Reviewed: Innersection DVD

The Best Thing to Happen to the Surf Video in Years Stumbles as it Reaches the Finish Line

| posted on December 16, 2010

The emphasis on originality made surfers like Ozzie Wright truly stand out in Innersection. Photo: Childs

Taylor Steele’s Innersection has been revolutionary. In an era where media has become metastatic, Steele and his Innersection partner, Nathan Myers, devised a way to simultaneously harness the chaotic energy of viral video, expose the public to both new surfers and surf filmmakers, deliver content in an interactive and fun-to-watch format, and ultimately crown a victor and write them a check for $100,000. While the rules and structure of the competition are somewhat murky, the judging criteria used is a matrix of best practices that would, in theory, ensure that the 20 best two- to three-minute sections would advance to the final.

The problem with Innersection is the finale. After nearly a year of watching, rating, voting, posting opinions and comments, and forming a niche community in a non-linear online environment—all for free—suddenly to cast a vote for the winner of the grand prize, you have to buy a DVD? In order to vote, viewers must purchase the DVD which comes with a card imprinted with a 16-digit “unique vote code” that allows them to go online and cast their vote. Talk about counterintuitive. After utilizing everything the Web does right during the four preliminary rounds of competition, suddenly we’re back in the old paradigm of surf video—paying a high price ($24.99) for antiquated technology. (As an ironic side note, you can buy a DVD player for less than the right to vote.)

Without a doubt, the video parts are awesome, especially those of Peter Devries, Mike Losness, Nat Young, Ozzie Wright, Cory Lopez, Craig Anderson, Kelly Slater, Marco Giorgi, Clay Marzo, and Matt Meola, whose techno-driven aerial-fest got my vote (for the record, I didn’t buy the DVD, but was sent one for review). The competitive aspect of Innersection truly appeared to push the surfers involved to take their surfing to a different level, but because the individual parts were created by different filmmakers on varying equipment, there’s a disconnected feel to the flow of the final project that should come as no surprise when you remember that the sections were originally created as Web video shorts, not chapters of an overarching story. The graphics package does provide glue that connects each section to the one before and after it, but it doesn’t give the hour-and-fifteen-minute moving collage an organizing principal.

Steele’s idea is fantastic. He facilitated the next wave of progressive surfing on video and got to put his name on it without investing the kind of time, energy, and money that would have derailed what seem to be his real passion projects—Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky. Sadly, in the end, the community Innersection built online got stuck with the bill.

  • Bryn

    Come on, the guy’s got to make a living, give him a break… He’s done another cracking job of exposing the surf community masses to the latest innovations in technical surfing and drawn attention to some surfers who may have otherwise drifted unoticed under the radar. I for one have no quarms with buying the DVD. You get a service you pay for it.

  • Jo

    I’d put the money in. I did not find a computer that could play vimeos properly to my extreme frustration. But also it is an awesome collection of fresh videos. DVDs are still around.

    Go Peter Devries!

  • JOB

    Surfer gives us free content online and then they want us to PAY for their magazine?!? I can’t believe it! Who would do such a thing.

  • http://NA Ben Davidson

    Most surf DVDs cost $30. Steele is actually selling this one a bit cheaper and providing a year long show to go with it. I applaud his pioneering approach and support the future of the project. Don’t let old guys get you down Taylor, the movie was really good.

  • http://nowebsite Marcus

    Patterson seems to miss the big picture here. Typical. Taylor Steele has changed the game again — don’t worry, Taylor, we get it. In a few years, Patterson will too. Poor guy’s still reviewing promo on a $25 DVD player.

  • Adam

    “Sadly, in the end, the community Innersection built online got stuck with the bill.”

    You do realize that Innersection had to PAY all of the 25 final entries right??

    From the Innersection Contest FAQ…
    Q: Do I still own the rights to my footage after I upload to the sight?
    A: While your footage is on the Innersection site, your footage is considered property of Innersection Limited. Qualifiers will be paid market value for 3-minutes of footage. Non-qualifiers retain all rights to their footage following each round of competition

    It should have been clear from the get go that in order for Innersection to pay all 25 teams and then on top of that offer a $100,000 price some money was going to have to be charged. Modern Collective was $30 bucks on DVD I didnt see you guys complain about that… The inconsistency presented in your opinion and lack of a logical train of thought is shocking.

    • CHRIS

      Im pretty sure no one has seen a $ that made it into the DVD even though we were promised market value.

  • http://Na Steve

    That’s funny. Surfer provides free online content but you want us to buy the magazine, then you call Innersection out for doing the same thing. Weak.

  • James Chase

    Innersection is more innovative than Surfer. I sense jealousy in this misguided review.

  • Nugget

    I think the point of making people buy DVDs to vote is to insure they actually watch the movie before they decide who wins the $100k prize. Makes sense to me. Just cause Joel takes his mag-guy bromo DVDs for granted, I still like to have a collection of full-resolution vids in my collection. Watching videos online is just not the ideal way to enjoy them. Keep up the good work, Taylor. We love the movie.

  • Whamo

    Does Patterson work for free? Or does he just want everybody else to do so?

  • Tony Carson Big Island

    Wow, another profit making scheme from a surfer to armchair surfers everywhere, {so he can stuff his wallet with your money} . Competition has never been a part of the true surfing experience. Surfing is about catching waves, hanging out at the beach with your friends, feeling the salt water and the sand beneath your feet, and all the other good vibes that go along with it. If you follow this crap, { competition}, or if you care who is better than someone else, you have been brain washed by the surf companies, { Quickdollars ect, and the mags}, who want you to follow this crap, so they can make a buck off of you. And your spending way, way too much time on your arse, watching or thinking about this crap, when you should be in the water, actually catching some waves. Tony Carson Big Island

  • Tin Foil Hat

    How long until surfers start calculating out ROI for buying a few hundred DVDs to swing the vote in their favor? What about surf shops just grabbing the vote code on the deadline and submitting them? Or what about a dictionary attack on the vote codes?

    Lots of fun ideas with this voting system…

  • Bobby

    good to see the (mostly) positive comments for this format. Tony Carson Big Island – the fact you sign the comment at the end perhaps illustrates why your comments are pretty outdated! As a guy from Hawaii (I assume) whose locals often (it seems) couldnt be bothered to do the tour (shitty waves, wqs has no soul i miss my mommy etc.) this is actually a way to make some cash and get recognised and hopefully appear in future (money making) projects. Skating, snowboarding etc – most of the guys make cash from video projects. wouldnt be cool if your son or daughter could make a living doing what they love under their own steam and rules and not have to live with daddy ’til they’re married?

  • ReSource1

    Makes sense that only people who watch the movie get to vote. And with $100,000 prize, they have to come up with the money somehow. I’ve watched the DVD like 20 times now and can’t decide between Matt Meola and Mike Losness. Or maybe just Ozzy cause it always makes me laugh.

  • Cody Iddings

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to be downloadable on iTunes, though? I agree with Joel. No one buys DVD’s anymore

  • Jason

    Available on iTunes 1/17/11.

  • http://no Tom (not from Facebook)

    95% of surf movies today are produced by surf companies. Basically, they’re ADVERTISEMENTS. Taylor Steele is one of the only filmmakers out there who does things regardless of the brand a rider surfs for. It’s the only pure comparison of surfing out there….and the Innersection project is a perfect, natural evolution of that in which Steele is supporting the next generation of INDEPENDENT filmmaking.

    As a consequence however, Steele doesn’t have the massive corporate backing to just give his movie away like an ad in a magazine. Licensing music costs money. Paying filmers costs money. Distribution costs money. The Innersection project is unlike anything else in the sport right now, and if we have to pay a little to help get it off the ground in its first year, well, I’m down for the cause. It’s like contributing to NPR radio…if we don’t support grassroots filmmaking, pretty soon it will all be just veiled advertising.

    Nice work, Taylor. I gave three copies away for Christmas…but I told them all to vote for Craig Anderson, cause his section is clearly the best.

  • j

    Wow, Taylor is getting a lot of love. I just don’t see the point of spending 25 bucks for footage that isn’t completely fresh. Innersection is a cool idea but I don’t think it was executed that well. It seemed as if there were issues with voting biases and stuff. But I guess this was a trial run or whatever

  • Benj

    Soundtrack=totally new. (Sick.)
    Footage=50% new. (Watched rough sketches months ago…killer to see final product)
    Availability=nowhere else. (Epic quality)
    Supporting innovation=priceless.

    Other movies are ads. Taylor is the man. (And Nathan, too.) Nice work. Can’t wait for Innersection 2011 to start.

  • Noddy Holder

    So who ended up with the final section, Kelly or Parko??

  • Joel Patterson


  • free = bigger results than dvd

    They should’ve released the final movie as a free stream or download and it would’ve gone way bigger than a $25 dvd. By releasing it as a stream they could’ve cut music costs and eliminated any barriers to seeing the final movie, increasing the votes.

    To charge in the end was a buzz kill and could’ve been avoided if planned right. If they got 500K views on the free movie, they could’ve raised the contest money thru sponsors w that kind of traffic. I also agree the itunes download would’ve been a more seamless and appropriate way to sell the title if they do this for 2011.