The documentary Storm Surfers is the latest from the Vernon Film Society

The documentary Storm Surfers is the latest from the Vernon Film Society

Surfers ride the waves in awe-inspiring documentary

Storm Surfers is the latest offering from the Vernon Film Society, playing Aug. 19

Linda Wills

Special to The Morning Star

As its last film of the summer season, the Vernon Film Society presents the awe-inspiring documentary Storm Surfers.

The film follows two Australian best mates, approaching their 50s, who travel the southern hemisphere pursuing one of the world’s most deadly and exhilarating sports: big wave surfing.

Two-time world champion Tom Carroll and legendary big wave rider Ross Clarke-Jones chase the world’s largest and most powerful waves — swells rising in height as high as the Sydney Opera House.

As the two are led to ever more remote, unpredictable, and dangerous locations, the risks and the payoffs escalate with each wave.

With this playful, touching, and visually stunning film, veteran surf documentarians Christopher Nelius and Justin McMillian capture the notion that surfing is as much a state of mind as it is a sport. The surfers respond to the physical and mental demands of the sport in different ways. Carroll, who has defied death on more than one occasion, is beginning to be aware of his own mortality under the pressures of aging and fatherhood. Clarke-Jones seems to grow more fearless each day and shows no sign of slowing down.

The compelling drama is set against sublime cinematography — never has the ocean appeared more terrifyingly beautiful on the screen. The innovative camera techniques allow viewers to drop virtually into a 50-foot wave, carve down its face, and slip into a perfect barrel, all from the comfort of their theatre seat.

Storm Surfers is about friendship, adventure, and the miraculous things the human mind and body are capable of. Carroll’s brother says, “What we see on screen…is that they are adolescents living in aging bodies on land. Out on the ocean they can still fly like superheroes.”

Storm Surfers will be shown at the Towne Theatre Aug. 19 at 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.   Tickets are available at the door and one week ahead at the theatre and the Bean Scene for $7.

Linda Wills is with the Vernon Film Society.