Benjamin Jeanjean, Oh Dawn, Elisa Routa and others explain how the days of crass board graphics may be over.

Benjamin Jeanjean, Oh Dawn, Elisa Routa and others explain how the days of crass board graphics may be over.

At the beginning of the short film Counterculture German illustrator Andreas Klammt says that in areas where there is less surf, surfers feel the need to create things around the topic of surfing “just to keep in contact”.

It’s an interesting premise and one that is explored at length in this thoughtful documentary made by Hamburg-founded collective Cyan – a team of artists, designers, photographers and writers connected by surfing, of which Klammt is a member.

The filmmakers catch up with five creative surfers – photographer César Ancelle Hansen, shaper Angelo De Meulenaere, writer Elisa Routa, lifestyle brand Oh Dawn and fine artist Benjamin Jeanjean – and challenge them to interrogate the crossover in their passions.

One overarching feeling is that the ‘surf art’ boom of the ’90s and 2000s – where surfing’s relationship with creativity was exploited by the industry’s rapacious appetite for shit it could sell to hibiscus-eyed consumers – has pigeonholed and ghettoised the community into non-existence.

What’s emerged out of those board-graphic ashes is a new generation of non-brand crazy creatives that are much more nuanced about the connection between their art and their surfing. The impulses might be similar, they seem to say, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a palm tree at every turn. And if there is, it’s simply to evoke a feeling, and not sell a T-shirt.

Cyan hosted their first exhibition in Hamburg earlier this month. Check out their Facebook for more information.