Drop Zone Fiji is the ultimate dive and surf film which follows professional surfers on the adventure of a lifetime. The film documents world class surfers Holly Beck, Cheyne Magnusson, Alex Gray Maria Del Mar and current #8 ASP World Tour ranked Bede Durbidge (known as the White Fijian) as they travel the South Pacific surfing legendary breaks, diving pristine waters, swimming with bull sharks and immersing themselves in the Fijian culture.
Fiji Islands spoke with Scott Daley, Vice President of Marketing for Body Glove, about filming Drop Zone.
First tell us a bit about Body Glove.
Body Glove International was founded by twin brothers who opened their retail store in 1953. Bob and Bill Meistrell are both legends in scuba diving and surfing. Bob is a living legend and his brother Bill passed on a few years back. Both were passionate about staying in the water and on the beach longer and built their business around that passion! Today, Body Glove International generates up to US$170 million annually in wholesale revenue across the globe. In addition to North America, we have distribution throughout Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe.
Where did Body Glove come from?
Body Glove was founded in Redondo beach, California. The name itself came from Bill Meistrell when he described the business to an artist to develop the logo for the company. Bill said “it fits like a glove" in relation to a wetsuit that he was describing, so hence, the name Body Glove became the identity and brand of the company.
What was the idea behind creating the Drop Zone series?
The Drop Zone series was created out of a need to stimulate younger people to learn how to scuba dive. We thought that if we tied in some surf adventure and some lifestyle stories in an exotic location and showed the product on action sports TV that younger people would become interested. We are finding that this thought process is working very well! We are featuring our premier athletes surfing, diving, sliding, hiking, paddling, you name it. These are things that just appeal to a younger audience and opening their eyes to the natural wonder of the ocean that we need to continue and cherish.
What was it about Fiji that brought Body Glove there?
There are few places on the planet that are like Fiji. The nicest people in the world with an overwhelming love for their fellow man with no cultural boundaries. Then, add a beautiful ocean and fantastic waves with free surf or scuba dive opportunities. We all know the saying: Location. Location. Location. Fiji has some of the best waves in the world and we knew Cloudbreak at Tavarua is the place we needed to be if we wanted to feature the best there is. We were also stoked to go to Beqa Island where one of the best waves just happened to be firing one of the days at Frigates Pass. You simply cannot go wrong with this choice. After the trip was done, every participant was asking when they get to go back.
And what brought you to partner with Air Pacific?
Air Pacific truly reflects the people in Fiji, the people at Air Pacific carry a great attitude at all times always striving to please their customers and breeding the traditional values of Fiji. Air Pacific just got what we were out to accomplish in creating this film and went over the top in delivering us to some of the most beautiful areas on the planet.
What was it like filming The Drop Zone Fiji? What do you want to do in your lifetime?
If someone asked you to go film a dive and surf movie in one of the most beautiful places on the planet with the nicest people in the world, would you say yes? We were stoked when we knew this was all coming together and still are whenever we look back at all that we did. It was one of the most insane fantastic adventures ever! And we have it on film. An adventure that had some drama out in the high seas, but sent the troops home with the biggest smile I have ever seen on their faces. From giant surf at Frigates to feeding sharks off Beqa Island. We spent our first week surfing Tavarua and then the second week on board the Tui Tai where we got to dive the Great White Wall. They say Fiji is the Soft Coral capital of the world and our dive throughout the Somo Somo Straits proved that for us.
And the Tui Tai was cool enough to take our team to visit a village on Rabi Island. We hung out with the local villagers, played volleyball. The Fijians we met love their volleyball and taught us a thing or two for sure. In return for the villagers hospitality, we provided the island with fins and masks in gratitude for welcoming us. The best film experience that our production team has ever been on!
Where can our readers find out more about Drop Zone Fiji?
The Drop Zone Series has a home on Facebook or you can buy the film on itunes.com
So they call you the White Fijian, any particular reason?
I think because I’m tall and friendly like the Fijians and I also come from an island too.
Have you been to Fiji before? What does a visit normally entail?
I have been to Fiji many times . I have been there to compete and do photo shoots but also went there for my honeymoon. I love the place, I can’t get enough of it. I try and get there at least once a year.
What was your most memorable moment working on Drop Zone Fiji?
Definitely the surf we got at Frigates. I wasn’t expecting that. It was absolutely pumping. The boat getting cleaned up too was really heavy. I’ll never forget that.
Was this your first time diving? Tell us about your experience.
I have been diving two other times but it was nothing like we experienced in Fiji. The water colour and the scenery was just beautiful. The Great White Wall was just incredible.
Tell us about being underneath the water vs. being on top of the waves?
I love the feeling of both but I really like how quiet and peaceful it is down under the water. Also you feel less vulnerable down there for some reason.
What are your top tips for surfing in Fiji?
Be prepared to get some big waves and take a bigger board. The waves are really powerful so don’t go out if you think you’re not up to it.
For readers who are holidaying in Fiji, what would be your top 5 things to do?
1. Surf Cloudbreak.
2. Dive the Great White Wall.
3. Do the Shark Dive at Beqa Lagoon.
4. Go on the Tui Tai.
5. Have a beer at Namotu.