"Luke Grifo Is A Hustler" - Stab Mag

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“Luke Grifo Is A Hustler”

Watch ‘Ironically Hot’ — a film envisioned by Former’s newest acquisition.

cinema // Jan 9, 2024
Words by Holden Trnka & Isa Darisay
Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Luke Grifo is a hustler,” Stace Galbraith recently chuckled to me. “I’m not worried about him.”

And it’s true. 

Over the course of my friendship with the 21-year-old Kiwi, I’ve watched him navigate the maddening world of Adobe Premiere and motion graphics to create a handful of enjoyable films — all while politely catching about 80-90 waves a session.

You can watch his previous long form project, Champagne Sorbet, here.

“I knew Grifo could surf, but filming him is an absolute pleasure, he gets so many clips,” filmmaker Jonah Saffran said to me. “He’s so friendly from the second you meet him as well.”

This demeanor, paired with his laconic style and backside blowtails, caught the attention of Dane Reynolds and the Former crew, who slapped a sticker on the recent Gold Coast resident’s nose about a year ago.

Since then, he’s been working on a few projects. The latest — a continuation of his Champagne Sorbet label — is titled Ironically Hot and is available above.

It features a blend of Australians and Kiwis — including Quiksilver’s talented new signing Kainaya Webb and Micah Margieson, heir to the Cabarita throne.

Read below for a Q&A with Luke by our friend Isa Darisay.

Stab: What or who initially sparked your desire to make personal projects and create Champagne Sorbet? 

Luke: I just enjoyed making videos with my friends and the more I did it, it kind of just evolved into trying out a longer length project. There was also this feeling of like everyone’s the same person in surfing nowadays. I got sick of seeing Travis Scott put on reels and everyone being so clean cut. So I kind of just wanted to create this raw, funny, personable video.

So are you the ringleader, or is this a team effort in regards to filming, editing and producing?

A lot of my friends get behind it. We all source clips from stuff we haven’t used before or want to use but don’t know where to put it, but I’d say I do a lot of the editing. For this movie though, a few of my mates edited their own parts which was cool to all have our own twist and creative freedom in it.

Where do you take inspiration from when thinking about the visuals and overall look of the movie?

Watching heaps of skate videos actually got me into editing, cause skate videos are way cooler than surf videos. I reckon they’ve got more personality. But I do really like “Lost in Thought” by Hunter Martinez. There were no sponsors backing it — there was a rawness to it that I try to emulate.

How did the name Ironically Hot come about?

I saw this chick in the supermarket wearing a shirt that said ‘Ironically Hot’ and thought it was fucking hilarious. I immediately stopped and put it in my notes. There’s not much thought into these names, like I got Champagne Sorbet from scrolling through fonts and it was, god, the ugliest fucking font. But I thought the name of it sounded so fucking cool.

How long had this been in the works?

We started when I moved to Australia in April earlier this year. So about seven months. It was a pretty natural thing because we all surf together anyways and we’ve got two filmers that are real good buddies of ours.

How’d you meet Kanaiya?

Getting to know Kanaiya was funny. He’s the grom of the group. When I first started surfing with him he was super shy but I cracked him after a couple weeks and he’s the coolest dude. Now every time we surf D-Bah, he buys a 12-pack of donuts, legit every time, and hammers the whole thing. Then calls me 2 hours later telling me ‘I’m not feeling too good ay’. Like obviously you fuckin’ idiot. Such a funny kid and he rips. Definitely someone to look out for.

Where’s everyone from again?

NZ: Will, Rory, Biz, Elliot and myself. 

Aus: Blake, Micah, Kenta, Seb, Coco, and Kyuss.

What makes this movie what it is? 

I think the intros and outros for each part are the best because it shows the personality of every person. It’s cool to showcase who my friends actually are along with their surfing. Like you can watch a surf video and be like, ‘Well yea, this guy shreds but what is he actually like?’

What is your biggest goal you keep in mind when creating these films?

The ultimate goal I’d say is just having fun with it. As long as you’re having fun, something good will come out of it. And just making stuff people enjoy and still think about after they’ve seen it. Like how good is it when someone on the street or something comes up to you and says, ‘ah your movie was so sick!’

How do you think this movie has evolved since your first project, if at all?

I would say the editing is a lot cleaner and the production leveled up because the cameras we used were a lot nicer. We had more diversity in the waves we surfed, the places we went, and the overall surfing is more exciting.

What’s your personal favorite part of the film?

I really like Blake’s part mainly because he was being real self-conscious saying, ‘I should use an actual surfing song’ like The Cure or some shit. It was just sick that he was being original and chose different music that he actually listens to and fits him.

What was the funnest part about making this?

I mean the surfing is pretty fun, but just talking shit and traveling around the country with my mates was the best for sure.

What was the worst part?

Getting all my friends to send me their clips because they’re that fucking hopeless.

Any long term goals or anything you hope to come out of this film?

Just creating fun stuff for people to watch is the main goal and getting out of the norm of reels and vlogs. It’s not really a brand or a sponsored thing, but I’m hoping it becomes something bigger.

I want to inspire the younger generation to get after whatever they want and not feel like they have to rely on bigger companies to make it happen. Unless you’re gonna be the next best free surfer or comp surfer, you’re not gonna get backed that hard. It’s can be really rewarding doing it on your own. Sometimes you can achieve a whole lot more, and it feels good knowing you can do whatever you want

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