Watch: Quiksilver's New Film "Repeater" - Stab Mag
A really good surf film directed by Wade Carroll featuring Griffin Colapinto, Mikey Wright, Rolo Montes, Lungi Slabb, Andy Nieblas and Kael Walsh. Photo by Kim Feast.

Watch: Quiksilver’s New Film “Repeater”

Reunion Island returns, a machete-wielder gets hogtied, Mikey Wright shuts down PR, Mex and Ireland.

features // Jul 29, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s a good time to be a movie fan — over the weekend Barbenheimer harvested a combined total of $235.5 Million at the box office and Quiksilver graced us with a full-length surf film by the man who brought you Saturn (2022), Wade Carroll

My Rotten Tomatoes review of the latter: it’s one of the best team surf films in years. 

Here’s a few headline notes before we speak with Rolo Montes and Wade Carroll – who were en route to Hooters ahead of the film’s LA premiere. Fun.

  • Wade being a trusted friend of the surfers manages to capture what feels like their genuine personality (he grew up with Mikey on the South Coast and Lennox). In any account, the bond(s) between muse(s) and artist shines through and those little character-revealing moments go a long way.
  • The choice of locations is caviar: Puerto Rico, Reunion Island, West Australia, Ireland, Mexico. A mixed bag, as such, the color palette of this resembles the spoils of a Rothko/Basquiat studio demolition party. Premium hues. Wave types are similarly variegated – pits, points, ramps, reefs, wedges, whatever you call that left in Ireland…
  • This passes the girlfriend test. Ironically, the ones least invested in surf culture often make its best critics. Unlike you they aren’t oogling over the planing hulls of Ryan Burch pickleforks as they slice down a Mexican point – they’re one dull clip away from hoping back on depop – While I don’t have a girlfriend myself, I can confirm no such thing happened to those in attendance during the watching of this film. It’s tight from start to finish.
Given this is a safe space to talk surf: can we take a minute to appreciate Mikey’s Burch-assisted lines? Photo by Hayden Brosnan.

(1): Reunion Island

The city of Saint-Paul on Reunion Island is literally the farthest destination you can go to from Quiksilver’s HQ near Los Angeles (18,429kms = 23+ hours flight time).

The remoteness of Reunion Island, combined with its reputation of being the sharkiest place on Earth, has made it a sort of delicacy any time it appears in a surf film. In fact, surfing outside of designated surfing areas in Reunion Island has been illegal due to shark activity since 2013. The last fatal shark attack occurred back in 2019, so it’s been a few years. 

“We were actually meant to have Tom Jennings on water photography at La Jeteé,” said Wade Carroll, “but someone sat on the camera and broke the housing, keeping him out of the water. Looking back on it, I don’t know if we wanted him bobbing out there anyways with the sharks [laughs]”. 

Wade and Rolo told me the locals were very happy to see pro surfers out there again.

“The locals were so good to us, and they were all time. They aren’t scared of sharks at all. When all surfing was off-limits due to COVID they would go paddle out and surf at night. The lifeguards still surf at dawn every morning. It’s insane.”

All of the surfing at Reunion in the film is at La Jeteé — even the 8-foot and thumping section. The wave goes from flippy air wedge to chunky death pit as the swell grows.

Rolo on a PR fizzer. Photo by Sam Smith

For me, Reunion Island is synonymous with Kai Neville’s Modern Collective (2009). The airs being done at La Jeteé combined with Craig Anderson surfing the left point, St. Leu to techno music is seared into my pre-teen psyche.

Le Jeteé was elaborated on The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen with Ryan Miller – where he filmed a section for Kai Neville’s 2012 film Bending Colours — one year before surfing was made “illegal” in certain areas of Reunion, striking fear into the surf world and visiting pros (though it was sort of a misnomer — you could still surf).

While Eli Beukes, Luke Slijipen and a handful of others have returned in the interim, Repeater truly brings Reunion Island back into professional surfing’s limelight.

Before this year, Fingal Head resident Lungi Slabb had never been overseas. Then Quik sent him to Puerto Rico, USA and Mex to get some stamps inked in his passport. Photo by Nat Johnsen

(2) Literal and Figurative Machetes in Mexico

In the mainland Mexico portion of the film, Mikey Wright and newcomer Lungi Slabb (best name in surfing?) trade-off waves on a Ryan Burch asymmetrical board. When I think Mikey Wright I usually think of high-performance thrusters, mullets, angry carves, testosterone, and #69 WSL jerseys. 

The Mikey we see in this movie is a Ryan Burch-fueled fluid, serene, calm, but still all-powerful Mikey. Mikey is a new dad and, apparently, he planned most of these trips, paid filmers, and held everyone’s proverbial passports as he led them single file, dad-mode, through airports. 

“The funny thing about Mikey is that he basically doesn’t surf unless he needs to,” explains Wade. “When he’s home he’s pretty much just hunting and fishing. He’s that good he can get the job done in a few sessions, and basically not surf at all in between.”

Cut from a different cloth all-Wright (sorry).

Mikey had dislocated his hip ten days prior to Puerto Rico and Rolo was nursing the wounds of a broken scapula from an injury sustained at PR’s version of Backdoor. The two putting on a brave face. Photo by Sam Smith.

Rolo also surfs a self-shaped board in this section extremely well. Maybe even better after “goo-ing it back together with resin and dowels. It worked just as well as it did before breaking,” he laughs. 

The main highlight, however, is a seemingly deranged man threatening the crew with a machete.

“Yeah, that was the nephew of the owner of the ranch. Poor guy was probably on drugs but kept threatening the surfers and guides who were there,” Rolo said, “The guides called the owner and he said to do whatever it takes to subdue him. Our guide ended up tackling him. He wrangles gators so he probably just treated it like a gator [laughs]. They hog-tied him and threw him in the back of a truck and took him away to who knows where.”

The promised lands… Photo by Sam Smith.

Griff’s Quik Debut

This is Griffin Colapinto’s first starring role in a Quik film since changing sponsorships. His section is in West Aus, right in between getting 2nd at Margaret River and 1st at the Surf Ranch. 

Quik initially weren’t keen on filming in WA after Idiot Box, but between its reliability and Griffin’s tour schedule, they were sucked right back.

“Griffin fits so well with all the other guys on the team,” Wade says, “on this trip he was relaxed after a good result at Margies and was still going big.”

I asked Wade why Kanoa didn’t make an appearance in this and he explained that it’s just so hard to get CT surfers to join these trips and that he would love to book Kanoa in the next one. 

Pound it, west side (of Oz). Photo by Ryan Heywood.

Honorable Mentions

Track selection was great. Wade (whose Whatsapp profile picture is Jimi Hendrix) said that when he is picking music for a film he’ll save a song as it comes and then painstakingly choose which ones to include. Wade also ran into a few snags with music licensing, but the songs he got are unique and work with the thrash-grunge-noir-core aura. 

Alex Knost is missed – cool to see him mesh with a guy like Mikey. It was the first time they’d met and the two hit it off. Al was tripping that Mike is a normal, generous bloke despite his online appearance.

If Andy Nieblas popped his Cheshire Cat grin behind a window as you were being detained by your Principal – you’d explode in giggles. The switch tube was amazing.

ISA World Champ Alan Cleland is alpha — big chains, big airs, big tubes, big talent. Supposedly, he is just comfortable wherever he goes and radiates swami energy.

Kael Walsh deserved his Bitcoin. 

Kael, mogul run. Photo by Kim Feast.

Hook it up to your big screen and enjoy yourself some Grade-A surf cinema.


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