Forget Endless Summer and Point Break. These are the surf films you should have been watching in your youth.
From classic Americana through to Australian psychedelia and a monumental three years in Fiji, these are ten properly amazing surf films you need to before you bite the dust…
1. Single Fin: Yellow
Surfing is a very simple pursuit, which is why we love it. Few films give texture to this simplicity as well as Single Fin Yellow.
Produced by Jason Baffa back in 2003, this timeless piece of surf cinema brings to light in vivid detail, the countless and exceedingly wholesome challenges offered up by surfing.
It does this by way of following the journey of a vintage hand-shaped surfboard as it passed around the world between surfers, each applying their own style and interpretation of riding it to various different kinds of waves – from Australian point breaks to the Hawaiian North Shore.
2. Blue Horizon
No film better encapsulates the two-headed beast that was professional surfing in the mid noughties than Jack McCoy’s Blue Horizon.
“Together, these two are a powerful balance of pure energy”
Travelling the world alongside three time world champion Andy Irons – the foremost competitive surfer at the time and a firebrand to boot – and Dave Rastovich – the famous environmental crusader, surfer and spiritualist – McCoy vividly captures the two dominant threads of progression in the sport.
“Andy is a totally focused professional who excels in both large and small surf. Dave, on the other hand, is already a wise soul who, at 22, looks at the all aspects of the surfing experience, where it has come from and where it’s is going. The two together are a powerful balance of pure energy that we are hoping to capture.”
3. Five Summer Stories
If you really wanna know what surf culture was all about in its sacred home of California in the late 1960s/early 70s, this film is for you.
Set against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and President Nixon, Five Summer Stories offered a feel-good antidote to the anxiety of the times.
It’s classic mix of feel good surf tunes, vibes and imagery is guaranteed to put a smile on your dial. Feeling like shit? Whack this on.
4. Stoked and Broke
A classic travel story that reminds us of the irrepressible spirit of adventure that has defined surfing since the dawn of this modern era, and yet all without leaving the hustle and bustle of suburban California.
“It’s equal parts brilliant, comedic and damning of American culture”
Local shredders and childhood friends, Cyrus Sutton and Ryan Burch hatch the seemingly idiotic idea of travelling by foot/skateboard/bike with a load of boards and camping gear up the SoCal coast.
The results are equal parts brilliant, comedic, damning of American culture, and all in all, a vivid snapshot of the contemporary Californian surf scene.
You can’t really go wrong with two hours of giant Cloudbreak captured in the glorious high-definition of a RED camera can you?
“Instead of necking cheap port with hobos, these guys earned their wisdom riding 20ft atomic ice sculptures”
Thundercloud is the feature film by Talon Clemow that charts the entire history of this famous wave – from its tribal origins all the way to the quantum leaps in big wave paddle surfing witnessed there over the back-to-back-to-back swells of 2010, 2011 and the famously postponed Volcom Fiji Pro of 2012.
Equally as mesmerising as the footage is the experience of listening to the underground heroes of those swells tell their stories.
Guys like Mark Healey and Kohl Christenson, whose insights contain the eloquence and spiritual clarity of say a Jack Kerouac in his Zen Buddhist phase. Only instead of necking cheap port with hobos, they earned their wisdom riding 20ft “atomic ice sculptures,” as Mark Healey calls them.
Thundercloud is set to premiere in the USA and Europe shortly.