Stephen Cooney

Back then…

Stephen Cooney - BaliStephen Cooney is 16. When I first met him he had just turned 15. We've travelled together surfing and filming for a year now. First to the North Coast and in the later part of '71 to Indonesia. Stephen doesn't go to school anymore and he doesn't care for work much either. He gets paid enough money from Paul Hutchinson and Peter Debono to buy the few things that he needs and goes surfing whenever he wants.

I can't imagine Stephen living in the city and yet he does. He has the character and style and simplicity that you would expect to see from someone who has lived a long time in the country. His surfing is as simple and pure as he is, his understanding of people and his ability to communicate on any level is amazing. He has a beautiful feeling for the ocean and because of his size he seems to be able to tuck himself into the curl of the wave easier than most other surfers.

The first wave after the country house section was filmed at Angourie and has been triple painted to allow you to get a more detailed look at his surfing. I've cut the ride at exactly the point where he is completely covered by the curl and have introduced some mood scenes of waves and people and the sea to try and relate to the audience through Stephen's surfing what it feels like for him to be completely covered by the wave.

Stephen Cooney - UluHe is a totally aware and very adaptable surfer. When we were filming in Indonesia he surfed in a completely new territory alive with marine life and shifting rips. The waves were fast and broke on a shallow reef with the power that you can expect from an Island wave. It was a classic experience for him and one handled with relative ease. It's fun to be going with him because you know he's going to dig it no matter what happens and he'll enjoy the surf whether it's big or small, like that one wave where he pulls off and he's just smiling, the wave's a big fat zero but he's digging it because that's just the way he is.

– AF