Stockwell admitted that filming in water was difficult. He eventually hired Mike Stewart, a professional bodysurfer, to help him operate the camera. Stewart was hired after Stockwell’s Hollywood cinematographer was swept away by a wave. This caused the camera to be destroyed. But the director revealed that the hardest part of making Blue Crush was timing.
“The biggest challenge was getting the studio to understand that you couldn’t schedule the waves,”He elaborated. “I said, ‘We’re going to have wave coverage. If there are waves, no matter what is scheduled, we’re going to go shoot in the water.’ So that’s what we did and we had a very flexible schedule.”
Stockwell says that this willingness to film on the ocean was the key to some of Stockwell’s greatest shots.
“Even in pre-production, if there were waves, I went out and shot,”He stated. “I would say, ‘OK, this is costume test.’ But I would send Kate and Sanoe and Michelle out and some of the best footage in the movie is from wardrobe tests. Universal hated that because they didn’t have all their insurance in place, so they weren’t happy that it happened, but it was the only way I could do it.”
Initial plans were to use CGI for everything. The studio brought in a second special effects unit. “turned out terrible,”Stockwell acknowledged that the only effect in the movie was facial substitution to place Bosworth’s head on Ballard.
“Honestly, it’s not great,”He added. “The effects are pretty bad if you slow it down. It was the same people who did Face/Off, that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage movie. But all the waves are real. Kate paddled out on some big days and I really wanted her sitting in the lineup, with the spray blowing off the back of the waves. She definitely could’ve gotten hurt or killed, so props to her for going out.”