These Are the Best Surf Films of 2021
According to our Stab Surfer of the Year participants.
It was apparent early on that the Best Film would be between Kolohe Andino’s COVID-opus, Reckless Isolation, and Logan “Chucky” Dulien’s high-octane surf flick, Snapt4. Quite frankly, they were the two most anticipated and best-marketed films of the year. Although, they took very different approaches in how they got the buzz out.
The winner of SSOTY Best Film, Kolohe Andino’s Reckless Isolation, captured the essence of a dream trip with your best friends surfing perfect, empty, warm-water waves. It will forever solidify its place in must-watch films leading up to an Indo trip. Where Kolohe and the San Clemente crew—Ian Crane, Luke Davis, the Colapinto bros—lacked in pre-film hype, they made up for in community-building events that Kolohe led throughout the United States.
Reckless Isolation came at a time when everyone was ready to shed their iso-skin, the U.S was temporarily out of hibernation and Kolohe brought surf communities together in classic fashion. He self-funded the film, tour and the free merch they gave away at every stop. The boys painted the coastal sides of America orange in the month leading up to its online premiere in October. In the end, it was the friendship, perfect waves, and fantastic surfing put forth by the San Clementines that won the hearts of our Stab Surfer of the Year Pollers. (Follow this link to watch Reckless Isolation)
On the other side, the second-place Snapt4 had been on everyone’s radar for some time. Two years, in fact. There was a $50k grand prize to the best section, which Bobby Martinez, Mick Fanning, and Taj Burrow reviewed, and Jack Robinson won. The surfing in Snapt4 was almost all never-before-seen, Chucky convinced the majority of the surfers featured to ice their best clips for the two years leading up to the film—no easy feat in today’s Instagram charged system.
Throughout the filming of Snapt4, “B-side” clips dropped continuously on this site and the Snapt4 Youtube. Each clip from guys like Clay Marzo, Mason Ho, Jack Robbo, and Asher Pacey had us scratching our heads, wondering just what would be saved for the film itself. And when it came out, the level of surfing did not disappoint. Snapt4 is the best modern collection of mind-blowing video parts since, well, Snapt3 — the unsponsored Benji Brand’s opening part being a highlight for our SSOTY pollers. His unrelenting tube determination in the film, and throughout the year, landed him in the top ten of Surfer of the Year: Male.
Following Snapt4 was Stab’s documentary on the life, times, downfall, and rebirth of Pete Mel: Everything and All: The Peter Mel Story directed by Kyle Buthman. Pete’s openness and honesty in that film moved our voters, and that wave on January 8th, 2021 at Mavs, will go down in history as one of the greatest ever ridden. Its significance shot waves through the surf world; it took a lifetime of dedication and knowledge to catch and lineup. If you’re a Stab Premium Member, you can watch Everything and All here.
Albee Layer, Matt Meola, and Dan Norkunas’ Rainbows in the Rearview came in fourth. The film itself was a labor of love, shot over a year on their home island, Maui. It featured everything we’ve come to expect of the Maui crew, insane into-the-wide aerial antics and hard-charging feats of daring-do. Matt Meola’s airdrop at one of the island’s lesser-surfed slabs is just one of many rides worth tipping our caps to.
Stab Surfer of the Year: Best Film
1. Reckless Isolation by Kolohe Andino (13 points)
2. Snapt4 by Logan “Chucky” Dulien (11 points)
3. Everything and All: The Peter Mel Story by Stab x Kyle Buthman (6.5 points)
4. Rainbows in the Rearview by Take Shelter Productions (5 points)
Authentic Brands Group Buys Boardriders For An Estimated $1.3 Billion
Quiksilver, Billabong, and RVCA join Volcom under the same umbrella. What does that mean for…
There’s No Such Thing As An Unremarkable Hawaiian Winter
Allow the O'Neill team to explain.
Watch: ‘Vacation’ Presented By Monster Energy
Stab Highway winners visit Kandui Resort.
The Stab Interview: Shaun Manners
On signing with Former, landing the cover of Surfing World and TSJ, his Cult of…
Why You Should Never Not Paddle Out
How an impromptu 30 minute session made a Jamaican surfer $1,000 richer.
Rio Waida Has Been Surfing Onshore, Oversized Bells Alone
...and he might not go home all year.
John Florence Releases Long-Form Piece On The 243km Great Ocean Squiggle
Tourism Victoria going, ‘he just did our job for us’.
Japanese Rice Farmer Enjoys Frightening Sumatran West Bowls
Kaito Ohashi is on his best behavior.
Watch: When People Like This Speak, We Listen
Raw, extended conversations with Clyde Aikau and Eddie Aikau winner Luke Shepardson.
Diamond Tail = Diamond Hands?
We'll explain everything in the Rusty D-Min Joyride.
Behold Australia’s Nine & NZ’s Two Challenger Series Qualifiers*
May the Southern Cross smile upon you at Snapper.
An Unordinary Life Structured Around A Tidal Bore
Long Read: The life and times of Pete Beachy.
Sun Room: The Overnight Success Of A Young Surf Band
What's it like touring the world and living off of McDonald's?
How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 6
An instructional manual for the modern professional surfer
Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.
Already a member? Sign In
Want to join? Sign Up