After traveling on the grueling WQS and then suffering a life threatening injury to the head on his 21st birthday, Sam Page knows what it takes to endure some really difficult times. The long road to recovery after a coma and head trauma became a pathway to a new way of life for Sam as he found a major passion for shooting and editing video. Now, Sam and his boys, Nick Cheadle and Michael Spencer, head up the website, VelvetSea.tv, which documents their incredible talents on surfboards and behind the lens. In this Filmmaker Feature, Sam explains how he transitioned from contest surfer to filmmaker, how his injury changed his life, and what it takes to survive the blog-o-sphere in this day and age…
Tell us about your website Velvet Sea. Who is involved? What’s the goal, etc?
There are three of us who manage the site. Luke Cheadle, Michael Spencer and myself.
We have traveled together on the ‘QS for many years and worked with several film makers and photographers so we have a good idea of what goes on in the industry.
We feel that there is a place for us in the surfing media and our viewers trust in our taste, opinions and our quality of original content.
I’m excited about trying to create a fresh look that has something different to what others are doing.
Seems as though there is a new surf blog popping up almost daily. Since you guys have been at it for a while, what do you think it takes to stand out these days? Is there anything you guys are trying to do differently then what others are up to? And where do you see the future of surf blogs/surf films?
It is amazing in this day and age that you have access to video clips all over the web. Majority of blogs pump out recycled content. We also try to spread the love embedding clips which impress us. There are so many creative people producing incredible footage. But the real point of the blog is to showcase the original stuff we’re doing. Its difficult to stand out but hopefully our original content has something that others aren’t doing.
Who knows what the future has on offer. Now there are also sites holding competitions with major sponsors getting involved, the possibilities are endless.
You had a pretty bad accident on your 21st birthday and ended up in a coma with some serious injuries. It was a while ago but have you fully recovered from that? How has that incident changed your view on life?
They were some dark times for me. I had some great support especially from my parents. For 4 months I couldn’t surf or drive. My speech was poor and I was depressed. But somewhere in all that it all clicked into place for me.
I had an epiphany. I felt a sense of insignificance. A speck in this complex phenomenon. I was grateful to still be alive. Everything was different now.
It took the whole year to find my feet in the surf. After that year my head was definitely in a different place.
You’ve gone from surfing on the ‘QS to now being behind the camera and computer, shooting and editing. How did you get started in filmmaking? Anyone take you under their wing or is it something you picked up on your own?
It’s strange to look back at it all. I was going really well on the QS just before the accident. I had my best results pretty much back to back. 5th in the Hossegor Super series and 3rd in the La Santa Canaries. Competing is harder than people think, but I felt like I was really getting it right.
If I didn’t get struck down by that bouncer I believe I would still be devoted to competition. But being put in that coma was possibly the best thing that happened to me. Being at rock bottom made me re-evaluate my life.
I wasn’t surfing or driving so to relieve my boredom I purchased an SLR camera.
I was hooked.
My first ‘QS back I made 3 heats and made enough prize money to buy a HD tourist video camera. Instantly my passion shifted from stills to video.
Editing was a great way to start using my brain again so I have taught myself everything. There’s been so much to learn.
What equipment are you using these days?
Canon XHA1s, 7D, Rode Mic, Canon 10-22 mm, Canon 28-135, Nikon 50mm and a Holga.
There are so many different creative techniques using the 7D. They are a lot of fun.
Your AM/PM series feature Craig Anderson and Kai Otton. What is the idea behind this series, and do you guys have plans for more?
People want to know what happens behind the scenes. I tried to tell a story with Kai’s AM/PM. Show what its like to be competing at that level. Everyone always captures the winners but I enjoyed creating a project about Kai’s loss and how he pulled it back together.
Who has been your favorite surfer to shoot in your experience?
Mitch Coleborn has such a relaxed style and his turns are so explosive. I have also had some great footage of Jamie O’Brien at Cloud Nine.
What’s next for Sam Page?
Keen to film some of my friends skating over the summer. I also have a view concepts in mind which i would like to go through with.
I have a knee injury that I need to sort out. It’s been holding me back for a year or so. In France till November filming some of my friends on their Qs leg. Hopefully i can have my knee mended by the time I finish filming so I can get some fun waves out Hossegor. Hopefully my best surfing is still to come.
For more visit, www.velvetsea.tv