The Psychology Of Filming

yadin50On film. In real life. Doesn’t matter, Yadin Nicol is always admired. Photo: Corey Wilson

The cover story of the latest issue of SURFING features Dane Reynolds, Yadin Nicol and Dillon Perillo in Morocco. Dane and Dillon were there filming for Kai Neville’s Cluster (out this week), while Yadin gathered footage for a personal project, to be announced sooner than later (we hope). On the ninth day of their trip, after getting decent but sometimes frustrating waves, editor at large Taylor Paul rode with the trio to check the waves and talk about the psychology of filming. Here’s what they said:

SURFING: What’s the pressure like when you’re filming?
Yadin: Depends what you’re filming for. If you’re filming for Kai’s thing, there’s obviously more pressure to surf at a much higher level because that’s what everyone expects out of those movies.

SURFING: And does that raise the bar or does it get in your head and fuck things?
Yadin: Fucks things.
Dane: You put a lot of pressure on yourself, but it’s different than contest pressure. I feel like contest pressure makes me surf good, but contests are so different because you have all the opportunities. I feel like when you’re freesurfing there’s people getting in your way, you’re fighting for waves…
Dillon: There’s more time though.
Dane: Definitely. I’m not talking ‘QS style. I’m thinking more like a ‘CT, when the waves are happening and you have opportunities.

SURFING: Yadin, do you feel pressure working on your project?
Yadin: Not at all. The thing that I’m working on is going to have other people in it, so I’m not going to be the star of it. There’s less pressure that way.
Dane: I think Yadin’s got a monster web clip coming. He’s gonna drop it when Cluster hits.
Yadin: No, not even.

SURFING: When you’re filming for something, do you have a mental catalogue of what you’ve collected so far?
[Everyone] Yes.
Dillon: I should be going left. I’ve been going right the whole time. [laughs]
Yadin: You’ve got a bunch of rights?
Dillon: I’ve got one left in a four-minute section [in Cluster].
Dane: Your section’s four minutes?
Dillon: They’re not like all hammers, but nobody is expecting hammers from me so it’s cool.

SURFING: So is it like, “OK, I landed an air-reverse, now I’m going to try straight airs?” Or is does it just depend what the wave dictates.
Dane: To a certain extent you have that in your mind but it’s definitely whatever the wave dictates. For instance, if the wind is wrong for airs you don’t even have that in your mind. You’re just thinking cutbacks, or how can you do something interesting with what’s there…But I don’t know, even when making the choice to come to Morocco, you kinda have in your mind what the waves are like and what you can do here. But when it comes down to it you’re in the water and the conditions are how they are. And even when you’re on a wave it doesn’t always do what you think it’s going to, so it’s constantly making small decisions and adjustments.
Dillon: The more you think about it, the harder it is, though.
Dane: Yeah, you just have to shut it off. It’s not fun when you’re putting pressure on yourself.

SURFING: What did you guys have in your mind when you decided to come to Morocco?
Yadin: My reason was different from theirs. They’re filming for Kai’s movie, but this was more a bucket list for me. I just wanted to come and check it out and get good waves. [laughs] But we probably should have come here on a massive swell, not a medium sized one.

SURFING: So you were envisioning big Moroccan right points. Carves. Barrels.
Dillon: Yeah, I was picturing waves like this when it’s good. [Dylan points out the window to Anchor Point, nearly flat, out the window]
Dane: The waves we’ve been surfing kinda have weird holes in the reef, bend out to sea and it make it hard to surf the way you want to surf. But then it looks good on footage and you get all psyched for the next time. Then you get let down, fall on a couple of good ones, then you see the footage and it looks good and you get pumped again. It’s an emotional roller coaster. [laughs]

SURFING: It seems like a lot of things have to line up: the wind, the power, section bending at you, lack of crowd…How often does that happen?
Yadin: Not often.
Dane: Hopefully a couple times a trip.
Dillon: You have expectations when you come to places like this, and they’re usually pretty high. That gets in the way of things. I brought the wrong boards on this trip: all single concave, bunch of rocker. I’d just seen footage of Anchors and Draculas and I was expecting more. I think I have the most fun when I expect the waves to be bad and then they’re kinda fun.

SURFING: The key to happiness is low expectations.
DANE: The times when I’ve gotten my best footage is when I don’t give a fuck about filming and just enjoy surfing, not trying to grind out clips. Everything looks more fun and natural. But for some reason, with this Kai film, I didn’t film a lot in the beginning so now I’m feeling the deadline looming and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself. It’s really hard to change your mindset.

[Editor’s note: Worried about them buckling under the pressure? Don’t be! They wound up getting great waves, which they surfed beautifully. Some of those waves are featured in Cluster, and others in our latest issue. Buy our magazine here.]