Taylor Steele is all about reinventing genres. Our modern culture of instant gratification drives us to YouTube for our surf clips more often then the video rack at our local shop. But you cannot deny the effect that the Internet has had on surf videos in a time where “exclusive footage” is just a fleeting memory. “I felt like it was about to be extinct,” says Taylor Steele about the genre of film that he has practically held a monopoly on since the Momentum era. “I really love that style of film, just to get amped up to go surfing, and I didn’t want that to go away.”
What looked like a stage set for the demise of Taylor’s brand of filmmaking ended up being the platform for one of the most intriguing projects in the genre. Innersection embraces a new level of interaction between surfers, filmmakers, and video junkies. “I was just looking at that model and going, this is just too crazy to coordinate and work on all these different surfer’s schedules and try to get four or five trips with them a year,” says Taylor. “We thought it would be cool to have people video and then submit for the movie, and from there I thought about the online side and it spun from that.” It’s the first time that Taylor has handed the car keys to anyone outside of Poor Specimen family, and the results have been impressive.
“I would say it’s a success, but I would say it’s not what I expected,” says Taylor. “I’m loving the fact that the unknowns are coming up and making a name for themselves and using this platform to help their careers.” The Internet has proven to be a great avenue for the underdogs, with most of the Innersection winners stepping into the spotlight of the surfing world for the first time with their video parts. The real game changer is that all it takes is great surfing and great editing to make the cut, and a surfer’s clout and sponsorship are far less important. “Right now it’s an experiment, so I think it’s finding its balance still and it will evolve,” says Taylor. “But right now, sometimes filmmaking will get a guy in and the surfing won’t be as strong as other guys. And other times the surfing will be super strong and the filmmaking might be pretty low. I would say that does happen on both sides.”
Whatever their edge happened to be, 25 surfers ended up making the cut for the final product titled Innersection: Blue. Although the surfers made it this far by submitting completed video parts, Taylor assures us that we won’t be feeling déjà vu at the premiere. “I just watched Craig Anderson’s edits and Mike’s [Lossness] edits, and they’ve redone their whole section from what was seen on the Internet,” says Taylor.
The wait is almost over for the premiere of the next generation of surf films. And Steele is launching his film in grand fashion. Rather than embarking on a premiere tour, Taylor is showing Innersection: Blue in the hometowns of all 25 surfers, as well as five additional locations to make it an even 30 simultaneous premieres. It all goes down Friday, November 26, more than likely somewhere near you, and $100,000 is up for grabs for whichever surfer receives the most votes for their final section.