João de Macedo Vs. the Abyss
When 40-foot-high walls of water rise up out the ocean, the guy clinging to a plank of epoxied foam is already the underdog. The story of Portuguese big-wave surfer João de Macedo ups the ante. De Macedo finished 3rd in the 2016 Nazaré Challenge qualifying him for the WSL Big Wave 2017 tour, which he sought to run without a major sponsor.
Filmmaker Blaze Hunter followed de Macedo in his quest for 6 months, releasing a short 10-minute tease to what he hopes will be a larger feature in which de Macedo trains and strives to have more to show for his for efforts than a 2018 Wipeout of the Year entry (he picked that up courtesy of Jaws).
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
The short begins with an aphorism from Nietzsche, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” The version on the screen ends there. But it’s an especially apt quote when you consider the resolution, or lack thereof, Nietzche offers: “And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
It’s an especially existential start to a surf movie. One befitting a project called “Way of Life” that seeks to tell set the story of human determination against the scale of giants. It’s stated goal is to answer the question, “What defines the greatness of men?”
“I have always been involved in surfing,” says Hunter, “And big wave surfing is something that gives a strong visual for the perseverance, and physical and mental strength someone is capable of.” Nietzchse would likely approve.