Published Jun 27, 2013As the sport of surfing has progressed, so has the ability to capture the majesty of catching a wave on film. While the advent of jet skies meant the conquering of bigger waves, the 3D treatment and putting cameras into the hands and onto the boards of surfers have led to a uniquely immersive experience in Storm Surfers 3D. Short of actually wading out into any treacherous big breaks, this is the closest you can get to the exhilarating feeling of riding inside the barrel of a massive swell.
The film follows Australian surfing legends Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones as they trek to different prime spots during the winter storm season near their home country. To this end, an invaluable asset is surf forecaster Ben Matson, who carefully studies various radar patterns and then predicts where to the best conditions for tackling giant waves will occur.
Carroll (a father to three girls, who's been seriously injured in his past) is the more pragmatic of the two, while Clarke-Johnson is clearly a big kid who has succeeded in never growing up. Venturing to little-known areas that, in some cases, have never been surfed before, they support and root for each other while out in the water and bust each other's balls like the best of friends when back on land.
The third entry in the Storm Surfers series from directors Justin McMillan and Christopher Nelius, this one benefits greatly from the added dimension. Especially effective at placing the viewer directly into the depths of the ocean, there are moments where the technology is employed in such a way that water striking the camera almost convinces you that you're about to get wet.
The times between expeditions can't help but feel a little less exciting by comparison. Fortunately, the genial personalities of Carroll and Clarke-Johnson are inspiring in how they're able to maintain such an extreme quality of life while approaching the age of 50. Joined along the way by fellow surfers Paul Morgan and Paul "Antman" Paterson, it's evident they're not alone in the lengths they will go to chase their passion.
As things continue to change, there will undoubtedly be other secret spots uncovered (by Matson or someone else) and new unfathomably large waves to be conquered. The only uncertainty is what kind of virtual reality will need to be unveiled if the film world hopes to keep pace. (Films We Like)