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Ted Grambeau point blank on shooting for Point Break

Bruce Irons & Dylan Longbottom © Ted Grambeau



Photography Blogs

What was the crew-choked channel like at Chopes during epic swell?

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 February, 2016 - Ted Grambeau recently blogged about the amazing spectacle that was the filming of the Point Break remake. The project drew the creme de la creme of Teahupo’o shooters as well as veteran surf film makers like the late Sonny Miller.

Grambeau recalls in frightening detail what went down during the big-budget Hollywood spectacular which Rotten Tomatoes described as as being loaded with dazzling action but bereft of purpose. 

“The Point Break remake will be remembered as the first film to make audiences pine for the simultaneous presences of Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey,” said the website. Ouch.

But the true strength throughout the Point Break films, apart from their camp appeal, has always been the action sequences. BASE jumping, wing suit stunts, motorcycles crashing out of high-rises and of course surfing, all tied together through strained, awkward dialogue, are the foundation of the Point Break phenomenon.

As the action and stunts emerge as the true star of the films, we wonder how these dramatic sequences came to be. Fortunately for us, Ted Grambeau has blogged about what goes on behind the scenes in making such a film.

The film crew's boat © Ted Grambeau


To me, the behind the scenes making of a movie is actually more fascinating than the movie itself. Point Break is one of those movies that seems to be defined by the stunts – these guys dug deep and went the extra mile under incredible pressure to come up with something ground breaking. As opposed to your average surf documentary, where the focus is usually placed on the location, Hollywood knows no boundaries.
Hollywood is a fantasy land – so the location of Teahupoo can be combined with Malibu or Mars if they want it to be.

Stunt surfers were clearly discernible by the black locator marks on their face that would assist accurate retouching when the actual actors faces would be placed over the stunt surfers in post production. This is only one of a host of over-laid shots that would be composited to created a final image. Shots from all over the globe are involved in the final result. A technical jigsaw puzzle that the director has to have complete control of the whole time and works closely with team of experts in very specific areas.


That day the swell continued to rise with perfect conditions remaining. I need to point out that while some people may consider that the crew got lucky to score such perfect surf, it was actually only luck in the sense where Luck is described as the meeting point of preparation and opportunity. Making the call to get such epic surf, involved the best forecasters, months of stand by for surfers and crew all at massive expense – ready to roll soon as nature was ready. So to some extent you can stack the luck in your favour if you want to spend the time and the money.

Challenging manoeuvres of two surfers emerging from giant Teahupoo barrels may have been preformed before, but never deliberately. The other occasions are more of the drop in nature. Bruce and Dylan preformed one such feat to the delight of the 2nd unit director Phil Boston.

Matahi Drollet © Ted Grambeau


The end result was entertainment, action packed extreme in every way. I was privileged to have my photography featured on the movie poster – a combination of one of the most perfect waves with two of the most dramatic surfers on one wave.

Whilst it was great experiencing the magic of Hollywood, to me it's more about appreciating the immense talents that need to be combined with the massive amounts of (behind the scenes) hard work by an army of wizards in every field – all in the name of entertainment.

Read Ted's full blog at this link

Ted Grambeau, Ted Grambeau Photography, Photography, Point Break, Movies, Teahupoo
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