Is it nostalgia speaking, or does this snap of a twenty(ish) year old Parko, mod tartan trunks 'round the ankles, hit you straight in the feels? (Photo by the legendary Andrew Shield)
Stab Recommends: 7 Cult Noughties Surf Films
...That happen to be on YouTube ;)
If you told a fourteen-year-old yours truly in 2004 that he could watch all of these movies at the click of a button then I would've squealed involuntarily.
It's impossible to be subjective when dealing with nostalgia this strong, so any attempt at being partial has been bypassed. The 2000s was a beautiful time of covermounts and DVDs in the Christmas stocking, and wholly formative for those of us in our teens during the period. Not that my experience of the noughties holds even the dimmest candle to what the surf mag alumni (many of whom were involved in the making of a number of the films below) were up to throughout the decade. Budgets were big, deadlines once a month at most, and the stories would make your toes curl (out of pure envy).
Sabotaj, Montaj, Fair Bits, Taj. I once begged my mum, live on the floor of a surf shop, to buy me a bright yellow Billabong visor because Taj wore one. If that doesn't say enough about the spell this man cast over my generation then I don't know what does. A fired-up TB whipping tail on Maurice Coles in 2000 was the match that lit the fluoro bonfire.
Wanderjah: The Margo Project (2004)
Margo at the peak of his powers at flawless, frigid Winki is as good as surfing gets. To this day. The only one on the list not avaliable for free on the dark web, but well worth dropping a few sheckles on, one could even go as far to say that no one's blended style, flow, progression and pure power since.
Seven Days, Seven Slaves (2001)
Revolutionary on so many fronts. The birth of the modern boat trip, one of the first covermounts (on Waves, Bicycle being the first), and, perhaps most significantly, Oscar Billy Pippin Wright. It's fair to say that the first extensive viewing of Ozzie's surfing sent vibrations around the globe, and 19 years later the great man's still being paid (pending) to do it. The birth of an icon.
Hit and Run (2000)
Based on little other than the fact that I nabbed a bootleg copy of it in Bali, Hit & Run gets the nod from the Taylor Steele back catalog. The soundtrack (Pennywise, Sprung Monkey, Unwritten Law etc.) will transport you back to a place you completely forgot existed, and might we recommend the Dan Malloy section for a flawless tune, underrated surfing and an adorable rock takeoff at the start.
Doped Youth (2005)
We've all seen it, we all love it, but what's often overlooked is the fact that we can all quote it. From "Mum, how's Dubbo goin?" onwards, Doped Youth is a smorgasbord of left-field, satirical gold, and the man you can thank for that is Vaughan Blakey. Apparently when the boys were crushing celebratory beers in the office, having just hit green on the mag Doped Youth came with, the corporate overlords came charging in demanding to know whether the editorial gang had cleared the music rights. "Umm, yeah," was the reply (court case 15 years and pending).
Secret Machine (2006)
It hasn't aged! Globe's first opus has far more production values than the other films, shot on film by Joe G (warmest tones) and they sure spent their soundtrack budget wisely. Early Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Knife; the soundtrack's a masterpiece in itself. Damien Hobgood (pretty sure) hitting the lip at a stupidly big french beachie to "Gold Lion" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is also worth the entry price alone.
Free As a Dog (2006)
The skits are corny, some of the music's atrocious, and the whole concept hasn't aged too well. But! It's Joel Parkinson in his early 20s, and the surfing, is, timeless. Hit mute and put some Nightmares on Wax on for the first part, but tune back in for the Burleigh section for JJ Cale, flawless Cove, and a rock-hop stack that'll make your shins ache.