Tuesday, January 18, 2011

chuck corbett

Chuck Corbett, Kilauea Volcano, Big Island, Hawaii. Chuck did the day hike in with two friends to the edge of the erupting caldera of Kilauea back in April, 1984. Chuck's friend shot some photos. Just after this was shot, park rangers flew in on helicopter to issue each of them fines, and then the rangers flew off, leaving the three of them to hike out. It took them through the night to get back to their car. Chuck's fine alone ended up being $600.

I don't even know where to start with writing about Chuck. A few books could be written about this guy's life, and they wouldn't be like anything else. He was born in Alabama. He slept through a tornado that ripped the roof off his childhood home. His family soon after moved to California and he learned to surf there as a kid. At 15, he left by himself for Hawaii. By 18 he was in Guam. By 19 he was lost in Kiribati, where he stayed for the majority of 30 years. He surfed the atolls there alone for most of that time. He married a local beauty and they started a family. He left her for a perfect wave and another woman on a farther off atoll.

Chuck is a pretty big part of this film. I spent nearly 8 months total as volunteer crew on his boat so that I could film what his life is like. I had no idea what I was in for. We started in Hawaii, and ended up in Kiribati, sailing the 1000 mile passage during peak cyclone season. I did not want to make the passage during cyclone season, and many experienced sailors said they would never think of doing it. This whole time period was the biggest adventure of my life, and also the most trying experience of my life. This guy it seemed, had gone off and lived the life that most surfers have at one time or another dreamed about. I was really curious to see what this was actually like. It was not what I imagined.
Chuck surfing an atoll reef pass alone, 1984. Also of note, the photo of the young girl in the banner is one of Chuck's two daughters, Annie.