“On December 7th, 2001 – 10 years ago to the day – Joel Taylor, Unite Clothing Company founder, owner, and Managing Director, slammed the reef at Pipeline; the resulting injury left him paralysed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury. To commemorate the 10 year anniversary of his accident, we convinced Joel to release his last Sponsor Me Tape from back in early 2001.
“I was apprehensive at first, then I figured it might be cool for people to be able to put a face to the name behind Unite,” Joel admitted. “I was a bit worried how it would be received, only a handful of my friends – and a couple of potential sponsors back in the day – had ever seen it.”
In a time before High Definition cameras and readily available editing software, Joel – armed with his do-it-yourself attitude – pieced together his Sponsor Me Tape the old fashioned way.
“The footage was shot on first generation digital camcorders; I edited it at a friends house with two VCR’s connected together,” he laughed. “The clip is less than two minutes long, but I remember it taking forever to get it to look how I wanted. It was such a nightmare.”
He continued, “Then in 2003 I remastered it exactly as it was on VHS – same cut, same music, same shitty quality – so that I had a copy on my computer for memories sake. I’m glad that I did ‘cause who the hell has a VCR these days? If I hadn’t, I probably would have lost the footage forever.”
The clip features mostly unseen footage of Joel shot over six months on the East Coast of Australia, Western Australia and Hawaii from mid 2000 through to early 2001.
“It’s basically made up of home videos filmed by friends as well as a few waves that ran on Strohy’s [Chris Stroh] old videos,” Joel revealed. “The clip is only short, but that’s how I thought a Sponsor Me Tape should be; I still do actually. It’s not much, I hope that people might enjoy it anyway.”
To learn more about Joel and his story, be sure to check out his 10 Years On feature in Riptide 185 landing on newsstands today.
Unite is independently Australian owned and run. For more information, visit unite4fun.com.”