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After giving a presentation at the San Diego Surf Ladies anniversary party about a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Hayley Gordon. We instantly got into an in-depth conversation about women’s surfing, surf magazines, and films. After the party Hayley showed a small group of us a clip she had worked on while on a surf trip with her friends. Her creative editing immediately caught my eye and I asked her if we could run Adventures in Puerto Rico on Jettygirl.
Since that first meeting, Hayley and I have surfed, shot photos, and discussed surf media on a number of occasions and it’s been great getting to know her. As you all are aware by now, her most recent release, By The Way, is a smash hit and it is currently making its way around the surf film festival circuit. We caught up with Hayley the other day and asked her if she would mind doing a brief interview with Jettygirl. If you haven’t had a chance to check out By The Way for yourself, click the play button above and enjoy! –Chris
Jettygirl: According to Vimeo, By The Way has scored over 35,000 viewings and more are added every day. Did it surprise you how far and wide your film spread in such a short amount of time?
Hayley Gordon: Yes, it was pretty surprising. I only posted it on Facebook and sent it to two blogs, and it went viral after that. I guess it shows that people want to see more girls surfing. It surprised me also since I kind of lose perspective after I edit a video for hours and hours – I literally can’t tell if it’s any good or if people will like it. So it’s nice to have it validated.
Jettygirl: Of all the segments in your film, which is your favorite and why?
Hayley: I like “Carrot to a knife fight” because it was the most fun to put together. I let myself get a bit more creative with it without worrying too much about whether it was perfect or not. Plus it was just my friends having fun. It’s funny because it has the least surfing in it, and the surfing is more fun oriented than performance oriented. It was the first time I was able to work with a lot of my “B Roll” footage and it was a nice change of pace.
Jettygirl: With the release of By The Way, you’ve surely inspired other women to pick up a camera and make a short film. Is there any advice you could give them?
Hayley: Just go for it and have patience. It takes a lot of patience to make a good edit I think, especially with surfing and the fickle conditions of weather and the ocean. Also, watch as many surf movies as you can so you can see what you like and don’t like about how they are put together and edited.
Jettygirl: Of all the surf movies you’ve ever seen, what are your three favorites and why?
Hayley: Shelter. It was the first surf video I had ever seen, and it has this nostalgic quality for me. Plus I just really liked it. I like Thicker Than Water for the relaxed vibe it had, and the great music. And I love Modern Collective for the really creative filming, music, and editing.
Jettygirl: By The Way will be screening at the San Diego Surf Film Festival in less than two weeks? What are your plans for the film after that?
Hayley: The film is also going to show at the Honolulu surf film festival, and a few others are in the works but not confirmed. I’m just going to submit it to as many festivals as I can.
Jettygirl: If money were no object and you could make a movie anywhere in the world, where would you like to go and which six or so surfers would you bring with you?
Hayley: Ooh…do I have to pick just one place? I’d do a road trip to Scorpion Bay, a boat trip in the Maldives, and then bring everyone to my home breaks on Eastern Long Island, NY to surf a hurricane swell. I hate picking people in public because someone might feel left out, but I’d bring my friends who were featured in By The Way since they rip and the video wouldn’t exist without them.
Jettygirl: Comments and reviews about By The Way range from the typical “these chicks rip!” to deeper themes of female empowerment. Was there any particular message you were trying to get across with the film? What is the best comment you’ve seen so far?
Hayley: Haha, I think the best comment was some random comment I found in a Facebook group about keeping girls away from prostitution by looking up to the girls in the film as role models. It was really funny.
But actually the best comments I read were the ones that said the movie made people want to go surf, or that it made their day. That made me feel really good.
I really wasn’t trying to promote any deeper meanings. I just wanted to make a good surf video. I also wanted to help show that there’s a ton of talent out there from some girls that you might not have heard of in the mainstream surf media.
Jettygirl: Any parting shout-outs or thoughts you’d like to share?
Hayley: Haha, well, if anyone wants to support any of the above mentioned dream surf trips, we are accepting all donations :)
Photos: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com