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My name is Eric Schnitzler. Originally from Big Island, Hawaii, I moved to Tahiti 5 years ago. I have a passion for wave-riding and also film-making. Upon surfing Tahiti's beautiful and world class waves, I noticed their was a lot of wave-riding talent there. I was quite surprised though because I've always seen the media hyping up Teahupoo and all of Tahiti's waves but never really seen much media of the locals. I found this a bit bizarre because these "locals" clearly surf and know their own waves in their backyard better than any foreigners.
So, I've always been into filming, and while I wasn't riding Tahiti's waves, I spent most of my time documenting the local wave-riders, in particular, bodyboarding. After two years, I saved up enough footage to make a film (Within http://vimeo.com/9314964) which ended up doing very well, being distributed worldwide, including with European Bodyboarding magazines.
After the success of WITHIN, I realized that the future is on the internet and stopped making dvd's/blu-rays and decided to concentrate more so on podcasts, as they're a more convenient way to send a message to the world. I've released 3 podcasts since then and within a year, all of which have done really well receiving up to 20K views on the first day. Now some are up near 100K.
Now, since the first podcast was released a little over a year ago, 4 of the included local riders have received paid international contracts without ever having been involved in an international competition. This is history making in bodyboarding and very rare. Most of the time, it's necessary to travel abroad and do competitions to makes ones name big enough to be supported by an International company. Now, these international contracts will send them across the globe from Hawaii to Chile to Mexico to the Canary Islands and more to compete in the IBA ( International Bodyboarding Association ).
I'm originally from Teahupoo, Tahiti. I love my home and surfing the waves in my backyard. Thanks to Eric's work, I was able to just stay at home, surf my own waves and
get my name out there to the international bodyboarding community without ever having to
travel and do international competitions. I am now sponsored by 3 international
bodyboarding companies including Toys Bodyboards, 662 Rideshop and UNITE clothing company. All these sponsors pay for me to travel and do the IBA (International
Bodyboarding Association) competitions in a few or more destinations. Depending on how
well I do, I will receive more and more travel funds. In fact all this publicity from these
podcasts sparked enough international interest for my riding in the international
bodyboarding community, that I was able to get me a cover in the world's biggest bodyboarding magazine, RIPTIDEMAG.com.au.
It's always been really hard for us Tahitians to become international recognized in bodyboarding or any sport for that matter because it's too expensive for us to leave this country and we're pretty connected to our families and friends here. When Eric started working with the bodyboarding community here, things started to changed...
Before I started working with Eric, I was un-employed and didn't have much going on in life. Bodyboarding was my passion, but I knew it wouldn't make me a living so it was not at the top of my priorities. Now thanks to Eric's work, I gained enough credibility to receive an international contract with EMPIRE bodyboards, 662 Rideshop and ERS4 fins. These companies are sending me to Hawaii, Chile and Mexico to compete in the IBA (International Bodyboarding Association). Also because of the recognition these podcasts have given me, an international bodyboarding magazine known as SURGEbodyboarding.com has sought a cover of me which was released last August.
Yeah Eric is one of best "cameraman" I've ever known, whether for filming or for editing. And thanks to his talents, Tahitian bodyboarding became internationally known. If it wasn't for his work, none of us would have obtained international contracts, and nobody would've
known about the new move “gainer flip”, invented by David Tuarau. This move has made history in the sport. It's nice to know how much of an impact Tahitians are making on the sport of bodyboarding. Thanks to Eric's work, and my name getting out there, I just received a contract with CORE bodyboards, 662 Rideshop, and UNITE clothing company and they are sending me to Hawaii and Mexico this year. Last november I was honored to receive my first cover of VERT international bodyboarding magazine.
I believe that Tahitian wave-riders are extremely talented, up there with the pros in my opinion, not only because we are highly acrobatic people, but also because it's in our blood, we grew up near the ocean and are super comfortable with it as we came from generations and generations of ocean people, such as fisherman and canoe paddlers etc. Despite the talent we have here in the islands, unfortunately it's been really hard for us to gain international support because we haven't been able to travel outside of Tahiti and show the world our talent. Fortunately now, Eric has brought the bodyboarding world to us! His podcasts are among the most viewed on the internet so we've all been able to make our names big without ever leaving Tahiti. I am now contracted with TOYS bodyboards, 662 Rideshop and UNITE clothing company.
Thanks to anyone who contributed to or was involved with these projects in any way, don't want to name drop and leave anyone out. Maururu to all the Tahitian bodyboarding community for their modesty, regardless of how talented they are, they always seem to keep it humble which is how it should be everywhere. Big thanks to all the Tahitians for allowing me to film their world class waves.
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