Distance Between Dreams // Ian Walsh


One of the highlights of the after-hours scene on the North Shore this past season was the premiere of Ina Walsh’s new film, Distance Between Dreams. Red Bull hosted the crowded event on the oceanside lawn at Turtle Bay Resort. Food vendors, sustainability exhibits, and blankets scattered across the lawn set the stage for a fun, casual evening. After weeks of evening rains, we skeptically set up our picnics on the lawn; fingers crossed, and then marveled the mostly clear and totally dry evening.


The reserved seating up front was a Who’s Who of big wave surfing including Greg Long, Shane Dorian, Kohl Christensen, Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, and shaper Chris Christenson, who makes Ian’s boards. There was a seat saved for John John Florence who wasn’t able to come due to the huge crowd at his signing session at Sunset Beach Elementary. We were told he made time for every single kid in line, and forgave him for his absence.


As the crowd filled in, Tom Curren took the stage and ran through songs from his debut album ‘In Plain View’ as well as a collection of new work with a much more freeform vibe. Having met Tom several times, I’m always amazed at how open a vibrant he is when he sings. In social situations, he’s much more reserved bordering on downright shy.


Ian was welcomed to a roaring round of applause and the prerequisite surfer ‘yeww’s as he expressed his thanks to the producer, crews, friends, and family who helped to make the film. Producer Rob Bruce delivered a heartfelt thanks via text- it was clear he was there in spirit.




The film was shot over the 2015-16 El Nino winter, a season with some of the largest and most memorable waves in the past 40 years – certainly the most epic of our generation. Pe’ahi, affectionately referred to as Jaws, sets a backdrop for a thrilling trip over the edge. From multiple points of view via breathtaking cinematography, the audience is witness to the preparation and focus required to drop into these 10-20ft (*Hawaiian scale) waves.


Image: Red Bull

At the core of the film is a story of an elite athlete. Ian’s intense health and fitness routine, utilizing premier coaches and advanced training technology, prepare him to charge into massive surf. The audience gets a glimpse into his interpersonal dynamic with friends and family and the consistent support he receives from them.  Brothers DK, Shawn, and Luke are Ian’s safety crew, coaches, cheerleaders, and counsel; mom and dad provide unwavering encouragement. Shane Dorian and Greg Long are both mentors and heroes who encouraged Ian to get into big wave surfing.



After a successful premiere, the party continued at Surfer Bar. Dread Ashanti shared cool reggae vibes that had everyone out on the dance floor. As the evening entertainments segued to a DJ, the Walsh boys had no shortage of toned and tanned surfer girls to dance with; as was befitting of the stars of the evening.