random happenings

Time Collapsed Surfing

An artist compressed one hour of footage into two minutes of overlaid waves

| posted on May 21, 2014

On an early morning in late January, artist Cy Kuckenbaker propped his camera on the bluff overlooking Sunset Cliffs in San Diego for an hour. “I was interested in exploring the manipulation of water and to see how the movements and patterns from surfing interact,” says Kuckenbaker of the video on his Vimeo page. “Watching in person can be very slow and depending on the swell there may be long stretches when nothing happens at all.” With that in mind, he scoured the footage for the best waves, then overlaid them on top of each other while editing. The result being, what he calls, “a fantasy break where perfect waves roll in one after another like clockwork.” The idea of having one wave after another surely is a fantasy for most surfers. However, the stand-up paddler that seemingly catches every set wave over the hour period sure isn’t.

In this video, Kuckenbaker offers a brief look into his extremely time-consuming editing technique:

  • Aaron

    Very cool! Cy is doing some innovative stuff.
    Bonus that it’s my home break.
    Sup’s usually encouraged to head 4 or 5 breaks south.

  • mccoco2000

    Yeah Cy! You rule!

  • Butt Hurt Surfer

    of course the SUP hogs all the waves and snakes a few people

  • ichorousmedia .

    ya that SUP guy is really making the stereotype lol

  • dbomb

    yo fuck those Suppers. That guy would get chased off the reef anywhere else

  • Mark Gregory

    Amazing video!
    That SUP guy has gotta go….

  • Peter Thomas

    Get over yourselves prone boys . Nice to see a videographer who is blind to the false differences between surfing craft. Like a prone surfer never snaked anyone. Plus this is an edit you all didn’t even see the lineup as it was when they were out so your observations are just more uneducated foolishness.Get over yourselves its everyones ocean.

    • Anti Sup

      Beat it kook

    • John

      Death to SUP

    • David Dixon

      I agree that there isn’t any real dichotomy or hierarchy (superior-inferior) among what people use to ride waves and how they ride them — it’s all surfing. And I think it’s great that people ride waves in such diverse ways. If a person is stoked from riding an SUP, a knee board, an alaia, a body board, a 10’6 nose rider, a 7′ single fin, or a 5’6 short board, that’s all that really matters in the end.

      Here’s the “but,” though: surfers are wave hogs. Especially when the waves are good and the line up is crowded, people scramble for waves. And it’s been that way. But, in the last few years, because SUP’s give wave riders an advantage that, as you put it “prone” riders don’t have, “prone” surfers are becoming increasingly frustrated with guys on SUPs hogging waves. I don’t think anyone would argue that a person shouldn’t ride an SUP; but, when you have a situation where 10 people wait for a 3 wave set, and one of those waves, every set, is taken by the same 1 or 2 guys on an SUP, then I think it’s fair to say there is a problem. The problem is that the general and loose etiquette of the line up is torn up when a group of surfers exploit the advantage of their craft in ways that are unacceptable among surfers riding other types of craft. Yes, shortboarders do cut longboarders off; body-boarders cut shortboarders off; people snake each other, they cut each other off, and they hog waves, it happens. However, I’d argue (and I think a lot of surfers feel this way, even if it’s not provably true) that it doesn’t happen nearly as often among the group you call “prone” surfers, as it does to that group by many (not all) SUP riders.

      There doesn’t need to be hostility or belligerence; but some sort of rule of thumb that respects the majority of surfers who, in turn, respectfully wait their turn is in order. Or, eventually, as the popularity and numbers of SUPs rise (and it will), the frustration in line ups is going to translate into more hostility, more belligerence, and eventually, fights. I’d rather that not happen, it’s a downer for everyone; but, if it does, I’m willing to bet that it’ll just lead to some new rule of thumb for sharing waves. There’s no excuse for puffing up our chests, were all sharing in what nature provides; and since the storms that create the waves we all ride don’t discriminate, it’s silly that anyone would elevate themselves over any other in a right to claim those waves. And, that’s what a person is doing when they’re hogging waves, regardless of what they’re riding.

      Anyway, that’s how I see it.

  • Sunsetcliffslocal1903

    Dude fuck you and stay the fuck outta sunset cliffs…. You don’t live here u don’t surf here!! kooks!!! Split!!!

    • coltrain

      all you cliffs crew are stuck in the 60s. start wearing leashes because it will improve the caliber of surfing at newbreak and the jetty. good waves where people fear to actually hit the lip

  • Ted

    Cool video! Doesn’t look to me like the SUPer was snaking people. If anything it looks like he got snaked on the first wave or maybe they were buddies and shared a wave. I do both and like to mix it up but prefer surfing.


    No ones saying that SUP riders dont deserve a wave as much as anyone else, but for the couple SUP riders in that lineup that sure are getting more waves than all the stand ups. Its about sharing even though your board has the same buoyancy and speed as your average hover craft

  • John Rothstein

    What a surprise to see a sweeper taking off on the shoulder more than once. Go out to the peak SUP boy and catch the waves. It’s easier to catch waves on a SUP, so why are you taking off on the shoulder?

  • Ramsurf

    Purely on the physics of a SUP boarder, it would be difficult to imagine him getting chased off a reef. Several distinct advantages like a long paddle to easily whack low lying heads, superior paddling speed and higher vision superiority pretty much rule that out. A friendly dialogue could work much better. Unless he is just a prick… Then there is always his car in the parking lot to meet for that friendly discussion… ;-)

  • Karl Myers

    what reef in Sunset Cliffs is this? It looks good.

    • coltrain

      i think its ab or chasm

  • Ryan

    No barrels ay. Sweet.

  • JSurfs

    OK SUP-haters; just like other ‘haters’; your frustration is showing. But just because you don’t catch as many waves as you’d like (who does?), don’t take it out someone using equipment more suited to the conditions. Although I wasn’t there; so I could be wrong; but I’ve surfed spots like this for 30 years; and SUP’ed some for about 3 or 4: it looks like one of those semi-mushy spots where prone surfers waste a lot of waves.

    So look at video again (amazing job BTW…): and see how many prone surfers are paddling for waves but not catching them. Probably for one thing because they’re not the best surfers: if they were, they’d be competing for barrels at faster spots on this kind of swell (Blacks!?). But also because this kind of mushy rolling wave means the bottom is flat; which means the waves hang and are hard to read; and it shifts a lot; and the outside waves break much further out. Which means it’s normally not worth waiting for the biggest waves on a prone board because you’ll likely just miss the bombs anyway. And anyway, sometimes the outside waves are mushier; so better for proners to just wait inside for the speedy ones. So why not just leave the bombs for the SUP’s; because they WILL wait the 20-30 minutes; because they have a much better chance of catching that outside wave the proners are nowhere near. Before SUP’s, I’d watch those go empty a lot of the time. So now that someone is riding them, THEY’RE the problem?

    BTW to the guy saying the SUP should be in the peak: really!? Because if you want him to take off deeper than you, I’m guessing that he could! But I think you’d be ever more PO’ed: likely that’s WHY he’s on the shoulder: to give the proners every chance to catch the peak. Anyway; that’s what I do. When they miss it; you have plenty of time to still catch it (yes, on the shoulder sometimes). I’ve done it all day long and not interfered with surfers (not this spot BTW; but one similar. I don’t even know exactly where this one is…).

    So look at the video again: from what I see (and I wasn’t there so I could be wrong…were YOU?): yes the SUP is getting the set waves; but look at where the prone surfers are lining up: they’re way inside of him and not close to catching any of them. AND while he’s riding, you don’t see anyone paddling over the shoulder; so it’s either uncrowded; or more likely; they’re just caught inside.

    Though I will concede that in the first frame; even though the SUP took off deeper and is already starting to cut back before the surfer drops in (and late at that: because he’s not very good: watch him surf the rest of the wave); maybe the SUP could have passed on that one since a surfer was in a position to catch it down the line. But maybe that’s why he shares it gracefully; mostly staying out of the way.

    Anyway; if you don’t want to SUP; cool; but they aren’t going away; so maybe we should be constructive and just work on the ‘new rules’: SUP’s can take leftovers; even if leftovers are outside bombs. If they line up in the peak where you can grab their leash as they go by; you’re allowed to slingshot in and it’s your wave?…

    - J