In episode 19 of the Beneath the Surface Podcast, BOTE Creative Director, Rob McAbee, is in the studio with Corey and Sean to give us the dirt on the creation of their 2016 video, A Western Flow.
When Rob gets the idea to float down Utah's Green River for three days with a motley crew consisting of Sean, two off-the-grid extreme adventurers, and a few other characters,--all in the pursuit of showcasing the versatility and durability of BOTE's inflatable paddle boards--things don't quite go as planned. Running into trouble the moment they launch off Flaming Gorge dam, this fly fishing paddling excursion has weird twists and turns from start to finish. Sit back and enjoy the latest installment of the Beneath the Surface Podcast.
COMING AT YOU DIRECT, FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, TO THE CENTER OF EVERYWHERE.
WHO'S IN THE EPISODE
Lead Designer, Co-Founder, and CEO at BOTE, Corey Cooper is a licensed engineer hailing from Auburn University. Corey is the pioneer of the DarkRoom, assisting with the design of the machinery, concepting the layout and ultimately developing the workflow used in DarkRoom production. Corey's passion for this project is so strong that on any given day, regardless of how busy things are at BOTE, you will often find Corey working in the DarkRoom.
Sean Murphy is the Director of Photography at BOTE and a world-renowned photographer based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After spending most of his career based in Los Angeles, shooting for brands like Adidas, Red Bull, and Toyota, just to name a few, Sean moved back to the Redneck Riviera. You can find Sean capturing gritty America and spontaneous moments that translate into visually stunning photography.
BOTE Creative Director, Rob McAbee, brings the style when it comes to designing eye-catching stand up paddle boards and developing color palettes, patterns, fonts, and illustrations that unite and define the BOTE brand. With over 25 years of professional brand building and marketing experience, Rob combined his love for fishing with his love for creative design when he joined the BOTE family in 2013. An avid fly fisher, Rob is the founder of BugslingerTM Fly Gear and, in collaboration with Corey, the creative brain behind the BOTE brand.
"On top of the shit I already knew about Utah (Mormons and Moab), I also now know there's a small group of kick ass people who inspired me to live in the moment along one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country." — Sean Murphy / Director of Photography
LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
There's endless and ever changing scenery on Utah's Green River.
Check out the board used on the trip, the Rackham Aero Inflatable Paddle Board.
A Western Flow, the BOTE video that'll make you want to fly fish.
On top of the shit I already knew about Utah (Mormons and Moab), I also now know there's a small group of kick ass people who inspired me to live in the moment along one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. - Sean Murphy / Director of Photography
BOTE Creative Director, Rob McAbee, joins Corey and Sean virtually to discuss a wild fly fishing trip down the Green River. Sean opens the episode with lots of vulgarity we had to edit out. This is off to a good start…
00:03:19 Sean's Path Leads To Utah
Sean is a nomadic man, typically taking a cross country road trip with his sons every summer. Never knowing where the road ahead will lead, the conclusion of his 2016 summer road trip landed him in Utah with a couple of extreme adventurers he'd never met, launching from Flaming Gorge dam and hunkering down for a three-day excursion down the Green River.
00:05:40 We Like To Catch Fish
Inspired by Sean's adventure, the BOTE assembles a kickass crew to float down the river for three days and capture the art of fly fishing and the beauty of the landscape. Consisting of Sean and his wife, Raphye; BOTE Creative Director, Rob McAbee; videography crew, Cavin Brothers; BOTE Ambassador and extreme sports legend, Ian Provo and his buddy Shane; they realize that while it's a kickass crew, it's a mixed bag when it comes to fly fishing experience.
Sean admits he's not a fly fisherman because, well, he likes to catch fish. So before departing, he visits a local fly fishing store to get a secret weapon.
00:08:10 Versatility and Portability of BOTE Inflatable SUPs
Corey asks the question we're probably all wondering at this point: What's the goal of the trip? By the time they were on the river, all Corey had was a bunch of pictures that made the trip look like a complete shit show and no pointed vision of the outcome. But as Corey has said in the past, sometimes the plan ruins the outcome.
"The premise was showing the versatility, the portability, the stability of our inflatable products. So hey, let's go down this river and we'll fly fish and we'll camp and, you know, we'll just show everyone how cool and badass it is." — Rob McAbee / Creative Director
The team sets out with a plan to showcase BOTE's inflatable paddle boards, which gets a little tricky when Sean forgets to insert the pin that locks his fin to his board, and the second he pushes off the dam, the fin is gone. Sean lives out the next three days with no fin, making every rapid a 360-degree spinning crisis he somehow manages through.
00:10:45 Sean's Secret Fly Fishing Weapon
While Rob and Sean are hauling a ton of camping gear and photography equipment, their tour guides, Ian and Shane, pack everything they need into a single backpack--including their fly fishing gear. Sean knows next to nothing about fly fishing, so before leaving on the trip, he visits a fly fishing store where the guy behind the counter sells him a rod that will 'have the fish going crazy'.
Watching his guides fly fish for close to 10 hours on the first day, not catching a single fish, Sean takes out his secret weapon, throws a line, and WHAM! He gets a trout.
And another trout.
00:13:25 Wind so Strong, You Fly
The Green River scenery and landscape change drastically over their three-day trip, and Rob explains that there is a specific mile stretch, within the canyon, that has more concentration of trout than normal, but it's also a wind tunnel, making it a horrible place to fly fish.
Getting jerked around a couple of times by the wind, the team starts to anticipate when a big gust is coming and gets low on their board until it passes. Well, almost everyone on the team. Rob had the misfortune of being firmly planted, standing, on his board, with all his rods and all his glory, when a big ass gust of wind came through the canyon, lifting him and the board up, turning them over, and slamming him back on the water.
"Supposedly this place is just loaded with fish, but the other aspect to this river that nobody talked about is that it's really windy. It is a wind tunnel." — Rob McAbee / Creative Director
This happens to Rob twice and leaves him with thousands of dollars in broken rods and half of the trip still to go.
00:17:26 Morning to Night Photo Ops
Despite the wind tunnels launching Rob into the air, Sean missing a fin for his inflatable, and minimal fish being caught, the Green River offered photo opportunities from morning to night. Primitive camping sites, unique pullover points, random and weird storms rolling through - it all worked together to get some of the most epic photos ever.
00:20:43 PFD Stands for Personal Floatation Device
Not grasping the intensity of some of the rapids he was going to experience, Rob gets 'pulled over' by a wildlife officer 30 minutes into the paddle asking where his personal floatation device was. In his defense, he was wearing a belt style PFD, but it's no match for the rapids. Thankfully, the wildlife officer ends up being a pretty cool dude, giving Rob a PFD vest to borrow and return at the end of the trip.
00:22:46 The Exit Point - A Needle in a Haystack
Nearing the end of their trip, the crew knew they had only one shot to take the right exit point. Missing it would mean another three days floating down the Green River until the next exit point. With a map in hand, they locate the tiny sign indicating the pull-off point and manage to successfully end their trip.
It's a unanimous conclusion, everyone was exhausted and famished. But hey, they figured out how to get off the river, inflatable paddle boards intact.
Sean does the outro… need we say more? See ya!