Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie reviews: 1964 vs 2013

Ride the Wild Surf, 1964

I got a job last month shooting interviews for a film about one of the stars of this William Castle surf flick (Tab Hunter).  Though Tab's friends derided it as a low point in his career, I decided it was worth checking out, and actually found it a lot more fun than I expected.

If you can stomach a bunch of clunky scenes, you'll get a rare glimpse at some classic Hawaiian waveriding in the pre-thruster, pre-shortboard, pre-leash era.  See if you can pick out Miki Dora and Greg "da Bull" Noll among the stunt riders sticking heavy drops and getting pitted at legendary places like Pipeline, Makaha and Waimea.  I'm gonna warn ya - the good stuff is intercut with some fake "blue screen" surfing, but thanks to ample legit surfing footage on gorgeous and sizable North Shore waves, they pull it off.  (Available on Netflix)

Storm Surfers, 2013
Now, I confess to becoming a bit of an anti-3D curmudgeon for most movies, but for this big wave buddy surf doc (feat. chargers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones) it totally works.  How better to display the insanity of the mutant Aussie wave, Shipsterns?  The quality of the 3D is variable (hey, a lot of this is GoPros) but the guys make the most of it by holding the stick-mounted camera behind their heads and mount it on their boards for some unprecedented POVs.  

The end is a bit of an anticlimax as they locate and surf an undiscovered wave somewhere in the Southern Ocean that while large and dangerous, doesn't compete with the earlier footage.  But the movie is full of eye-popping material, not least of which is a hilarious enactment of the happy place Ross Clarke-Jones professes to go in his imagination during heavy wipeouts.  

However, the ultimate shot in the movie for me is looking up from Ross Clarke-Jones' board-mounted camera at his face as he launches off the infamous Shippie's step, and get barreled under it as it in turn is barreled by a 25' wave.  "What could be heavier than [Teahupo'o]?" asks Matt Warshaw in Riding Giants.  If it's anything, it's this.

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