Taking the Biskit!

We catch up with UK bodyboarding filmer extraordinaire Chris Levi to find out what makes him tick.

One of the more prominent figures in the UK Bodyboarding community, Chris Levi is the architect of the Biskit Bodyboarding series. His regular edits document the sport in Cornwall and further afield and have gained a big following from all over the world in recent years. He is also known to work with us, capturing moments for guests on our coaching weekends. Bodyboard-Holidays are all about supporting the UK scene, so we are proud to be one of the sponsors of Chris’s ongoing bodyboarding series. Chris nails some incredible UK clips and any followers of our Instagram account will see that a stack of our UK content comes from Chris and the Biskit crew. 

We caught up with him for a chat about life on the other side of the lens.

BBH: Thank you for joining us Chris, how did you get into filming and editing bodyboard movies?

CL: I suppose it came as a natural progression for me. I spent years in the sea, getting slammed in shore breaks and hitting the bottom which has taken its toll on me. My body is showing its age but the sea remains in my blood. Although I can’t be in the water as much as I used to be, I can be near it and that’s how I started filming.

BBH: How did you learn to film and edit?

CL: I am self taught. I’ve not been to college or any other classes, there has been a lot of trial and error. There has also been a lot of research involved and it is something that is continuous. I am always looking to improve my filmmaking and move with the times.

BBH: So your work is constantly evolving? Technology and equipment progresses quickly. Is it essential you keep up to date with it?

CL: Not really. Don’t get me wrong, better equipment makes life easier when it comes to editing and the quality of the newer cameras is unreal. You can still do it with older equipment though. For instance, I shoot bodyboarding and surfing that is uploaded to YouTube and generally watched on peoples phones. I don’t need to be shooting 6K video, but I do shoot at 4K though for those who wish to watch my edits on big TV’s.

BBH: You’ve done some work with us over the years filming at coaching weekends. Do you still enjoy recording riders who are learning?

CL: Well let’s be honest, we’re all still learning right? That’s one of the best things about bodyboarding, you’ll never know everything. Even the world’s best are constantly evolving and improving their riding. I suppose it’s one of the things that keeps us hooked. I’ve had some great times filming for Bodyboard Holidays and the stoke from somebody who’s just completed their first roll or spin for me is equal to any big manoeuvre by a “professional”.

BBH: You’re certainly right there Chris, evolution is key to any discipline. You have carved yourself a style within your edits that are unique to you. Has this been planned or more of a natural progression?

CL: It all comes naturally with my learning and understanding. I do have ideas of how I want my edits to come out, but each one is unique to the footage I have and how it fits. The main theme for me in my edits is fun. That’s what bodyboarding is all about and it translates into my videos. 

BBH: Epic, world class days in the UK can be few and far between. Does it ever come to a point where you struggle to get an edit together? 

CL: Hmmmm, not really. I suppose it goes back to the fun factor. Do we get high performance waves in the UK? – Sometimes yes. But if I just waited for those days to come along I would only be putting one edit out every year. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone so I film as much as I can, regardless of the conditions. It’s what we surf here in the UK so why not document it?

BBH: That’s a really good point and demonstrates the importance of surfing even when the waves aren’t all time. Do you get to surf much yourself these days?

CL: Totally, some of the best sessions I’ve had are when I’ve been undecided whether to get in or not. Yeh I get to surf quite a bit. Not so much the last few months though as summer has been slow. I managed to get a quick trip into Scotland earlier this summer though and score some sick ones with a few of the boys. I’ve also had a couple of fun sessions at The Wave.

BBH: How do you rate The Wave? We see you’ve released a couple of edits from there…

CL: Well it’s back to the word again – fun! I’ve had some really good times up there, met old friends and made new ones. The Wave has really brought the community together and it’s even better when we manage to take the place over. We’ve had a couple of those in the past that have resulted in videos. The ‘Biskit Wave Froth Birthday Bonanza’ was a big one and the Welsh Bodyboard Clubs ‘Let’s Boogie – 50 Years’ celebration notable ones. There’s one arranged now for the 6th October that looks to be a big one. They recon over 50 bodyboarders will be there!

BBH: Yeh we couldn’t agree with you more. We can’t wait to get back up there! Are there any sessions you’ve shot that stand out to you?

CL: Without a doubt it has to be a 6ft session at Rileys. The local guys where absolutely killing it and Jake Cooksley and James Trevena were out there giving it a go. Just picture 12-15ft walls of perfect slabbing waves with perfect lighting, framed by the huge towering cliffs. It was like a coliseum with the echoing of the hoots and screams as the ocean rumbled across the reef. I still have dreams about it now! 

Play Video about Biskit Bodyboarding Ireland

BBH: Yeh, can picture that right now – insane! You were there at the Cribbar a couple of years back when Barber took one for the team. What was it like to witness that in person?

CL: That session was nuts, the footage does not do that place justice. You hear all the time it’s just a big fat take off . No it’s more than that – it’s heavy and the reef is huge and the wave breaks in three different places. That session Rob killed it! He likes his short surfs and in an hour or so he had so many waves. Then that last wave came in! (He laughs) 

Barber took off stupidly deep and late. He battled the shockwave and white water and made it to the next section. He was flat out, going 100mph. Then as he dropped into the next section he just had too much speed and went over the handlebars. He then proceeded to fish for crabs for a rather long time! 

As he came up and got his bearings he called it a day and paddled back towards the beach. He caught a set wave which reformed a number of times . As it hit the inside it went into this warped wedge and the lip landed straight on his head and again he went fishing for crabs. It was a crazy day! 

BBH: Yeh we don’t think he’ll be planning on doing that in a hurry again! We’re coming to the end of the interview now, do you have any tips for someone looking to get into filmmaking?

CL: Yes, the same as I tell everyone. Get a good tripod. It doesn’t matter what camera you are using, shaky footage is a big no, no for me. You’re better off having low quality smooth footage than high quality shaky footage. This is something to consider when budgeting for equipment. You’re better off spending money on a good tripod rather than the camera itself. Also I would advise people to look up Steve Wright’s YouTube channel. It is full of advice on filmmaking, I owe a lot to him. He’s also a top bloke and a really good bodyboarder! 

BBH: That’s great advice Chris. You will be joining us for a couple of days on our Cornwall Retreat, filming alongside Chris Burton and making an edit for the guests. Are you looking forward to it?

CL: Yeh, it’s going to be good fun. I’m looking forward to meeting the guests and doing my bit to help them improve their riding. I will also be doing a Biskit style edit of the week and I’m looking forward to trying something new. Bodyboard-Holidays have been really good in supporting Biskit over the years so this is a way for me to return the favour and help out you guys, the guests and the sport in the UK as a whole.

BBH: Thank you Chris, we’re looking forward to it! It’s been good catching up and thank you for your time. Do you have any shoutouts or people you would like to thank for helping you and Biskit Bodyboarding?

CL: It’s been a pleasure, thank you for asking me. Yes I do have a few people I’d like to thank. Firstly the bodyboard businesses that support my project – The Pit, Bodyboard Holidays, Alder, Severn Brand, Bodyboard HQ, We Bodyboard and Action Sports Distribution. I would also like to thank all the riders on the Biskit team and the clubs and groups that are pushing UK bodyboarding along. It’s been great to catch up and look forward to getting some waves with you soon!

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