Watch Harry Bryant and Co Whipping in at 60Kmph on the World's Best Foamies
When it came to showcasing the latest batch of the most unlikely of trending surf items (the mindlessly entertaining foamie) we knew a few artsy snaps of surfers cruising stylishly down the line wasn’t going to cut it.
Surfing foamies is just about as much fun as you can have whilst still clothed, but they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing objects. Our solution was to employ Dan Scott (Port Macquarie-based film savant and certified surf operator) to round-up a gaggle of accomplished flyboys, collect a car full of the latest soft surf offerings, call a mate with a jet ski, whip our heroes as fast as they could at a smattering of beachbreak peaks and see what happened. What ensued was, in Dan’s words, “Absolute carnage,” and “One of the most hilarious shoots I’ve ever been involved with.”
Lewie Dunn, big board, big wave facials.
Seeing as the water on the east coast of Australia was nudging the low 20s, we decided to combine our soft craft curation with a sartorial look at the season’s best wetsuit vests, and packed a box of rubber into Dan’s car for good measure. The crash test dummies we employed for this unique mission were Port Mac style lord (and all around good guy) Benny Howard, Benny’s best mate from up the coast in Crescent Head (and one of the trickiest surfers in Oz) Robbie Pugh, and laugh-a-minute Novocastrian (and beautiful surfer in his own right) Lewie Dunn. As chance would have it permanent bowl-cut wearing fun boy Harry Bryant was driving up the coast on route to relocating his transient existence to Noosa with his girlfriend, so he met the gang in Newcastle and thus began three days of mach ten whips and endless belly laughs.
Benny Howard, harnessing the horsepower in style.
“It was crazy,” says lensman Dan. “The boys whipped for two straight days, and by the end all their arms were shaking,” he laughs. “They literally couldn’t pick anything up for two days afterwards.” Now as a don’t try this at home style disclaimer, let us preface tales of professional surfers behaving recklessly by saying that, clearly, foamies aren’t really designed for being towed at beachbreaks at speeds of up to 60kms an hour. All four of our surfers are/were consulate professionals (ahem), and all measures were taken to ensure their safety.
Haz varials on his sig Catch surf.
“Probably the one where Harry and Dunni got whipped in on a 7ft finless Catch Surf,” Dan tells me when I ask for his personal highlight of the few days behind the lens. “Harry was standing on Lewie’s back and then fell on him, then half of his body was in the water and half still on the board. He somehow managed to dip his arm in the water and use it like a rubber to steer them down the line.” I ask how finless foamies behave when skimming across the surface with far more horsepower than they’re designed to harness, and he tells me that they either “glide perfectly” or “spin out of control and buck their pilots into the stratosphere.”
Benny hailing a whip punt that would've made the pages of a magazine not too long ago.
I wasn’t on deck for the show, unfortunately, but was partial to the correspondence that led up to our little experiment. I noted one email that stated that the boards were required back at SurfStitch Hq post shoot, and remember wondering what sort of state the crafts would be in after three days of being used exactly how they weren’t designed to be used. “Ah..I dropped them to Surfstitch and kinda just apologised,” Dan tells me sheepishly. “You know when they use crash test dummies to test airbags? Well it was a similar scene. But to be honest considering what they went through most of them held up surprisingly well. But It was definitely one of my favourite shoots I’ve ever done. I was literally cracking up laughing whilst trying to film, which is actually quite difficult.” Three days of whips, sore arms, a car full of weathered foamies and big smiles all ‘round: mission accomplished.
Safer car park (or bowlo green) duels are another advantage to keeping it soft.