Craig Cunningham pops the hood on the movie we’re all gagging to see, The Bubble. Taking us behind the scenes, Craig’s candid interview reveals the magic moments, the laughs, the struggles and triumphs during the creation of the feature length film. Leaving his career of Power Engineering far behind him, this Pro Rider credits his fellow team riders and acknowledges the amazing opportunities kiteboarding has presented him with.
The Bubble is as you say, ‘a funny little world that we all live in.’ What do you mean by this?
Well some people may think we’re oblivious to the fairytale world that we live in. But to be honest, we know we’re in it and we’re just trying to enjoy it as much as possible, and make it last as long as possible! I think everybody lives in their own bubble though, you may not think so but look around, bubbles come in many different forms.
Other than kiteboarding what other common factors are there that bring you together in The Bubble?
That’s kind of a big part of the story. We all live in this proverbial bubble, but we all come from such different backgrounds and walks of life. I mean, if you look at Noe, Aaron, Tom, Stefan, Colleen and myself, we don’t really have that much in common other than we all love to kiteboard, travelling the world searching for conditions, as well as exploring new and old spots! It’s pretty cool that a sport like kiteboarding has brought us all together, created friendships and presented opportunities like creating this film.
What is your personal Bubble?
My personal bubble is pretty personal! There are a lot more ups and downs than most people may think. Not everything is palm trees and turquoise water. Shit happens, things go wrong and it’s up to us to choose how we want to adapt to them.
What initially excited you about the project, and how has this progressed now it’s in full swing?
Growing up I always watched a lot of skate, snow and wake feature length videos. There was no YouTube around back then. But ever since I’ve been a Pro Rider, all the marketing guys have wanted short web edits. For sure, web edits have their place, but after so many rushed projects it felt like the right time to do something with a little more depth to it. Noe follows the surf industry quite closely and they consistently have full length videos being released. We knew we had the team and the motivation to do it, so it was just a matter of convincing the guys at North Kiteboarding that it would be something different and hopefully something that people are going to froth on.
At first we knew we were going to do a full length film but had no idea about what sort of concept we were going after. Once we had The Bubble idea – a long story involving Noe and his father – the ideas started to roll. Everybody had plenty of inspiration as to what we could do for the movie and their respective parts. It was truly a snowball effect that hasn’t stopped!
In your opinion, what makes this project different to things we’ve seen in the past?
Other than there are not many full lengths coming out from kiteboarding, I’d say the thing that will make this different is the concept, the format and the platform it will be distributed on. It’s not just all action, it has a story to tell and an odd one at that! It’s not all glory, bikinis, beers and perfect sessions. Also the idea Noe had to mix 4k with Super 8 film is something that hasn’t been done in kiting and in my opinion looks super rad! I guess I could go on and on about why this project is different from anything we’ve seen in the past but you’ll just have to head over to https://www.thebubblefilm.co/ and sign up, because that will be the only way to get your hands on the video if you cant make it to one of the world wide premiers!
It’s gonna be INSANE! Actually it really hasn’t gone as expected. The Hood River section went really well for me, I felt good about my riding and was pretty hyped to get to Brazil. During the first week in Brazil – which was the 2nd trip dedicate to The Bubble — I put a small tear in my rotator cuff. So then I had almost 4 months of physio therapy to get it back to 60%. I still rode a bit, working on some things I could do with my other arm. It was good for my switch riding and especially on features. My first trip after Brazil was to CWC wake park in the Philippines. It was good to test it out and it was still pretty weak, but as there was no wind in the Philippines after the KPL event it wasn’t such a big deal. Then in the Grenadines I could finally say I had full motion and 80% strength back so it’s been full steam ahead since then! In short, it didn’t go as planned but at the end of the day I think I got a few clips here and there. I think that when it all comes together it should be a pretty well rounded section complete with freestyle, park and foiling!
Tell us more about the Philippines?
The Philippines would have been perfect if we were shooting the week before! The resort is right on the water with all the amenities you could ask for, plus the park sits directly out front. A real paradise! We went there for a Kite Park League stop and the wind was firing all the week. Pretty much 7 full days of all-time conditions. After the event, we stuck around for another week to shoot with Vincent Bergeron and had one day of light wind riding, not exactly what we were hoping for but that can happen anywhere, except Brazil. Still, sitting around the pool drinking cocktails isn’t so bad either.
Before hitting the kiteboarding scene, were you living in another Bubble?
Yes! I was in the ‘work to live’ Bubble. I’d just finished school for Power Engineering and was working a ‘normal’ job where i’d done my internship. They offered me a good paying job straight out of school but thankfully, Sam Medysky convinced me that we had lots of time for real jobs later in life and it was now that we had to travel and see the world. Knowing that I had my Engineering in my back pocket I fully sent it, booked a ticket for Brazil and never looked back! Fast forward 9 years and i’m right here, right now!
What have you learned from this project?
Nothing is as easy as it seems. Sometimes things are better the second time around, sometimes not. Be ready to adapt. Have patience. No matter how much time you take to do something, you’re always going to want more time. I like film.
Tell us a little bit about how the other riders fit into the project?
They don’t! They’re all a bit strange but thats why I love them all.
First off is Noe since he’s editing and shooting a lot of the video. He’s super duper creative and I think he’s got style for days. It’s always cool to have a grom around that shares your vision! With dudes like Noe around, the future of kiteboarding future is in good hands!
Aaron is Aaron, there’s not much to explain there. If you don’t know who he is you must be living under a rock. He’s the king of freestyle kiteboarding and a good homie to have on the project. It doesn’t really matter what discipline he’s focusing on, you know he’s gonna be shredding. Aaron eats, sleeps and dreams kiteboarding and he’s been chilling in the Bubble for over a decade!
Colleen is the only chica with a full part in the Bubble. I like her… A LOT! Maybe one day she’ll be my girlfriend? She’s the easiest going of the group, most of the time, and shreds harder than most guys. She surprises me on a regular basis with all the shit she puts up with from the boys!
Stefan is absolutely sending it these days. He goes big and puts his own style into every trick. He’s one of my favourite tour riders to watch and he’s super motivated to push his riding and make it look good, and thats important for me!
Tom, last but definitely not least. This bro has been holding the park/wakestyle flag at North Kiteboarding for a long time and has bulk OG status! It’s thanks to Tom that guys like Noe and I have a place on the Team, he forged the way for sure. Unfortunately he got injured at the Triple S last year and did his knee in pretty bad. \We were severely bummed that he couldn’t come on all the trips with us. Luckily he worked his ass off and got back into riding shape quicker than expected and managed to put down a part in Fuerte, so stoked on that!
Epic chat Craig, that’s it! Is there anything else you want to add?
Thanks to North Kiteboarding for supporting us and giving us the freedom to dive into a project like this. It feels pretty good to know guys like Tom Kaiser and Philipp Becker–the marketing bosses and Till Eberle–the big bossman, believe in us enough to let us tell our story the way we want. With Noe stuck in the dark room for the next month, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
So hold on to your pants and get your popcorn ready because it’s just around the corner!
Read the full interview on the North Kiteboarding Blog.