This is a tale of the power we have as individuals and as a community to effect change.
From filmmakers Lewis Arnold and Chris Nelson, The Big Sea is an independent, investigative documentary exposing surfing’s hidden links to Cancer Alley and the wetsuit world’s toxic addition to Neoprene.
Surfing is killing it. This $10 billion global industry – built on a clean, green aesthetic – has never been more popular. But surfing has a dirty secret… and people are dying.
Neoprene is the commercial name for chloroprene rubber; produced by Japanese chemical giant Denka it is the basis for the majority of wetsuits on the market today. The Denka factory in Reserve Louisiana is the sole producer of chloroprene rubber chips in the USA. Rising from the site of a former plantation in ‘Cancer Alley’, the plant casts a deadly shadow over the local community, many of whom are descendants of slaves who worked this land. Cited as a renowned case of environmental racism the EPA confirms that due to chloroprene emissions, the cancer risk to residents here is the highest in the USA; it is 50 TIMES the national average.
Confronted by their complicity as the poster-child for Neoprene and under pressure to substantiate “green”, “sustainable” and “ethical” claims surrounding chloroprene rubber, will the surf industry clean up its act, make the move to natural alternatives that are readily available and use its position to stem this toxic tide?
Currently in post production The Big Sea film and campaign launch Autumn 2023.
What they’re saying:
“Probably the most focussed 50 minutes of environmental and social campaigning by surfers ever.” Chris Hines MBE, Surfers Against Sewage Co-Founder
“An extraordinary piece of work. The Big Sea has the power to reframe the conversation about surfing environmentalism and drive real tangible change.” Matt Barr, Looking Sideways
“Impressively fully independent, beautifully made and outstandingly delivered – this is quite simply one of the most refreshingly crafted documentaries I’ve seen in a long time. With journalism at its core, it is an essential look at the horrendous impact of the Neoprene industry – a challenge to anyone, not least the brands, to make a change.” Will Rose, Led By Donkeys
“The film insists its viewers re-think their relationship with the wetsuit industry. Life or death journalism the like of which surfing has seldom seen.” Mike Lay, Editor Wavelength Magazine
The Big Sea – Best Campaign: Winner Plastic Free Awards 2023
An award-winning, self-shooting director and former photojournalist, Lewis’s work experiments with levels of representation to build an arresting aesthetic and narrative that engages and asks questions of the viewer. He is renowned for confronting the environmental responsibility of surfing and exploring the clash of surfing’s countercultural roots with commercial and corporate interests prevalent today.
Writer and Producer
A critically acclaimed writer, Chris has more than 30 years experience in delivering cutting edge media as a screenwriter, journalist, producer and filmmaker, exploring the intersection of the counterculture and the mainstream. He has written a groundbreaking documentary series and numerous bestselling books including Cold Water Souls, an anthropological journey in search of surfing’s pioneers.
As co-founder of Approaching Lines creative agency, Demi has spent the last two decades bringing to life the stories that matter in print, on-screen, in-person. She has written best-selling books on surf and travel and documentaries about youth culture’s pioneers. She works with brands, filmmakers and musicians as a consultant and producer and is the Director of London Surf / Film Festival