As we flew over the expanse of desert and into Abu Dhabi International Airport, we were suddenly greeted by a network of lights that lit the roads and buildings of the cityscape below. To see such a vast development in the middle of a desert was awe inspiring to say the least.
The next morning the beating sun revealed a diverse and bustling metropolis, set against a crisp blue sky, the white sand and turquoise water of the beach and a beautiful mosque that shone on the horizon. After a morning of filming establishing shots of the beach and skyline, we were straight into the early rounds of the Wakeboarding qualifiers. The rails and sliders were anchored 30 or so metres off-shore giving the crowds a fantastic view of ALL the action as it unfolded. As the boat riding competition progressed, we witness the best Wakeboarders in World, in a uniquely beautiful setting, as they pushed themselves and their competitors to the limit.
In addition to the off-shore competition, spectators were able to get even closer to the riders at the Wakestock Pool Gap. Here, we too were able to get incredibly close to the action and capture all of the drama as the riders battled it out in a flood-lit, night-time rail and tricks contest. For this we used a waterproof, HD mini camera which we were able to attach to the one of the rails, producing footage that would have otherwise been too dangerous to film!
Because the mini camera was so compact, it didn’t have a viewfinder or screen and this made framing the shot very difficult at first. However, after a few tests I realised that the reflection in the convex glass of the wide angle lens, gave a pretty accurate impression of the shot it would achieve.
On the second day of action the Wakeboarders also took to the ‘System 2’ set-up. This is a mechanically operated cable between two pulley towers, capable of pulling the riders back and forth along the water, right in front of the fans. Once again, the HD mini camera – which we attached to the cable during this session – made for some incredible footage, giving an exciting and intimate look at the riders in action. In fact this process was for me, the most rewarding of my involvement in filming Wakestock Abu Dhabi. After each session, we would return to the media tent to review the footage, never really sure of how it would look and yet time and again the results blew us away.
All the thrills and spills of the days Wakeboarding action was then topped off in the evening as the live acts took to the Main Stage. But we didn’t have to go far! The stage was right on the beach, just a few hundred metres from the Pool Gap and boat riding viewing areas. Here thousands gathered to see such huge acts as De La Soul, Maximo Park and DJ GoldieRocks, as well as local superstar Carole Samaha and many more.
Music is an important part of the Wakeboarding lifestyle to the extent that the riders all had mp3 players on the jetty, helping them to get into the right frame of mind before they set off for their final run. So the music and sport complemented each other perfectly, whilst also making it a festival that truly had something for everyone.
It was an intense few days, but also some of the most rewarding few days of work I’ve ever done… Bring on Wakestock Abersoch 2010!
Wakestock Abu Dhabi 2010: Avanti Camera Operator, Kim’s Shooting Report
The Programme goes out on Sky Sports 4 on 15th June at 7.30pm and will be repeated as follows:
16th June, 3.00 am, Sky Sports 4
20th June, 7.30am, Sky Sports 4
20th June, 11.00am, Sky Sports 4