Photos by Hunter Martinez
I came across Hunter Martinez the same way I come across every other filmer I like: late night Vimeo binges.
You know, when you scroll through the feed looking for surf smut to fuel your next suit up? Dark room, head sideways on the pillow. Anyway, Hunter caught my eye because everything he films is, well, harmonised. The editing is clean and unique, the music is great, and the surfers are a solid mixture of established talent (Nate Tyler, Brendon Gibbens, Dillon Perillo) and ‘rising stars’ (Eithan Osbourne, Micky Clarke, Noah Schweizer, and so many more). It just all fits so well. With two banging pieces—Fricked II and Program 4—out this past week, I had to drop the 24-years-young Californian a line to learn more about him. Read what he has to say below, and after you’re done, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to smash that ‘Follow’ button on Hunter’s Vimeo.
Hey Hunter! First off, what’s going on with your eye? I saw on your Instagram you had some surgery or something? Feel like that’s not an ideal situation for a person who spends so much of their life looking into a camera.
I’ve had this condition called Pterygium for six years or so now, which is common with a lot of surfers. It’s scar tissue that grows on your eyes, looks red. I recently went through surgery to have them removed. It’s not ideal for what I do, but I’m finally getting it taken care of. Rough recovery, though.
Sorry to hear that, brother. Anyway, let’s talk Program 4 and Fricked II. What’s all that about?
The Program series are all comprised of the b-clips and candid shots from past surf trips. In terms of staying current, I decided to put those out to give someone something to watch and look forward to. All the A clips I’ve shot from those trips will be in my short film, Lost in Thought, which should be out sometime this summer. Fricked II is a cool piece on Micky Clarke, though, shot by myself and Mini Blanchard. A majority of the surf clips are from Mini, but I was lucky enough to edit it and get some of my clips in there too.
All your films definitely have a certain look and feel to them. Did that come organically?
It’s hard to say, sometimes when filming and editing I think of who I admire and what has been done. Then I try and put my own style into it and make something different. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years and I feel that’s helped me get across what I want people to see and hear.
What goes into your editing process, then? How do you go from having raw footage to something you watch and go, ‘Yeah, I like this, it’s sick.’
I think of the trip I was on, who I’m working with, who they are as a person, and the feeling I want to get across. After capturing footage I’m pleased with, it’s fun to sit down on the computer and have full creative control, for sure. But then again sometimes I can get caught up with so many different ideas and thoughts. Often I have to leave and come back later with a fresh head.
Who were some of your favorite guys to watch when you first started off?
I grew up watching 3slobs, Marine Layer, and all Kai Neville’s films. It wasn’t until a little later though that I started to really recognise and admire the guys behind the lens. Certain videos would really inspire me. After I realised it takes the surfer and the filmer/editor to make a piece, I really started to love all of Kai’s work and Jason Blanchard’s filming of Dane, Jeremy Lynch, Andrew Schoener, Blake Myers…
And you’ve been lucky to work alongside some of them later right? How was that?
After being strictly a photographer for the first two years, using cameras and shooting the surfing lifestyle, Nate Lawrence reached out and gave me a chance at an article on my photos, which ended up being the greatest connection ever. Then I transitioned into video and somehow started interning, then working at What Youth. Working alongside Blake Myers and Michael Cukr there. Kai came through here and there but was always on the go, and I learned the most from them. Cukr is one of my best friends now too and I owe a lot of my knowledge to him.
What were some growing pains you went through when you started hitting your stride with all this? Anything catch you by surprise?
The biggest difficulties were getting some sort of establishment with filming. It’s hard with everyone owning cameras and iPhones and competing, but that’s where I trust the friends I work with to help me, help them. Another difficulty is making a steady flow of income. It’s not easy in the surf industry but I love it too much to stop, and I really feel I’m on the cusp of something good.
How’d you come about getting to know the guys you film with? Nate, Noah (Wegrich and Schweizer), Eithan, Micky, Dillon, Brendon Gibbens?
Everyone’s just friends of friends really. I went to France with Eithan when we were much younger, I always film the homies around Ventura, Malibu, OC… After a lot of consistent work you meet people, gain creditably and become their friend and someone they can reach out to as a filmer or editor. It’s great meeting new friends and filming with idols; honestly, a dream come true.
It seems like a lot of the guys you film with are a part of that nuevo-California talent. Guys who are just ripping and only getting better and better. What do you think about that?
I think you’re absolutely right. I love filming with the fresh crop because they’re only getting better, as am I. I want to be someone they trust they cant work with. I already have a lot of trust from them and the basis of my LIT film is pretty much showcasing some real new talent in surfing.
You do a lot of filming down in Central America, don’t you? Any reason for that?
I’ve been to Central America the most, yeah. One, because it’s not the most expensive trip for us compared to AUS or Europe. Two, I feel we have a good grasp on some waves down there we can bag clips at.
Do you have a favorite wave or area down there you go to film? Somewhere you know you’ll always bag clips?
I love Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama. But in terms of a secure place to bag clips, you never know until you go. Mother Nature will get you sometimes.
Damn, really wanted to get a spot suggestions there from you for the next trip. Has there ever been a time you didn’t have your camera on you and you really, really, regretted it?
That’s probably one of my worst fears, missing a banger clip. But honestly, I haven’t really run into that yet. If anything I always have a camera on me or in my car. Sadly that has lead to some broken windows and stolen equipment.
You mentioned a full-length movie coming out this year, Lost In Thought. Tell me a bit about that.
Lost in Thought or LIT is based around the fresh crop of guys I always film with, as well as some cameos from other pros and friends. We’ve gone to Europe, Panama, Chile, California, Mexico, bagging footage here and there and enjoying ourselves along the way. I really want to make something I am proud of, and something that everyone involved can be proud of. I haven’t had much budget of my own aside from my friends helping out but as of now, I’m stoked with how it’s looking and the effort that’s been put into it. Surfers featured will induce Shane Borland, Gunnner Day, Eithan Osborne, Micky Clarke, Nate Tyler, Colin Moran, Wil Reid, John, Jake, Noah. It’ll be a compilation of good surfing from everyone. I really want this to give us a nice platform for future projects.
And is there anyone in particular you’d like to film with in the future? Or a spot you’re dying to travel to?
Finally, what else is on the agenda for this year?
All my efforts are going into finishing this film strongly this summer. Once that’s done, I plan to work hard on directing some trips/films with more of a concept or theme. I would love to get picked up by someone and create media in ‘my style.’ Hopefully, this film will really give everyone a good idea of what I can do and what the boys can bring to the table. Finger crossed for the future.