04 September 2009

Surf Flick Reviews

I've just indulged in a mini surf film fest, watching four surf movies in less than a week. The first was Newcastle, a recent Australian movie. I wasted 40 minutes of my life on it, before I couldn't take another second of unlikeable aggro teenagers who surf.

Next I watched One Winter Story, about Sarah Gerhardt, the first woman to surf Mavericks. I've long admired her, and this was a short but interesting story set on our local big-wave break with some Hawaii North Shore and central California thrown in. Unfortunately, the artsy cinematography was distracting. The coastline in the Bay Area is, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful in the world, and to turn the blues and greens of sky and sea and the tans and blacks of sand and rock into a pallete of grays is a great disservice. Worse were the attempts at making the video look old by peppering it with speckles and graininess. I like to see the world not as it might have been recorded in my grandparents' time, but as it is, in all its gorgeous color and clarity (or famous fog). But the true story kept me watching. Although I don't aspire to take on big waves like Sarah, she echoed my thoughts as she described the freedom surfing brings, how it focuses the mind, troubles melt away and one lives in the moment on the waves.

The best movie of the lot was Siestas & Olas (naps and waves), recommended by S2. It logs the surf safari of Tom Wegener and a few buddies as they surf and camp down the coast of Mexico. The narrator has a wry sense of humor and keeps the story rolling along with the old truck that carries the surfers on their journey of exploration. They happen upon many deliciously empty waves spotted from the rutted roads. It almost made me want to go on a Mexico surf safari myself... almost. But the comments about constant mosquito bites, accommodations without beds, not showering for weeks - well, I guess I'm just soft, but that doesn't sound like all that much fun. Fly me to a remote but comfortable resort fronting a warm left point break instead.

As I write this, I'm less than half watching My Eyes Won't Dry, basic wordless surf porn set to so-so tunes. The inside-the-tube footage initially made me catch my breath, thinking what it will be like to someday experience that for myself. But with no story to hold my interest, my mind soon drifted away. There's a lot of footage from boardcams, but that too gets old after a while. And now I see that it's over. Oh well, time to watch CSI on Netflix Instant. Or better yet, to check the surf forecast for tomorrow one more time. I'm looking forward to a mellow longboard session to melt away the stress of the workweek.


  1. ha! i watched newcastle on the plane back to la from australia. it was horrible! the conditions at newcastle were alot better on that film then when we surfed it.

  2. Maybe they filmed it somewhere else...