'Wild Goat Surf' Paints a Stunning Portrait of Growing Pains

Directed by Caitlyn Sponheimer

Starring Shayelin Martin, Leandro Guedes, Caitlyn Sponheimer, Dyllon Burnside

Photo courtesy of Vortex Media

BY Holly HuntPublished Jun 17, 2024


A momentous directorial debut for Caitlyn Sponheimer, Wild Goat Surf is a formidable force of filmmaking. A tender and heartwarming exploration into adolescence and self-discovery, the film follows skateboarding-obsessed Goat (Shayelin Martin) as she spends her summer days in a British Columbia trailer park. Lamenting over her father's passing, Goat becomes increasingly engrossed with the idea of becoming a surfer, just like her father.

What makes this film so special is the melancholic and beautiful cinematography by Joseph Schweers that immediately reels audiences in. Every shot could be a stand-alone portrait, photograph or picture. So masterfully captured, Wild Goat Surf possesses an alluring, spellbinding quality, making it difficult not to gaze in awe. Schweers's work has the ability to capture beautiful images and moments in such a way as to establish a tone of authenticity within the film. Wild Goat Surf reignited my long-lost passion for skateboarding just through the beguiling cinematography alone.

Equally as captivating is the heart-wrenching and touching story that underpins the cinematography. Sponheimer, who serves as writer and director, expertly conducts a forensic study on growing pains and finding your passion in your youth. The filmmaker paints Goat as a wonderfully complex outsider who strives to be different in a world that presumes skateboarding belongs to the boys. Shayelin Martin's performance is nothing short of spectacular, bringing so much nuance to the character of Goat, making her all the more endearing.

What begins as a film centred on the pains of youth and everything entwined in that process matures into a film about overcoming bereavement. The script is littered with myriad memorable lines that bounced around my mind long after hearing them. The film confronts the uncomfortable, hard-hitting quandaries of grief in a way that encourages heartbreaking compassion for both Goat and her mother (played by Sponheimer).

A deeply realistic and poignant portrayal of navigating the loss of someone special, Wild Goat Surf materializes as a meticulously written and captivatingly shot film that resonates long after the credits have finished rolling.

(Vortex Media)

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