Stab Magazine | A Curated Surf Film Selection From 2018

A Curated Surf Film Selection From 2018

11 flicks you should have already seen, and should definitely watch again. 

style // Jan 3, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Yeah, Surfer Poll already named the best surf movies (or “shorts”, as they call ’em) of the year but who’s to say Stab can’t have a swing as well?

Frankly the list is pretty similar to Surfer‘s, but we’ve made a few noteworthy additions that are certainly worth scrolling through. These are the best surf films of 2018 after all, so grab a beer, some friends, and spend the two-ish hours watching all 10 of these premium motion pictures.

You probably won’t be sorry.  

Noa Deane’s ‘Headnoise’

It’s the longest cinematic output we’ve seen from Noa thus far, and not by coincidence, the best surfing we’ve seen from him. Over 10 minutes of high energy and reckless surfing cut to a soundtrack selected by Noa himself. 

Initially, Volcom’s visions for ‘Head Noise’ were less of a standard surf-edit and more one which showcased who Noa Deane is as a person and not merely a surfer.  

This vision however, was not to be.

Noa’s hyperaware of his output both surf-wise and personality wise, additionally, on-film interviews in the surfing world rarely turn out as candid and glamorous as we imagine them to be. Instead of a ‘profile wilm’, we’ve been granted a wave and location soaked compilation of Noa’s best ever surfing, and first major section riding for the Stone.

The film is essentially a highlights package of the first half of Noa’s 2018. 

He blew us (and John John Florence) away at the Pipe Pro back in January when he received a semi-final finish for his first comp in five years, and continued upwards from there – albeit without a jersey. There’s footage from home on the North Coast of NSW, both competitive and freesurf footage from Hawaii, two trips over to West Oz and a last ditch effort in Bali to round out the edit. 

Chippa Wilson’s ‘Video No. 4’

“It’s soooo fucking crazy,” Jack Freestone says of Chippa’s new edit, and we’ll be the first to agree. 

The ten-minute heater above, filmed on a four-month, post-breakup bender, is certainly one of the most radical of the year, a raw collection filmed entirely in Indo this spring and summer. 

Having just wrapped two months away from his beloved rural Australian hideout—traveling to Stab High, as well as a string of European premieres while competing in the WSL’s fledgling Air Tour—we caught up with Chippa as he was headed home, finally, for chrissakes, to work on his Chevy pick-up and his Travels With Charleyesque camper setup before hitting the road…

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test

Dane, weird boards, and what Noa Deane calls “still the best performance of the year.” The Electric Acid Surfboard test is finally out, and you should enjoy it here!

The Unrelenting Relevance of Bobby Martinez

Bobby Martinez is often misunderstood.

While many find it easy to associate the man with 60 seconds of audio 7 years ago, truth is, he’s not jaded; in fact, he’s more vibrant than ever.

Does he hold strong opinions on surf matters? Yes. Does he ram them down the throats of every active scroller? No. In fact Bobby doesn’t care for connecting on social media at all.

According to Bobby, “The best things in life are private, so why share that with the a bunch of people you don’t know?”

Nathan Fletcher’s ‘Radical Humility’

“I did a lot of other things that were gnarly, but in my head I was like, ‘If that’s not gnarly, I don’t know what is,'” said Nathan Fletcher about his Code Red Teahupo’o bomb in 2011. 

We sat down with Dane Reynolds and Nathan to learn what makes the younger Fletcher brother tick. Nathan, simply put, is radical. He pushes the envelope, but after the Chopes wipeout heard ’round the world, he came to the conclusion that that was gnarly enough and he would try to live as normal a life as could be permitted. Although, Nate’s normal, is quite different than most of our normals

As a kid, Nathan would stop surfing for sometimes months, even years on end when he became obsessed with skating and motocross, only to return because “going over the falls wasn’t as bad as hitting a triple in third, and if you land with one foot off you break your leg.”

This short mini-doco scrapes the surface of Nathan’s life, views, perspectives and offers unorthodox wisdom on how to live life to the fullest, and to try everything once… or die trying. 

Shaun Manners in ‘Blastoid’

Shaun ‘Chun’ Manners is 20 years old. No longer a grom, but not really an adult either. He’s four years junior to any of his closest peers – Creed McTaggart, Beau Foster, Noa Deane, you know the lot – but has recently placed himself on the same rung of the performance ladder. 

Chun’s latest clip solidifies his position as a paid non-competitive surfer. 

Blastoid is its title, and it’s the first clip Shaun has starred in, let alone one in which he’s had control over.  

For a number of years, Chun, could’ve been loosely labelled as the runt of the Rage team. A precocious grom with an undeniable knack, but nothing that would ever arrest our scrolls or warrant one of those slow-mo playbacks that were once in vogue.

Blastoid is different. It’s good. Very good. Fuck, it’s even rewatchable. A 15-minute opus all filmed in West Aus, most of which is shot at The Box, North Point, and the WA’s most infamous desert left.

John Florence in ‘Space’

Nothing disappears from the internet, ever…

Three months ago, Hurley and Parallelsea premiered JJF’s new clip. It’s called “Space”. The original plan, to our knowledge, was a one time showing and a subsequent pulling from the onlines. We figured their hopes was for it to be pirated and passed around like a naughty piece of paper in a classroom.

We tuned in along with roughly 1.5k viewers (likes, hearts, smileys and all). Afterwards, they hosted a Q&A session with John, filmmaker Erik Knutson and Peter King (of #Tournotes). The Q&A sat a base level – think of a prolonged post heat interview.

The short film itself features fucked up surfing that we’ve missed from John since his knee injury.

Cult of Freedom

Cult of Freedom has several different parts, but this one is clearly the best.

Joe G has been bringing you the “full-length” surf films you’ve purchased on your iTunes for over a decade now. He sat in the director’s chair for such hits as Secret MachineYear ZeroStrange Rumblings and other motion pictures we typically spend the year anticipating.

Here’s Joe on what makes working with Taj a dream. 

Well, this one in particular was truly a Taj run production. We were just lucky enough to be dragged in! [Laughs] When we were on the road together filming for the Australia Part, I was telling him that we’re just going to use Cult of Freedom as a platform to do short films in whatever format opportunity throws at us. Whether it’s a team trip, a rider surf part, an experimental concept film, etc.

Taj and I talked about his newfound freedom from tour and he was getting excited about his ability to go strike anywhere, anytime and really score some serious waves. I said, “Yeah man go nail something special and we’ll make a part for Cult of Freedom!” He was psyched.

It’s Taj, so he didn’t just walk away and forget what we talked about. He walked away, watched for swell, and went and absolutely scored…then he handed us a hard drive full of insanity and we did our best not to screw it up.

Harry Bryant in ‘Orb’

Stab believe’s Harry is one of Australia’s finest exports. He has entertainer welded into his DNA, and he’s a likeable bloke who doesn’t seem to care whether he’s riding foam or glass, or whether or not the section he’s about to hit is going to send him to the hospital.

Orb is all that and a bag of crystal meth. 

Brendon Gibbens in ‘Homebody’

This mid-length film is called Homebody but it’s not immediately clear why.

In the filming process, South African surfer Brendon Gibbens nailed many clips near the comfort of his home (or at least in his home nation), but he also traveled to the faraway lands of Portugal, Indo, and West Oz to procure different waves and aesthetics. 

So perhaps the film could have been titled Vaguely Distant. Or Not Always HomeRubber Legs Goes Global?

By all accounts, Brendon is adaptable to the ever-shifting conditions of the surfing world – from hot to cold, onshore to off, and from braai to nasi to ‘roo.

Jack Robinson in ‘Mad to the Bone’

Jack Robinson finished 39th on the QS this year – a rating which, in relation to his surfing above, is a direct affront to surfing’s legitimacy as a “sport”.

In quality waves, and especially in tubes, Jack is a top-10 CTer every day of the week. His ability to read the ocean and react to its constant motion, paired with his natural balance and agility, makes Jack an undeniable force. Just look at what he did at North Point this year, before the West Oz event was sent to Bali by a couple hungry sharks. 

And speaking of West Oz, how good is that little wave magnet Jack calls home? From the Box to North Point, down to Rabbit’s, Supers, and Cobbles, Jack has the zone dialed and is consistently getting the best barrels around. Not to mention his air game has rapidly progressed since we last saw him, proven by the abundance of six-foot oops in his latest flick.


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