LeeAnn and Bianca Getting Lost on Purpose in 'The Sound of Silence'

Between stops on the Women’s Championship Tour earlier this year, Bianca Buitendag and fellow ROXY rider Lee-Ann Curren embarked on an epic road trip along South Africa’s ferocious Eastern coastline, known as the Transkei.

Their film, The Sound of Silence, documents their pursuit of un-planned discovery, a spontaneous surf adventure, the opportunity to disconnect and get a little bit lost along the way.

We caught up with Lee-Ann and Bianca during the ROXYpro to hear more about their time on the Wild Coast.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

Lee Ann

1) What were your expectations when traveling to South Africa? Had you heard about the Transkei before you arrived?

I had never been to the Transkei but it was my 4th time to South Africa, I didn't really have time to think about the trip too much before hand and had no idea what the Transkei was, I just learned about it when I landed in Cape Town and asked my friend about it.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

2) Being mainly a free surfer, you obviously get to travel a lot. What was unique about this specific trip?

It was crazy how every single person we saw on this trip waved their hand at us, driving around in our car, in other places I've been people are so used to tourists that they don't really notice them anymore, but we didn't go unnoticed in the Transkei. I liked talking to the locals and learn about their ceremonies, beliefs. The wild life of South Africa was pretty specific too, we saw whales and dolphins, and heard a lot of shark stories that were always in the back of my mind when we were surfing.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa
Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

3) The film features an awesome sound track from your band, Betty the Shark, Take us through the meaning of the sound track and its relevance to the film.

Music is very important in films and surf films, it was cool to see that one of our songs fit the surf section pretty well and everyone was stroked on it. I also am really interested in the process of scoring a soundtrack to a film and it was cool to see from closer how Dan worked with his team to create a musical universe to go with the film.

4) What was the funniest moment on the trip?

When our car little blue car (that we called Winnie Blue) got stuck on the edge of a cliff and local kids who were there playing soccer helped us pushing the car back onto the road.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

5) Did you guys get caught in any dodgy stations at all or was it a smooth ride?

I would say it was a pretty smooth ride, everyone was so friendly giving us directions and the weather was pretty nice the whole time which helped a lot with camping.

6) What was the most memorable moment/location for you? Did your perspective change after the trip?

It's always a realization and a bit of a kick in the butt when you meet people that live a very simple life and are always smiling and happy, and ready to share everything they own with you. In the Western world everything is a bit complicated, stressful, so it's nice to jump into that world for a bit.

7) Does being in a band and being a professional free surfer compliment one another?

For me it does, I wouldn't be happy without surfing and same without music, it clashes a bit if you play late at night and want to surf at sunrise, you just have to get organized. Getting better as a band takes a lot of time, it's the same with surfing, both require a lot of patience and just to enjoy doing it and stay creative.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

8) What’s coming up next?

I only know a bit of my near future, we are going to Iceland with Betty The Shark to play gigs and surf. We should release some new songs and videos in the next few months. I want to put my time in getting a lot better with music, and making more quality footage with my surfing in unusual locations like the Transkei.


1) You have had a really good run on tour this year. Take us through your strategy coming into 2015.

I could babble on concerning preparation, equipment, training, etc. but those aspects of the sport are already a standard in any professional's career. I would not be able to give you a definite answer about strategy, as I believe it changes with every fluctuation in your performance as well as the unexpected happening in your life outside of competition.

2) How much time off do you get during the year to go on a trip like this?

'Spare time' is not necessarily a term we are awfully familiar with. Having the season start in February and end in December, we have a month here and there to see loved ones, visit grandma, eat a pizza, and experience a second of near normality. But even when placed in one position for over 2 weeks, I start to become uneasy, wanting to move, because I know there is an opportunity somewhere that I could be missing

3) Why did you choose to create the film in South Africa and specifically the Transkei?

I was looking for silence, a sort of escape from the constant connectivity and expectations you have one yourself. The Transkei gives you just that. The freedom to be still, the freedom to create something that is very true to yourself, without any other influence.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

4) Tell us about how the film’s concept came about?

When I come home, and every time the plane descends into Africa, I cannot help but notice the huge contrast that exists between lifestyles. I feel that we forget what our original intent is, to discover, to create, to learn, love and let live. These constant connections and social norms are like a fog hanging above us, keeping us too busy to realize why we're here, what we're actually doing and filling each day with. Its time to wake up

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

5) The film involves a lot more lifestyle and story than surfing, what is it like shooting a film like this and not your standard surfing film?

The culture of surfing involves more outside of the water than what we think. I think the ratio between surf and lifestyle in the film is a correct display of what it is in real life. To surf is almost like an excuse to go on an adventure, and it is that adventure we have captured in the film.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

6) What has stuck with you the most after this trip.

Although the place is obviously beautiful, the most intriguing part of creation to me is people. So what stuck with me most is the diversity, difference and depth of the people we could see, meet and display in the film.

7) What was it like traveling through the Transkei? It’s well renowned for it’s sharky waters...

We had heard rumors of Sharky waters as well as crime on land. Being South African, there is a sense if familiarity, risk is part of our daily, whether in or out of the water, but it is what we thrive off, safety is something we sacrifice in order to live here, now you can only imagine Africa's beauty and power.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

8) Is there any advice you would like to give anyone wanting to go on an off the grid surf adventure?

I would choose not to give advice, since advice would only rob them of a lesson learnt.

9) What were the waves like?

I am afraid no words do it justice. It only takes one flight over for you to see it with your own eyes.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

10) What’s coming up next?

I do not even have the insight to know what will happen in the next 10 minutes, never mind tomorrow - nor do I entirely want control over it, so you will have to refer your question to the Big Man Upstairs.

Lee Ann and Bianca’s life trip in South Africa

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