The Maui AMPFest is part of The Aloha Project:
Promoting Aloha, Music, Hawaiian Culture & sustainable living through international collaboration.
This Video Fest strives to showcase diverse bands from around the world with Hawaiian Culture and music as it’s centerpiece, thusly perpetuating the Spirit of Aloha and creating a worldwide bond between socially and politically conscious people and musicians from around the world.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
– Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, 1676
The following articles are about the people who inspired me to press on when I found the world ill-defined. While I idolized Hemingway and Kerouac, J.D. Salinger and Keri Hulme, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost, the people in my Standing on the Shoulders of Giants series were, and are, the tangible, and the most immediate, examples I have of people living lives immersed in, and in pursuit of, their respective passions. I feel very fortunate, and am thankful for, the circumstances which caused our lives to intersect. It is from their shoulders that I could see what might be instead of just what was.
by philip scott wikel
(originally published in the VC Reporter)
He’s now one of the most sought after surf photographers in the world, but first things first…
When I first met Scott Aichner he was an awkward bodyboard rat just out of high school. We lived next door to each other in a duplex on Bath Lane in the Pierpont section of Ventura. My girlfriend and I would have him over for cups of tea on a regular basis and we’d talk about the ocean and surfing and other things. Scott had a girlfriend named Sandy from East Ventura and, with all that was going on his life at the time, he was trying to figure how to fit it all together.
That winter in 1990 Scott had some time off from his job as a bellman at the Ojai Valley Inn and I was on break from Ventura College. We decided to head down to Mexico to shop for Christmas presents for our friends and family. It was on that trip that I learned that this awkward kid was really a deeply spiritual character. I assumed the role of big brother as we talked of relationships and the logistics of balancing the professional with the personal and the prospect of living together with a woman you care for. I gave him what I could, which at the age of twenty-three, wasn’t a whole lot.
Scott was working full-time, going to school full-time and also competing as a bodyboarder. Something had to give. Within his relationship with Sandy, Scott seemed to gain a focus and clarity and new outlook about his life. The money he made at the Inn was good but he had different ambitions. With what seemed to me a radical shift, Scott quit school and dropped $5,000 on video equipment. I remember thinking he’d gone a bit crazy, but soon after, he invited me over to his place after we’d surfed the Bath Lane jetty together. He showed me raw footage of the local surf talent of the time; guys like Sean Hayes, Keoni Cuccia, the Malloy brothers and Brian Laird.
Scott had this child-like, wide-eyed enthusiasm about the power and potential of his new equipment and I remember getting so caught up in his energy that I just kept asking to see more. Within a couple of months Scott released his first 30 minute film, Ventura: The Movie.
In the winter of 1992, the Santa Clara Lagoon broke open creating rivermouth surf that lit up Ventura as the place to be for good surf. The film opened with Sean Hayes sampling one of the dredging, brown and gnarly tubes at the spot and the crowd went wild. Scott said of that night:
“It was an amazing moment when it opened, the theatre was filled with surfers of all ages and I was standing there with my rented equipment and all the energy in the place seemed to be coming through me.”
The film didn’t make him any money but he says it was never about money. The joy he derived from shooting his friends in the water and displaying this for the local surf crowd was all the payment he needed; it was a pivotal night for Scott and a collectively stellar moment for the Ventura surfing sub-culture with Raging Arb and the Redheads rounding out an evening that would be talked about for months.
A year later Scott released “V2 and beyond” which included footage from Mexico and more phenomenal footage of Ventura County from Oil Piers to the base Point Mugu Naval Base. V2 received critical acclaim from some of the surf magazines and it seemed Scott was on his way to taking his place among the likes of Bruce Browne of Endless Summer fame but when asked about this moment in his life Scott says:
“It was technically a mess, I was trying to do more than I was ready for, the Visa was tapped.”
In V2 and beyond, Scott had incorporated the “helmet cam,” a new development in surf videography, and the response to this new approach was one of collective stoke from his viewers. The surf masses liked what Scott was doing and were expecting more.
He must’ve found a little more room on his card because within a year Scott released “Pacific Rim” which included footage of Tahiti and Hawaii. He bought footage from Tahiti but the footage from Hawaii required a six-week stay in the islands. Again this film was well-received but, having made three surf and several bodyboarding films, and while incorporating the use of 16mm in place of Hi-8 added something of a new direction for his work, Scott was beginning to feel as if he’d accomplished all that he was meant to accomplish with a video camera. In good brotherly form, he had used his films as a means to help promote the careers of his surfing buddies, even giving my own fledgling surf magazine a giant plug in the credits.