As if shredding down potato piles and the famed “Rocky” staircase wasn’t bizarre enough for the dynamic duo of 2006’s surf doc, Surfing 50 States, they’re at it again. But this time they’ve traded in an ice cream truck and American pie for an English Ambassador sedan and a jaunt across the 28 states of India. Aussies Jonno Durrant and Stefan Hunt take their unconventional surfing methods to new extremes in Surfing 28 States: India, an aptly named film that follows their three-month journey spent exploring the extraordinary cultures, personalities, and undiscovered surf breaks of a country of 1.2 billion. Here the duo gives us a little teaser of the antics featured in their upcoming film, debuting as a series OutsideTV tonight, Friday, Nov. 16, at 9:30 p.m. To learn more about Jonno and Stefan’s film and nonprofit work, check them out on Facebook and Instagram (@surfing28states).
For Surfing 50 States, your first documentary, what was the most obscure form of surfing you did during your travels?
Jonno: My personal favourite was Wizard Of Oz surfing in Kansas dressed as the Scarecrow (Stefan) and Dorothy (me). We were hoisted on wires and surfboards, strapped in, and flew around the set of the theatre production of Wizard of Oz. Only in America…
Was there a state you liked least? Best?
Stefan: America is such a diverse country, so every state was unique in its own way. We enjoyed all of them heaps, but our favourites were probably places where you wouldn’t usually travel as a surfer. Kansas was a massive highlight for me because we met a real-life Napoleon Dynamite and also saw a six-legged cow. Rad!
Why did you pick India as the location for your most recent TV series, Surfing 28 States?
Jonno: We had never been to India, and we had heard about the beauty, adventure, and intensity… plus it has waves.
For this film series, you combine your love for surfing with contributing time to nonprofits throughout India. Did this combo arise from your involvement in filming Surfing 50 States and Somewhere Near Tapachula?
Stefan: Yeah, definitely. Surfing 28 States: India was ultimately the lovechild of our two previous projects. We basically combined all our passions, and the idea to surf in every state of India while partnering with non profits was the result. Such a wacky concept in theory, but at the end of the day it just comes down to having fun and living a joyous life.
In this film series, what are some examples of ingenious surfing modes? Might we be watching you shred on the Himalayas?
Jonno: We actually got towed by a Yak in the foothills of the Himalayas! We also surfed waterslides, tea plantations, rickshaws, tarps (inspired by our good friends), and some pretty fun waves, of course!
Is there a prevalent surf culture in India, or are you and your crew anomalies?
Stefan: To our surprise, there was a small surf community in India and some of the biggest frothers we’ve ever met. For a country of 1.2 billion people there are only approximately 100 surfers which means a whole lot of empty waves. Surfing is still a pretty new sport there, and meeting local surfers who are so welcoming to visitors and want to share their waves is the most refreshing feeling.
Did you find a good amount of undiscovered breaks along the Indian coast?
Jonno: There are very few surfers in India, and thousands of miles of coastlines. There are endless possibilities for uncrowded waves. We found quite a few of them.
Two years ago, you were halfway through your journey. Is there a particular moment, sensation, or interaction that’s as vivid today as the day it happened?
Stefan: The entire trip was so intense and in-your-face that by the end our crew was in this cultural trance. The old normalities of Western culture became novelty, and we felt partly Indian. If there was one moment I will never forget it’d have to be hitchhiking up the Himalayas on the roof of a bus on the most dangerous roads I’d ever seen. It was the furthest I’d ever felt from home and the closest I’d ever come to death, I reckon. So epic!
You wrapped production on 28 States a year ago. What have you been doing in the meantime?
Jonno: Trying to sell the show! This stuff takes so long. In the meantime, Stefan has been in Sydney making films, and I have been in NYC filming, surfing, and working at a crazy Russian restaurant!
28 States is also set to air on Outside TV. How did that deal go down? And when can we expect to start seeing the episodes?
Stefan: We have worked with Outside TV in the past, and they’ve always been really supportive of our films. It actually premieres this Friday, 16th November 9:30 p.m., which is insanely exciting.
Where in the world are you now?
Jonno: We are all in NYC right now, Brooklyn Navy Yard… editing the show still!
Any new projects in the works or new ideas up your sleeve?
Stefan: Yeah Jonno and I want to surf the moon someday, but before that we may tick off a few more states in a few more countries. I’m confident we’ll find ourselves somewhere ridiculous sooner than later.