Australian father-of-two takes family on wild eight-month surf odyssey, documents adventure in full-length feature film, “If the Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me!”

At some point, we all gotta hit the road.

At some point, or not I suppose, you’ll make a family, kids will grow to a certain size, and you’ll wanna take off on the great road trip and explore the outer flanks of your country.

A rite of passage for every Family Man before the wife veers off into her Secret Garden, never to return.

In this feature-length edit, we follow Angourie big-wave surfer Laurie Towner, wife Bron and kids Chase and Iyla as they head west across this vast island continent. Laurie, you’ll remember, perused the pro surfing dream for years until reality intervened and he became a tiler, although lately, he’s been working in the design room with his sponsor, the online wetsuit and accessories brand Need Essentials.

The pair are followed by Film-maker Nathan Henshaw and his girl Bec, who only intervenes whenever some dreadful slab is about to explode.

Kelly Slater finally makes public the miracle that allowed him to film commercial for trademark high-waisted “dad jeans” at perfect, empty, eight-to-ten-foot Teahupoo!

"This is Kelly's day!"

In the latest episode Lost Tapes, the 11-part series that follows the travails of Kelly Slater on his 2019 tour run, we are transported to French Polynesia where the Tahiti Pro is taking place.

Slater, who is forty-seven, underperforms at the event he has won five times, causing the Champ a surprisingly deep sorrow.

The post-heat scene back at his ocean-front villa where he sits with Chinese girlfriend Kalani Miller and pours over the rides of his opponent Jack Freestone, bitterly lambasting the judges for a nine given to Freestone where “the wave spits and he’s on the shoulder”, is better, I think, than anything in the much-vaunted Make or Break series for Apple+.

His journey is made complete, however, when the tour’s surfers leave the archipelago the day before a clean eight-to-ten-foot swell hits.

Needing to shoot a campaign advertisement for his Outerknown high-waisted “dad jeans”  the lineup is empty but for local shredder Kauli Vaast, whom you’ll remember went over the falls with a photographer on a monster day just last week.

“This is Kelly’s day,” says OG Tahitian surf-stud Raimana Van Bastolaer, who was once described by Cindy Crawford as “walking viagra”.

And, so it is.


Tensions flare in Brazil as Kelly Slater challenges WSL’s Pat O’Connell during filming of epic docuseries Lost Tapes, “The other wave sucks… that’s like Off the Wall, are you kidding me? Dude, I’m boycotting. If my f*&king heat has to be down there, I’m not even going to surf!”

The epic influence of Kelly Slater captured in wildly candid moment.

The 11-part docuseries Lost Tapes delivers, again, with the vertical blinds drawn back on the Champ as he navigates the 2019 tour event in Rio.

If you hadn’t guessed by all the late-shows and no-shows, Brazil ain’t Slater’s favourite part of the world, at least wave-wise.

“Not a lot of people come here for the surfing,” says Slater. “The waves in Brazil are funny, the way the beaches are here. A lot of the beaches are steep, you get this backwash situation, funny currents that don’t make great rip bowls.”

There is potential in the joint, he says, but that promise is rare, appearing for an hour or two at most.

Very interesting etc.

The episode lights up, howevs, when Slater challenges his ol pal Pat O’Connell, lately of Florence Marine X, then the WSL’s Head of Tour and Competition.

Pat ain’t convinced about the epic looking four-to-six-foot cabanas out the front, wants to do it down the beach whereupon Slater challenges his old pal.

“The other wave sucks… this is like Off the Wall…Dude, I’m boycotting. If my fucking heat has to be down there, I’m not even going to surf!”

Pat, noted for being fiercely proud of and prone to exhibiting his monstrously elongated scrotum, tells Slater, “If I get kicked in the nuts, it’s your fault.”

“It’s not even a question,” says Slater.

Kelly Slater reveals edict from World Surf League around event sponsored by local tourism body in area notorious for Great White attacks, “It’s so sharky we’re not allowed to even talk about it or the WSL gets mad at us!”

Slater lands in Margaret River, one year after two surfers were attacked hours apart almost forcing the permanent cancellation of the prestigious event.

In this, the fourth episode of the eleven-part docuseries Kelly Slater: Lost Tapes, which follows its master’s travails on the 2019 tour, we land in Margaret River, an area noted for its Great White attacks.

The year before, two hits on surfers by Great Whites a click or so from the contest there soured world champs Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira’s Margaret River experience.

Gabriel told his six million followers on Instagram, “Today they had two shark attacks on a beach close to where we’re competing. I do not feel safe training and competing in this kind of place, anytime anything can happen to one of us.”

Italo wrote, “Two shark attacks in less than 24 hours here in Australia, just a few miles from where the event is being held. Very dangerous do you not think? even so, they keep insisting on doing steps where the risk of having this type of accident is 90%, so I ask: is not the safety of athletes a priority? We already had several alerts. Life goes beyond that! I hope it does not happen to any of us. I do not feel comfortable training and competing in places like this!”

(In 2020, a surfer in his twenties would be hit by a “fifteen-foot” Great White shark at Bunker Bay, an awesomely pretty crescent of white sand and green water almost at the tip of Cape Naturaliste, a little north of Margaret River.)

Anyway, Slater’s in Margaret River, is smoked by John John and Jaddy in his first heat, fires up to levels hitherto unseen, at least in recent years, to win the next two rounds, but loses to giant-killer Caio Ibelli.

After belting his head a couple of times on the plastic wind protector of his rental car, drawing blood, he jokes about the blood in the water and sharks.

“It’s so sharky we’re not allowed to even talk about it or the WSL gets mad at us!”

Slater throws a piece of bloodied skin at the water.

“There’s some skin for ya,” he says.


Olympian, Sports Illustrated model and “body positivity advocate” emerges from mysterious disappearance to stake claim as world’s best female surfer with game-changing short, “Portrait of a Woman on Fire!”

Florida surfer Caroline Marks "floats on a spectrum of reality higher than most of her peers."

The mystery of Caroline Marks’ absence from the first half of this year’s tour is a composite of sub-plots that may never be satisfactorily explained.

But, the twenty year old and former rookie of the year didn’t squander her time away from the contest scene.

The short below was mostly filmed in Sumatra’s Mentawai islands during the contest window for the G-Land event and demonstrates, with little doubt, that she floats on a spectrum of reality higher than most of her peers.

Clips from southern California and Waco round out the picture.