‘Drive-Thru’ Team Buys Rights Back To Iconic Surf Series, Plans To Start Filming In November
Benji Weatherly explains how he, Donavon Frankenreiter, Greg Browning, and Taylor Steele plan to take over America.
If you’re 25 or older and vaguely surf-obsessed, you know all about the Drive-Thru series.
The brainchild of Greg Browning, executive-produced by Tay Steele, and starring Benji Weatherly, Donavon Frankenreiter, Pat O’Connell, and a rotating cast of characters (including Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Occy, and so forth), the Drive-Thru placed an eclectic group of pro surfers in an undersized van and sent them spiraling around various continents in search of waves and the meaning of life. Sometimes they scored, other times they skunked, but no matter their findings the films were entertaining as hell.
Drive-Thru left a huge impression on many of us. Who could forget the time that Kelly stole Pat’O’s thunder at a knee-high Italian beachie by getting a slightly longer tube? Or the time Benji got in a fistfight with his surfboard in a Panamanian jungle? Best of all, when they forgot poor Rizal Tandjung at the airport, after he’d flown god-knows-how-many miles from Bali to meet the crew in Europe.
It’s moments like these that make us elated to report the Drive-Thru is coming back. I just got off the phone with one of the show’s stars and current owners, Benji Weatherly, who gave me all the details, including the unnamed studio that recently bought the rights to ‘Drive Thru’, only to quickly abscond when some of the show’s less PC themes set off their woke-meters.
Stab: Benji! Wait a minute. Do you have one of those ring-back tones from the early 2000s? The one that plays a song for the person calling you rather than a ring tone?
Benji Weatherly: Absolutely. It infuriates my friends. I assume they’re just jealous.
Of course they are. Speaking of which, tell us about the Drive-Thru 2.0. We want to know everything.
Well, where do I start? At the beginning I guess. There was a company, who I’d prefer not to name because I’m still friends with some of them, who thought it was time to bring the Drive-Thru back. So they bought the rights from Fuel TV, and then we started the process of planning for the show’s rebirth.
But the original crew saw things a little…differently from the company who bought the show. They wanted to change the whole dynamic. It was weird. It didn’t feel like us. Then I got canceled, I think, for saying something about balls in a meeting. So it all kind of went to crap.
But Greg [Browning], Donavon [Frankenreiter], Taylor [Steele], and I were all still excited about bringing the thing back to life. So we chatted with Fuel and decided to re-create our original partnership.
That’s incredible. So what’s the plan? Who’s invited?
Well you got to fit the whole Drive-Thru ethos, right? Which is like, a hundred-percent in — a Yes Man. Easygoing and able to deal with suffering in the best way possible…in front of cameras. That’s what made these trips and films so fun.
So it’s gonna be Donnie and myself as the old dogs, Greg is coming to make the film, then we’re inviting a few of the next generation of fun-guys to join us. That’ll be Parker Coffin, Eric Geiselman, and one other surfer who I can’t name yet.
Incredible. And where are you heading? Wuhan?
The trip is going to be all across America. We’ll start in Santa Cruz on November 1st with a tribute to Shawn Barney Barron. You know Barney, yeah? From there we’ll head south and surf with all the best guys from their local regions. Bobby Martinez and Conner Coffin in Santa Barbara, Tim Curran and Dane Reynolds in Ventura, etc. All the way down to San Diego.
Then after we finish California, we’re heading over to the east coast. Eric is from New Smyrna, so we’ll probably start there and surf with his brothers and friends. I think we’re meeting up with Carissa Moore over there too. Then depending on the swell, we’ll probably end up in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, or whatever looks best.
Then we’re heading to Texas. Waco for the pool, and then we’re gonna surf some weird tanker wave.
The full American surf experience! So are you guys just making it all on your dime? And where this show gonna live?
Yep, we’re fronting all the production costs. But we have some sponsors on the hook, and then we’re gonna sell the distribution to Fuel TV again. We’ve already gone full circle [laughs].
The live date for episode one is supposed to be December 30th.
What else do we need to know?
Well, I just got the look at our uniforms for this trip. You know how we always do the tracksuits? We’re going full Harlem Globetrotters this time. Stars and srtipes, baby.
Well, we can’t wait to see what comes of this. I don’t know if you know this, but we’re currently in the middle of our own road trip surf series called Stab Highway [presented by Monster Energy].
That’s awesome. I feel like Stab and the Drive-Thru are the only things that make sense in surfing right now. Everyone else is too woke or too weird. What ever happened to just whipping your balls out?
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