Balint Hambalkó talks about his new project LifePlan
I´ve met Balint in Bali last year, when we were looking for underwater photographer to shoot our movie project. Long story short we just shot one session, but ever since I´ve been following Balint´s work. This hard working and passionate filmmaker and photographer from Hungary has been connected to Czech snowboard and surf community for a long time. That´s why I decided to present him to you and more importantly his new web-documentary project LifePlan.
How´s it going man? That´s probably a needless question since you´re in Mentawais, haha. Isn´t that your second time in the surf paradise over a while?
Well thanks for having me! Mentawais is awesome! I been here for 5 weeks and than couple of days in Bali and now back. Bali´s been cold, windy and crowded compare to here, so I´m stoked to be back.
Living a dream! Before we head to the main topic, let's talk about the giga Indo swell last month. Here is your short clip from a scary day at No Kandui. How was it to experience this madness personally?
So it's the 30 th July, we know it´s going to be the day! I was waiting to shoot big kandui for 3 weeks and it just didn't worked before. There was swell in the ocean, but the wind wasn't right.. Until this day! We had Dylan Lightfoot with us and there was a couple of guys from Hawaii in the lineup.
The first 2 hours I was filming from the boat. It was epic size, glassy, but very difficult to make all the way, because the wave was closing out. Around midday I paddled out to the lineup with my waterhousing and a 25mm lens. Current was crazy, so was hard to stay in position but luckily I got a couple of nice shots. But more importantly I felt happy that I was the part of the ocean in this crazy day. That really makes you feel alive and addicted!
I gotta say after experience with shooting our first movie in Mentawais, you got some balls to paddle out there. But it must have been enormous experience. You've been shooting surfing for like 7-8years right? How did you manage to finance your travels and gear?
Haha, well I didn't say I wasn't scared but we live for those days right? Haha!
I am shooting parallel snowboarding every winter, so I am basically financing my gear and everything from the money I earn in the winter.
Surf industry is tough. Everybody thinks if you live in a tropic country and surf every day, you should be happy and give photos away for free, cause you are living “The dream"...
Gear unfortunately dies quickly in this humid environment so it's an expensive hobby chasing waves, haha.
It´s important to mention that, so everyone knows the real picture! Luckily, nowadays there are more artist/creators-friendly ways of support. Like crowdfunding or Patreon. Why did you choose to go that way and what exactly is your mission or goal?
I started my Patreon channel mostly because of a my new short film documentary about people, who I met on my traveling journey and who I believe have an inspiring story to tell. It´s about weirdos who gave up their 9-5 game to follow surfing, snowboarding or whatever their passion is! It's an independent movie project so this platforms like Patreon really helps to be able to get support from friends or surfers /snowboarders, who like the content and wanna see more. For the future, I wanna keep shooting movies, documentaries and taking pictures about Big surf. In the same time trying to be as healthy as possible and surf every day! If I manage to stay next to the ocean I will be happy man!
True words, happiness is rare these days. I hope there´s many guys who appreciates your passion and are willing to back up your project, even with a amount of one beer a month. Is there some extra value that are potential Patreons getting? You´ve just dropped a new episode of LifePlan, tell us more about that.
The next episode is featuring the story of Dylan Lightfoot, a J-bay surfer who never been in the Mentawais. Finally his dream came true this year, as a professional surfer, who´s been surfing for more than 20years. Its a different story than Sasha's, but everybody has a diferent story,right. That´s the beauty of it! ;)
Your dream is to shoot big surf. Have you already experienced a moment, when you thought - “Fuck, this is the end!”?
Shooting big waves feel you really special and makes you feel alive, pushing your fear into the unknown. I miss these days sometimes and when they are there, sometimes you wish it would be headhigh again, haha. I never got seriously injured from shooting. Hit my head couple of times, with the housing or with a board, got smashed on the reef couple of times. Plenty cleanup sets, swimming hours for not even one good shot...this happens often, but these things compare to getting one epic barrel shot? You are just happy as never before!
Well your commitment is admirable! Do you have a favorite book that you've read recently? Or a surf video you would recommend readers to watch? Something that inspired you?
I´am reading just fantasy books or old school hungarian stuff so nothing inspiring, more to turn off my mind. But lately I´ve watched plenty of Ted talks. They are really cool to listen and help you progress! I haven´t seen any surf movie lately. I watch surfing every day in real life, that's enough for the time!
You know Czech surf community pretty well. How would you compare it to the Hungarian?
Well that's a hard one! I been to a couple of Czech and Slovak championships in France and I really loved them, people where super friendly even with us Hungarians, although we suck at surfing, haha. Maybe that´s why you guys were so friendly?
I always get along with you guys very well, I guess because of the same east Europe background. But I always missed, that there is no surf community in Bali for Hungarians. Basically it's me and a couple others, who just started surfing couple of years ago. It´s cool, but I am still wondering, how come Czech surfers build up such a strong and big community. It's really awesome!
Trust me, I'm wondering the same thing. Seems like there's a gang of Czechs around every coast of this planet, haha But I´m glad to be part of it and I hope, that our communities will connect more in the future.
Alright let's wrap it up, thanks for your time!
What are the channels, where our readers can follow you or reach you?
Thanks a lot Jakub for having me. You are awesome, that you are trying to make a media for Czech surfers!! You can follow me at:
This is the very first teaser we did for our project SURFR, that features shots from Balint.
Ano, tento rozhovor je v angličtině. Z části kvůli tomu, že by dnes už každý měl umět pořádně anglicky, a z části proto, že jsem línej ho přeložit ;)
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Letos jsem byla po dlouhé době většinu zimy v Čechách. Důvodů bylo hned několik, ale dost velkou roli hrál ten, že v Portugalsku nemáme topení. Tedy jasně že alespoň přímotopy, ale ty jednak nevytopí nic moc a druhak mají docela spotřebu €€€. Zkrátka nabídka šumavského mama-hotelu s krbem, vyhlídkami na pěknou zimu plnou prašanu a českou bandičku nakonec zvítězila. Ale jak v zimě úplně nevypadnout ze surfingu i když nejbližší oceán je tisíc kilometrů od vás a ještě skoro v ledu?
Přesně tak, tenhle kemp není pro každýho. Právě v tom je unikátní, protože je zaměřenej na ty nejcorovější, nejoddaněšjí český surfový srdcaře. V každým z nás je obrovskej potenciál, kterej stačí jenom odemknout. Přidej se k nám na Advanced Surf Camp na Bali od 1.-11. dubna!