By Teton Gravity Research

The North Shore, Trestles, Chile, El Salvador, Galapagos, Tahiti … what do all these places have in common? It’s the accelerating convergence of pristine nature, quintessential waves, surfers, locals, development, industrialization, pollution, and efforts at preservation. Featuring a broad range of surfer/commentators (Shane Dorian, John John Florence, Mark Cunningham, Greg Long, Garrett McNamara, Ian Walsh, Jamie O’Brien, Jamie Sterling, Jordy Smith, Pancho Sullivan, Donovan Frankenreiter, Dave Rastovich, Carlos Burle, Maya Gabeira, Manoa Drollet, Nate Yeomans, Sir Herbie Fletcher, Josh Berry, etc., etc., etc.), the film’s storyline and ethos is basically surfing and nature vs. the bad stuff. It’s a little formulaic, but the imagery is frequently stunning, some of the commentary is astute, and it’s simultaneously heartening and frightening how mainstream surfing’s ‘green’ values have become – frightening because of a sense that ‘mass appeal’ and ‘real’ seem unlikely bedfellows. But we can hope!

Produced by Teton Gravity Research in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation and sub-titled ‘Insane Waves, A Dying Ocean, An Uncertain Future’, Out There has great big Teahupoo, nice Pipe, rippable Trestles, and lots of great looks, waves, angles, moves, barrels, and hissing spit. Shot in 16mm and HiDef, there’s great cinematography, nice soundtrack (including a sweet credits theme, ‘Comatose’, by Timmy Curran), and I love the shots of Frankenreiter surfing in plaid flannel shirt with an acoustic guitar – nice touch, Dono! Although I’m concerned that more and more surfers look like Andrei Agassi these days, a lot of them surf rather brilliantly.

While there’s something disingenuous about protecting our favorite spots ‘for future generations’ when for some it might be something more in the realm of self-interest, and while there’s a sense here that many of us use environmentalist language to diffuse possible accusations of exploitation, you still have to be grateful when anyone seems to be getting the message.

So: great surfing, good talking, beautiful waves, and lots to worry about. The message is clear: too many people livin’ on this little ball in space. That is, if we want it the way it was, rather than the way it’s gonna be.

Thumbs up.

Words DK