Heavy Rotation: The Surf Flicks Forever Seared Into My Brain
Taj Burrow discusses the VHS blockbusters of yesteryear!
God, there are so many surf films I drew inspiration from growing up.
It’s tough to figure out where to start. Back in the day, surf movies were on VHS and we had to wait for films to come out, then pounce on them when they hit the local surf shops – which seems crazy compared to the made for web films of today.
I remember hassling the guys at the shop about when they would come out. Surf movies used to be so few and far between, now it feels like you can’t get away from “edits”. My earliest memory of a surf film is The Endless Summer. My parents used to watch it when I was a kid. The Cape St. Francis scene blew my little eight-year-old mind. It was so perfect!
After that, I became obsessed.
The next films that I’m surprised didn’t burn out in my VCR was Jack McCoy’s Bunyip Dreaming and Sons of Fun. Bunyip got me so psyched. It was full of all my heroes; like Luke Egan and Occy and was shot in my hometown of Yallingup.
While they were filming Bunyip, I got to surf with them. I remember seeing Luke do a frontside fin throw into a tail slide. He went tail first for a while. I’ll never forget seeing that turn live; I was paddling on the shoulder of the wave, then I saw it in the movie and I couldn’t believe it! To see someone go tail first in that era was so cool. Live it was amazing; in the video, it was beyond sick. Just seeing those guys surf my homebreaks, at the time, was so inspiring.
In Sons of Fun, I loved Shane Dorian’s style. Ross Williams part also sticks out in my memory.
Then, of course, Kelly Slater’s Black and White was a huge one. Really, anything with Kelly and Shane in it I was obsessed with.
When I got a little older but was still a grom, I got the most excited over Taylor Steele’s Momentum II. That movie really defined what kind of surfing I liked, and at a really important time for me as a surfer. Shane Dorian and Kelly Slater’s part gave me goosebumps. They still do.
I remember thinking, “Oh my god, this is the coolest thing ever!” I just loved the surfing they were doing, it’s how I wanted to surf. I would watch their sections over and over.
A few years after Momentum II – which came out in 1993 – I got to make my first appearance in a Taylor Steele film. It was The Show, I was 17 at the time.
But, seriously, Momentum II was so fucking sick.
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