It's bullshit cold, it's 4.30am and while we're shit-scared about getting seasick, Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll are arguing over which boards they're going to take to NSW south coast reef break, The Depot. We're with Storm Surfers as they prepare filming for a segment of their somewhat secret upcoming film - it's gonna be 3D, shhhhh...
There's a massive swell pushing up from Tasmania and while the morning is darker than the closet the Jonas Brothers are still in, neither seem of major concern to the veteran lads.
"You won't fit your board in my car," says Tom. "Maya's bringing her board."
"Well, I'm bringing that board," Ross replies, tucking into some toast. Wholemeal of course, he cares not for starch or anything else that'll harm his "powerful" frame - other than the odd cigarette.
"It's one board. Are you serious?" he adds.
Tom replies: "It's not gonna fit, just use whatever's down there."
The boat ramp and waiting jet-skis are literally 300m away and both their personal cars are as close to the breakfast table as Biggest Loser contenders in an elevator. If Hollywood was to do a prequel to Grumpy Old Men, these two would get the parts. Even at 45 and 49 respectively, Ross and Tom are about as close as two mates can get without kissing. Mind you, the two-time world surfing champion did arouse - get your mind out of the gutter - suspicion when he performed an impersonation of Dame Edna in what he described as his "disco wetsuit".
Meanwhile, Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira is praying for surf like a fat kid does pizza. She's only in town for four days after the boys gave her the late call-up when they'd seen the swell was coming. And after what she described as a "scary as hell" roadtrip with Ross, she's desperate to get some waves before flying back to L.A for an exam in less than 48 hours. Bad news is, just as weather dude Ben Matson had predicted, today's swell isn't so good. Which is good news for us, it means only six hours on the slowly rocking boat instead of 12.
Still, there are 8-10 foot sets rolling in and there's always filming to be done, with the movie set to be finished production early 2012.
Ross' 14-year-old son, Kanan, makes his Storm Surfers debut being towed in my his Dad, while the lads manage to make a mockery of a new inflatable lifevest their supposed to be endorsing. Both are asked to wipe-out on the producer's command to test the buoyancy of the rip-chord vest - Ross' is too effective, forcing his face back into the water while Tom's inflates so rapidly he nominates the design to be labelled "The Pamela Anderson" in reference to her, ah, buoyant personality...
And while Maya never even made it into the water and there were no monster waves, day one of three was still a success in filming terms, getting some of the nitty-gritty done and the robot-like 3D cameras in order for some big days to come.
And for the rest of the year? Well, meteorologist Ben Matson is constantly scanning the weather and swell charts. While, like Batman and Robin, Ross and Tom wait lonely in their cave just waiting for the call. There are still five months for them to find a way to seriously maim and injure themselves before filming ends, and they wouldn't have it any other way.