BRILLIANT CORNERS
Series Two
The Wave films   
Brilliat corners - Season 02


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Brilliant Corners is a processional surf adventure series of 52 minute long documentaries directed and presented by travel writer, geographer and former European longboard champion, Sam Bleakley. Travelling with his longboard in tow, Sam uses surfing to get under the skin of the coastlines he visits, showcasing emerging local surf cultures, cultural tourism frontiers and capturing the power of surfing for social good. Through interviews, lyrical narrative and beautifully filmed surfing sequences in extreme destinations, Sam celebrates surfing as dance, learns about local music, art, food and carnival, and demonstrates how surfing can offer detailed understanding of the changing relationship between cultures and coastlines. Brilliant Corners is a celebration of life, revealing positives in often miss-represented locations and discussing critical issues of sustainability within surfing communities and coastal environments.

In Series Two Sam travels to post Ebola Sierra Leone, the desert coast of Oman, the Gold Coast of Ghana, a surf tourism capital of the Philippines, and Mauritania, where land-mines litter access to some of the best waves in northwest Africa.


Brilliant Corners Haiti
Brilliant Corners Sierra Leone
Bureh Beach Surf Club

Sam Bleakley, James Stuart & Robin Simpson

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Sam travels to West Africa to see how Sierra Leone has bounced back from the Ebola medical crisis, surf the rivermouths of the Western Peninsula, and meet the local crew at the Bureh Beach Surf Club. Like neighbouring Liberia, Sierra Leone is developing a proud local surf culture. Sam believes that the development of the Bureh Beach Surf Club is one of the most exciting things happening along the 400 km long mainland coast, in front of a racy, consistent left pointbreak. ‘The waves they make you feel fine’ is the club motto, perhaps a future Sierra Leonean proverb that will soon attract more travelling surfers.

Brilliant Corners Oman
Desert Blues


Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson

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Sam travels to Oman to surf with the new wave of locals in the salty Arabian Sea, explore the complicated conversation between surf breaks as cultural, economic and aesthetic resources for both surfing and fishing communities, and experience a slice of desert wisdom from the legendary Bedouin. Pinned to the corner of the Arabian Peninsula, the eastern coast of Oman from Ras al Hadd (where the sheltered Gulf of Oman meets the exposed Arabian Sea) to Salalah (close to the Yemeni border) enjoys consistent waves during the April to October khareef season. But temperatures in Oman can reach 50 °C causing skeins of sand to hover like a glassy swell in a white-hot sea.

Brilliant Corners Jamaica


Brilliant Corners Haiti
Brilliant Corners Ghana
Mr Brights Highlife

Sam Bleakley, Felix Gänsicke & Robin Simpson

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Sam travels to Ghana to explore the relationship between surfing and dance, celebrate the work of UK raised West African surf school pioneer Brett ‘Mr Bright’ Davies, experience the local Highlife music, and journey to the closest land point to the geographic centre of the earth, where zero longitude and zero latitude meet. Bordering the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana has a lush, green 540 km long coastline, known as the Gold Coast, dotted with rolling right pointbreaks. English is the official language, flight access is relatively easy and this is one of the most stable countries in West Africa, so Sam is on a journey to learn how surfing resonates across the original Gold Coast.

Brilliant Corners Philippines
Mona Lisa Soul


Sam Bleakley, Greg Dennis & Robin Simpson

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Sam travels to the Northern Philippines to see how San Juan has transformed from a rural backwater into a buzzing surf town, witness the powerful medicine of surfing as therapy, celebrate the work of surf school pioneer Luke Landrigan, and meet the area’s best female surfers flying the flag for the longboard glide. For surfers the Philippines has long been overshadowed by her southern neighbour, Indonesia. Yet the Philippines has a staggering surf potential, with over 7,000 islands and over 17,000 km of coastline. And San Juan in La Union is home to one of the historic centres of surfing in the country.

Brilliant Corners Jamaica


Brilliant Corners Haiti
Brilliant Corners Mauritania
Sahara Sea

Sam Bleakley, Easkey Britton, Mike Lay,
Jack Johns & Robin Simpson


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Mauritania is one of the great frontiers of African surf exploration. Sam travels here with cameraman Jack Johns, Easkey Britton and Mike Lay to surf with the local crew at Le Warf in the capital Nouakchott, learn about a country that is riddled with government travel advisories, experience Chinguetti, a sprawl of labyrinthine streets on the edge of an immense sea of sand, and surf on the border of no-mans-land in the Nouadhibou peninsula, where unmapped landmines block access to the best waves in the country. Officially ‘the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’ this vast territory, fusing Arab North Africa and the sub-Saharan south, includes 750 km of Atlantic coastline, but only a handful of local surfers.



BRILLIANT CORNERS
Series One
  

Surf Adventures


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In Series One Sam travels to post ‘quake Haiti and celebrates carnival, the southeast coast of Jamaica, a unique corner of Barbados, post-war Liberia, where sustainable surf tourism is cutting edge, and China, where Hainan Island hosts one of the most exciting emerging surf cultures in Asia.


Brilliant Corners Haiti
Brilliant Corners Haiti
Let Freedom Ring

Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson

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Defined as the economically poorest country in the Americas, with a history shaped by vodou and political and environmental disasters, Sam dives into Haiti’s waves and culture revealing an often misunderstood nation. Sam travels north through markets and fruit vendors to Cap Haitien, where he learns about the Haitian revolution and surfs the best wave on the island, Ginsu, named after an American brand of cutlery because the coral reef is so sharp. From here, Sam travels through the centre of Haiti, into the highlands, witnessing graffiti art, before descending into Jacmel, hotbed of Haitian dance and papier-mâché puppets. The whole town is preparing for carnival. Sam joins the parade, but his favourite carnival procession is in the Caribbean sea, surfing with Chachou, who teaches Sam about the environmental challenges at his local beach, a possible hotspot for tourists in the future.


Brilliant Corners Jamaica
A Celebration of Caribbean Cool


Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson


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Sam pulls out a map of Jamaica and has an almost magnetic pull to head to the south and east of the island, where he hopes the Caribbean will be delivering good clean swell. In typical off-the-beaten track style, Sam bypasses Bull Bay, the modern home of Jamaican surfing, and arrives at Boston Beach, the traditional heart of Jamaican surfing. The charismatic oldest local, and longtime lifeguard, explains how surfing started on the island, and how the current scene is evolving. Sam meets a plethora of cool locals, and is welcomed into the scene. Sam is captivated by the lyricism of the Jamaican patois, and is on a mission to showcase different facets of Caribbean culture. The hot skills exhibited by the local women’s football team lead to the unforgettable experience of a dancehall sound system clash, the bass deep enough to rattle your bones.

Brilliant Corners Jamaica

 

Brilliant Corners Barbados
Brilliant Corners Barbados
Surfer's Point


Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson

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Tourism in Barbados conjures up cruise ships and big ostentatious all-inclusive hotels, but Sam wants to discover another side of the island, the southeast corner. Here visitors can experience a slice of Bajan culture, particularly at Surfers Point, and Freights, one of the best spots to learn to surf at in the whole world. Local entrepreneur Zed Layson describes it as a ‘swimming pool with waves’. Sam meets the local surfers, who share a passion for the ocean. Sam rides perfect azure reefbreaks, tries the local street-food and learns from the locals along the way about recycling and Bajan beach culture. Sam heads further afield, to the remote north and east coast, and talks about the relationship with his home in Cornwall in the UK, a tourism and fishing area, classified as one of the poorest economically in Europe, but also rich with landscape and culture, like Barbados.


Brilliant Corners Liberia
Beat the Drum and Dance Again


Leo McCrea, Sam Lang,
Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson

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Sam travels to postwar Liberia to discover how surf tourism is helping to revive the economy in Robertsport, just three hours outside the capital Monrovia. Sam catches up with an old friend Dominic, whom he first met following a visit in 2006. On that first trip Sam also befriended Morris, who learnt to surf on Sam’s board. Now Morris is at the heart of the growing local surf culture, and the proud face of a new Liberia. In partnership with two Californians, the locals run a surf club, shape wooden boards and work at the Kwepuhna Retreat, a guesthouse for surf tourists. The allure is powerful – Robertsport has one of the best waves in Africa, and the locals are rapidly becoming top class African surfers. The sport offers a wonderful healing process following the trauma of war. But there are many challenges to tackle – the bittersweet memory of war, the fear factor of coming to Liberia, and providing enough surfing equipment for the growing local scene. Sam meets the Mama Liberia Sewing Cooperative, making surfboard bags and satchels for tourists, and empowering women within the community. Education and healthcare remain key issues for Robertsport, and surfing is leading the way in developing the region.

Brilliant Corners Liberia


Brilliant Corners China
Brilliant Corners China
Exploring Hainan's Surf Culture


Sam Bleakley, Morgan Lowndes & Robin Simpson

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Hainan is a small subtropical island in the South China Sea with incredible waves between November and March, and a vibrant, growing local surf scene. Sam first visited Hainan China in 2003, and from subsequent trips has witnessed the emergence of both coastal tourism and a local surf culture, with annual international competitions. This colourful scene provides Sam with a privileged insight into the mysteries of Chinese culture, history, and the challenges of the future, from coastal development to pollution, to being hip in modern China. Sam discovers that surfing in China is an ancient art, with Buddhist temples and manuscripts and poetry describing fisherman riding the annual riverbore in Hangzhou hundreds of years ago. Sam competes in the annual Hainan Open surf contest, a magnet for the local surfers, and feasts on the finest food in Asia. Further, Sam explores the relationship between surfing and dance with local longboarders Darci Lui and national champion Monica Guo.



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Sam Bleakley/The Wave Productions

The Wave Productions