We caught up with Film Maker Justin LaPera at the Newport Beach Film Festival to get the low-down on his surf discoveries in Papau New Guinea, and the unexpected journey they encountered while filming “Isolated” Exective Producer, Ryan Phillippe.
What physical and other strategic preparations did you make before embarking on a surf trip into the unknown?
JLP: For physical preparation we all train in our own ways. The guys surfing, they surf and do whatever they normally do to stay in top physical shape. For my film crew, I put them on a workout plan. We don’t have a big crew at all. Just 4 of us at most so we have to carry all of our film gear ourselves. Because there are no power sources, this means we have a lot of extra stuff like batteries, tapes, drives, as well as, all the cameras and our own personal packs. This means we have to be in great shape since we don’t know exactly how we will travel which means we could be trekking for days through the jungle. We had no idea what to expect. For their workout plan they need to do a ton of cardio and swimming along with weights to build up physical strength.
What stood out on the google charts about papau new guinea
JLP: The area we traveled was West Papua which is located on the Western half of the island of New Guinea. Papua New Guinea is on the Eastern half. West Papua is apart of the country of Indonesia whereas, Papua New Guinea is an independent nation. A lot of the waves in Papua New Guinea have been mapped out. Because West Papua is a journalist dead zone with a lot of conflict between the native Papuans and the Indonesian military, there aren’t any waves that have been mapped out on West Papua. It is one of the last frontiers in surfing which is what made us want to explore the region.
When looking at google charts, we can only really see what the coastline looks like from satellite images. So what we look at is swell direction in that region and how it hits the coastline. We look for a lot of points and river outlets. Because the coastline is lined with steep cliffs, we try to spot reefs and beaches that line up perfect with the swell direction. It is really hard to tell what your seeing so you have to go with your instinct and hope your seeing something that is promising and hope that a swell hits with the right direction to the coastline while your there.