Disney+ Bows Eight-Part Documentary Series on Japan’s Surfing Culture

Disney+ has begun streaming an eight-part original documentary series on Japanese surf culture.

Less than three years after surfing’s debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, “Chasing Waves” focuses on the people and places that are defining Japan’s reach in the global surf culture. Japan has 18,000 miles of coastline and a growing prominence in surfing.

The character-driven documentary series, shot with 4K cameras and using 16mm archival film, follows athletes from various cultural backgrounds in their drive to succeed in the international surf industry. The docu-series features pro surfers Mahina Maeda, Yuma Takanuki, Sara Kohrogi, 2021 Olympic Silver Medalist Kanoa Igarashi and Australian-Japanese surfer Connor O’Leary. 

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From the indoor wave pool called the “Ocean Dome” in Miyazaki to the icy waters of Hokkaido, “Chasing Waves” paints a holistic picture of the world of Japanese surfing culture.

“Chasing Waves” is produced by Boardwalk Pictures and Station 10 Media, with Christopher G. Cowen as executive producer and co-director and Andrew Fried as executive producer. Jason Baffa serves as director and executive producer. 

Apple TV+ Orders World Surf League Docuseries

Apple TV+ has ordered a six-part documentary series from Box to Box Films and the World Surf League (WSL) offering a behind-the-scenes look at championship surfing.

The series chronicles the aspirations, failures and accomplishments of the world’s best surfers as they battle for the WSL title and struggle to remain on the elite WSL Championship Tour.

Each episode will be an exploration of the characters who make up the 2021 WSL Men’s and Women’s tour, taking viewers on a journey to surfing locations across the globe, starting in Hawaii on Dec. 4, 2020. The docuseries will dive into different surfing cultures, as well as timely subjects tied to the sport including eco-conservation, sustainability and marine preservation.

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The docuseries will be produced for Apple by Box to Box Films and in partnership with the WSL.

‘Glewed TV’ Streaming Big Wave Surfing Reality Series

Upstart ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service Glewed TV on Jan. 28 announced a partnership with big wave explorer Garrett McNamara to offer viewers exclusive wellness and family video content. The series is being co-sponsored by brands Buondi and Thule.

The bi-weekly series “The McNamaras” will feature adventures, showcasing McNamara and his wild family life as they travel the globe searching for giant waves, while advocating ecology, being healthy and raising their kids to become “conscious citizens” for a better planet.

McNamara, best known for discovering and pioneering the biggest wave in the world at Nazaré, Portugal, is an eight-time Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed. He is also part of the only team to have ever surfed waves generated by a 300-foot calving glacier in Alaska, and the only foreigner to receive the Vasco de Gama Medal of Honor from the Portuguese Navy for his contribution to Portugal.

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“Viewers are going to really enjoy following Garrett and his family on their extreme adventures. We look forward to sharing it with the world,” V. Paul Coyne, CEO of Glewed TV, said in a statement.

Glewed TV sources and produces more than 7,000 hours of content, with categories including food, children, sports, DIY, educational, documentaries, animals/wildlife, travel, comedy, product reviews and movies.

The first “McNamaras” episode offers an introduction to Nazare, Portugal, home of the biggest wave in the world, where McNamara and his wife Nicole got married and spend half of the year. When their 5-year-old son Barrel asks his dad to ride horses, viewers discover one of McNamara’s secret fears.

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Facebook Watch Video Service Expands Globally

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched a year ago, is expanding worldwide. The platform will be available to Facebook users globally beginning Aug. 30.

The move comes more than two years after Netflix launched globally, and Amazon followed expanding Prime Video to 200 countries in December 2016.

“This is a really important moment for us,” Fidji Simo, head of video at Facebook, said in a statement. “It’s been a year of real progress for Watch. Every month, more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to Watch, and the total time spent has increased 14 times since the start of 2018.”

Maybe, but according to recent data from The Diffusion Group, more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is. And fewer still use it. A noteworthy statistic considering Facebook is spending upwards of $1-2 billion on original content for the platform.

Content includes access to select professional soccer and Major League Baseball games, “SKAM Austin,” an episodic teen drama series, based on the Norwegian Web series “Skam,” and “Red Table Talk,” a talk show starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that premiered on May 7 and reportedly has nearly 3 million viewers.

Matthew Henick, head of content planning and strategy and media partnerships at Facebook, said worldwide access to Watch would help third-party publishers and content creators better monetize their videos and better understand how their content is performing.

“[We’re] excited to bring a new distribution platform to our partners around the world,” he said.