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Imagine de­cid­ing that you were go­ing to take your three-year-old son and three-month-old daugh­ter on a global surf­ing ad­ven­ture that spanned six con­ti­nents, 15 coun­tries and 40 cities. In­trepid, surf­ing-su­per-cou­ple, Aamion and Daize Good­win, not only em­barked on the ul­ti­mate fam­ily ad­ven­ture, they filmed the whole ex­pe­ri­ence with good friend, Jess Bianchi.

Aamion is best known as the tall, string-limbed goofy footer who climbed the North Shore ranks to be­come a mod­ern Pipe­line spe­cial­ist, while Daize is a for­mer two-time world long-board­ing cham­pion.

Given, di­rected by Jessi Bianchi, is a global ad­ven­ture that im­merses you in the Good­win's quest to em­brace the rich­ness and diver­sity of the planet's nat­u­ral and hu­man won­ders.

Told through the eyes of their six-year-old son (whose name is Given), the film is a travel epic that fully de­liv­ers on the sen­sory over­load scale. Exquisitely shot and edited, it's not so much a doc­u­men­tary as a cine­matic ex­pe­ri­ence that rips you out of your daily grind and makes you ques­tion why you are not see­ing more of the world.

While their itin­er­ary is guided by their pas­sion for waves, the Good­wins take any­thing but a pre­dictable route as they jour­ney to Is­rael, Ice­land, Thai­land, Nepal and Sene­gal, along with a bunch of bet­ter-trav­elled coast­lines in Aus­tralia, South Africa, Peru and Fiji.

The film fo­cuses on the majesty of the nat­u­ral world and the dig­nity of the di­verse hu­mans who walk upon it. Mean­while, the surf­ing ac­tion pro­vides an en­gag­ing coun­ter­point to the geo­graphic odyssey, as Aamion spears pur­pose­fully through tubes and Daize shuf­fle-steps el­e­gantly against sun­set back­drops on her long-board. The film is in­ten­tion­ally ide­alised, but you also have to be mind­ful that we are sup­posed to be see­ing the world through the eyes of a child – a tech­nique which helps re­turn us to the in­no­cence of our own youth. The spec­tac­u­lar land­scapes, in­trigu­ing hu­man sub­jects and kalei­do­scope of dif­fer­ent cul­tures all make you want to be­lieve in the planet and the peo­ple who call it home. This is per­haps the film's great­est achieve­ment – that in a time when the main­stream me­dia serves up a con­stant diet of fear, scep­ti­cism and divi­sion, The Good­win's epic ad­ven­ture re­minds us that there is still a world of good will, won­der and ex­cite­ment wait­ing to be ex­pe­ri­enced. All we have to do is start our own jour­ney.

Aaimion you en­joyed a more al­ter­na­tive up­bring­ing where you trav­elled reg­u­larly be­tween Kauai, New Zealand and Fiji. When did it oc­cur to you that your child­hood was unique and priv­i­leged in its own way? Tell us a bit about it.

Aamion: I re­alised at about 13 that us trav­el­ing to New Zealand, Fiji, then back home to Kauai was very unique. A lot of my friends had things like Nin­tendo, pets, and what I had were crazy sto­ries from our trav­els. My dad is an artist, and didn't have much of any­thing so as we trav­elled a lot we were al­ways camp­ing un­der tarp or grass shacks. To me that was the life! I didn't re­alise that we were in the sense poor be­cause our life was so rich with new ex­pe­ri­ences ev­ery day. Ev­ery day in Fiji was a full on ad­ven­ture. As young kids we were al­ready given many re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the vil­lage. If we weren't fetch­ing wa­ter from the moun­tain spring, or catch­ing fish for our daily meals, we were in the bush for­ag­ing for wild yams and other fruits and starches. The near­est store was a six hour boat ride on a heavy wooden boat that needed some­one bail­ing wa­ter at all times. More of­ten than not you were drifting while the driver was jerry rig­ging the en­gine to press on. Learn­ing from the Fi­jian elders was in­de­scrib­able. They taught me so much about life and how rich it can be in the sim­plic­i­ties.

Did you feel that your ex­pan­sive up­bring­ing gave you a con­fi­dence and re­source­ful­ness that kids from more tra­di­tional fam­i­lies lacked?

Aamion: I def­i­nitely learned how to blend in with the crowd and not be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion. That was never my per­son­al­ity but trav­el­ling the world with my dad gave me that char­ac­ter­is­tic of sit­ting back and watch­ing things un­fold in­stead of mak­ing them hap­pen. There is a lot that goes on in the de­tails of daily life and most of the time we were all mov­ing to fast to see them. I learned at a young age how to be re­source­ful. We would get dropped off on an is­land by our­selves, the old­est kid be­ing around 10. Our job was to catch fish, make a fire and pre­pare lunch for the elders who were div­ing on the outer reefs for gi­ant clams, sea slugs and fish to sell on the main is­land. Life was sim­ple, real and al­ways ex­cit­ing.

You have both pur­sued pro surf­ing to vary­ing de­grees. Daize you be­came a women's world cham­pion? Ob­vi­ously it's a great life­style but can that life be a lit­tle nar­row if you don't look out­side of it?

Daize: I have seen that men­tal­ity hap­pen to friends in our in­dus­try but I ac­tu­ally felt quite the op­po­site… Be­ing ex­posed to so many dif­fer­ent waves in so many dif­fer­ent coun­tries was such an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at a young age. I grew up in a tiny town on the east side of O'ahu, so go­ing on trips for con­tests and free surfs changed my life. I think with any pro­fes­sion or even grow­ing up in small towns, you can be­come nar­row minded. That's why to me it's so im­por­tant to show up for ev­ery­thing. Read as many books, get out there when­ever you can with an open heart. The only thing with pro­fes­sional long board­ing is that you don't make much money so you bet­ter have a side job.

When did you first come up with the idea to take your chil­dren on an around the world ad­ven­ture? Did it be­gin as a movie con­cept or were you head­ing down that path and some­one de­cided it would be good to doc­u­ment your trav­els?

Aamion: We came up with the idea be­fore we even had chil­dren. Know­ing that we wanted to ex­pose them to this amaz­ing planet and all it has to of­fer. When we called Jess (direc­tor) and shot the idea at him it was only a mat­ter of min­utes be­fore he re­turned the call and said yes let's do it.

Daize: We didn't re­ally have a story but we had the bud­get, imag­i­na­tion, top of the line gear and a small crew that was com­mit­ted.

Jess: We were child­hood friends that had grown apart. Aamion be­came a pro surfer and I went into film. Af­ter visiting Kauai for the first time in over 10 years I bumped into Aamion. It was like no time had passed and we picked right back up where we left off 18 years ear­lier. I saw the whole fam­ily pad­dling down Lumahi River and took a photo of them. They had a very spe­cial energy that is so eas­ily cap­tured by the lens. We hung out on the beach that day and I very ca­su­ally said, 'Let's do a project to­gether some­time.' A few days later I was in San Fran­cisco and re­ceived a call from Aamion ask­ing if I'd be in­ter­ested in trav­el­ling around the world with him and his fam­ily. Ev­ery­thing changed in that mo­ment. I dropped ev­ery­thing I was in­volved in and put a team to­gether. Three months later we were on the trip of our lives.

How old was your son at the time? Did you gen­uinely feel that his ex­pe­ri­ence of child­hood and the world would be en­riched by ex­po­sure to a mul­ti­tude of cul­tures and ex­pe­ri­ences at a young age?

Aamion: Given was three when we left. I knew that this would im­pact him greatly as that's when I was trav­el­ling as a child as well. I re­mem­ber those times. Short, vivid mem­o­ries that have stayed with me my en­tire life. I firmly be­lieve that when you set foot on a new soil you soak up energy from that place. There is a ground­ing ef­fect like no other, a con­nec­tion that only a child un­der­stands.

Daize: There re­ally is some­thing mag­i­cal about the first five years of your life. You're pure, un­jaded, and to­tally open to ev­ery­thing around you. I had a few hes­i­ta­tions as a mother but knew that those were only my fears that have been passed down and we couldn't hold back on go­ing on the ad­ven­ture of a life­time.

Tell us about some of the high­lights of the trip ?

Daize: There were so many!! Watch­ing our daugh­ter have her first milestones are al­ways a huge stand out for me. Her first meal in Jerusalem. Her first steps at Red Bluff in Aus­tralia. Then the look on True and Given's face when they saw the cas­tles in Ire­land. We met so many amaz­ing peo­ple that were so kind, all of their hearts we now take with us for­ever.

Aamion: Bring­ing my fam­ily back to Fiji where I was raised was huge for me per­son­ally. For my kids and wife to be out on an is­land in the mid­dle of nowhere liv­ing off the land and un­der a bure house that my Fi­jian broth­ers and I built. I just look forward to get­ting back there, that sim­ple life is where it's al­ways been for me.

Jess: Glacier surf­ing, Outback camp­ing, Fi­jian div­ing, and a whole lot more. It was epic and I feel like I can say that I have truly lived be­cause of this jour­ney.

Who was the most in­ter­est­ing per­son/peo­ple you met along the way?

Aamion: : Ev­ery­one was so unique. Each per­son had such a story to tell, and a lit­tle wis­dom to share. Couldn't pin­point it to one. Daize: We avoided coun­tries that had high kid­nap­ping ratings, where malaria was ram­pant, things like that.

Daize: There was an in­cred­i­ble fam­ily in Ire­land that had never met us but heard what we were do­ing and of­fered our whole crew to stay at their house for 10 days. They had a com­postable toi­let, a re­frig­er­a­tor that used no elec­tric­ity and their wa­ter was rain catch­ment. They had a gi­ant gar­den, their house was made of straw and hempcrete and the roof was topped with grass. Such kind hearted peo­ple that re­ally are show­ing the world how

to live com­pletely off the grid and be sus­tain­able. Ev­ery­thing about them still stands out.

Jess: The Fi­jian peo­ple were the kind­est peo­ple I have ever met.

Were there mo­ments where you felt vul­ner­a­ble or scared?

Daize: There def­i­nitely were a few that are seared in my mem­o­ries. Get­ting tick bite fever in a vil­lage in the mid­dle of nowhere in Africa, that was the sick­est I've ever been. Also had a run in with a huge gang of kids in Morocco who chased Given and I down a moun­tain throw­ing bot­tles at us and scream­ing for our money. We had gone on a "na­ture walk" next to a town that was heav­ily pop­u­lated. One of the scari­est times of my life hon­estly.

Aamion: No, wasn't ever scared, but Given got re­ally sea sick when we were in the Mar­shall Is­lands and couldn't stop throw­ing up. That def­i­nitely made me a lit­tle ner­vous as he couldn't even keep wa­ter down and it went on for days.

Jess: Yes, I was con­sis­tently wor­ried for the fam­ily and crew. I felt re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­one's safety. We had a few mo­ments

like get­ting tick bite fever in South Africa. It put ev­ery­one but two of us down, in­clud­ing the kids. There were sketchy drives in Nepal and a lot of food poi­son­ing in Morocco. Each place had its scare.

You made it to 15 dif­fer­ent coun­tries and 42 cities. Did you have a favourite? Was there a cul­ture that re­ally res­onated with you?

Aamion: Fiji is where my heart is. Those are my peo­ple. But Aus­tralia and New Zealand are some of my favourites.

Daize: I re­ally loved Is­rael. I've al­ways wanted to go there and was blown away by the his­tory, the food, and the sense of ev­ery­one liv­ing each mo­ment to the fullest.

Jess: I'd like to re­visit Ice­land. It was such a mys­ti­cal place. Some­times I felt like I couldn't ap­pre­ci­ate a lo­ca­tion be­cause I was con­stantly try­ing to fig­ure out what to shoot and what the story was.

Is there any cul­tural prac­tice, recipe or les­son you took home with you?

Jess: I'm a changed man be­cause of this film. Each place, cul­ture, smell, sound, bac­te­ria, prayer, per­son I met made me a stronger and bet­ter hu­man.

Aamion: Ir­ish whiskey has be­come my favourite drink when I do.

Daize: Ir­ish car bomb for me.

Aamion: Those are fun nights.

Daize: Next ques­tion!!

Was it hard to de­ter­mine an itin­er­ary?

Jess: We de­ter­mined the itin­er­ary by a few fac­tors. True was only three months old when we left and Given was only three years of age. So we had to con­sider the amount of time on the planes. We de­cided that the long­est flight the kids could han­dle was 8 hours. The next fac­tor was Aamion’s orig­i­nal jour­ney with his fa­ther, which con­sisted of Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji. Aamion wanted to go to Fiji first but I thought it was im­por­tant to save the best for last. As a kid Aamion would al­ways tell us epic sto­ries about Fiji. So there

was a life­time of tales to live up to. Third, we tried to cre­ate a di­verse vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence with unique land­scapes, cul­tures, and surf. We wanted to show the world that you can surf just about any­where on this planet.

Aamion: Yeah, spend­ing a month in each place would be the least amount of time that we will do it, when we do it again. I rec­om­mend hav­ing no agenda at times and just al­low­ing things to un­fold as they will. By do­ing this you re­ally get into the groove of the place.

Was it all mapped out or were some of the travel de­ci­sions made spon­ta­neously?

Aamion: Be­fore we left we ba­si­cally had it mapped out.

Daize: We avoided coun­tries that had high kid­nap­ping ratings, where malaria was ram­pant, things like that.

Aamion: There were a few coun­tries that we knew we had to go to, so we started in New York City and headed east. We al­ways tried to keep the flights less than eight hours for the kids’ sake. Jess: It was a pro­duc­tion! 3-5 months were mapped out at a time. You can’t just go wher­ever you want when you are drag­ging a film crew and ba­bies around the world. You have to call ahead and make sure ev­ery­one has a place to sleep. Although spon­ta­neously mov­ing around was the spirit of the project it wasn’t re­al­is­tic to ask that of the fam­ily and the crew for a 14-month project. We wanted to be able to be spon­ta­neous but the clos­est we could get was stay­ing three to five weeks in a coun­try with the first week planned and the rest be­ing loose.


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