A 'Classic' Surfing video is a difference of opinion but sometimes there are surfing videos that stand out as a 'Classic'! Endless Summer, Morning of the Earth, Crystal Voyager and Free Ride stand out as Classics in the surfing world. They captured a point in time where surfing, surf travel, surf board design, music and videography were evolving. This would enable the viewer an opportunity to visualise surfing in a different way, providing an experience that would capture their attention and allow them to absorb all that they were seeing and bring them closer to the feeling the surfers in the film were experiencing.
I was pretty young when I first saw these films and there were others of the same period that I had seen before that my dad had on tape but it wasn't until I was older that I really appreciated them. Having watched these films at different stages in life you start to realise how surfing evolved with different board designs, manoeuvres, style and the type of waves being surfed! My dad Barry started surfing in the mid 60's so I'd see photos of him and his friends and hear the stories about his time surfing around North Cornwall and Bantham during the 60's and 70's.
My Dad at Bantham in the late 60's
Style is a huge part of surfing and there were so many stylish surfers of the late 60's into mid 70's. The thing that struck me was the way they surfed these bigger, heavier boards with single fins or as twinny's and drew their speed and lines with fluidity and power. Terry Fitzgerald, Nat Young, Rabbit Bartholomew, Mark Richards, Shaun Thomson, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Larry Bertlemann to name the ones that stood out to me because as surfboards were getting shorter and more dynamic they pushed the level of high performance surfing and their styles made them stand out.
Watching these films at a young age I believe I absorbed what I was viewing subliminally and they had a passing influence on a younger version of me. But it wasn't until I was older, in my late teens, that as I watched these films, I took in what I was seeing with a more conscious regard. I was hanging out with friends, who were older than me, around Constantine bay in North Cornwall and we would sit on the sofa watching these videos on days when there wasn't much surf or we were just chillin' in the early evening before our evening antics. These films had a huge influence on us because we had an admiration for the filming techniques, the surfboards, the different styles and the music. The evolution of our own unique surfing styles stemmed from watching these 'Classics' and gave us the vision to surf the way we did and start being involved in other passions including music and film.
Me at Bantham. Pic: Spike Chambers
Surfing with friends who had the same appreciation for style gave me a more three dimensional insight into how I wanted to surf. I could incorporate what I had watched in a film into my surfing and then while I was with my friends I could create my own unique style. I had a lot of good surfers to look up to and being the younger, skinnier grom I had to work hard because there was a very tight knit group of good surfers and I had to try and establish myself within the pack.
Me at Bantham. Pic: Spike Chambers
From experiencing different surf films with surfers and their styles being portrayed to being in a position where I was surfing within a group of people with a mixture of styles and characters gave me a huge melting pot of ideas to draw from, and in turn, come up with my own style of surfing. There were so many influences I had growing up and I was lucky because of where I surfed but also because I had the desire to surf the way I do and I was always watching surfers I looked up to so I could watch, appreciate what they were doing and learn for myself.
Part 3 will look at surf films and the changes that have taken place.
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