked where that was coming from.

In the Korduroy trailer, I got a kick out of the deep, booming voice and the line that mimics the commercial movie trailers..."In a World"... Whose voice is that!?

Voice 123 it. It's this kickass website with thousands of voiceover artists. I had like 50 Don LaFontaine impersonators to choose from.

Thanks Cyrus, you rock. For more on Cyrus (and Ryan Tatar), check out this new interview on Drift.

Happy Surf Fridays!!!


Surfsister said...

I just love Cyrus. I talked about him on blog awhile back too. He always says things that make so much damn sense. By being so genuine and so talented, he makes it easy to see how transparent (i.e., greedy and devoid of soul) the corporate surf industry is.

Steve and Cher Pendo said...

Jamie, I enjoyed your post and interview with Cyrus. We love Cyrus and his work, he's a gifted artist who is genuinely stoked and deserving. Aloha, Cher

ashley said...

you do the greatest interviews. thanks for the stoke.

Felipe Siebert said...

I sent a message to Cyrus to see if it is possible to send this video to Brazil ... I hope so!