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The Journey of The Boy's Journey Part Two

 

I have to say at the beginning of this (and this may get a little weird): 

The internet must be the most unsurfy place in the entire universe. I say that with some hesitation to hypocrisy, because for the last while the internet has the most surfy place in my universe. Social media has been the drip feed I've convinced myself is the necessary nourishment for this ghostly idea of an aspired-to life. I've been crafting my own digital papier mâché version of a wave I'm sure I'm riding. And maybe I am. Riding it. A wave. And maybe there's no harm in that. But there is harm in that. Because the internet is the least surfy place in the universe. Even the word surfy, a shorthand for anything faintly wafty with the aesthetic underpinnings of surfing culture, is a kind of red herring internet meme phantom.

And this unsurfy internet tells us when the swell will hit. It tells us where. It shows us where our next trip should take us and exactly when we should go and what board to bring. It offers us the plane tickets, books us our hotels. No, it doesn't book our hotels, it tells us where to rent the surfiest cabana, the surfiest camper van, the surfiest campsite. And just before we go, here is the darned surfiest all-weather protective jacket, most comfortable surfiest cozy warm wetsuit, and the surfiest indestructible camera to record the whole thing to feed right back onto the internet, the surfiest place in the universe where we will burnish our surfy reputation as at least as surf addled as the next one. And all that assured surfy success? All potentially wildly unsurfy.   

I should say that all before I start.

Because I had the unfathomable luck in witnessing what was sure to be some kind of bottomless pit of windmill chasing genre-fueled, meme-stuffed, intention-soaked video documentary perfection blossom, by dint of disaster, into a real surf trip.

We started our journey in the winter of 2014, hatching plans and making little videos to pop up on Kickstarter to woo the generosity out of our friends and family. Thanks to some cognitive leniency on the part of all, we actually hit our marks and funded our trip, leaving in February for a three-week exploration into the dark recesses of what it means to be a father teaching a son about surfing. We had interviews lined up, people to see, places to stay, secret spots to explore, communities to become part of, boards to ride, shoes to wear and bags to carry it all in. We had everything we needed to pursue our dream of making a movie about surfing that would plunk all those aspirationally surfy notes, making our audience's collective knees wobbly with a kind of perfectly pitched "aw shucks" authentic surfy makersmanship.

Since the fateful moment we landed on that confoundingly coruscating continent, our trip has been some sort of fateful mixture of the fundamentally fantastical and terribly real. To say it another way it has been the stuff of mishap, misdirection and mistakes buffeted by the sheer joy of the journey. To say it another way: we came, we saw, we failed.

Since getting back to New York in March, I've barely had a chance to breathe a bit of that documentary air. Hitting the ground running, back as a father-to-two-sons, business owner, life-partnery-person and all around headless chicken, life has put editing off and off and off.

I think that has been a blessing.

For one, and classically, it has allowed the space all director/editors need to make a film. I can look at the footage with a somewhat clearer eye, less encumbered by the sense of captured catastrophe and more from the brain of re-exploration and appreciation.

But another thing has happened in this interminable interim, something far more devastatingly conceptual: I've barely surfed a wink. I've surfed so little in fact, and this deficit has taken such a toll on my emotional stability, that I've started to hate surfyism. First mildly, unconsciously, then more recently, bubbling and whole hearted. I can't stand the surfy idea of surfing. It's gotten to the point that I am actively "unfollowing" anyone on Instagram who posts up an image of fun in the waves. The mere visual mention of a day at the beach triggers an internal buckshot of envious rage. I am so filled with a bottled up surfless anxiety I think I've actually started to see just how unsurfy the internet is and how incredibly unsurfy "The Boy's Journey" was going to possibly end up, following along this soulless pied piper fantasy of web-engorged surfy path.

What I mean is, I think the film can now be its own wonderful thing, and not what I'd hoped it would be, which may or may not have been a misconception of what I thought it needed to be. 

All this to say, the post process is starting. Finally. I am so excited to jump in and witness the carnage that will tell a real story. I apologize for taking so long to update you, but I hope you can stick with me just a little bit longer. Stay tuned dear friends, dear supporters.

The film is on its way to being on its way.

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The Journey of the Boy's Journey Part One

 

Were you able to follow along on Instagram or on our website? If not, you can still catch up : http://www.theboysjourney.com/follow/

Stepping off the plane in Sydney on February 16th, we were instantly struck by two things: 1) the blazing, incandescent, irrefutable light of the souther summer sun & 2) the incorrigible, undeniable reality of travel exhaustion. Luckily, the former seemed to melt away the latter as we stumbled our way through a couple days in the Blue Mountains with local Steve Lennon, and around the Northern Beaches of Sydney with local Nick Carroll

It was not long before the first (and really only) catastrophe of the trip hit us. Or rather, hit Queensland. Granted, we were lounging in the relative sublimity of New South Wales, but our project itinerary had us marching up the coast straight into a double cyclone storm. I thought I had presciently devised a route that would allow for any number of eventualities. Friends and campgrounds, sites and surf spots dot the coast all the way up through Noosa and we were set for a leisurely drive that would grant us all sorts of options. The one thing I hadn't fully accounted for was a the need to completely turn our trip around and head south instead of north.

Granted, the cyclones would mean some pretty epic surf conditions along our prepared route, but "epic surf" is not "learner's surf" and torrential rain is not all that conducive to surfy filmmaking. This all meant a loss of a couple days of truly productive filmmaking as we had to refigure our itinerary and make our way down the long, long... long! southeastern coast to theMelbourne area where we would find the sort of surf & cinematic possibilities we had in spades for our northern route. 

But this is documentary filmmaking at its most quintessential. 

Fortunately, the prevailing Aussie can-do spirit overwhelmed us in the form of Mick Sowry, filmmkaker, artists and a creative force behind the astoundingly crafted Great Ocean Quarterly. He set about finding us harbor and home for the rest of our trip, introducing us to Justin Brady, who lent us his shack in Mallacoota, and Steve Demos, who offered us a home and hand onPhillip Island.  Steve also introduced us to Matt and Sandy Ryan, the latter gifting Robinson a one-on-one surf lesson!

Mick then welcomed us in Torquay, home of Quiksilver & Rip Curl, Bells BeachWinki Pop and a thousand other breaks. He introduced us to the legendary surfer/shaper Maurice Cole (who has pioneered any numberof surfboard designs), the incredibly surf-addled Day family (Papa Ben helps run GDJ and each and every memebr of the family absolutely rips) and we even paddled out with Gideon Obarzanek for a smoosh session at Bells. 

Not to be outdone, our return trip would offer us a New York blizzard counterpart to its Aussie cyclone cousin, more or less stranding us in California for a couple night (happily, mind you) and offering us a decompression chamber in the form of Cardiff Reef. 

We are not safely, and nearly, back to routine in Brooklyn. 

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As far as assessing the project so far I think I'll have to break it down from different points of view:

The Surfer - A bit skunked. Had to go the opposite direction of where my bones wanted me to go, into the relatively calm seas of the south. Never got into the groove that one might hope for in two weeks of Coastal Oz meandering.

The Surfing Papa - Mostly pure stoke. The change in itinerary did relieve us of a few days of full on kid-in-the-water, and definitely took us away from getting Robinson in the water with other kids. But the boy stood up on his first wave (under his own paddle power) and was pretty adamant bout making it into the waves as often as possible. He took to his Token surfboard with gusto. 

The Filmmaker - A mixed, but positive, bag. I think we came away with perhaps optimistically 2/3rds the footage I was hoping for. The edit will turn on a slightly different fulcrum than I had hoped for. I think for the amount of initial turbulence, we did a pretty good job of finding our feet and making the best of each opportunity.

The Teacher - An invaluable experience. Robinson got into the groove of amateur birding with Uncle Kevin, got to live an itinerant, camping lifestyle for the first time, and experienced first had what it means to be the beneficiary of the generosity of new friends, good friends and friends who share a value system. We all came back the wiser in many ways.

So there you go. As honest an assessment i can come up with in this foggy jet-lagged state.

Stay tuned for more from The Boy's Journey!

Toddy

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