Mike Lucas brings cinematic allure to shorebreak carnage
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 December, 2016 - Mike Lucas celebrates surfing, bodyboarding and skim boarding wherever any of the three are likely to end in a dramatic collision with the sand. With the Wedge as his focal point, Mike has brought the world a steady stream of shore break carnage via his YouTube channel.
Growing up in Huntington Beach, close to the surf, Mike had always dabbled with video editing and filming at a young age. He started by using my mom’s old Handycam and edited the footage on dual VCR’s with an mp3 player plugged into the audio port to record the music. He experimented for years and then discovered GoPros.
“At this point it was all a matter of trial, error and experimentation with my filming,” says Lucas. “I began to see ocean sports in a new light. I also began to see videography as being a realistic career to pursue.”
He purchased a DSLR and began taking several classes and working freelance. Next was his YouTube channel in March of 2014 and after 6 months of establishing his channel he had created several GoPro surfing videos.
Following the mantra “stick to what you know” he found he has an audience.
“I’ve been astonished on the support I have been blessed with over this past year with all my existing and new subscribers, supporters, viewers and companies who have supported me in one way or another. And stoked to be able to share my experience in the ocean with the world.”
What do you shoot with?
As of right now I’m shooting with a Canon T2i and a GoPro 4 Black Edition as I combine both my DSLR footage shot from land and my water shots or POV (point of view) videos that I upload regularly on my YouTube channel to give people a broader perspective from both sides of the fence.
How did surf film making start for you?
Film making for myself started around middle school when I would film with our family camcorder and would end up recording the footage from the camera onto one VCR, then select clips to record to the second VCR with an auxiliary cord to input the music and create a couple of my first “VCR” edits. At this point accessibility was limited so i was mainly experimenting with skating and general neighborhood debauchery clips that we would accumulate over a couple years.
As high school came around and we eventually were able to get jobs, our permits and licenses getting to the beach with what we needed to film surfing and bodyboarding became an option for us. This was the first time my friends and I would take turns recording some of our first bodyboarding and surfing films. When I got my own Mini DV camera around sophomore/junior year. I dug out my mom’s old tripod and upgraded to editing in windows movie maker on our family computer. Most of our footage at this time consisted of Huntington Beach where I grew up in Jr. Lifeguards, Balboa, the Wedge and some clips from a few trips we had taken with family friends to Mexico - all in mind blowing 480p quality!
Tell us something most people don’t know about surf film making
I think what most people tend to generalize is that there are waves year long in Southern California. When ultimately its the complete opposite. The key isn’t where to be its when to be and often we see months of dry spells. What people don’t see is the amount of time quality photographers and filmers spend analyzing the weather, surf reports and often just driving from spot to spot figuring out where the sand is, what the tide is doing and how the coastline changes shape from season to season. When tracking and predicting some of these swells at its epicenter you often have to learn more about where the swell derives from and how the swell can be affected by weather as it travels from point A to B. Its a constant learning experience and changes year-to-year with unpredictable variations and similar recurring patterns.
Share with us your heaviest experience in the surf or while travelling.
Probably my heaviest moment was when I got caught inside shooting Cylinders with my GoPro on a solid 10-12 foot day in late 2015. The water would suck up from chest to knee high in a matter of seconds. As I positioned myself further in on one set and tried to go for a shot that captures the lip exploding back at the camera I held the shot out for too long a delayed my duck dive, I started grabbing to hug the sand but too late and this beast took me in around the cycle, upside down and threw me flattening out the space between my head, neck and shoulder. By far the most impact I’ve ever felt from a wave and left me in a shoulder splint for the next week all within a matter of milli seconds. Worth it.
Name one photographic image or film you saw that changed the way you approach your craft.
I had grown up influenced by The Show, Sabotaj and September Sessions but really was inspired by a bodyboarding series i saw in high school called “Tension” that showed me the possibilities of what was possible with the right talent, individuals, opportunity and of course financial backing. Filming before that was always a hobby for me until I got into college. Society puts these ideas in your head such as “there’s no money in this or that” and can be very discouraging as a young adult trying to figure out how and what you want to do in life. Shortly after the first GoPro came out it revolutionized the way I saw film and being in the water. My idea was I wanted to be in and out of the water and not limited to one or the other. Before that you had to chose. This would end up inspiring me to start capturing my experience in the water and accept the fact that I could be an athlete and film maker on the sand or in the water.
What has been your proudest moment as a film maker?
I’m very critical on my films considering I put majority of them out within 24 hours of them being recorded and aren’t really anything to me until i get feedback from others and see the impact it can make on people. As of this year I’ve seen a lot of my viewers and followers progressing in their own film making, the interaction is what makes my work special to me and that it could inspire others to pursue their own passions in the same sense. Without them I would be nothing and it pushes me to surf/bodyboard and film and constantly trying to increase the quality I put out even more.