Watch: 'Shotgun' featuring Josie Prendergast & Taj Richmond - Stab Mag

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If you've never watched Taj Richmond surf, you'll be dropping his name into the YouTube search bar after this film. Screengrab from 'Shotgun'.

Watch: ‘Shotgun’ featuring Josie Prendergast & Taj Richmond

The allure of contradiction, displayed in the virtue of Northern Rivers sand.

cinema // May 15, 2024
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In partnership with McTavish

Lines of shining blonde hair and burnt grins spilling into the street, illuminated by the blue light of a sputtering film projector. Familiar hands slapping backs, waving in excitement. The glazed eyes and laconic mouths of van-dwellers waiting 20 minutes for beer, lulled into rapturous silence as the opening sequence of the above film audiovisually draped itself upon the masse. 

“We were so overwhelmed, honestly,” laughs Josie Prendergast, recalling last weekend’s premiere of the film at McTavish in Byron. “We didn’t realize how many people were going to show up. I was so nervous to see it, I was worried it would be super lovey dovey. But I thought the final outcome was really nice and sweet, but light and fun and easy.”

Filmed by Georde ‘Grigs’ Grigor and edited by Kai Neville, Shotgun weaves the diametrically opposed surfing of Josie and Taj Richmond with recorded interviews from friends and loved ones. The film somehow dodges the many romantic clichés you might’ve expected, and features a barrage of quality footage from Taj and Josie in their hometown of Byron Bay, with extra tidbits from the Philippines.

Bickering about where to surf not included. 

“At the end of the day, I really do feel like we’re all in the water because we love it. I don’t want to go out and hate surfing because of the crowd. We’re all part of the crowd,” Josie laughs.

As a visitor to the Byron Shire, I’ve observed both Josie and Taj expertly navigating the psychological death-by-a-thousand-fin-cuts which is so often caused by surfing at the main wave in town —  known as The Pass. 

“It’s funny growing up here,” Josie says. “I know I’m not the only person who thinks like this, but I feel like there are a lot of people who come here and forget that it is other people’s homes. There’s a lot of people, sometimes too many, but the locals still get their waves. There is a quiet respect given between locals, there’s always that friendliness, that banter, that keeps a sort of hierarchy in the chaos.”

“When I first started surfing out there, I would always be a bit timid. Taj was the one who pushed me. I was just getting snaked by random people, and he was like, ‘Why are you scared? You shouldn’t be scared. How long have you been surfing here? You’ve been here your whole life.’ And I think having one of my best friends, Elise [Trigger], has really pushed me.”

“I remember growing up and being in high school here, I was one of the only girl longboarders. There were women, but there weren’t any girls. And now, there are girls and women, which I think is really cool. I always try to put some femergy out there, female energy,” she laughs. 

Taj and Josie first met when they were 12-years old, and have clearly drawn from the opposition of their approaches. 

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from Taj is confidence,” she says. “Particularly when it’s a bit bigger. He has made it so much easier for me to come out to the point. Like, if The Pass is good and dudes are dropping in on chicks, he will actively call them out.” 

“I don’t know what I feel like I’ve given him. I don’t want to answer for him,” she laughs. “Maybe going a little bit slower. I’ve heard him say that I help him go a little bit slower, so maybe that’s a good exchange.”

For switch tubes, downrail inspiration, and an A-grade encapsulation of a Northern Rivers surfing life, click above.

Edit & Directed – Kai Neville
Coloured – Tim Wreyford
Original Music Composition – The M1
Sound Design – Thom Pringle
Surf Design – Georde Grigor
16mm Camera – Kai Neville & Georde Grigor
Creative Direction – Matt Ireland
Producer – Jacqueline marcuzzi
Additional Surf Footage – Clementine Bourke
Additional Drone Footage – Laura Frati (Flying High)


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