"This movie is an ode to all the guys & girls braving harsh weather to live their passion"
The MANERA team headed up North to Lewis & Harris islands.
Whether you are up in the Hebridean islands or just riding your local spot in winter, cold water creates something unique, it connects people and inspires mutual respect.
Frozen smiles & veins filled with frigid water, nothing stops the cold water community from going out there. Being cold, wearing thick rubber, putting on wet wetsuits in the morning… these are small sacrifices compared to the rewards.
This movie is an ode to all the guys & girls braving harsh weather to live their passion.Read the story
"Cold water creates something unique, it connects people and inspires mutual respect."
Ben Caplan- Down to the river -
Rostam Batmanglig- Doc's song (cover) -
"Frozen smiles & veins filled with frigid water, nothing stops the cold water community from going out there"
"Being cold, wearing thick rubber, putting on wet wetsuits in the morning… these are small sacrifices compared to the rewards"
“This movie is an ode to all the guys & girls braving harsh weather to live their passion.”
ISLANDS OF THE STRANGERS : the story
MANERA has set the tone 3 years ago with the movie VALHALLA in Iceland.
Exit the paradisiac clichés videos, the brand will always choose a remote and cold place with wind and waves over an idyllic beach with guaranteed sun.
The year after they spent 10 days on a remote island off the Vancouver coast for the RUGGED POINT video, and last May they drove to the Outer Hebrides in northern Scotland for ISLANDS OF THE STRANGERS.
Julien Salles, MANERA’s brand manager has one goal: Inspire riders with the videos to go out there in winter and have fun in the water.
"With a strong crew, a common vision and amazing conditions, you get a dreamy result!"
Julien explains “I’m mostly going with the same guys every time, we have a good feeling and share the same vision. It’s always important for me to work with people that enjoy what we are doing, it makes the project even better.”
The cameraman Olivier from Petole prod makes all the filming & editing by himself: he can pilot the drone, swim with the RED camera in 6 feet waves and film from the top of a cliff in the same session. He does an amazing job even if he has a weird tendency of showing his butt.
About the photographers, Robin Christol mostly shoots sailing & regattas and Matt Georges is a snowboard/skateboard specialist: the mix of two talents, angles, and styles on the same trip is incredible!
The riders are being picked according to their adventurer spirits and their abilities to put on a wet wetsuit to go in the water in freezing temperatures.
The team needs to get along to share in 2 campervans between 11 people for 2 weeks. Everything went well for this trip (except for a few broken things, a toilet flooding and a few other accidents..)!
Out of the comfort zone
Tell us a few words about the experience.
Matt Georges. Do you know anyone that wouldn’t accept to go on a camping trip to explore the Outer Hebrides in Scotland with a bunch of nice guys to surf, kite, skateboard on grass, drive crazy on tiny roads, party with crazy Scottish, watch football in crowded pubs and take photographs of all this? That could be worse. :)
Olivier. We found each other on a remote and uncharted places, cold, grey, rough, and that’s what make all those trips magnificent. But the most special thing with MANERA is that we are not going to a product shoot, but we go on an adventure, and the most important is to capture the vibes, the feel of it.
On the road
Mallory. I was a bit worried about that because I remember the trip in Iceland was pretty tough with 6 dirty guys in such a small space. But I must say it was actually better than I expected.
Paul. We had 2 camper van, one new one and one pretty old! So we had to split the group by taking consideration a loooot of stuff, one single bed for Pauline, the 2 spanishs together, and of course I end up in the Camper Van from the media crew. We also had a normal van for the gear so 3 cars in total!
Pauline. It’s really not easy to keep a place tidy when you are 6 people in 6m² especially when it’s the place where you eat, you sleep and you spend a big part of your time inside of it… But it wasn’t that bad. I think, with the first experience we have had in Iceland with the Manera team 2 years ago and my proper one during all my childhood with my family, helped a little to "how survive in a campervan with 5 people, haha!!
"How survive in a campervan with 5 people, haha!!..."
Matt. It was of course very tiny, especially with all our camera gear in the middle. And it’s not like we had just a bit of equipment. All of us got at least 2 big bags including drones, flashes, water housing, bunch of lenses, tripods, etc. and then on top of this you add all the water equipments and normal clothing x 5 people including one dude who is 2m tall and takes quite some space (Robin Christol).
Paul. The problem when you stay with 2 photographer and a cameraman is that they have to charge their stuff… So the camper was full of cable everywhere, and don’t even think about touching one of them when it’s charging or they just yell at you!
How did you sleep?
Camille. Well I did sleep ok but based on the feedback of my roommates, I'm snoring a bit too much.
Set. Camille didn’t help us sleep at all, haha!
Mallory. Had to share a bed with Liam but slept ok apart from his farts and Camille snoring that would wakes us all up!!!
How about the drive?
Julien. We arrived in Edinburgh airport late in the afternoon and we had a 6 hours’ drive to the Isle of Skye, where we would take a ferry to Lewis & Harris islands. Driving on the left side of tiny roads at night while we were super tired was not the best idea: so we stopped and we spent our first night somewhere in the middle of Scotland, with only Camille’s snoring as an ambient noise.
Pauline. The drive was a big part of the trip and it was important to choose well the drivers!
Paul. Olivier and I were driving 99% our camper because Matt was busy taking picture of the road or of something else. Julien and Robin were driving the van and Liam and Mallory the other camper.
Olivier. I was sharing the wheel with Matt and Paul. Shortly I understood that I will be sharing the wheel only with Matt, so we had more chance to get to the spot alive!!!
Camille. Best driver? Haha I don’t know, but I would say Liam as Mallo smashed one of the mirror. ;)
It must have been pretty hard to shower everyday right ?
Pauline. I always know that when I go for a MANERA shooting, I have to put aside the comfort of a hot shower after a cold session!
Matt. The first rule was NO TOILET USE at all. Of course no shower either. We went twice in a real camping site to get hot water but otherwise we were just smelling like free men, doing the so called « French shower », meaning putting deodorant to hide the smell.
Camille. I had no other choice than staying salty. But this is what it’s all about right? Staying salty.
Mallory. I think it was my longest time without showering, and I smelt pretty good actually. Haha!
How did you feed yourselves ?
Mallory. You should have seen the first shop we did. Two fully loaded shopping carts with a mix of healthy and crappy unhealthy stuff, which sometimes felt good when you come out of a freezing session.
Pauline. I was just impressed by the amount of food the guys were able to put in their stomachs. When we finished the first shop I said to myself that it would be enough food for the entire trip. But it only took them 3 days to finish everything we had bought.
Olivier. In our Campervan, Paul was the rookie and was cooking the most. Together with Robin, they did a great job. By the end of the trip they finally knew how to cook pasta properly.
Max. I was in the van with the vegetarians, so I didn’t eat meat for a week. How boring.
Paul. I had to do most the dishes of our van because I was the youngest, and I think it was the same for Max in his van as he was the rookie.
Matt. "The dirtiest thing was the mandatory coffee I was making 4-5 times a day with an old sock bought in Patagonia. An Explorer/Hipster thing, you know."
How did you keep yourselves busy when you weren’t riding?
Camille. Well most of the time we were just driving around the Isle to find some spots and shooting lifestyle We were playing soccer (the other riders will tell you all about my insane soccer skills) and playing cards.
Matt. We had a few skate games with Liam on grass … We were also flying drones to explore our surroundings.
Mallory. I loved the football games. Paul, Liam and myself would kickass. Playing UNO was fun too, the rest of the time we were just driving, kiting and surfing.
How was partying with the scots?
Camille. We ended in a local pub in Stornoway and met some super nice Scottish guys, they were just so happy that some strangers came to shoot a movie on their island
Paul. It was ‘One hell of a night’, it’s not every day they get to see kitesurfers around there so they were pretty happy to talk with us and of course drink some beers. I have to say the scots are very friendly and they love to share their stories!
Olivier. This was pretty intense. I think only the media team experienced that (well Camille also haha). They kept offering us whiskey after whiskey. And the morning after we woke up pretty hungover and found out that our camper had a flat battery!
Tell us about the ride.
Mallory. It was awesome. There was a bay that was magical, with two perfect waves (one right and one left) and two big lagoons for freestyle, all of it on the very same spot. The first day we scored some epic lefts surfing all together, the next morning wind picked up and it was like riding Ponta Preta but as a left. At the same time the freestylers were scoring in the lagoon as if they were riding in Brazil (with 15-20ºC less). The following day the wind shifted and we rode with Cam for hours on the endless right-hander that would be comparable to the wave in Dakhla. I was the last to come out of the water around 23h. Those days will stay in my mind forever.
Paul. the Lochs were designed for freestyle we just had to find some with the right wind direction and we could enjoy perfect flat water and steady wind, ideal for Freestyle.
Max. We started playing a game of KITE which is a game where someone shows a trick and then the other has to do the same and if he doesn't make it he gets a letter.
"If you have K I T E you lose."
As Liam and I are both very competitive we were trying tricks we knew the other wouldn't be able to do. I was on a good way to the victory but then we had to abandon because we were on 13s and the wind picked up so strong that I was only able to do tricks holding on to my chickenloop.
Set. Coming from Brazil, I kited in cold waters in Europe, but it was for sure the coldest water I have been riding in. But it was so worth it, the spots were amazing.
Camille. In only 500 meters, the spot was offering a surf and kite wave (left) with offshore wind and another surf and kite wave (right) with side onshore wind. It’s maybe one of the craziest spot I’ve ever ridden: perfect wave and insane background.
Olivier. Shooting condition were totally awesome. Beautiful landscape, awesome crew, motor van, incredible wind and wave condition, and a really long sunset. We could not ask for better condition!
Mallory. We foiled in light wind, surfed epic waves and surf foiled smaller but clean waves. We scored perfect lefts and rights kiting. The freestylers could throw big doubles in the lagoons, etc. Looking back, it couldn’t have gotten any better in such a short time.
When we arrived in a bay up North and the swell was pumping, with long left and a right reef breaks… We surfed just ourselves in great waves, all dressed up with hoods, boots and gloves under an awesome light.
"Cold water adventures bring me far more than any tropical trip, probably because moments like these are well earned."