Aamion Goodwin is in Jerusalem and out of his element. But that's the whole point. Goodwin is two months into filming "The Goodwin Project," a documentary of his 13-month long surfing journey across the planet with his wife Daize and their two young children, Given and True. "I'm used to the Pacific," Goodwin said of his trip, which began in July. "But we're letting it unfold and seeing where it goes."
Earlier this year, the Hurley team rider reconnected with Jess Bianchi. The old friends grew up together on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, but hadn't seen each other in nearly 15 years. Bianchi recently left his film production life in San Francisco and returned to Kauai. There the two conceived and filmed a teaser for TGW. "It was like no time had passed," Bianchi said. "We wanted to make more than a surf movie, wanted it to be about family and travel and culture."
Already the group -- the four Goodwins, Bianchi and four additional crew members -- has visited 11 cities in four countries on three continents. Before Israel, they landed in Los Angeles, New York, Iceland, and Ireland. By next August, that list will include Africa, Australia, and Asia, ending in Fiji. Eighteen countries in all. "The Goodwins are unique in our digital age. They could be dropped off on a deserted island and do just fine," said Evan Slater, Hurley's VP of marketing.
But it's Fiji -- perhaps the impetus for the entire trip -- where the family will come full circle. Goodwin's father took him to Fiji as a youngster and he developed a connection with the island nation. Now, years after digging for prawns in a creek near Namuamua, Goodwin plans to show his kids "the world the way my dad did with me."
The children very much dictated the itinerary. Flights longer than eight hours are avoided, and safety is a priority, especially for a newborn exposed to unfriendly pathogens. The nine-person entourage, however, has no set routine. "We have a loose regimen and we're finding our groove in Israel. You want to be able to figure out what you want to do, whether it's head to the mountains or find a bungalow on the beach," said Goodwin.
There have been difficulties, obviously. In Iceland -- their first international destination -- they spent two weeks looking for waves, driving for hours on roads they didn't know. The northerly longitude created lighting difficulties while filming. The crew has had to track 218 pieces of gear and 21 checked bags.
Yet, unexpected surprises soon followed. "We came across three local Iceland surfers who helped us out. It changed the trip," Goodwin revealed. Then they surfed a glacial lagoon. In blustery Ireland, they scored an amazing left-hand wave.
As they zigzag the globe for the film, the Goodwins will return to Hawaii for the annual Pipe Masters contest in December. When they hit France in 2012, Daize will compete for the women's longboard championship, a title she's owned twice. The project will also highlight efforts made by Hurley's H2O initiative.
Although Hurley is covering the Goodwins' travel and gear expenses, the rest of the film is independently funded. "We have been careful not to align with any brand since we do not want to compromise the integrity of the project," said executive producer Dalia Burde. According to Bianchi, "It's an art project more than anything, so we're trying to do something different."
He said that while they can't push an environmental message given their substantial traveling, they could show what other people and cultures are doing. Goodwin agreed. "We're promoting healthy living and a simple lifestyle," he said. "You don't need to stress about every little thing."