Don't Call it Hipster: a new wave of surf movies redefine the visual language

Don't Call it Hipster: a new wave of surf movies redefine the visual language

New moves, new aesthetics — There's a cut'n'paste cacophony from Newport Beach to Noosa.

Surfing is getting ridiculous. The more the masses delve deep and paddle out, ruining your horizons with their aesthetic choices and the horrible sound of chop on the underside of their epoxy SUPs, the more the vanguard keeps pushing things.

There was a time when it was a legitimate attitude to hate on proto-aerialists. A generation of salty cruisers saw a wave as something to nestle into all intimate-like as long as possible, pulling in and getting sexual with the curl and connecting any section with either a float or a sideslip or an an ass-wiggling nose-hopping hip-pump shuffle boogie, depending on the volume to four chosen craft.

But for a whole generation now kids have not only been hucking airs out of the wave’s womb, they’ve making them and reverting them and shuvving them all over the place. It’s time to make a capitulation and acknowledge that just because YOU can’t make them, they aren’t the present and future of performance surfing.

And along with this vanguard of out-the-lip wave riding there’s a whole cacophony of media out there that has been accompanying the new aesthetic. It doesn’t take long out there to come across a whole new generation of kids, especially in Southern California, who are taking those super hi-def, super wound up cameras and finding a new language. There once was a spectrum of ways of doing a surf movie that ranged from thrash and burn skate-rooted destructo-metal to soul daddy flow preaching that reeked of resin tints and second hand patchouli – but now there’s a way of doing film for everyone.

And the kids turning their lenses on the new generation are mixing up the tech as well as the textures to reflect the analogue versus digi – flow versus thrash, air versus barrel way of blethering the syntax of surf. What’s interesting too, is the way that the mainstream surf industry – never traditionally the most forward thinking or media savvy crew of antipodean small town boys – have been collaborating, distributing and helping to fund  films across the web and in theatres too.

Sure, some of the clichés that made the ancien regime of the mainstream surf movie so dull are hanging in there. Especially the one about girl surfers having nice asses and young surfer kids flipping the bird at every opportunity. But for an imagined cult that pretends it lives on the beach and that trades mostly in board shorts and bikinis that’s hardly surprising. Notice we haven’t mentioned the H-word here. And I refuse to because it’s so predictable that this new generation of surf culture would be branded by the demotic derogatory.

If there’s a common thread in these new productions it’s a kind of whacked out neo-pyschedelia that’s as far from Morning Of The Earth as it’s possible to be.

Don’t call it hipster. Call it refreshing.

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