New surfing documentary explores hidden gems

(L-r) Professional surfers Adin Jeans and Blake Crankshaw doing what they love, riding massive waves

(L-r) Professional surfers Adin Jeans and Blake Crankshaw doing what they love, riding massive waves

Published Jul 3, 2023


Professional surfer and film-maker, Blake Crankshaw, recently released his new documentary called ‘Always Then’ (Photo by: Louis Wulff)

DURBAN - Beautiful things are often found in hidden places and that's exactly what Blake Crankshaw showcases in his latest film called "Always Then".

Crankshaw is from Wilderness, a seaside town on the Garden Route of the southern Cape, and at 17 years old, the professional surfer and film-maker travelled across the country documenting various remote beaches over the past two years.

His aim was to get as far off from the beaten track as possible and show places and waves that people don't usually see or experience.

The documentary also showcases barrels, big wave sessions, heavy slabs, secret spots and empty perfection where people would least expect it.

Speaking to the “Sunday Tribune” following the film’s recent launch, Crankshaw said he loved every moment of the film-making process.

"The film is about surfing waves that are totally out there with as little people as possible. I surfed the waves with very good people and friends of mine.

“We did quite a big trip up the West Coast of South Africa which is about 6-7 hours up from Cape Town and there's a semi desert there.

“We shot a lot around the Garden Route and a couple more remote spots that a lot of people don't know about which are pretty secret.

“We also went up to the Transkei which was awesome and we bonded with some locals there as well. It was amazing going on double waves with some of my good friends and people I look up to," said Crankshaw.

Having edited the movie himself, Crankshaw said it's been a long journey but it's a wonderful feeling to have the film done.

"We had a lot of ups and downs. With our conditions in South Africa, like load shedding I had a laptop that crashed and I lost a lot of footage. We had to reshoot a lot of it.

“Also, there was a common error with water and hard drives. However, the positives would be that it all paid off in the end.

“A stand out was a wave we scored up in the Transkei that doesn't really work often. I went up with my friend Max Campbell. The waves were just going great and to share that with him was awesome.

“The section right at the end of the movie was the biggest stand out. We surfed a wave at home. We were doing doubles on some big waves and that was absolutely awesome and a very special moment," said Crankshaw.

The film features South African rippers like Adin Jeans, Sean Holmes, Vincent Withers, Murry Carter, Ruben Lammers, Max Campbell, Brad Clack, Bruce Taplim Mitch Du Preez, Forrest Hair, Crankshaw and others.

Campbell, 26, from Knysna, said he loved the experience.

"Blake and I have done some cool trips together. I've enjoyed all the moments we've spent together. I think it's cool that there are people putting out movies like this one.

“A lot of the time you find good surfers in Durban and other areas who put out content, so to see someone putting out content from the Garden Route is really nice. I know a few younger people who already look up to Blake for making films like this and now they want to do if themselves.

"I've watched the film a couple of times already and I love it. It's a great movie. It's very artsy, Blake put his own style into it which I really like.

“I really like the opening scene where they are riding quite a heavy wave and the ending with his friends. I really enjoyed that," said Campbell.

"Always Then" can be streamed for free on Your Guide. The film can also be watched on Zigzag.