Longboarder, photographer, regular Drift contributor and general all round nice guy Santiago Videla dropped in for a catch up…
In an interview you said that your passion for surfing comes from your passion for the sea. What do you find in the sea?
In the sea I find peace. I’m one of those guys with a 24 hour working head and when I’m in the water waiting for the set to run, my mind goes blank, the only thing that occupies my head is to measure the wave so I can run it the best. It is a state of perfect tranquility.
Also I am really passionate about how the sea works – the tide, the cyclical motion, streams, canals and above all, the power it has. I mean, everything originated in the ocean and it also has that duality of allowing swimming and surfing feed us but when he gets angry, we are going to have a really bad time. The sea is perfect.
You learned to surf in Brazil. How do you think this place moulded you as a surfer? What influences did you pick up in Brazil rather than Argentinian waves?
Brazil is a place where you don’t have any option other than be competitive. You become competitive because the line-ups are crowded, because localism is intense, because everyone expects to be the next Toledo or Medina and because the Brazilian wave is the classic tournament wave.
You´ll Probably find 10 classic shortboards spots for each longboard spot (longboarding is the style I ride now). But the main difference about Brazil is the swell regularity and quality that you have.
In Argentina, even being a local, you could have several days without surf for several reasons: the swell is not good, the wind is chopping the swell… Brazil and Argentina are totally different.
How did you get into Photography? How do you apply photography to surfing? How important were your studies to get the results you want? Do you think you have a style that defines you?
I came to photography for two reasons. The first one is my absolute love for cinema, I am almost obbsessed to determine the types of lenses and film that were used in each film… that kind of nerd information, but that is very valuable when I approach a photo session.
The second reason is the emotion that caused me at 9 or 10 years to see the pictures from Thrasher or Surfer Magazine I saw those pictures and I really felt within a pool ride session!
So I started trying to emulate those colors , the range and the depth in the shots… which led me to understand that if I wanted to do that, I had to keep the analog side of it. That’s why I decided that most of my work should be in film (35 or 120 mm.) diapositive or classic film.
How do I use that in surfing? My intention is to show a photograph to convey emotion and movement, I’m not worried about the clarity or definition in every shot. When you see one of my photos you understand that I was there, that you feel the shot had motion. Personally I think I achieved a style that meets all those things I love since my childhood and that makes me happy.
You enjoy telling stories related to surfing such as the shapers interview you made for Gravedad Zero magazine. What are you trying to convey in those stories? What is important to you in journalism?
What I try to transmit and display is the most ‘human’ and less ‘pro’ side of surfing. For me is more important to know how a 55 years old father feels surfing with his son and the mental and physical commitment that entails, more than knowing what are the positions of the WSL or ISA.
Surfing is pure fun and when you get away from that, things start get fuzzy. I think the important thing about my job is to link through my images and bring first-hand information. For the shapers interview my intention was to show the dedication and love that each of them put into making a board and also the challenges that this generates. As simple as that.
How did you start to work with The Inertia and Drift? How does it feels to see your work in the media?
I started working with Drift Surfing when they saw my photos on Flickr. They like my style and proposed a small overview of my work. From that I started to work regularly. Since work dynamics are really good, I was asked to be editor which fills me with pride! As for The Inertia, I offered them to collaborate, send them a portfolio which they really liked, I was in Hawaii at the time so I sent them an interview and we started working.
To see my work in the media, talking monthly with associate editors and to know that there are many projects ahead make me really happy and tells me that I’m on the right track.
You were in Hawaii, California, Costa Rica, Brazil and Mar del Plata. What do these places mean for you in terms of surfing and emotions?
Hawaii is pure magic, to understand that it all started there, that you ride breaks that were ridden by natives for centuries. Sitting on my board with the Diamond Head volcano in front of me and Waikiki beach to my left is something I will never forget.
I also realise (especially on Kauai and the Big Island) that surfing really is a lifestyle, it is something that is shared with family, inherited and respected. Obviously also you understand that any local from 10 to 60 years old has a style which any pro would kill for.
California is to see a thousand movies and photos that made history live and direct! Pure emotion. Surfing in California is, in my opinion, well segmented. You have very pro spots as Huntington, Redondo, Stockton or Steamer Lane and you have spots like Sunset, Brooks or Newport that are way more amateur.
Localism is relative… I remember being in a surf shop in Malibu renting a good classic longboard for the days I had left and asked the owner about localism, he answered
“Bro, this is Malibu, here is where movies are made and Charlie Sheen lives a couple of blocks from here… anyone who talks to you about localism, is an idiot!”
In Costa Rica I just met Jaco a classic beach-break spot which is very crowded and also met Mal Pais which is a very small beach near to Santa Teresa. It’s a paradise. Nature really comes over you.
I really love and respect Brazil, its people and its beaches. I am fortunate to know several spots. Arpoador in Rio is classic, but is made difficult by the localism (sometimes the line-up can be very nerve-racking) and also the soil water makes it difficult (I think it is because sometimes they open the channel that separates Leblon Ipanema and that drags everything in.
Mole and Joaqinha are classic but too pro for my level, Casinha in the north is another very nice spot and in the south I would go to Praia do Rosa, a classic for longboarding!
Mar del Plata is my place in the world. The city where I spent every summer of my childhood. I love Mar del Plata. Its architecture is amazing, I can not be objective! As for surfing – Varese and Cardiel are my spots and obviously going from March to November and it is nice and quiet!
What else keeps you interested and passionate?
Music! I studied bass and guitar and play a little bit piano. I love cooking also. I usually gather friends at home and cook for everyone, it really makes me calm. I said before, I love films and I also love architecture, although I have no technical notion. I often put movies on pause to appreciate the design of a house. For example: the writer’s house in ‘Clockwork Orange’ is a big weakness of mine!
Do you have a dream related to surfing that you remember and want to share?
Dreams about surfing are my alarm. My wife knows that when I dream about surfing is because I’m not surfing enough. It is incredible. Beyond that, I can tell you that the dreams I have are always very pleasant but also left me with an anxiety that is only satisfied when I’m back surfing!!
With thanks to…
Gravedad Zero Mag and staff.
Surfpress y Sebastian Chacon.
Kona Boys (big island , Hawaii)
Gladys y Abril.