Film Review: Hot Buttered Soul - Surfer's Path

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Film Review: Hot Buttered Soul

A film by Mick Waters (Little House Productions)

On my first trip to Australia for the 1970 World Contest, my expectations were high and focused on the likes of Midget Farrelly, Wayne Lynch, and Nat Young. But the strongest images of those two months spent downunder were of this kid Terry Fitzgerald, his flaming head of white blond hair flying. His highly energized and completely new approach to surfing (backside) at Narrabeen completely blew my mind, establishing (it seemed to me) a new benchmark in surfing performance. Fast forward a few years to J-Bay, where Fitz (now dubbed the Sultan of Speed) mastered the long right-hander like no one else … and now, 38 years later, I just saw Terry Fitzgerald’s sons looking eerily like their dad as they, too, shredded Jeffreys on a pair of pop’s old single-fin sticks. Hey, they still work!

Hot Buttered Soul is about an hour of HB surfboards being forced to slash open faces and shred innocent barrels. Merciless! Inflicting the damage are the Fitzgerald lads (Kye and Joel) and a bunch of the HB crew (Mick Cattle, Vetea David, Simon Law, Craig Holley, and others), as well as a few elder statesmen, including a well-buttered Terry Fitz, a well-spoken Derek Hynd, and a well-preserved Wayne Lynch (and others, too, of course). A sweet blending of archival imagery, some ancient history, and lots of the Buttered boys’ slam surf trips (mostly free surfing but some contest stuff) leads to a graceful and painful epilog on TF’s son Liam, another hot young Fitz, who died in an accident in August of 2004.

Music for the film was created and recorded by a six-piece emsemble (Andrew Kidman, Neal Purchase, Tim Gaze, Peter Willersdorf, John Barns, and the film’s editor, Mick Waters) as the film rolled. It’s nice, perfect in fact for the loosely evocative flow of the imagery.

Hot Buttered “was meant to be Hot Buttered Soul [after the revolutionary 1969 LP by Isaac Hayes and the Bar-Kays], but he couldn’t fit it on the sticker,” Derek Hynd says in the film. “Strange thing is, that’s exactly what Terry’s boards give you – here is an inanimate object giving me soul, and it’s a blowout of a feeling. No surfer on today’s tour can get that.”

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Words DK


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