With everything to do and little time to do it in, Rob has managed to fit another serial into the Surf Report’s posting paradigm. Surf Movie Sunday is a limited serial that introduces and reviews a different surf movie with each post.
Lightbox Pictures brings us a documentary shot in 2010 of twin Aussie surfers who travel the African coast looking for places to surf. Their motivation is simple: the beaches of Australia can be crowded with tourists, and sometimes surfing there can be a hassle. So they drove all the way down Africa’s west coast, from Morocco through Western Sahara, Senegal, Liberia, Angola, Namibia, and ending in South Africa.
There they find plenty of great waves, isolated areas where they can surf uncluttered waters.
In some ways the film feels like The Endless Summer, only it’s not like that; it has its own charm with its serious socio-political undertone. Narrated by one of the twins, he tells of how their travels down the African coast opens their eyes to the political situations at play in those countries – the military tensions, the poverty. He points out that people in Africa don’t surf, which I think is sad – they have so much viable coastline, but they’re too busy just living and surviving to really enjoy it.
I won’t sit through some boring documentary, I just have to put that out there. We watched about ten or fifteen minutes of Charlie Don’t Surf before we decided to switch gears – we have to be interested in what we’re watching, after all. This was definitely a good movie, and I would watch it again. It clocks in at under an hour, so it doesn’t waste any time. These guys went to surf and they came away with a much larger understanding of the world and how it works. I love that, I wish I could get more of that in my life. It also has a fantastic soundtrack featuring Radical Face, and the wife wanted to make sure that I mentioned that. The music was very good.
And you don’t need to take it just from me – this movie has won five awards in different surf movie festivals, for best film, best soundtrack, etc. You won’t find this movie listed on IMDB, but you could head over to their site –> Thirty Thousand: A Surfing Odyssey from Casablanca to Capetown <– where you can watch the trailer, see their awards and buy the DVD.
I give this movie . . .
FIVE SURFS UP!
Not every surf movie is going to get a five, but we happened to luck our way into two in a row, didn’t we? It’s probably due to a combination of the cinematic quality of the footage – it’s not a montage of news footage and sound bytes like some surf docs are – the soundtrack, and the inside look at the real world issues they encounter. I really enjoyed watching the way they surf; they’ll catch a wave, stand on the board, and start walking the nose as a way to maneuver the board up and down the face of the wave. They’re not shooting tubes, but doing the everyday surf. Plus the length is perfect – it’s not trying to force the traditional ninety-plus-minute film-length format.
Where to get it:
Right now this film is available on Hulu, and I think that’s it. Searching on other services gets something akin to a bewildered shrug. So you can watch it on your computer for free, stream it to your devices if you pay for Hulu+, or you can purchase the DVD on the basis of this glowing review and five surf festival awards.