Soon the first action photos of the 2020 GUNSAILS sails will be released. But how does a photo shoot run at GUNSAILS? Florian Jung has summed up the previous year's "Mission Impossible" in a report.
Due to the change of the product cycle at Gunsails, which was changed from December to August, I had to organize a photo shoot with the complete team this year. Normally, that shouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, the production of the first 2019 sail was delayed by 3 weeks, which reduced the time frame from one month to one week.
In order to keep the release date that was scheduled for the following month, a simple solution had to be found. The Worldcup takes place year after year on Fuerteventura in the end of July and therefore most of the team riders from the disciplines freestyle and slalom are there anyway. In addition, the good wind statistics and turquoise-blue watercolours fitted into the concept.
The early bird catches the worm
After arriving in Fuerteventura with a solid packages containing 22 rigs ( 2 sails per model), I realized that the conditions did not look that promising after all. Although the 10 team riders were on site, the weather forecast promised only 3 days of wind. Not enough to shoot 12 different sails in many perspectives from flat water sails to waves sails. So we went directly from the airport to a secret spot south of Costa Calma. We found Freeride conditions with gusty 20-40 knots. Flying Dutchman Ben van der Steen pulled his brand new GS-R slalom sail out of the quiver and was the first to jump into the water. After less than 1 minute his session was over.
A gnarly shorebreak liked his brand new sail and destroyed it and the rocky underground . Thus the first racing sail for today was done - unfortunately without a single photo.
We changed our location to the lagoon in Risco del Paso, where we produced average shots while being fully overpowered on our 7qm freeride sails while a few tourists enjoy there session with 3. 7 sqm. Instead of a “freeride smile”, you could see the typical "survival look" in the faces of most of the team riders.
Even though the beginning was anything but promising, it was about time to make use of some "German Efficiency". A plan was made and everyone in the team was given tasks like sandwich assignments, checking the weather forecasts, sorting out material in the car and rigging as many sails as possible on the beach in a short time, in order to make use of every minute. The teamwork started at sunrise in the morning and lasted until late into the night. After a few lifestyle shots with the morning light and a short breakfast, the spots in the area were checked. We set highest priority on the wave pictures, follwed by freestyle, racing and freeride. The combination of wind and waves is extremely rare on Fuerteventura in July and so every small chance was used. The windy days got more than used with 6 hours of sailing during 3 sessions at different spots. Everyone in the team showed full commitment until the sun disappeared into the sea. After we fall asleep the main job for our photographer and filmmaker Pierre Bouras only started - selecting photos and videos, editing them and loading them directly onto the dropbox while only having about 3-4 hours of sleep to recover. Slowly, however, the efforts showed some result.
THE GOLDEN PHOTO STRATEGY
There are different ways to produce photos. Amateurs tend to press the trigger spontaneously with the hopes that at the end of the day a few reasonable pictures are taken. Another option is to start from the best possible end result. We needed at least 3-4 good images of each sail from different perspectives such as land, water or drones perspectives. Especially with a photo production for sails, vertical light must be avoided in order to exclude shading in the product. Therefore, it is necessary to shoot in the morning or evening light. Before each session a short briefing for each sail was made in order to score what was needed - Freeride sails, please smile and have fun - Race sails, serious look, go full speed and keep the sail closed. Parallel rides with the same sail type also require riders that know what they are doing when they go full speed into the jibe with just a few centimetres away from each other. The same manoeuvres and settings were repeated until the cameraman was happy with the result on the screen. In the end it’s not about having fun, even though it is something rewarding to work with a highly motivated team for one goal instead of fighting against each other in contests. After 3 windy days we finally could tick all the boxes of each sail. Thanks to the foil boards and the new high efficient “bow sail” we could even start working with 10 Knots of wind that exented our wind range of being productive. At the end it came down to the last day and we still didn’t have any proper photos in waves. After some trips to the north coast, we tried our luck again on the last day. At Glassbeach, we meet a local surfer who studied the waves enthusiastically. Even though the forecast looked anything but good, he was convinced that a few lines should appear on the horizon later on that day. We wait a good hour and suddenly the wave machinery started to work . Clean waves of about 2 meters started to break over the shallow reef in gigantic water colors. Pierre decided to jump into the water with his camera and we took turn after turn in these in these clean walls of water. The wind was blowing sideshore, perfect for the new 5. 0qm Seal. I had a really good session with nice turns, goiters and airs right in front of Pierre's lens. The Frenchman Yann Dupont went a step further and accidentally went right over him, who got away with a few bruises. After three intensive hours we went a few kilometres south to a spot called "Puerto Lajas". In a small bay we found really good jumping conditions until the sun finally dove into the ocean. All in all a very productive day at the office.
After a week of non-stop shooting, the 1TB hard disk with several thousand pictures and videos is more than full. The result is impressive. Even though Fuerteventura has fewer palm trees than Maui and the waves are not quite as powerful, we are happy with our performance. In the end it is the overall result of a team that has given everything to complete a photo shoot in only one week besides attending a worldcup.
It was a real challenge specially when the conditions are anything but perfect. Sometime the key is just discipline and a certain creativity to adapt to the elements in the best possible way. So if you see one of the photos in this article you get a bigger picture of what it means to create this image of pure joy while windsurfing.