Surfer/Activist/Filmmaker Justin Krumb on The Transparentsea Voyage – A Documentary to Connect People to the Ocean and Its Creatures

Justin Krumb Filmmaker/Activist/Surfer – ‘The Transparentsea Voyage‘ (Third from the right)



Film Courage: Where did you grow up?

Justin Krumb: I grew up in Huntington Beach California spending my summers on the beach and the rest of my time figuring out how to get back to the beach.

Film Courage: Did you go to film school?

Justin: Yes I graduated from film school at Long Beach State University, just up the road from my home town.


“Like most kids that grew up at the beach I can’t remember that “first wave” but it was that feeling of having that special connection with the ocean and knowing not everyone else had that. It makes you feel powerful, like you have a secret that nobody else knows about.” 

Justin Krumb, The Transparentsea Voyage



Film Courage: What’s currently important in your life?

Justin: Working together with other humans of different viewpoints to find ways to come together. I think we have forgotten that we are all in this together.

Film Courage: What was your first surfing experience like?

Justin: Like most kids that grew up at the beach I can’t remember that “first wave” but it was that feeling of having that special connection with the ocean and knowing not everyone else had that. It makes you feel powerful, like you have a secret that nobody else knows about.

Film Courage: Why is surfing therapeutic for so many people?

Justin: It’s that connection I just spoke of. That energy that grabs hold of you. Not much else in the world can make you feel like that. Maybe drugs, but not much else.

Lauren Hill

Film Courage: Can you recount your most powerful experience with marine life?

Justin: Transparentsea 1 in Australia in 2009. Sailing along in my kayak and had a humpback spyhop me about 3 feet away. I had no idea they were there! So gentle and graceful. As if to say “journey on my friend and I’ll join you for a while!”



Film Courage: What is The Transparentsea Voyage? When did you shoot the footage?

Justin: The Transparentsea Voyage was the brain child of surfer Dave Rastovich in his quest to find ways to have legit experiences at sea and connect with the humans on land along the way. He wanted to use it as a tool to connect us all to the ocean and the creatures in it. Our first voyage was in Australia in 2009 and when Dave discussed doing a trip down the California coast we jumped at the idea of documenting and sharing with Californians and the world.


Catherine Clarke

Film Courage: Why did you want to make the film and take this journey with your friends/fellow artists?

Justin: Connected people make the best subjects and when you add the educational element and the adventure side, hard to pass up.


Catherine Clarke and Isabel Lucas

Film Courage: What were the shooting locations?

Justin: We filmed the voyage over the course of about 25 days. Had cameras going all the time because of the size of the crew. “Fly on the wall” would be a good way to describe it. We relied on DSLR HD gear, XDCAMS, GoPros and a few cheap waterproof still/video cameras in the boats for the sailors to use at any moment something cool happened. We ended up will 8 or 9 terabytes of footage in the end.

Film Courage: What musicians and other artists were involved? How many people on the Voyage?

Justin: Boy, the main crew was about 25 people and let me tell you ALL were creative in some way. It was hard to keep up with them. Band of Frequencies, Will Conner, Angus Stone, Isabel Lucas, Howie Cooke and Chris Del Moro just to name a few.



Film Courage: How often did the musicians decide to produce a song?

Justin: The Band of Frequencies job on the trip was to make a new song every day. That’s 23 songs in 23 days, what a task! I’m not sure they knew what they were getting into.

Film Courage: Can you share more on the process of obtaining music rights for the film? Do’s and Don’t’s for next time?

Justin: The biggest issues honestly with the music was getting everyone back together months after the trip was complete to professionally record the tracks for the film. Rights were no problem because we all donated our efforts on this project to support the cause. Easiest music clearance I ever had.

Oj Newcomb

Film Courage: Cost of the voyage?

Justin: $150,000

Film Courage: Budget of the film?

Justin: $60,000


Dave Rastovich

Film Courage: When you opened the film for The Transparentsea Voyage, why were Hayden Panettiere and Dave Rastovich upset in the scene? Can you bring us into where this footage came from?

Justin: Well without going too deep, the group of activists in Transparentsea have been involved in other direct action awareness campaigns over the years. This includes a mission to the infamous “Cove” in Taiji Japan where they slaughter the dolphins. We documented that years earlier and I felt it needed to be in this film. It helps to show how involved this crew of people in Transparentsea are with the issues of the ocean and the creatures in it. They are legit activists in so many ways.

Film Courage: What was the most challenging part of getting everyone on the same page for The Transparentsea Voyage?

Justin: Like herding cats… We found it best just to always have the cameras close and the batteries charged. Ohhh… try not to sleep cause something cool would happen when you closed your eyes!


Order the film on iTunes here!


Film Courage: Favorite moments not caught on camera from the The Transparentsea Voyage trip?

Justin: One of the boats that got lost in the fog and separated from the group had the odd couple in it! Felix n whats that other guys name? Oscar! Wish I had a camera on those two during their meltdown moments.

Film Courage: The last 3 films you’ve been involved with The Cove, Minds in the Water and The Transparentsea Voyage have a similar group of people including Dave Rastovich, Hayden Panettiere, Isabel Lucas, etc. How did you initially meet this core group?

Justin: Dave and I have worked together on a couple of other project. We got talking about his involvement in cetacean issues and it lead to all of this. As the players all dropped in, we always seemed to be in the middle of it. That is just the type of guy Rastovich is. Its been a great opportunity to be able to capture all that.

Dave Rastovich

Film Courage: How can people begin to get involved in Marine Conservation Activism (even if they’re far from a coastal community)?

Justin: Don’t go to marine parks or zoos! Don’t support captive dolphin programs, pick up your trash and don’t pollute. It drains to the ocean.

Film Courage: What are a few of biggest threats to marine life (in any region)?

Justin: Heavy metals from runoff, plastics, over fishing.

Film Courage: Camera gear for water use?

Justin: DSLR gear with custom water housings and of course, GoPro cameras, too.

Shannon Sol Carroll


Film Courage: What ethical responsibilities should surfers take on?

Justin: We are the stewards of the sea and we should act like it!

Film Courage: What is RoughCuts Productions?

Justin: RCP was my first production company many years ago. I’ve since started a new production business called JKrumb Studios and there are some exciting things we are doing these days.

Film Courage: What gear do you typically shoot with?

Justin: 4K RED, Panasonic GH4, Canon DSLR and Sony XDCAM.


Catherine Clarke

Film Courage: Do you edit your own films?

Justin: Yes, of course! This is by far the place you have the most control of your creativity and the direction of your film. With that said having others involved is key to the process.

Film Courage: What are the most important elements a filmmaker should communicate to their film’s editor?

Justin: The vision for the scene or overall film and an ability to be open to the editor’s ideas. Production is a team sport and I’m only as good as the team around me.

Film Courage: Can you talk about how you’ve secured distribution for your films?

Justin: Once you have finished making your film you have just begun the process! The journey of securing representation starts with the film fest circuit then finding the right distributor to put the film in play. The process always seems to take a while. I was lucky with Transparentsea as we were discovered by Indievillage Distribution and helped through the process to get us where we are today.


Order the film on iTunes here!


Film Courage: What is The Saltwater Collective?

Justin: Saltwater Collective is a company I started years ago to work on meaningful ocean related projects with creative individuals that want to make a difference through their craft. We’ve made 3 documentary films and countless web films over the years.

Film Courage: Where can people watch The Transparentsea Voyage?

Justin: Best place on the planet, iTunes! Wherever and whenever you would like.

Al Hicks

Does The Transparentsea Voyage have a soundtrack?

Justin: Yes we cut a soundtrack and I’m extremely proud of the results.

Film Courage: Favorite song of the film?

Justin: Documentary wise, it’s “Gasland.” That story is so well told through the filmmakers voice, you just become part of his journey. That’s a home run from a story telling perspective in my book.

Film Courage: What’s next for you creatively?

Justin: Been working on a treatment for a screenplay and brewing up some ideas for a documentary about human tolerance. I’m excited about what the next few years will bring.



Justin Krumb on the right of surf board

The Transparentsea Voyage highlights the efforts of a group of athletes, musicians, celebrities and artists on a campaign aimed at focusing attention on coastal environmental issues. Witness the trip unfold through the creation of song as this “behind the music” look at focused activism offers an insight into how a deeper connection to our planet changed and educated the participants involved as well as those that followed the journey from around the world. Experience the voyage from start to finish as the crew traced the southern migration of the California Grey & Blue Whale from Santa Barbara to the US Border in six tandem kayaks.

On iTunes 3/25/16

Justin Krumb Executive Producer / Director

Starring Dave Rastovich, Shannon Sol Carroll, and Oj Newcomb from Band of Frequencies with special appearances by Angus Stone, Chris Del Moro, Isabel Lucas, Lauren Hill, Hilton Dawe Catherine Clarke, Denny Auberg, Rusty Miller and Al Hicks.

Experience a modern voyage with ancient creatures as the making of 23 songs in 23 days leads to the discovery by the participants of a bit self-awareness along the way.



Founder of RoughCuts Productions (RCP) in 1994, Justin has since worked as a producer/director with a focus on feature documentary and television production. For almost two decades, Krumb has worked on a variety of documentary and commercial projects in countless countries spanning the globe, ranging in subject matter from adventure travel and sports documentary to humanitarian and environmental issues. His credits include The ESPN X-games, The Surfer’s Journal, FUEL TV’s First Hand, Wave of Compassion and The Next Wave: A Tsunami Relief Story and Minds In The Water.

As a multi-faceted producer, Justin’s work has been shown on Fox, ESPN, Versus, Fuel TV, Speed Vision, National Geographic TV and PBS as well as at multiple film festivals including Sundance Dance Film Festival, San Sebastian International Film Festival, Hawaiian Ocean Film Festival and Regional Emmy Awards. In addition to creating RCP, Krumb in 2008 founded The Saltwater Collective.








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