You may remember Seedling or Sprout, films that toured the coastline, celebrating surfing culture in 1999 and 2004. Well now, artist and surf producer Thomas Campbell has a new gift for us: The Present. The film traveled through coastal cities worldwide, revitalizing the surf screening tradition, and was released on DVD on June 16. Featuring a wide spectrum of surfers, styles, and equipment, it includes footage from West Africa, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, California, and Hawaii.
The cast of the film is a fusion of new talent and pros such as Dan Malloy, Joel Tudor, and Sofia Mulanovich. Campbell shot in 16mm, trying to maintain an organic, emotional feel to share the experience of surfing. In documenting the interaction of surfers with nature, Campbell conveys the theme that the sport is a gift and shows how important it is to preserve the planet for future generations.
But The Present isn’t all serious. A comedy skit showing surfers riding ladders and workout equipment lightens things up. Not only that, but Campbell’s movie highlights sustainable equipment and ancient Hawaiian boards known as alaias.
In an interview posted on the film’s website, Campbell explained the variety included in movie. “There’s a lot more to surfing than just riding the wave. So instead of it being this one dimensional experience of seeing wave after wave, you get other views that help give you a sense of what it maybe felt like to be there and experiencing what those guys were.”