In 2010, surf filmmaker Taylor Steele came up with an idea: Independent filmmakers composing their own vision of the perfect surf clip. Their people, their places, their styles — let viewers vote on who’s best — winner gets $100,000.
Any filmmaker/surfer duo could submit their creation — it was like the Oklahoma land rush but for surfing videos instead of federally confiscated land.
Last year’s winner was the unknown 21-year-old from Maui, Matt Meola. Filmed and directed by Elliot Leboe of ACL Digital Cinema.
Now, as it turns out, Matt Meola was who I voted for last year. Most of it had to do with a Maui bias but nonetheless, it proves I’m in-tune when it comes to surf clips. This year, I’ve developed a 5-part criteria to guide my TMF-sponsored vote.
1. Song: Subjective? Irrelevant? Unfair? Sure — those are all valid assertions. But you need to take a listen before you watch a surf clip for this reason: No matter how rad a clip may be, a bad song can ruin it. A good song, however, makes you want to watch the clip over and over again.
2. Location/Waves: Everyone who watches a surf clip needs to be wowed. You want them to ask, “Where is that!?!”
3. Surfer/Maneuvers: These days, guys do stuff in surf videos that’s just stupid (stupid meaning “How the fuck can he do that?”; in reality, they land those back-flip aerials once every 4 or 5 tries, if that). A good surf clip needs a mixture of rights and lefts, cutbacks, barrel rides, and grommet-style airs to show the spectrum of the surfer’s abilities. You also need a few crashes, busts, wipe-outs, etc. to show the size of the surfer’s balls.
4. Production: This involves camera angles, editing, cut-aways, special effects, and a whole lot of other shit I don’t know about because I’m not a film guy (although I’m TMF’s unofficial Hollywood film critic). The main thing here is the production should be impressive, bu it shouldn’t infringe on the surfing.
5. Skit: If they try to fit a skit in there, it better be damn funny or damn meaningful. It’s usually not worth the risk – hokey surf humor is something of the past.
So who were my favorites?
Harley Ingleby — Longboard, shortboard, wooden board, whatever. Ingleby took a fresh approach, proving he can rip on any board you hand him. Song “Sail” by Awolnation.
Hank Gaskell — Maui bias? Yeah. But his clip also reminds me of my favorite thing: surfing fast waves on sunny days in clear blue water. Song “Don’t Move” by Phantogram.
Peter Devries — A finalist last year, Devries is one of the best again. What’s the difference with Devries? He does 360 airs wearing a 6:4 wetsuit at breaks you’ve never heard of in Canada. Song “Avec Mes Mecs” by Humans.
Directed by Jeremy Koreski.
TMF’S 2011 INNERSCTION VOTE GOES TO PETER DEVRIES OF TOFINO, BRITISH COLUMBIA. PAY THE MAN HIS $100,000.
Check out Devries’ clip from last year:
Peter Devries’ 2010 Innersection clip.