‘Silence of Eyes’, a short film by Cape Town filmmaker Steven Michelsen, has won the inaugural Zag Shorts competition, in association with GoPro and Zigzag surfing magazine.


Zag Shorts, is an online video competition where the SA surfing public was invited to film, edit and submit their short surf films or “clips” as they’re known in the surf industry. The only criteria: entries had to be less than five minutes long and connected with surfing or the ocean in some way.


The competition ran for an eight month period and amassed a grand total of 57 entries. Eight monthly winners were selected, and each won a GoPro Hero with an SD card and GoPro accessories. All eight winners then became finalists for the Grand Prize of R20 000 cash and a spot on a Zigzag surf expedition, to document a video-feature for Zigzag surfing magazine.


The decision for an overall winner saw the panel of judges split their votes evenly between Steve Michelsen’s entry, ‘Silence of the Eyes’ (December winner) and ‘Skeleton Bay Sandspit’ by Josh Rowe (June winner). Even with the outside opinion of some of South Africa’s most respected South African surf filmmakers, the final decision was split, and it came down to a public vote. When voting closed, Steven Michelsen had taken the prize, as Zag Shorts inaugural winner.


“We are so stoked with the entries for the Zag Shorts powered by GoPro.” Said Dewald de Jager, GoPro South Africa’s brand manager. “The level of film making has blown us away. We love the introduction of POV shots and aerial footage that takes a production to the next level.  We hope that more surfers and film makers use this technology to showcase their stories.”


‘Silence of Eyes’ follows talented KZN north coast local, Shane Sykes, as he talks about the influence his childhood role-model, Julian Wilson, has had on his surfing. Over some hi-action clips, Shane also expresses his dream of making it onto the World Championship Tour and becoming a World Champion. The structure of the film is unique, matching Shane’s surfing style: relaxed, but powerful.


“The overall quality of South African surf film making, the production values, originality and the sheer quantity of entries show that surf film making in South Africa is in a really healthy and exciting space.” Said Zigzag’s publisher, Andy Davis.


“Wow, it’s been such an experience and journey with Zag Shorts.” Said winner Steve Michelsen. “There were so many amazing films in the mix that were seriously good contenders. I really think SA has a bright future in film and I am super proud of all the boys who dropped an entry. It’s hard to explain the stoke I’m feeling, I’m grinning from ear-to-ear. Thanks so much to Zigzag, GoPro and of course Shane Sykes for the opportunity to make and share this film with you guys.”


Congratulations to Steve, the official winner of Zag Shorts presented by GoPro.


The winning video can be viewed here:



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