Let a man surf in peace, for chrissakes!
I must preface this with an apology. I do not mean for this to be a pontification. I am not an auteur nor am I a cinematographer and I am also not a technophobe frightful of the future hoarding every last cartridge of film that I can find. But the Go Pro and drones are killing surf cinema.
Over the last four or five years there has been an implosion of cameras made available at very affordable prices. This is wonderful and great and I love everything about it. All people should have the chance to document their adventures at ease for a very low price. But since when did amateur cinematographers stop referencing the greats like Goddard, Cervantes and Bunuel for the likes of Michael “360-degree-angle-shots-only” Bay?
For a while it was only my eardrums that would bleed. There was a period during the late 00’s in which dubstep took over surfing and every large turn coincided with a thump while every “drop” was prefaced by an insanely choppy sequence. The formula was so predictable but the solution was easy. Mute your television and put on some better electronic music that could keep up with the edit.
The Go Pro-facing-the-body shot came next. This was a nightmare for those suffering from Podophobia or anyone with half a brain that pays a little attention to aesthetics. During this time we learned that many pro-surfers don’t use toenail clippers. Although in 2014 Go Pro footage looks more like homage to the last 30 minutes of Crystal Voyager with a modern twist, it’s still repetitive.
Now we have the drone. Not only has the angle become tired, when I go to the beach I don’t want to see some asshole with a soul patch piloting a drone because he can’t surf the wave that he is filming. Drones are obnoxious and ugly and they create unoriginal footage that reminds me more of CNN’s coverage of a crash site than it does of scantily clad men riding pieces of foam in paradise.
Young filmmakers need to purchase a Hulu account, to check out their Criterion collection instead of an Xbox Live account, and study the masters. They need to carry their cameras across barren deserts until their gluteus burn with lactic acid. They need to get the shot. Technology doesn’t scare me.
Luddites be damned. I want more albums like Yeezus, pushing buttons and creating outrage, and less reunion albums from bands that had their time in the 70’s. I want more Opening Ceremony and less pre-fabricated vintage. I want more Pynchon and less Hemingway, although Hemingway shouldn’t be ignored.
Living in the past is for kooks. The drones are fucked yet the future is bright, very bright. I implore that all cinematographers in surfing continue to push boundaries and find new angles and new ways of looking at things. But momma, please don’t take my Kodachrome.