Keahi de Aboitiz' new feature, Tunnel Vision, will premiere on June 23rd. We spoke with Keahi about the film and his experience of chasing swells around the globe for the past two years.
Hi Keahi, thanks for speaking to us, can you give us a bit more information about the film and what it’s about?
I guess the idea all came about back in 2018 after a couple fun trips I snuck in during some down time between events. For most of my kitesurfing career, I spent a lot a lot of time and energy following the contest scene and as much as I loved competing, I just got to the point where I started getting a little burned out. I had some great results over the years but just lost that drive to continue competing as its hard to score those perfect conditions in a competition setting. With a lot of the events being based around Europe, following the tour was pretty costly and it just made sense to put that money and energy into something a little different.
I was always inspired by the original Ben Wilson kitesurfing films and just felt there was a bit of a gap to fill with the transition to social media and more shorter content these days. I've always loved showing people whats possible with kitesurfing in heavier waves and always wanted work on a bigger project documenting just this. With Cabrinha and Patagonia behind it, this was the perfect opportunity to chase some proper swells and do exactly that. It's a pretty action packed film with a few highlights from the past as well as all the gold I scored over the last year. I'm really stoked with how it all came together!
What was your favourite moment of the year?
It was a special year with a few amazing trips, but the highlight would have to be the session we scored for the last section of the film. This trip was a bit of a gamble and I had a feeling this slab could be a good kiting wave, but I never expected to score that hard. Chasing something new and not knowing exactly what to expect is a little nerve racking but having it all come together was a dream come true. Best kite session of my life and the perfect way to wrap up the film!
Can you explain some of the difficulties involved in tracking swells?
The biggest difficulty would be trying to line up all the logistics and travel so last minute especially on some of the longer journeys. Although you can see a swell start to show up relatively far out on a forecast, things can change so much that it's hard to be certain until a few days out especially with the wind conditions. So many things can go wrong from missed connections, to lost boards or lack of accomodation and trying to piece that tall together can be hard. Then there's lack of sleep and jet lag but it's usually worth it in the end. Having both kiting and surfing is a really good way to give yourself more opportunities to score as well.
What are the key differences you find with riding waves with a kite vs. surfing?
There's definitely positives and negatives but together they go pretty hand in hand. I like to think of kiting as driving my own jetski. It can limit the angles and lines you can draw on a wave slightly, but it allows you line up exactly where you want to be on a swell before it breaks. With that extra dimension of power, it can give you extra speed through a turn or to race around a section. On heavy slabs or shifty waves, I've grown to love it as in a way, I find it safer too. You're already to your feet for a sketchy drop and also have the ability to pull yourself through the back of wave when things go bad on shallow reef. Sure nothing beats surfing on that perfect glassy day as you don't have the extra element of a kite and lines to worry about, but I love the challenge and the extra options it gives me on trips. It's just a great way spend as much possible time on the water!
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