The Surf Film That (Almost) Never Was - Stab Mag
Frodo and Bilbo leaving the Shire? Not quite.

The Surf Film That (Almost) Never Was

Benjamin Howard, Tito Lavole, and Jai Walsh take us back in time.

elsewhere // Aug 25, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

This film feels like a distant, glowing memory. Like a warm blanket of nostalgia, sewn from sessions past.

Probably because that’s exactly what it is.

FIlmed before the COVID lockdowns, and then perpetually postponed, Debris Hill almost never saw the light of day. 

Filmmaker Yentl Touboul explains:

In 2019, Tito Lavole and I flew to Indonesia to start gathering clips, and I followed him back to his new home on the South Coast of NSW—a place I’d been dreaming of visiting forever.

That’s where I met Benjamin Howard. Benny had been one of my favorite surfers, and after spending a few weeks together he quickly became a great friend. 

Along with Jai Walsh, the three of us drove around the state for a few weeks. I then had to fly back to Europe.

The plan was to organize other team trips in 2020 in order to get enough footage to finish the video, but Covid cut these plans short. The project basically slept on a hard-drive for two years. 

I was facing a wall and felt like the film was headed straight to the bin. With the footage slowly aging, and Tito signing for Misfit, I was considering calling it.

Ultimately, it felt stupid to not share what I feel is good surfing and fun memories.

Our Australian filmmaker friends ended up coming to the rescue with some newer clips, so I was able to drag the project out of the forgotten and turn it into something that (hopefully) makes sense.

Benny, in the belly of the beast.

Playfully technical surfing, portrayed in an authentic way? Makes sense to us.

Flickering between feel good tunes and softer, melodic motifs, this edit is easy viewing. It has just the right amount of B-roll to entertain without losing engagement, which seems to be a rare balance in independent film-making.

Debris Hill feels like yet another evolution in Mr. Touboul’s impressive portfolio, and we could watch it a hundred times over.

Click above for some memories soaked in saltwater, a handful of slabs, and a whole lot of lefts.


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