Come for the Coconuts, Stay for the Sapphire Wedges
Preview: Dylan Graves’ guide through surfing’s electric blue paradise – the Caribbean.
“There’s nowhere I’d rather surf than home when it’s good,” Dylan Graves told me, a few weeks ago. “I’m sure that’s true for most people, but in Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean in general, the waves are good enough that people would travel pretty far to come surf here.”
That’s why, in between last year’s Hurricane Matthew and this week’s Irma, Dylan invited his long-time friends and team members – Dane G, Pat G, and Wade Goodall – to his archipelagic homestead to sample the Caribbean’s robust flavours. Over the span of two trips, Dyl and his pals found waves that, while not as “perfect” as Indo or the South Pacific, offered ample opportunities for fun and imaginative surfing. They brought their friend Dave (Malcolm) along to film and, after some garage-side ingenuity, came up with Vans’ newest and bluest film: Greetings (which will be playing here, exclusively, in 24 hours’ time.)
From Stab’s POV, this film achieves something so simple, yet so overlooked in modern surf cinematography: it makes you want to surf. Or, if you happen to be located somewhere frigid, it makes you want to fly to the tropics and then surf, which is never a bad decision. In this eleven-minute flick, the riding is lively, the waves are enticing, and the vibes are off well and truly the Richter scale. We’re calling it the feel-good flick of 2017.
But let’s hear more about Greetings, from Dylan himself:
What would you say is the theme of this film?
Greetings is a short film, shot all in the Caribbean, between the islands of Puerto Rico, Tortola, and Barbados. Vans was trying to do something unique with this clip, and Dane had the idea of doing a postcard theme, so the film is centered around not only surfing but also these fun little Caribbean anecdotes.
Toxic blue barrels over ivory sands -- is there anything more alluring in surf?
What does the Caribbean mean to you as a person and as a surfer?
The Caribbean is the reason I’m where I am today. Growing up in Puerto Rico, my first surf trips were to some of the nearby islands – it’s not a far flight to any of ‘em, but you feel like you went to this faraway land because each island is so diverse. From different languages to landscapes and waves, each island is truly unique.
Greetings, from the trenches.
The Caribbean (in this movie in particular) seems to have a lot of “novelty” waves. Is that one of your favorite parts about surfing at home?
I think everybody seems to have some soft spot for weird waves or novelty waves in their hometown. It’s like, “This wave was doing it on this day” and it’s cool how that froth brings people together. One of my favorite waves at home (as featured in Greetings) is this little right that wedges super hard off a rock. It’s not a great wave, but it has its days, and I enjoy surfing there more than almost anywhere.
If the Caribbean had a color scheme, it would be fluoro.
Do you have a favorite location from the trip?
I loved going to Barbados, it had been a few years since I’d been. Barbados was actually my first surf trip ever outside of PR, so there were definitely some moments of nostalgia going down.
By proclaiming he wants viewers to, “Grab destiny by the horns and say, ‘Give me everything you got, motherfucker!’” we assume Dylan wants us to tag a section that looks like this.
How long did it take you to do all the extra-curricular stuff for this film? (Stop-motion, animation, music, etc.)
For the stop motion and animation, we did three separate days of printing, mapping out our ideas, and filming them in a kiddie pool in our garage. It was pretty dorky actually, just full-grown men playing with toys, filming in their garage [laughs].
Dave (Malcolm) and I actually made a couple of the songs in the film, and that happened over the course of a few months. We were really motivated to try to score as many songs as we could, but after listening to enough of our shitty Nintendo sounds, we realized how limited we are as musicians, so we settled on just two.
In the heat of the day, a Caribbean tarmac may exceed the boiling point of human skin. Dane G ain’t got no haole feet!
What keeps you motivated to surf on a daily basis, if not a giant trophy?
Each project I work on presents a new challenge, a new puzzle… I’ve grown to love working on these puzzles, especially when friends are involved, or with new friends. It’s all fun!
Sometimes a “novelty” wave has to remind you of its legitimacy.
What do you hope for this movie to portray in the eyes of the viewer?
I hope it inspires the viewer to turn around slowly, tip his hat… like so... and with one casual glance around the room, decide it’s time to grab destiny by the horns and say “Give me everything you got, motherfucker!”
The clip drops in 24. Don’t forget your rum drink.