Watch: Ben Gravy’s endearing long-form Surf Ranch VLOG!

It's forty-two minutes long!

Yeah, forty-two minutes. Before you jerk down the window and throw the damn computing machine out the window, I would suggest, at the very least, a cursory viewing of this feature.

Ben Gravy, who is thirty years old and crowned with a hairline that looks grafted from brave Russell Bierke, is a film school grad turned surf vlogger. A couple of years ago, Ben figured if he could film and cut and deposit one surf clip on YouTube every day he’d get a little traction among the two hundred thousand or so surf fans around the world. So far he’s got 43,000 subscribers on his channel and a total of nine million views over a thousand-ish clips.

Good numbers, yes, and reflective, I think, of an enthusiasm and every-man appeal. Innocent. Frank. Kind. Ben can surf but he ain’t a true pro nymphet. A second-rate but determined player.

This forty-two minute film is typical of Ben’s approach. He’s been jaw-boning Kelly for a year or so about getting into his pool.

Finally, Kelly relents.

Ben’s journey unfolds in slow-motion. The drive to Lemoore. The hotel. Looking at an email from Kelly. The gates opening. His first wave. (Does he wear a nose clip to prevent brain-eating amoebas? Discuss.). Ben’s inquisitive GoPro examines every damn detail of the Ranch and hunts novelty waves in the overflow channel and the inside shorebreak.

“Three years ago, I was twenty six years old, washed-up, barely surfed, blown-out knee with a doctor telling me I might never surf again,” Ben says. “I changed my life, I changed my mindset and today I came to the Kelly Slater wavepool and I surfed with Kelly Slater. Anything is possible. If you chase your dreams, if you put positivity and goodness into the universe, it’ll come back to you. I’m living proof.”

Michael February stars in “Why do I surf? Because it represents freedom. Because I can breathe!”

Is Mike Feb a bad fit for the WSL or is the WSL too tight for Swinging Mike?

You might’ve seen the sixties feel-good flick Born Free. I’m guessing not.

Here’s a snapshot.

Based on a memoir by a British gal Joy Adams, it follows Joy and her stud George, who’s a game warden in Kenya, as they raise a lion from cub to adulthood.

Instructive quote:

Yes, yes, she was born free and she has the right to live free. Why don’t we live in a more comfortable setting George? Other people do. We chose to live out here cause it represents freedom for us. Because we can breathe.

In this short by Cape Town-based filmmaker Tao Farren-Hefer, which is called Born Free, we follow Michael February, who is 25 and the current world number 31, as he roams South Africa in his vintage Mercedes.

It’s a film of uncommon passion and beauty. We watch deftly sliced footage of Feb as an 11 year old in 2004 juxtaposed with the catlike tread of his WSL-level approach in 2018, and all scored to the cocaine of the woodwind family, the grimy ol saxophone.

It’s more of a growl than a salutation.

Watch: Shane Dorian on the Joe Rogan Experience: “I wanted to rip people’s heads off!”

"Is there enough people on earth to watch shit movies? My time is precious," says Shane.

The American comedian turned MMA aficionado and now podcast renaissance man, Joe Rogan, sure do like his surfer boys. A couple of weeks ago he bantered and bunted with Kelly Slater.

A couple of months prior to that it was Shane Dorian and, today, Shane is back, to talk about the new Momentum movie, deer hunting and the difficulty of explaining his profession at barbecues (“Oh you’re paid to surf?).

At one point Joe tells Shane, “You should be able to sue the fuck out of those people!”

Joe says cunt a lot too.

“Can you do a little more cunty?”

If we lived in the eighteenth century Joe would’ve made a very good pamphleteer.

This episode streamed two hours ago.

Watch, listen, whatever works.

Teahupoo Feature: “Oh, you a pro homie?”

A sublime long-form cut of a season at Teahupoo…

I ain’t one for slow-mo and believe it to be a crutch for lesser skilled filmmakers who want to appear serious and puffed-up and important. Same thing with photographers who dump colour and pull the sharpener lever hard in Photoshop.

In this ten-minute film by Ryan Moss, a Californian who divides his time stateside and in Hawaii, we’re gifted that rarest of morsel – a pared back, unpretentious, pressure relieving examination of a season at Teahupoo, locals only etc, that claws onto the viewer.

The Road to Homecoming, as its called, has all the ingredients of a stinker: no pro homies, slow-mo landscapes and drones and so on, and yet it palm bangs my rear end.

The score by J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive successfully achieves the feat of matching rap with surfing.

Highlights: the first wave after the intro, 2:25 in; the closing drone shot.

Open a window, kick your feet onto a chair, order some sausage.


Watch Noa Deane in “A nice mixture of poison and treacle!”

A destructive two-point-five minutes…

To know Noa Deane is to love him. I think. I’ve only had limited contact but have found him to be a supremely loveable, lovably freakish fellow.

Favourite quotes:

(Guns) “It’s a powerful fucking thing in your hands. It’s a weird feeling. You’ve got a gun with a bullet that can kill someone. Is it sexy? Yeah.”

(In-N-Out) “It’s so unhealthy and cheap. It’s everything I want in one thing.”

(Morocco holiday) “The surf was doing my fucking head in. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I was, I wanna get outta here, I fucking hate this same shit, it’ll be fucked, let’s fuck off.”

(Moroccan cuisine) “Me and and Jay smoked some hash and we were so high we went and ate snails. They’re like abalone, a little chicken-esque, too.”

(Airs) “If you do a big air and you bone it, it shows how passionate you are about airs.”

(Me) “Is Derek Rielly a pussy?”

The burlesque in Noa’s surfing and simplicity of attitude is a nice mixture of poison and treacle.

Although he is a decently modest person, his surfing faces his audience, and even in this throwaway short, it will make your jowls wobble.