The Role of Music in Surf Films? To Make You Horny to Surf, Duh!

September 3, 2018

"Who cares about the music if the surfing is good, bro", is what many of you will say. And you're right. Kinda.

 

If the surfing in a particular film is phenomenal, the locations dreamy and the waves something akin to heaven on earth, then the movie or clip has fulfilled its purpose.

 

But how many of you have a favourite section from a surf film that you incessantly fawn over because of the on wave antics AND the slick soundtrack that accompanies it? 

 

I know I do. In fact, I've got more than my fair share tucked away in the ol' plank bank.

 

Slater in Young Guns II dancing across the screen with The Presets playing in the background; Brent Dorrington dismantling beachies in Separate Volume with Kings of Leon injecting some additional energy into the clip; Mick, Parko and Dingo tearing the bag out of the Superbank as Pacifier tears the bag out of Just a Shadow and pretty much anyone's section from Stranger than Fiction.

 

Oh, and what about Taj Burrow in Fair Bits with Wolfmother... hooowweeee I still watch that every now and then. Classic!

You don't even have to be a fan of the surfers, their movies or the songs. It's the combination of all three that gives these flicks and the surfing in them a visceral appeal that manifests itself by making you feel like you're ready to charge triple overhead Pipeline with third reef bombs rolling through, even though you're definitely not.

 

Aside from getting you pumped for a surf though, music can also contribute towards setting the tone or the mood in a surf film.

 

Think Joe Guglielmino and Kai Neville (honourable mention Taylor Steele); two incredibly talented directors who've made some of the most commercially and artistically successful surf films of the past decade by mixing high performance surfing, stunning cinematography and variegated playlists.

 

Their choice of music goes beyond simply being a vehicle to get you amped. It is a vital part of the storytelling process that's designed to create atmosphere and communicate a common theme. 

 

Not sure what I mean? Try watching Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La or Listen Now Misty Dawn* without sound. Sure, the colours are pretty and the surfing is electric, but if there ain't no music then their ain't no atmosphere, and all that creative filmmaking has gone to waste.

 

Good music in a surf film should make a section more intense, more dramatic and more ethereal. It should stays with you long after the credits have rolled and in many cases it will bounce around your skull for years later.

 

The real beauty of good music in a surf film though is that you can be paddling out at your local for a few waves and have the chorus of a song running through your head and a semi-lucid daydream about the accompanying section.

 

In that way, good music can make you feel like you're the star of your own surf film.

 

Albeit one no one's probably gonna watch.

 

*Check out the playlist for Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La or Listen Now Misty Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

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