Robyn Strano began surfing in 1963 and was one of the first female surfers in her area. This short film by Ashley Beer captures Robyn’s love of the ocean and celebrates her gratitude for the simple things in life, like living by the sea and surfing every day.
We caught up with Ashley to find out more about working with Robyn and the lady behind the lens …
Ashley where are you based?
I’m originally from Manly on the Northern beaches of Sydney but I’m currently based in Crescent Head.
Where was the film shot?
The film was shot in a few locations along the mid north coast of NSW.
How did you and Robyn meet and come to work together?
I met Robyn out in the water, surfing. Last year Ryan from NeedEssentials asked me to create a short film. He set a short brief and asked me to capture someone surfing in their 70’s, highlighting success through their pure passion and stoke for being in the water everyday. I loved the concept and knew exactly the person to film.
What inspiration did you take from your time filming with Robyn?
I was already inspired by Robyn’s humble nature before I started filming her. She looks after her health, knows her limits and has more energy than most people I know. It is hard not to be inspired by her infectious energy and pure love for being in the water.
How did you get into surfing?
My dad has been surfing his whole life and he would wake us up before school each day to jump into the ocean for a swim. I grew up in the water, bodysurfing, standing up on the nipper boards and then eventually followed him into the water with my own surfboard.
How is your time split between being behind the camera and on the waves?
Admittedly, my time leans more towards surfing but I always love to take the camera out for a play and capture the people who inspire me in the water. I have been following people with a camera on land since I was in school and I have a slight addiction to being submerged in water so if I don’t feel like surfing myself I swim or paddle out with my camera instead.
What does surfing means to you?
Surfing is pure joy. It teaches me to respect the environment and often sends me into a meditative state that connects me to the present moment.
Personally it is about surrendering to the flow of the ocean, limiting my urge to force or direct movement. The wave and surfboard work together and I’m there to enjoy the ride.
What’s your biggest challenge as a surf photographer/filmmaker?
The biggest challenge is knowing when to surf and when to film. I often find myself speechless and am constantly blown away by the magic and beauty that is surfing. I actually believe that no film or photo could ever replicate the beauty and joy I get from being in the water, so my biggest challenge is being content knowing that the best shots are often stored in the memory bank.
There’s a interview with Robyn coming up in the July issue so pick up a copy from mid July for more on this inspirational lady.