Red Chargers Just Raised the Bar in Big Wave Surf Films
Hear me out as I promise you a hot take. The Go Big Project’s Red Chargersfilm is ringing a new bell in the Big Wave surfing industry. Miranda Winters and Rocky Romano are living the life as directors of their new film, Red Chargers. I ran into them at the World Surf League Big Wave Awards, somewhat by accident, and (if I have to be honest) found the two coolest blokes wandering the Huntington Beach hotel at 10 PM. After almost a year of filming, countless interviews, and the biggest swell they’d ever seen in their lives, Miranda and Rocky are completely stoked to tell a story of a lifetime.
I had already seen their film and was captivated by it, so I had to connect with these two for an opportunity to thank them as well as to witness the perfection behind their idea. Inclusion in the Big Wave Awards is already a notable accomplishment, but the filmmakers operated as champions–thankful, but quiet during the ceremony. I wanted more insight into the film. The interviews. The crazy happenings. The safety precautions and the waves. I didn’t know how to express an emotion–I had honestly been baffled and amazed by Red Chargers.
Here are some highlights from our awards night interview:
Tell me about your role in the film.
I am the executive producer, co-director, and editor of Red Chargers. At The Go Big Project, my title is President, but I’m also a partner in the company along with Founder Rocky Romano. I’ve worked in pretty much every possible role since I started as an intern in 2012, beginning with my first day as an event photographer. Soon enough, I was shooting and editing our multiple award-winning documentary, Learning to Breathe. After that, Rocky and I began producing our first series for television and I was on the road all the time; chasing swells around the pacific or chasing BASE jumpers around Europe. We’ve completed 127 episodes of TV in the past four years, including 50 hours of 4K adventure reality TV just this past year. One of the series, Chasing Monsters: El Nino, is a 10 episode series that features some of the most insane big wave surfing from last year. So we’ve been busy to say the very least.
What is the purpose of your introduction in the film? I loved it, a spec of sand describing the history and life at Nazaré. Is there more to it?
Rocky and I wanted to personify The North Canyon, so we gave her a voice and let her tell her story. In the intro, she tells the story of the geological processes that created her, beginning with her life as a tiny speck of sand. When she announces herself as “The North Canyon of Nazare” the pace picks up and we dive into the lives of the surfers.
The deeper meaning comes to fruition in the outro of the film, where the North Canyon speaks again about how she understands that the landscape will continue to change and she will return to her original form. You could think about it very morbidly; ashes to ashes and all that, but I think it’s a universal statement about the cycles of change that we all live by. It also mirrors the life of a wave; a bump on the ocean that builds up and crashes on the shore, before being reabsorbed into the place it came from. You have to enjoy that wave while it’s there.
Resilience, excellence, brotherhood, courage, perseverance, and spirit. All are main topics throughout the film but how have those topics changed in your mind after editing and directing such a risky but amazing film like Red Chargers?
Red Chargers was a challenge. Go Big is based out of LA and we thought we were going to send a small crew over to Portugal for two or three weeks. But over and over again, swells kept coming up on the horizon. It was around 60 days before everyone finally got home. Once everyone was home there were plenty of hurdles for post production. We went through multiple rounds of editors and cuts before we could press play on the final cut. When I see those words on the screen, I know that we put them there to describe traits of big wave surfers, but I also think of the resilience, excellence, brotherhood, courage, perseverance, and spirit that it took to complete the film. But hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Your hearts must have been beating pretty quickly after filming Red Chargers, so what was your relationship like, or how did it change with the athletes in the film?
With Garrett as a liaison, we had a unique opportunity to get to know the surfers that charge Nazare. Of course, we had them sit down and do interviews, but we also had the opportunity to meet their families, share meals with them, and so forth. That access gives the film a very personal and relatable feeling, which I really enjoy.
Who is Garrett McNamara to you personally? How were the interactions with him in making the film?
Garrett is amazing! I knew Garrett previous to Red Chargers because we featured him in our TV series Maverick Moments. He’s a great character; incredibly dynamic, honest, and lots of energy. It makes him good on camera and fun to be around. It was amazing to be able to follow him, his wife Nicole, and their baby boy Barrel around the world for the show.
When we started on Red Chargers, he was immensely helpful, especially during production in Portugal, which was great. Once we hit the editing room, Garrett stepped back and we did our thing…except for the occasional text message from him to see if we would hit our deadlines.
Anything else you would like to tell the world about the filming of Red Chargers, the people behind the film and the experience of the whole thing?
Firstly, I can’t thank the country of Portugal, the city of Nazare, Garret, Nicole, and the men and women of big wave surfing enough for making this all possible. I’d also like to recognize Alexey Orlov, the director of photography & drone pilot, and yGabriel Vargas, the principal photographer, who captured Nazare, the waves, and the spirit of big wave surfing with stunning cinematography. All I can say is that it took a lot of hard work from a lot of people to create this film. There were times that it seemed like the process would never end, but we managed to make it through and create something beautiful. It’s been a very rewarding experience.