To underscore how the ocean connects us all, Shaped by Water was shot in three iconic locations that we have a strong connection to: Newport, Rhode Island; Southern Lakes, New Zealand; and Cape Town, South Africa. We selected athletes who are not only the best at what they do but also align with 11th Hour Racing’s mission to protect and restore the ocean. We hired local storytelling teams who are also some of the best in the world. Each part of the production was carefully considered to come together as one holistic story. Below is the exceptional team behind the scenes.
The City by the Sea has a special place in the hearts of many, including the 11th Hour Racing Team crew who called Newport and Narragansett Bay home for the summer of 2022 before going on to become the first U.S. offshore sailing team to win The Ocean Race (2022-23 edition). Known globally as the “Sailing Capital of the World,” Newport is a sailing destination like no other, with calm bay waters and quick access to offshore sailing. Newport was the only U.S. stopover in The Ocean Race 2022-23.
As skipper of 11th Hour Racing Team, the first U.S. offshore sailing team to win The Ocean Race (2022-23 edition), Charlie’s goal to lift The Ocean Race Trophy comes with a mission to educate fans along the way on today’s environmental concerns and inspire them to do their part to benefit ocean health and our fragile planet.
Charlie has two round-the-world campaigns under his belt and over a decade-worth of experience in offshore racing. Born and raised in the maritime hub of Bristol, Rhode Island, Charlie learned to sail at a young age and went on to join his college sailing team at Brown University.
Charlie had his first taste of offshore sailing in 2007 when he joined the crew of the TP52 Morning Light to take part in the 44th Transpac Yacht Race, where he first met fellow team co-founder Mark Towill. Together with Mark, Charlie entered the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with Team Alvimedica and the 2017-18 edition of the Race with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, leading both campaigns as skipper.
Amory Ross is a self-taught storyteller whose passion for sharing adventure, particularly grand-prix sailing, motivated him to twice sail around the world as a media crewmember in The Ocean Race. He has independently produced, shot, and edited compelling visual stories on locations all around the world, worked in tandem with sponsors and brands alike to achieve their varied goals, and welcomes the many challenges that come from each new assignment. Amory has set himself apart as a consummate artist across all mediums with his unique perspective, creativity, and commitment to authenticity.
The Ocean Race 2022-23 was Francesca’s second bid for the coveted Trophy. Prior to sailing competitively offshore, Francesca excelled in the Olympics and raced in both the 2012 London and 2016 Brazil Games. Originally from Trieste, Italy, Francesca now lives in the mountains in Park City, Utah, U.S., with her young family, and when she’s not on the water she’s either on her bike or her skis.
Simon “Si Fi” Fisher
Internationally known as “Si Fi,” Fisher is a British sailor with something of an addiction to The Ocean Race… and sailing – his first sailing trip was at six-weeks-old! A five-time competitor with a Race win under his belt, this will be Si Fi’s second Race as navigator for Charlie Enright.
Jack may be the youngest sailor on board 11th Hour Racing Team, the first U.S. offshore sailing team to win The Ocean Race (2022-23 edition), but looking at his resume you might think otherwise. Determined as they come, Jack went on to help Dongfeng Race Team win the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Jack now lives full-time by the sea in France with his young family.
Born and raised on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Justine Mettraux has grown into a tour de force of offshore racing. From placing 2nd in her first Mini Transat in 2011 to becoming one of the first women to win The Ocean Race trophy, Mettraux is one of 11th Hour Racing Team’s elite sailors, the first U.S. offshore sailing team to win The Ocean Race (2022-23 edition). Mettraux officially joined Enright’s team in 2021 as co-skipper, alongside Simon Fisher, on Alaka’i throughout the 2021 IMOCA GLOBE SERIES season. Justine is splitting her time competing in The Ocean Race with 11th Hour Racing Team and training for the 2024-25 Vendée Globe.
Martin’s goal is simple: to tell stories through compelling imagery, and it’s safe to say he’s achieving this ambitious goal. His father first taught him how to use a camera, and he soon started to bring to life the sea with images. After working in Paris in cinema and advertising, Martin decided to return to the ocean. In 2017, he embarked on the Volvo Ocean Race. For 18 months, he captured the race from the inside, most notably aboard the winner Dongfeng Race Team.
Born and raised in the West Indies, Theo grew up with the sea and the wind. After his studies, he started working as a camera operator in the French sailing industry. He then moved to Paris and started working as director of photography (DoP) for commercials, short films, and documentaries. Since then, he continues to work as an onboard reporter and DoP for sailing with the goal to bring all the technological and rigorous processes of commercial shoots to the world of sailing.
Brian’s love for photography is best described as a ‘journey.’ A journey that started with a thirst for travel, surfing, and photography and has since evolved into a career that paints the stories of athletes and musicians. For Brian, it’s all about the story. His photographic style is molded from years of playing in deep snow, searching for perfection in the reeling ocean, and the characters whose stories he’s told along the way.
New Zealand has some of the best snow in the Southern Hemisphere and is the home of the 2022 Freeride World Tour Champion and Protect Our Winters Ambassador Jessica Hotter. For Shaped By Water we knew the Southern Alps would provide magnificent landscapes, raw wilderness and a wide variety of conditions
When looking for an elite skier who dominates off-piste, has a unique style, and is driven by the mission of Protect our Winters (POW), look no further than 2022 Freeride World Tour Champion, Jess Hotter. Born and raised on New Zealand’s North Island, Jess is now putting a serious mark on the world of big mountain skiing. When she’s not on the Freeride World Tour, she works as a ski patroller and freeride coach at New Zealand’s Treble Cone Ski Area.
Jess froths on the world beyond walls. When she’s not skiing, she’s either biking or flying her paraglider. As a result, she’s seen the effects of climate change and the impact humans have had on this planet. Through her partnership with POW NZ, she aims to help make positive changes and educate those around her on her growing platform.
Jase Hancox is a freelance director and director of photography based in Wanaka, New Zealand. His ability to operate at the highest capacity in the most hostile environments means that he is consistently being sought after by global brands. Jase is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker, and he is absolutely the person you want to make your ski film. With decades of experience and a knack for good storytelling, Jase can take a camera where very few dare to journey. Jase has a strong network, is a problem solver (essential to a successful ski film), and his work is incredibly artistic.
Josh is our FPV (First Person View) drone pilot and cameraman at Double Vision from the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Josh's inspiration, drive and purpose is fueled by ambitious ideas, good company, adrenaline, and the natural world itself.
Miles seeded his professional photography career fixated on shooting ski action at his local ski hill near Queenstown, New Zealand in the early 1990s. Since then, Miles has become a leader in ski photography, especially in the “Southern Alps.” Miles’ energetic drive and continual vision for shooting is contagious and is always served up with humor and a smile.
Mickey is a retired professional athlete who has since evolved into a professional photographer. In 2006, Mickey competed in the slalom on behalf of New Zealand in the Torino Olympics. Now residing in Wanaka, New Zealand, Mickey’s photographic aesthetic is to explore the power of stopped time. With this approach, he is able to look at sport through the lens of a documentarian and an artist.
Tom is a photographer and professional mountain guide under the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA), keen skier, and climber. In 2015, he sold everything in his home country of France, and went to New Zealand on a one-way ticket. He fell in love with New Zealand at first sight and now is lucky to call the place home.
Janina is a New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA) ski guide, x2 Olympian and Freeride World Tour skier. Janina is a part of the “Shades of Winter” team whose film series includes the all-female ski film “Between.” Recently, she released “The Pursuit” in conjunction with The North Face – the story of her goal to summit Mt. Tasman and ski down the Stevenson-Dick Couloir in New Zealand.
With its cold waters and wild sea creatures (with ominous reputations) Cape Town is not your typical destination for freediving, but these are the elements that make the Mother City one of the most unique places for ocean filming. Acres of kelp forests, wild Southern Ocean storms and “real-life mermaid” Zandile Ndhlovu empowered us to truly explore the idea of the ocean connecting us all.
Originally from the landlocked township of Soweto, South Africa, Zandi grew up at least six hours from the open ocean, so it wasn’t until much later in life (2016) that she discovered the beauty beneath the ocean’s surface. When she snorkeled for the first time, she finally felt a sense of belonging. Fast forward a few years and she has become one of South Africa’s most impactful freedivers – her goals are to share the wild world beneath the surface,and make the ocean and freediving a more inclusive space.
“Freediving gives me a sense of home and belonging,” Zandi explains. “It is the most sacred way I have explored these waters.” Freediving gives Zandi the gift of time and has led her to start her own foundation, teach others about the sport of freediving, and promote ocean health and healing. Her overarching goal is to push for creating diversity in diving and ocean spaces.
Steve is our underwater director of photography and local South African guru. He is also a conservationist and a photographer. He has worked with National Geographic and the BBC – and his work was featured in the Blue Planet II series. Through his company, Animal Ocean, he has created a new local industry and brought thousands of people to enjoy marine life, as he enjoys it, up close and personal. He is an “ocean human” and knows the reefs of the Cape Peninsula better than its winding streets.
Nick is Steve Benjamin’s second camera and right-hand man. Nick is an accomplished freediver, diver, and underwater cameraman. Along with his creative skills, he brings a safety element to the team with his extensive underwater experience.
Craig is arguably one of the most accomplished action and adventure sports photographers out of South Africa. He has worked for over 20 years in the industry and has been everywhere and done everything. He is one of the most hard-working photographers out there and grew up surfing the Cape’s icy water. He has also managed to find time to complete eight Cape Epics (an annual mountain bike race in Cape Town).
Sacha “Spex” Specker
Sacha is an accomplished waterman and photographer based in Camps Bay, South Africa. He is well known locally for his beautiful oceanscape photography that he shoots in the Atlantic Ocean close to where he lives. He is also a former professional bodyboarder, winning a world title in 2012, and has a formal education in nature conservation.
South African filmmaker Dean Leslie might not be a household name, but chances are you’ve seen his work. From Hollywood-style film sets to guerrilla-style documentary projects, in remote and rugged locations, his work has taken him to every continent. Specializing in leading small film crews in challenging environments, Dean has cultivated a career in producing world-class documentary films through his strong all-around technical skill set.
Dean is calm, cool, and collected when it comes to high-pressure situations. He might not be an expert skier or sailor, but his storytelling is unmatched. Dean has an artistic mind, with a genuine love for sport, adventure, and thriving in the outdoors. Bringing Dean has allowed us to tell a meaningful, artistic story that will make our souls tingle.
From an early age, Corinna has asked a lot of questions – constantly wanting to know more about the world around her. Naturally, she gravitated to become a storyteller and, over time, her desire to know more about the world has led her to seek out projects with the hope of discovering what makes people go beyond the ordinary to achieve greatness. Her work carries an emotional depth that makes audiences pause for reflection. She seeks out human stories that feel naturally bigger than themselves – about adventure, mental health, passion, diversity, and the environment.
Driven by a great passion for the ocean, Alessandra has worked in Public Relations within the yachting industry for over 20 years, extensively traveling overseas. Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Alessandra learned early on the inherent value of communication while studying ancient Greek and Roman cultures in high-school. With sailing as her outlet from busy city living, Alessandra decided to follow her inner dreams and gained a degree in Natural Sciences and Oceanography at Milan’s University. While racing on one-design classes and keelboats as a student, Alessandra started writing as a yachting journalist and headed into the world of public relations, following different clients that included inspirational figures such as solo sailors Giovanni Soldini and Ellen MacArthur.
In 1997 Alessandra was hired as Press Officer by the Italian America’s Cup team Luna Rossa and managed all their media relations for two America’s Cup campaigns, chasing summer for six years between Italy and New Zealand.
In 2004, more sailing adventures took Alessandra and her growing family to Spain for three years, and then Newport, RI.
While traveling and raising her two children, Alessandra has kept working on a number of different high-profile projects, including Team Azzurra of the YCCS, KPMS/Rolex and Nautor’s Swan.
In 2014, Alessandra attended the 11th Hour Project Connect conference in San Francisco and found her ideal career match, coming full circle from her degree in oceanography: 11th Hour Racing, combining her love for the ocean and her commitment to sustainability. Alessandra likes to spend her free time with the family enjoying the local beaches (and her beloved Alps when possible), pursuing what makes them happy – sailing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing.
Jeremy is a co-founder and the CEO of 11th Hour Racing, captain, and professional sailor. Educated in France and stateside, with a penchant for math and solutions, he worked at Nantucket Community Sailing as Director of Operations and sailed many miles on the classic yawl Impala. Jeremy has dual degrees in English and French and is a licensed USCG captain. Through 11th Hour Racing, Jeremy’s goal is to underscore the bonds between humans, water and land through sailboat racing, recognizing that we can push each other to find better solutions for better sailing practices.