ABC NEWS: It's consistently ranked as one of the top five surf movies of all time, but Morning of the Earth was once seen as a gamble
The year was 1971. The place Bali. Two men stood on a reef, holding their surfboards, facing the ocean. They were about to surf a break no-one had ever surfed before. Its name: Uluwatu.
The surf beyond them was a heart-stopping eight to 10 feet and it seemed, at first sight, that the waves just kept coming.
The scene, which later graced the movie poster for Morning of the Earth, would become an iconic image for thousands of surfers across the globe. It would also become the calling card for Bali and begin Australia's love affair with the island.
As they stood looking seaward, the man on the left, Rusty Miller, recalls that he was captivated, but at the same time aware that he had a much bigger task at hand: "I was thinking, how do we get out? I mean, I knew how we'd get out, but keep in mind there was no duck-diving and no leg ropes."
To his right stood 15-year-old Stephen Cooney with a board not much bigger than himself at five feet, nine inches. Cooney's head was also full of thoughts, as he explains in his autobiography Unearthed: "The villagers who gathered on the cliffs made clear their concerns about us going into the waves citing bad spirits and dangerous waters."
But talking to Cooney about the situation, he clearly wasn't going to be put off.
"All I ever wanted to do was surf, that was my whole mantra," he says. "So the idea of paddling out in these conditions was really exciting for me — and Rusty was there, so he was great company, particularly on those bigger days."
He pauses at this point and then goes on: "In big waves, you're always a little bit edgy. And I'd have to admit on that day, that first big day, I was definitely a little edgy."
Click here to read the full story by Mark Bannerman at www.abc.net.au