Please don’t go and see Storm Surfers:3D. Honestly. Just don’t bother. I’m asking you as a favour. Because I love surfing, and living where I do, it’s already nigh-on impossible for a hopeless grom like me to get a wave.
And if you see this film, you’ll be utterly and completely transfixed with the power, majesty and humbling beauty of the ocean, and you’ll go and buy a twelve foot softboard and then you’ll be out there helping to turn what ought to be a magical and soulful experience into the sporting equivalent of visiting an Ikea car park on a bank holiday. I know.
Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned…
I’d briefly met Ross Clarke-Jones shortly before the film started, and I’d seen Tom Carroll in the foyer, surrounded by crowds – these guys are heroic figure to many surfers. Despite this, during some of the tenser moments in the film – the wipe-outs and terrifying hold-downs under tonnes of water, I was convinced that they had eaten their last faceful of sea, that I had literally watched someone die on screen.
It’s a testament to the film that my rational mind was side-swiped by the intensity: it seemed impossible that anyone could recover from a few of those falls.
So immersive (see what I did there?) and compelling is the 3D film that I was on the edge of my seat throughout; it feels as though these monster waves are breaking directly onto your head.
As the film began, the woman I was sitting next to leaned over to me and whispered “I’m sorry in advance for the swearing.” In the event, she and I often blurted obscenities in unison and she said afterwards, “I see my apology wasn’t really needed.” And in between the gasping and the nail biting, the kind of dorky adolescent banter between Carroll, Clarke-Jones and Swellnet’s Ben Matson provided genuine comic relief.
But the most amazing part was the sea. It was the star, never the backdrop. I’m afraid I could watch wave porn all day and this served it up, in huge, gorgeous, glassy swathes of green.
At the end, my colleagues and I hugged. We’re not, generally, huggers. But we felt as bonded as though we’d been through an adventure together.
All the things I love about surfing were there, including the joshing and piss-taking and occasional competitive subtext. And of course it’s funny and sort of charming to watch two grown men acting like children; that’s the exhilarating thing about the ocean: all of your ego and nonsense is set at nought, and you’re a vulnerable babe in the arms of the sea.
So don’t go. Do me a favour and go watch Ted instead – it’s also partly Australian made, acceptably funny (apart from the frankly baffling one dimensional female characters: women as perceived by your 12 year old nephew) and it won’t ruin my life if you get really into sweary stuffed toys as a result.
Vaya con dios, brah.