More cock than a women’s swim meet!
To know Nick Pollet is, at the very least, to love him and his comedic collaborations with Swellian Lord Adam “Vaughan” Blakey who, when his hind legs aren’t quivering and he isn’t easing his crimson dingus out, is a man who straddles the fine line between positive noise and toxic slime.
Together, Nick and Vaughan have collaborated on Postcards from Morgs – a film on the one-time world title contender Morgan Cibilic prior to his catastrophic failure to re-qualify for the tour and the explosively popular Free Scrubber whereupon Tom Curren is revealed to have a personality worth close examination.
In a couple of weeks, the pair will launch, via an Australia-wide tour that coincides with two of the pro contests here, their latest film, The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe, a stop-motion epic three years in the making.
On the blustery and, let’s be frank, sadly autumnal Tuesday when I call Byron Bay-based Nick, he’s a few hours from a trip to Australia’s Great White-infested southern flank with Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and Mason Ho.
“I’ll swim and shoot but, fuck, real close to the other photographers,” he says.
First, he says, The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe, is not a Rip Curl feature, as I’d presumed, which forces me to dive under the hood of BeachGrit while we talk and delete it from the previous day’s story.
The inspiration came from Team America, made by South Park wizards Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as the all-time surf-comedy classic from 2003, Vaughan’s Doped Youth.
Nick approached Vaughan years back but he didn’t sound too keen” which ain’t surprising, stop-motion is hit or miss and so labour intensive even a Bangladeshi kid would turn his nose up at the return on investment.
When a gap in his work schedule presented itself in 2020, Nick decided, well, ain’t no time like the present.
“I hit up all the surfers, got some dolls made of ‘em, started playing around and working out how I was going to do it, learned stop-motion animation and then, ‘cause we were working together on a Rip Curl project, asked Vaughan to write the script.”
The idea for the dolls came from Mick Fanning’s retirement dinner when each guest was gifted a bobble-headed Mick.
“It was on my desk and I was tinkering around and I ripped the head off it, grabbed a Superman doll from my kid, ripped the head off that and put Mick’s head on it. Then I started mucking around with a green screen.”
For three hundred dollars each, and after much to and froing with a factory in China, Nick had reasonable facsimiles of the cast, including the WSL commentators Ronnie Blakey, who is also Vaughan’s brother, and Joe Turpel, and surfers Mick Fanning, Mason Ho, Griffin Colapinto, Jack Freestone, Matt Wilkinson and Craig Anderson.
“They all came with a bag of dicks and that’s the reason there’s so many dicks in the movie,” says Nick, revealing a crucial plot line.
“Mum did it for free. Doll clothes are so expensive,” he says.
After talks with production company Bronte Pictures, who suggested he make it as a feature film and not a thirty-minute featurette, Nick got himself a little cash to pay Vaughan for the script, as well as of the use of the colour grader who did Elvis and the the sound engineer from Mad Max.
The premise for the film is beautiful: It is ten years in the future and a virus has hit and John Fig, played by Vaughan, has made a vaccine to save everyone but the vax wipes out everyone’s memory of surfing.
“Mick’s a yogi meditation guru bogan. Griff is a hyped-up guy stuck in the desert who hasn’t seen anyone in years, Wilko is a cowboy, Ando is a ninja, Mason is a volcano tour guide in Hawaii and Jack’s trying to be a rock star but he’s real bad.”
Tour dates in Australia re, roughly, April 3, Bells, Perth, April 18, Margs, April 19, Sydney, sometime around the end of May, Gold Coast, May 3, Byron, May 4.
And, how did he get Luke Hemsworth, a man described yesterday as an “honest lover and a brave bull” involved in the venture?
Nick says he’d been filming Mick, along with Luke and his little brothers Chris and Liam and they were having a post-surf beer when he showed Luke an early version of his stop motion work.
“You should get dolls made of us,” Luke said.
“When we finished the animation I got his number off Mick and asked him to narrate it,” says Nick. “He was keen. He’s such a legend he didn’t hesitate. “