Should We Pay For Surf Movies? - Stab Mag
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Should We Pay For Surf Movies?

In the past it was a no brainer. You buy the DVD or VHS tape, you get the movie. Simple transaction, no grey areas. Today’s sales approach is a bit more complex. Sites like Youtube and Vimeo have given surfers the ability to share their films free of charge. As mouth-breathing consumers, we have become accustomed […]

style // Dec 11, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the past it was a no brainer. You buy the DVD or VHS tape, you get the movie. Simple transaction, no grey areas. Today’s sales approach is a bit more complex. Sites like Youtube and Vimeo have given surfers the ability to share their films free of charge. As mouth-breathing consumers, we have become accustomed to sucking down this free content, all while ignoring the ads that repetitively slap us on the chin. I don’t pay for porn, why the fuck would I pay to watch surfing? Let’s find out.

Surf films aren’t a cheap venture. Traveling costs, disgustingly expensive camera equipment, and a couple editors on the payroll. Attempting to cut corners and save money usually leads to a poor quality film, the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot before running a marathon.

The average surf film roughly costs $50,000 to make, but that’s chump change compared to the $2million budget for JJF’S Views From A Blue Moon. Seems like an unfair playing field, but many freesurfers still shoot their shot.

The majority of films today are funded by sponsors. Surf- or non-endemic brands cover all or most of the costs, write it off as an advertising expense, and display it for free online. They’re bound to make some money back off of youtube ads, and they won’t lose any sleep if they don’t. Product placement is the game, and it costs a lot to play.           

Some brave souls opt for the independent option. Making a non-subsidized surf film isn’t the hard part—the hard part is climbing out of the financial sinkhole you willingly jumped into. 

What are your options? As far as I can see, there’s only one: sell it online. Charge anywhere between $5 and $15. Hope that people other than mom and dad actually pay to watch it. 

Which, good luck. Most surfers would rather plug their only board with wax than pay $12 for a repair kit. We’re a frugal, frugal bunch.

Personally, I don’t mind throwing a little dough towards my favorites. Fuck, I even bought Dane’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test when it was exclusively on iTunes. I don’t mind throwing the Rage crew $10 for their content either. I’m a fan, they provide good shit, and last time I checked shit ain’t free. 

Trust me, Noa Deane isn’t sitting on a golden toilet seat and wiping his ass with my precious cash. The Fun Boys crew doesn’t make movies so they can redo their kitchen with granite countertops. Independently produced surf films are a financial nightmare, and we should be thankful that some people are willing to risk losing a few bucks for our entertainment. 

I never understood why people freak out about paying for a surf movie. You have no problem running up a  $70 bar tab, but $10 towards the people you idolize—or at the very least, have an aesthetic appreciation for—is “too much”? Get fucked. A lot of time and money goes into the average surf movie, and if the surfer is paying out of their own pocket, it shouldn’t be free. 

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