We caught up with Joel Sharpe on his latest short film project ‘Rail to Rail’. Set in El Salvador, the film tells the story of Zancudo, a standup bodyboarder. That’s right a standup bodyboarder – who just happens to shred better than most surfers by going Rail to Rail.
BWG: Firstly – sweet short film mate. Really captures the essence of what Zancudo is about. Which is riding for the sheer enjoyment of it, regardless if it isolates him from surfing and bodyboarding.
So how and when did you get to filming this story? What drew you to it?
JS: I left home over two years ago to travel the world with the aim to make films whenever I could. When I arrived in El Salvador I put my bags down and wandered down to the beach. One of the first things I saw was Zancudo, right there, doing the impossible. What drew me to Zancudo was his style, and I don’t just mean in the water. The guy is one of the chillest dudes kicking around with a genuine love for life. That’s something worth sharing. It was a great experience really, I just kind of hung out for a month or so, surfing and getting to know a bunch of good people. Filming always felt like something in-between.
BWG: Given the craze around finless riding and similarities between his board and the Beater – do you think it strange that Zancudo’s ride of choice has been alienating? is it that alienating now or has it become more acceptable?
JS: I do find the whole ‘sport’ of standup bodyboarding quite confusing. When you look deeper into it, it has a really bizarre history. At times it has drawn loads of positive attention in places like Hawaii, but most times it seems to be more or less rejected or shrugged off as a gimmick. I find it strange that more people haven’t got behind him, especially since most people agree that it’s an incredible talent. I hope that as surfing broadens its horizons people like Zancudo get the attention that they deserve. I suppose it was important for me to show his passion for it, so that people could take him seriously. I can’t really say how alienated he is now, but perhaps the tide is turning.
BWG: He would have to be up there with the best finless riders – in a slide off. Derek Hynd or Zancudo?
JS: You put me in an awkward position! I’ve got to back my mate Zancudo, but it’s a big call against one of the surfing greats! When it comes down to it, Zancudo keeps it simple on the bodyboard while Derek is the great experimenter. I’d love to see the two of them hanging out and taking turns going through Derek’s quiver. Given the same opportunities, I’d probably put my money on Zancudo. Why? Because I’ve never seen anyone gather as much speed as Zancudo, I’d hate to see him trimming on something a little heavier and longer, the guy might break the sound barrier!
Zancudo releasing some rail
BWG: Lastly, new projects on the horizon?
JS: At the moment I’m working on a feature length film consisting of local surf stories throughout Central America. Similar to Zancudo’s story, each character plays into the other to help paint a picture of the local surf scene in this incredible part of the world. I aim to release the film by the end of this year!
BWG: Awesome and looking forward to seeing it!
You can read more about Joel's future and current projects at his website: http://joelsharpe.com/lasolas
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.