With the Blue Earth Summit, Bristol, fast approaching, we’re introducing some of the esteemed speakers participating in the event and offering a preview into the topics they’ll be covering. For information on all the talks, workshops and panel discussions that’ll be taking place, visit BlueEarthSummit.com and download the full schedule.
Sam Bleakley is a writer, filmmaker and Britain’s foremost longboarding luminary, having won multiple European Titles and worked as a lead broadcaster on numerous WSL events. We’ve had the pleasure of working with him on a variety of projects here at Wavelength and can personally attest to the breadth of his talent and knowledge.
For the last few years, Sam has been travelling the globe exploring emerging surf cultures for a documentary series entitled Brilliant Corners, the first six parts of which aired last year on the WSL website. From Papua New Guinea in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific to the bustling coastal city of Dakar in West Africa, each episode showcases a distinct coastal culture, exploring its unique relationship with wave riding and meeting the trail-blazing individuals at the heart of the community.
On day one of the Blue Earth Summit, Sam will be showing the Algeria episode from the series in the Screening Room, with a live introduction and Q&A session afterwards.
He’ll also be participating in a panel discussing how we can learn from and apply indigenous wisdom to modern Western life, alongside Planet Earth producer Jeff Wilson and survivalist Megan Hine. There, he’ll be sharing knowledge and stories from his various surf adventures, including tales of ancient wave riding cultures in Papua New Guinea and China’s Qiantang river.
Earlier this year, we caught up with Sam for a series of reflections on the Brilliant Corners journey so far, inviting him to share some of the more memorable experiences from his travels and any pearls of wisdom gleaned along the way.
Here’s a short excerpt from his time in Algeria:
“The Mediterranean coast alone embraces 22 countries, and every winter undiscovered breaks will light up in this region. I tacked Algeria with Erwan Simon, Lucy Small and local surfers Dihya Nasri and Walid Assef. After a good run of mistral swell around Bejaia and the capital Algiers, we couldn’t resist heading in-land to experience the Sahara Desert and the ancient city of Ghardaïa. But our momentum was broken as we got caught speeding, the police pulled us over, recognised that we were tourists, and demanded we had a police escort for safety. In the years of turmoil during the brutal civil wars here, foreigners were easy targets for extremists, and paranoia lingers, particularly in the desert.
At every border of every region we had to pick up a new police escort. On the way back home, going at about 150 km per hour, we inevitably burst a tyre. But thankfully we had about eight Algerian well trained military police commanders and officers on hand to help change it. That was surreal. In two 12-hour trips in 48 hours we probably met 60 Algerian policemen. Algeria was an incredible adventure.”