WavePoolMag Photographer Series: Oscar Rath of Rath Visuals

Oscar Rath is an enthusiastic videographer/photographer who splits time between Melbourne and Canada. His Instagram is a barrage of epic snow adventures and electric blue wave pool sessions. A forced COVID lockdown helped hone his photography chops and led to doing video edits for Urbnsurf. So how did his dream wave pool job come to be? Let’s dig in and find out.

What is your film or photography background?
Originally when I started shooting, I was primarily focused on photography as a means to capture and create content for myself while traveling overseas. Back in early 2019, I got my first camera in the lead-up to a short trip to Indonesia with a couple of mates, and despite knowing close to nothing about the technical side to photography, I instantly became obsessed with the art. Later that year I flew out to Canada with a 2-year holiday visa 6 days after graduating from university with a Business degree. In March of 2020, I returned back to Australia for 6 months due to COVID and during that time I was determined to double down on improving my skills in content creation for when I eventually got back to Canada. So I invested in Final Cut Pro X and enrolled in the Full Time Filmmaker online course offered by Parker Walbeck. Eventually, I got an exemption from the Australian Government to fly back to Canada just a few days before they put a total stop to all international travel. From there I spent the next two years traveling around British Columbia with a group of mates from all over the world doing ski seasons and living it up during the summer. I was shooting content as much as I could, learning from YouTube and mates that were a bit deeper/further ahead in the industry. Through that trip I developed a deep passion for outdoor adventure content creation, which has taken me to where I am today. 

Clip by Oscar Rath on Vimeo.

How did you start shooting videos of surfing? Is it full-time?
Around Christmas of 2020 I was locked down in a hotel room at Big White Ski Resort with a couple of friends due to covid, and because we couldn’t snowboard we were watching a tonne of surfing flicks to pass the time. One in particular that I loved was a RipCurl short film titled “Red Monkey Full Moon” with Mason Ho and Mick Fanning on Youtube. After watching a bunch of these surf films I knew that when I eventually got back to Australia I wanted to give surf videography a crack. Fortunately for me, one of my best mates is an absolute jet at surfing, so I went out with him a few times down at Phillip Island which is where I got my first taste of shooting surf content. From there I started my own media business ‘Rath Visuals” as a side hustle to my full-time job, offering professional videography/photography services to a range of industries in and around Melbourne including Trade, Sports, Events and Lifestyle.
Lately, I have invested a bit more into equipment to take my surf videography to the next level, with an underwater housing being the next big purchase.

Oscar switches back and forth between still and moving images to better capture the vitality of Urbnsurf events

What is the vibe like at Urbnsurf – super serious or playful?
Urbnsurf has a super energetic playful vibe to it. I recently shot there during the WSL QS1000 event in December of 2022. Despite being intense in nature due to the competition aspect of the day, it still maintained all-time high vibes. All the staff that you see around, whether it be at one of the bars or ticketing gates, are always super stoked and inviting to guests, which adds to the great atmosphere and culture in the venue. Having both surfed and shot content there, it is definitely a favorite spot of mine in Melbourne for sure. 
What is the best thing about shooting at a wave pool?
Consistency. Obviously there are varying levels of difficulty in terms of the wave, but you know that every wave produced will be a banger. This makes the shooting component a fair bit easier, as you know exactly where you need to be to get all the shots you are chasing. In comparison to shooting at some beach breaks, like down at Woolamai, Phillip Island for example, where there is always a tonne of surfers out at different breaks all over the beach, opening up the possibility to miss perfect waves. You kind of eliminate that component shooting in a wave pool, as it is all happening in one spot. 

Edit by Oscar Rath on Vimeo.

What is the worst thing about filming at a wave pool?
The worst part probably is filming. Seeing unreal waves constantly produced all day makes you want to get out there yourself. Luckily for me, I’m a pretty average surfer as it is, so my best work is definitely done behind the lens.
Share with us something most people don’t know about Urbnsurf?
On top of just being able to go for a bit of fun, Urbnsurf actually offers surf coaching and surf courses. Which is perfect if you enjoy surfing but can’t get out enough to improve due to not living super close to the coast like most Melbournians.I’m going to make the most of their 5-week progression course myself.