Riders on the Storm

Photographs by THOMAS CAMPBELL

It is an almost inviolable rule that Hollywood attempts at surf movies are not received well by surfers. Part of it has to do with a studio tendency toward surf tropes and clichés (“Cowabunga!” “Hang Ten!”). More of it has to do with the nature of the sport itself: it breeds localism. Not just the xenophobic, occasionally violent expressions of localism that enforce the pecking order, but, more prevalent, a fierce love of place. To learn the personality of a particular wave is to become intimate with the contours of a landscape, to map that landscape and make it yours. Surfers will say that the character of a break influences the local culture. In other words, a filmmaker who wishes to get a surf spot right by its locals has his work cut out for him.

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