For most of us, getting the opportunity to ride a wave with legendary surfer Kelly Slater is beyond the realm of possibility. After all, the man who has won the World Surf League championship a record 11 times isn’t likely to be found slumming it on just any old beach. But now, thanks to a new 360-degree video from Teton Gravity Research, we can all experience what it is like to surf alongside one of the best surfers ever.
The video, which you can watch above, was created while TGR was making its latest documentary, Proximity. That film pairs some of surfing’s living legends with its brightest up-and-coming stars and sends them off to remote destinations to hang out together. In Slater’s case, he was matched up with John John Florence and both men were sent to the South Pacific to ride some big waves and ponder the intricacies of their sport.
Proximity was directed by visionary filmmaker Taylor Steele, who had the foresight to bring along a GoPro all-inclusive rig and six Hero4 cameras to capture some of the action. Those tools allow filmmakers to record footage in all directions at once and later use special editing software to stitch all of the feeds back together to create a seamless experience. The result is an immersive video that allows viewers to pan around inside the clip while viewing in a browser or look in any direction if they are watching it on a VR headset such as an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
The Kelly Slater clip includes several scenes of him and Florence as they explore the island, take plunges under the sea, and ride a boat out to a surf spot. But, of course, the best moment is when Slater hits the water, giving us not only a fantastic look of the man in action but his custom-made surfboard designed by Gagosian Gallery.
Steele filmed several VR clips as part of the Proximity project — the first of which we told you about a few weeks back. Others are expected to follow, taking viewers to different parts of the world to watch more amazing surfers carve up some impressive waves. Watch the Teton Gravity Research YouTube channel for more videos soon.
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