Remember when watching a surf video actually required watching a video? There existed an entire process of walking through a surf shop’s doors, hovering over the glass counter and asking the guy working behind it if he’d ever seen this film or that film before finally deciding which copy to bring home with you. That was a nerve wracking experience because if you paid $15-$20 to own something that could potentially suck, well…shoot. There was no such thing as an “edit.” Athletes traveled and filmed and hopefully by the end of a few trips they’d have enough footage to contribute a couple minutes to some filmmaker’s newest project. And that was how and when we got to see Kelly or Rob or anybody else do their thing.
Needless to say it’s a tad different now. Instead of watching surf films and ski movies in my parents’ garage at night while fixing dings in my boards, doing anything I could to get pumped for the next day of surfing, I sit in front of my computer or stare at my phone or iPad for 3 minutes at a time. I (we) gawk at 15 second clips of Kelly’s .540 while guys like Matt Meola rush out to be right behind him, because before you know there will be a thousand more videos of the same thing online. So whether it’s the sheer volume of video(s) available to us now or how mind numbingly fast we can access them, it’s pretty damn impressive when any one clip gets some traction and the masses start to chatter. So here are the 7 videos that somehow managed to stand out above the rest in 2015. The results are in as we wind down the year, and these are the videos you couldn’t stop watching.
Next to JP Auclair’s street segment in All.I.Can a few years back, Candide Thovex’ P.O.V. style edit is about as cool as it’s going to get in the freestyle world. We’d normally prefer to watch Candide do his thing rather than seeing it all through the eyes of the Frenchman himself because honestly, the guy oozes style. And it makes you wonder if he has any clue just how rad his inversions and spins look to the rest of us. And yes, this video was the most watched, most popular video shared by The Inertia in 2015 – a community with its roots in surfing but a pure love for all things outdoors. Interestingly enough.
From the standpoint of the small group of people lucky enough to call this publication a “job” it was a pivotal moment and a huge learning experience – a reminder that deep down we’re all just a bunch of stoked humans with a passion for being outdoors. Just goes to show that at the end of the day, whether you’re on a board that floats with three fins, one fin, long or short, two sticks or one in the snow – great style rules all.
2.This is a Horror Movie About the Right
Spiders, heights and public speaking are probably the most common fears shared by mankind. No top lists of “common fears” has ever included “surfing the Right,” and I think that’s because the vast population of the world doesn’t actually fathom anybody in their right mind would put themselves under the lip of a wave that’s thicker than it is tall with other tiny little mutant waves inside its face waiting to eat you. So it’s pretty much an irrelevant fear, because you know, most fears are pretty rational to begin with…
Anyway, watch this if you want to have nightmares tonight. A lot of people already did in 2015. It didn’t bump the Right into any common worst fears lists around the world, but it still probably made some people pee themselves. Hooray.
3. The best reason to disqualified from a surf contest is…
The story of Martin Passeri and Nicolas Gallegos catching a wave together during a surf contest in Argentina transcended “surf news.” Reef’s story of Passeri getting disqualified for putting the paralyzed Gallegos on his back and helping him catch his first wave ever during a heat was pretty touching…only it didn’t actually happen. Kind of.
Within a couple weeks of the story’s massive circulation a statement from the Asociación de Surf Argentina disputed the fact that any of this happened during competition and that Passeri was never disqualified, he just didn’t win his heat. Passeri admitted in an email to GrindTV that it all did in fact happen in practice and he chose not to take Gallegos with him during his heat for fear of being disqualified. So that pretty much sucked all the air out of that Disney story. But on a positive not, a man got to catch his first wave. And I highly doubt the joy from that moment was faked in any way shape or form.
4. Was this the best Wedge video ever?
Just like the Right, our infatuation with the Wedge is mostly fear based. Every summer a south swell steam rolls Southern California and Newport Beach lights up like a Christmas tree. Carnage ensues. Dudes get barreled. Most of them don’t make it out. Body boarders fly through the air and land in the flats after a 20 foot drop like Macho Man Randy Savage just top roped Hulk Hogan. Jamie O’Brien visits and does something gnarly. And people probably swallow a lot of sand. At least I’m convinced you leave every Wedge beating carrying an extra two to five founds of sand in parts of your body only a TSA agent has seen. But that’s besides the fact. The point is the Wedge is fascinating, and this Labor Day weekend edit does the place justice. It’s the only way to explain why it was the 4th most watched video on The Inertia in 2015. Props, Wedge.
5. Robbie Maddison charges Teahupo’o…on a dirt bike.
Ok technically this wasn’t any different from, I don’t know, riding a jet ski at Chopes. But who asked me anyway (I did)? You might get me in the water at Teahupo’o, on a boat, in the channel someday. And by channel I mean we’re sitting so far off the shoulder that we look like that lone beginner dude on a foam board sitting 20 yards out the back, wondering why his wave never comes after four hours of waiting. Might. And lord forbid it ends up being one of those poor boats that gets caught inside on a sneaker set and can’t make it out the back in time to save myself and my five bikini clad surf groupies from a trip over the falls to visit the reef. All this to say, hate on Robbie all you want. A lot of people did when this stunt hit the internet. But you can’t take it away from a man who puts himself under that lip no matter what “water” craft he’s riding. DC’s youtube page snatched over 21 million views after posting this stunt in August. Because when the words dirt bike and Teahupo’o are put together in the same sentence you’re probably going follow whatever rabbit hole that link leads to.
6. The most tear jerking good bye of the year.
The best stories are often the ones shared with the most earnest voice. They come from a place we aren’t all too comfortable with exposing to the world, either because we don’t exercise those muscles and don’t know how to start or we’re flat out terrified of how vulnerable they make us. An example of this might be saying good bye to your best friend forever, and doing it with the whole world watching. That’s exactly what Ben Moon did this year when he released Denali, a short film about the last days and last memories with his loyal dog and friend, Denali. And the twist of telling it all from Denali’s first person perspective himself will tug at your little heart strings like nothing else.
7. If you could do it all over again…you shouldn’t.
“We tend to regard ourselves as puppets of the past. Driven along by something that is behind us.”
Loving Lanka was a short film that got our hearts beating a little faster because of the story it represented, rather than showcasing anything “high performance.” The backstory reveals that filmmaker Sebastian Linda quit his job(s), married his girlfriend, and packed it all up to celebrate with a honeymoon in Sri Lanka. Loving Lanka is simply the finished product of that roller coaster ride. It’s beautiful. To look at. To listen to. And of course to imagine having the courage to go live life the way it’s supposed to be lived yourself. Few people on this planet could pack so much inspiration into four minutes.