Dirty Old Wedge is a 62 minute documentary about Southern California’s own bodysurfing magnet wave. We sat down with Director/Producer, Tim Burnham to learn more about his film and his process in making it.
How long have you been working on this project?
It has been about four years. After I saw Come Hell or High Water I knew I wanted to tell the Wedge story through film. Then I contacted a couple of young and talented filmmakers (Jack Murgatroyd and Edwin Eversole, Ozzie Clarke, and Jeff McCoy) to get the project going.
What is the focus of the film?
Dirty Old Wedge is a film about the wave but more importantly about the culture behind the wave.
How did you choose who to put in and who to leave out?
We covered Wedge waveriders spanning over 6 decades. It was extremely tough to decide who to interview. We conducted countless interviews and the ones that made it were the ones that helped tell the story the best. The film, more than anything, shows how the Wedge guys have always been about the wave and the group. It isn’t about the individual. They’re all addicted to the same “drug.”
Did you face push-back from anyone you contacted?
Nope. These guys want the story told and I think they trusted that I would do it the right way.
What was the most surprising thing you uncovered during your research?
The blackball history is so expansive. We didn’t have enough time to get into the details, but I learned how far back blackball has been a part of Wedge culture.
Does the film “take sides” in the blackball fight?
The film is primarily from the perspective of the bodysurfers and captures the sentiments and attitudes of the bodysurfers at the time when the most recent blackball regulations were put in place.
Anything else surprise you?
I was extremely impressed with memory and depth of knowledge Ron (Romanosky) had about the Wedge. He has a relationship with that place like no other. He narrates the film and we couldn’t have picked a better person to represent the film’s voice. A true Wedge legend.
Do you have a favorite part of the movie?
No, but the archival footage blew me away. The footage from the early days of Wedge bodysurfing is really unique. I also really really enjoy the music that our composer Ben Messelbeck put together for the film. It’s absolutely amazing.
What will people learn from the archival footage?
These guys were riding massive waves and there was very few guys in the water. I know a lot of people will have a new found respect for these bodysurfers. They really pushed boundaries because they could. Terry Wade really stood out in the footage and I want people to see how unique he was at riding big Wedge.
Do you also show contemporary footage?
Yes. The infamous Hurricane Marie is part of the Wedge story and we were excited to get some of the young guys who are carrying on the tradition into the film.
When do we finally get to see it?