There’s surfing, and then there’s big-wave surfing. And middle-aged, former surf champions and longtime friends Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones are searching for the biggest waves of them all.
Combining revolutionary 3D technology and daring filmmaking, the new, critically acclaimed documentary “Storm Surfers 3D” trails the two wave-loving, Australian legends in their quest to ride the highest, most dangerous waves on the planet. Using top-notch miniature 3D cameras to create a visually riveting cinematic adventure, audiences get to jump on the board, too – enjoying the adrenaline of coasting through a 30-foot surge and suffering the consequences of having all that crash down on you like a ton of bricks.
“I think as you get older, the fears change. You’re almost ignorant in the early days, reckless” Clarke-Jones, 47, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “But you get more calculated as you get older and you enjoy the process more. I had zero fear for so long, but the more you get whacked and hurt and maimed, the more selective you become. You [look at the waves] and only pick the ones worth hurting yourself for.”
And though these seasoned daredevils have spent their lives out on the water, the fear of injury still looms over them, Carroll said.
“The longer the time you spend out of the water, the bigger the fear becomes, so you have to step out of it. But I know that if I get an injury at 51, I’m not going to come back,” Carroll said. “Like if it’s a shoulder dislocation or if you tear ligaments in your back or break your leg. These little things last now, but back in the day we just had this idea that you could heal these things overnight and get back out there.”
And when you’re a surfer – one who spends days traveling the globe and opting to ride 50 miles in a helicopter from the shore to tackle some almost tsunami-sized beasts – there’s a calling that just keeps pushing you on.
“We love it, and we keep doing it because we want to build on that experience and keep moving with it,” Carroll explained. “Otherwise, I feel like I’m dead. I just want to be alive. Something keeps telling me to get on out there.”
“Storm Surfers 3D” offers something for everybody – cartoons for the kids, action for the party boys, nature for the earth lovers and some butt-kicking for adrenaline junkies. At the same time, the film also sheds light on this notion that surfing has, in recent times, become something of a universal language.
“It’s not just for Australia and the U.S. anymore,” Carroll insisted. “There are surfers all over the world. You now go to places like Asia and South America and parts of Europe, and there is this whole new generation of surfers coming up and doing it in their way. There is this cool engagement from all these different cultures, it is slowly coming of age.”
And despite the masculine perception of big-wave surfers – all ripped and tanned with state-of-the-art boards – these guys wanted to ensure the growing female interest in the sport was well represented.
Cue Australian-born, Hollywood actress Toni Collette as the film’s narrator.
“Our narrator is a woman; no one has ever used a woman to narrate this. But Toni is great, she loved it,” Clarke-Jones enthused. “The No. 1 thing for the new millennium was that people, male and female, wanted to learn to surf. It was No. 1. There’s a lot of interest in making surf films too, but no one’s really nailed it authentically before. We thought this was going to be really ‘Hollywood,’ but it’s not at all…We were as honest as we could be.”
But getting the big-screen treatment is something these laid-back boys from Down Under are still adjusting too.
“At first it was like, ‘oh my God,’ it’s really confronting. It’s hard enough listening to your voice, but then having to see yourself in 3D? Mate,” added Carroll. “But it’s nice seeing people’s response, being able to take the viewer on the board with us.”
“Storm Surfers 3D” is now playing in select theaters and is available in video-on-demand.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay