“Long live the young at heart, you know who you are. With your spirit burning, take a risk,” surfer Bianca Buitendag crooned into the soft silence of dusk, “lost” somewhere along South Africa’s Trankei region.
Buitendag is a 20-year-old professional surfer hailing from a small coastal town in South Africa. Traveling the world over from the young age of fourteen has opened her eyes and her mind to many different cultures, “which is a privilege more than my gratitude can express,” she says in the bio on her website. One only needs to hear or read a few phrases from Buitendag to realize that she is someone extraordinary and that the inner workings of her mind are humbling. Her bio continues:
“The ocean, which I continually analyze is also my escape. My heart thrives when I find myself under water, lost in the freedom of the ocean and its movements. My heart thrives when I see people reach their full potential or when someone breaks through the oppression of its circumstances. I keep my eyes and heart wide open. I long for adventure, love the unexpected and the unlikely.”
Director Dan Mace sent Buitendag and fellow professional surfer Lee-Ann Curren on an incredible journey after the two approached him to make a short film about surfing, according to the YouTube description of the video below. Wanting to do something different, Mace had Curren fly to meet Buitendag in South Africa for a 10-day surf trip that would involve the two women leaving their mobile devices behind and relying on a map and locals to guide their way. They were charged with the task of getting truly lost in their surroundings, to reconnect with the earth, and to experience “raw adventure,” as Mace said in the video description.
Mace and a small crew of four others followed along behind Buitendag and Curren on their journey, capturing their adventure of traveling off-grid. Surf travel is nothing new for these two, though, and Curren’s first words in the film illuminate the matter-of-factness of her travels, “I close my eyes and realize that I have been around the world three times in the last six months.” She goes on, “But I still can’t remember the last time I truly got lost.”
Buitendag and Curren helped Mace craft the beautiful script for the video, allowing us as viewers to witness the profound wisdom that both women gained along the way. The heavy collaboration between filmmaker and subjects allows for a comprehensive and deeply honest look at these women’s lives; their spirit and character can be felt in every frame and every word.
The opening sequence, designed by Mace, stands in stark contrast to the rest of the film, but Mace assures in the video’s YouTube description that this was wholly his intention. He writes that the opening sequence was a response to having experienced raw travel and wanting to represent the vast difference between that experience and his experience of a day-to-day life dominated by materialism, over-consumption, and complacency.
Mace explains of the opening sequence, “You will see how a young boy is transformed by external information given to him by the media and shaped into a living computeristic being that eventually crashes from being over-worked by consumers. I made use of this concept in order to place the audience in a position of understanding the need for adventure and disconnect.”
The resulting short, ‘The Sound of Silence,’ is a piece of visual and sonic poetry, hypnotizing both because of its emotive soundtrack and dialogue as well as its visual imagery.
Buitendag and Curren are captivating both on their surfboards and off, proving that the beauty, grace, and power they exhibit in their sport extends also to the quality of their characters.
“Long live the soul set free,” says Buitendag, “Don’t be afraid to dream.”