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July 30, 2014

Breaking Waves With Stephanie Gilmore

A Career-Spanning 16mm Documentary on Surfing’s Leading Lady

Surf enthusiast Ava Warbick was in Honolua, Hawaii, in 2007 when she first caught word of Stephanie Gilmore, the first ever rookie to win the Women’s World Championship. Gripped by Gilmore’s consummate skill and poise, the aspiring filmmaker looked to her father, Doug “Claw” Warbrick (founder of surf brand Rip Curl), for pointers, and gained unbridled access to the Australian for three years. The resulting documentary, Stephanie in the Water, released this month, sheds light on the pro surfer’s beginnings at the age of 21 through to her prolific rise to become a five-time world champion, and the pressure to stay at the top of the sport. “Stephanie is radiant and grounded and illustrates true poise,” says Warbick, who captured Gilmore’s elegant swan dive kick-outs in locations that included Micronesia and Puerto Rico. “I was interested in what allows someone to perform and stay present at that elite level,” she adds. Collaborating with an all-female production team, the director completed her debut with an original score from Brooklyn-based producers Fall on Your Sword. Here, Gilmore shares her favorite warm-up music and Diana Vreeland’s timeless bikini advice. 

Who have been some of the women to inspire you over the years?
Stephanie Gilmore: [fellow pro surfers] Lisa Andersen and Kelia Moniz, for they are beauty on a wave. I admire Maria Sharapova's ambition and what she has done for the athletic female image and equality in sport.

You ultimate surf music? 
SG:
Tame Impala is great surf music, Daft Punk just makes me want to party on the wave. And if I'm ever needing to get in the mood to paddle out, I listen to “Sunny" by Marvin Gaye.

One thing we'd be surprised to know about you?
SG:
My pre-heat warm-up song is "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters.

Any secret talents?
SG:
I will beat you in table tennis.

You've cited Rihanna as a style icon––what's the most glamorous surf get-up you own? 
SG:
As Diana Vreeland said: “The bikini is the most important thing since the Atom bomb." I guess my whole wardrobe is pretty glamorous.

Stephanie in the Water is available August 5 on iTunes.

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Bosphorus Cross-Continental

Photographer Andres Gonzalez Dives into the World of the Unique Swimming Contest

Istanbul-based photographer Andres Gonzalez documents the Bosphorus Cross-Continental 6.5km swimming competition that traverses the channel separating the Turkish city's Asian and European banks. First launched in 1989, the annual contest draws over 1,000 participants from 42 countries attempting to exploit the powerful cross-currents that result from the collision between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Managing to keep on course and avoiding the whirlpools that caught some of his rivals barely 50 yards from the finish line, overall winner Hasan Emre Musluoğlu triumphed in just over 47 minutes. Gonzalez was struck by the variety and age of participants, which included artists, politicians, former Olympic champion Mark Spitz, and even some in their 70s. “The second place girl was 14 years old. She's this young, totally humble Turkish girl,” he says. “Then you have these big Russian swimmers that are just bad-ass. But seeing the older people come in, with their determination and sense of accomplishment, you share their giddy euphoria.” The one-time newspaper photographer, whose work has featured in Newsweek, Monocle and Wallpaper*, is currently putting the finishing touches to a photobook study of distance called Somewhere, due out this fall, before migrating to Mexico for the winter to shoot butterflies.

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Spotlight

Yung Chang: China Heavyweight

The Uplifting Stories of Rural China's Boxing Rings

Young pugilist He Zongli gets put through his paces in the gym and receives the wisdom of his coach Qi Moxiang at a training camp for the National Men's Boxing Championship in this extract from Yung Chang new feature documentary China Heavyweight. Working closely with a local crew, the Chinese-Canadian filmmaker traveled far into the Sichuan countryside to capture the daily routines of coach Qi and his teenage boxers. “The first time we met everyone I was struck by their philosophy of trying to change these rural countryside kids, to instil in them values that would help them in the future,” recalls Yung. “Coach Qi seemed to be almost a cliché of a boxing coach—someone who doesn’t make an income, but is so selfless and passionate for the idea of the sport that he’s dedicated his life to it.” Brought up by Chinese parents in Toronto’s rustic backwoods, the director saw movies as a way of escaping his upbringing, and of connecting with other people and their stories. Selected for the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, Yung’s first film Up The Yangtze told the poignant tale of a young girl taking a job on a Yangtze River cruise ship, set against the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Currently the filmmaker is finishing up a third feature documentary, Fruit Hunters, following the lives of obsessive collectors searching for rare and exotic fruits all around the world. “It’s a celebration of diversity in the face of monoculture,” he says.

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