Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

What’s What: Eric Hires

July 4, 2012


I contacted Eric for an interview, after running across his short film; What’s What. I cruised over to his Vimeo page, and realized that I’d seen his work before. California Haze, and Saturday San O are both 9 Plus mini-films, with a unique feel and original soundtracks. What’s What shares the same qualities.

Get to know Eric in our interview below…and check back later this week for What’s What: Part Deux…our follow up interview with Eric’s partner in creative crime; Drew Miller.

When and where did you learn to surf?
I dabbled with surfing in high school, but grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida where the waves are super inconsistent. I really started surfing when I moved to Saint Augustine to go to Flagler College in 2004. I think I surfed every day my first semester.

What was your first board?
A crappy 6’2 thruster I bought for $100.

You’re a Florida boy…have you ever ventured up to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest?
Yes. I actually lived in Bend, Oregon for a few months at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. I was doing a lot of rock climbing up there at Smith Rock but made it out to the Oregon coast for some waves at Cape Lookout and Pacific City. This was in February and it was like 10 feet at 15 seconds. There was no one in the water at Cape Lookout and just my girlfriend on the beach. It was pretty sketchy being the only one out in giant surf at a place I’d never been. Not to mention the water was effing cold! I caught two waves and the current ripped me way down the beach, but it was pretty fun. Props to y’all that surf in that cold water year round.

What’s unique about surfing in Florida?
The waves are pretty hit or miss here, but you hardly ever have to wear rubber or deal with crowds. It is rarely agro in Saint Augustine and you know almost everyone in the line up. I spent a year and a half in San Diego and decided I like surfing in Florida WAY better. The vibe is super mellow.

When did you first get involved with film?
My senior year at Flagler College I started assisting my good friend Dustin Miller on shoots. Dustin shot and edited “Picaresque” and recently worked with Dane Reynolds to make “Thrills, Spills, and What Not”. He taught me everything I know (I studied Business in college) and gave me my first big break when he asked me to go Costa Rica to shoot water for “Picaresque”.

How did you and Drew meet, and start working together?
Drew and I met in school when we played on the same intramural soccer team (Flagler College intramural soccer champions 2008!). He interned for Dustin and I when he was a senior but then I moved out west for a couple years. Since I’ve been back this year we’ve just been hangin’ and making fun surf edits when we have nothing else going on.

Your most recent project is What’s What. Can you tell us a bit about it?
We had shot with Chad and Justin a couple weeks before when the waves were pretty good and made a short called “No Swimming or Surfing”. Justin lives and hour north in Jacksonville and Chad an hour south in Daytona, but they are dredging sand at Saint Augustine Beach and it has been making the waves really fun here so the dudes have been coming to town to surf and hang.

It was a Wednesday afternoon and they were both coming in town and the waves were pretty fun. I wanted to go surfing and have a bro sesh, but Drew suggested we shoot. So we did and scored some rad little moments.

That session made Justin and I late for the Wilco show that night, but it was worth it.

Outside of film & surfing, what are your other interests?
Climbing rocks. Traveling. Riding bikes. Music. Throwing horseshoes in the yard. Sandlot baseball. Building shit.

What’s on the menu for each of you in 2012?
I got to go on a trip to Chile with Dustin to shoot water for Craig Anderson’s new film at the end of 2011. We shot all super 16mm film, which is the best. It looks like I may go on a couple more trips for that film this year.

I also just shot my friends wedding on 16mm, so hoping to do some more of that to pay the bills. I’d love to keep making stuff with Drew and get paid for it…that’d be nice! How about a Stoke Harvester film? We’ve got ideas.


You can enjoy more of Eric’s work on his Vimeo Page. Eric & Drew are set to direct Stoke Harvester’s first feature film. In regards to the script…we’ve decided to go with Francis Ford Coppola. There was original talk of working with Woody Allen…but Francis promised we can use the logs from Apocalypse Now.

…Well that, and Eric & Drew love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Cheers,
-Shawn

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