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Didn’t get enough of the “Defy the Odds… and the Oz” story from the July issue of Alliance Wakeboard Magazine? Fair enough, we’ve got you covered. Herein lies some of the extras from the one-of-a-kind trip taken to Australia last March by Danny Harf, Shawn Watson, Shane Bonifay and Kevin Henshaw. The boys went down to film for Defy, which has become the video epic in waiting for most of the industry and its fans since it was first announced as a project at Surf Expo 2009.
Over the last few years as it has been put together piece by piece, Defy has gone through some different phases. It started out as a “Dan-umentary” to document Danny’s riding, as well as some with his crew. As the project grew though, the exclusivity seemed to shrink. Throughout the whole process though, everybody involved has been very good about keeping things hush-hush and working their asses off to get the best possible results.
When I learned Sean Kilgus and some of the boys were heading to Oz to meet up with Daniel Watkins and add another chapter to the story of Defy I knew I had to find a way to go. I’d been to Australia once before, back in 2003 for a family vacation, and had always wanted to go back on a wakeboarding related trip. Plus, the premise of this trip sounded all time. The guys weren’t just going to wakeboard in an exotic location, they wanted to do some things they couldn’t do back home in Orlando and find some new spots to shred Down Under.
What stood out to me the most about this trip was the obstacles the guys overcame to make sure they made the most of their time abroad and got good clips for the video. To put it simply, this trip had more roadblocks, hurdles, and unforeseen circumstances than any other trip I’d ever been on. From bad weather, to Danny’s blown shoulder, to missing airline tickets, to broken down cars (our own fault, but a total accident), to a few unfortunate a-hole locals, we encountered a lot in Australia. Yet in spite of it all, everybody worked hard, had fun, and got down to business.
In going back through my files to select photos for this piece I realized that the guys didn’t get to ride their wakeboards for Kilgus’ video camera until Day 4, and that was a quick one-hour session just after sunset with the use of a flash (so really it was more for my still camera and less for Kilgus’ video camera).
Really, the majority of the action content I got during my time on this trip was from Day 6 (I was only there until Day 7) when we went and explored part of the Clarence River near Yamba. Nobody had been there before, not even our host Daniel Watkins, but we were determined to find some stuff to do. Fortunately we scored on multiple fronts, mainly because of a lucky turn Daniel took when pulling Henshaw on the PWC. While pulling Henshaw along a shore full of mangroves, Daniel saw a canal shooting off of the river, so he turned to follow it. We couldn’t immediately follow him in the chase boat because we didn’t know how deep the narrow canal was. The canal made a turn and Daniel and Kevin were quickly out of site, so we just had to wait. A couple minutes later they came back hooting and hollering and telling us to follow. They found more mangroves to shred, a beat up old sailboat to jib, and a piece of a sunken barge to ollie and bonk. Perfect. The guys went to town and we got some great shots. Afterward we went a little further up river and found a bridge that had footings perfect for sliding and jibbing. More perfection. We shot uninterrupted for almost the whole day, stoked to be in Oz despite of the odds that had stacked up against us for most of the trip. Seeing everybody come together those last couple days (that I was there, the trip continued without me for six more days) was awesome and will be something I’ll never forget. To put it simply, we made chicken salad out of chick s#%@ and it was good.