Extreme sports: the role of the resources sector (Page 1 of 6) 8 Mar 2013

Last Paradise, an adventure film based on the evolution of extreme sports in New Zealand, is the life's work of Clive Neeson; a homage to his childhood and adolescence—and even more so to those with whom he shares his passion for the outdoors—but also a reflection on the cyclical passing of one generation to the next, and man's impact on his environment in a rapidly evolving and forever changing world.

The film also pays its biggest tribute to the extraordinary beauty of West Australia, as being the end of the 45 year quest for paradise.

 

Last Paradise opens in Ningaloo Reef with a timelapse of a blazing orange sun lifting itself above the landscape into the morning sky, grey tracings of cloud are incandescently brought to life glowing like embers in the fading remnants of the night. The steady roar of the ocean maintains as the scene dissolves to a rocky bay, stark cliffs, white capping ocean presided over by now cool, flawless blue sky. Powerful waves peak and arch, one after the other breaking in symmetrical lines, great walls of water slung across the bay.

 

A lone surfer in a full-length wetsuit, camera attached to a protective helmet, clambers across the rocks. First-person footage demonstrates the brute power of the sea, waves crashing into a vanguard of reef, a violent recoil of foam unrestrainedly sprayed against the cold blue canvas of sky. The composition is unembellished and adrenalin-soaked; the lone surfer hurtles down the sheer face of a breaking wave, again the camera cuts to the first person and in the belly of the wave curtains of water gleam in the morning sun before dissolving into a wild mess of foam.

The resource industry has played a surprising role in the pioneering of the adventure lifestyle.

Neeson told www.SPEnewsaustralasia.org the parallels between his career in oil and gas and his passion for extreme sports are tangible, with both offering the potential to engage with and further discover and understand the environment, and both fundamentally focused on harnessing the raw power of nature.

“They feed off the very same appetite for adventure; they're very similar in as much as they will attract the same kind of people into them. As I've seen in the oil and gas industry in the generation I worked in, it was particularly dominated by engineers who had an appetite for adventure and new horizons,” Neeson observed.

“The innovation of extreme sports is what this film deals with. It concerns sports which engage the wilderness and tap the natural forces as a source of energy. That's what we know as extreme sports. And, of course, like the petrochemical industry, which also does that, we're pushing the limits all the time – of gauging and braving the elements to extract that energy. There's a lot of commonality there.”

Neeson himself was born into a life of travel and unvarnished inquisitiveness; he and his brothers spent their early childhood in East Africa before moving to the small town of Raglan, New Zealand.