I used to watch a lot of surf films.
Living in a city away from the beach, I would use them as a way to access the calm and the joy that being in the water brings me. I know it's not the same as being in the ocean, but it reminds me of it and helps me connect to those feelings; I can use the images to link to my memories and experiences and I find it can provide a little relief when I just can't find the time to get down the coast.
But lately, well for quite a few months now, I've found these films boring. I've found them predictable and hard to sit through. I think that for the last 6 months in particular, having access to the ocean and to surfing has been so important and central in my life that having to compromise in any way has been completely unsatisfying. So watching footage of other people having the kinds of experiences that I couldn't get just made me sad and annoyed and I was jealous of them getting waves or getting wet if I couldn't. And then for the last months of 2009, I was either in the water or I was thinking about when I would be next, and I really didn't want to take time away from that to watch a film about things I would rather just go and do myself.
But now life has established a new rhythm and I am back further north in the city again and I have settled into a life that doesn't include everyday ocean access and so I have started pulling out my surf films again. I've watched all my favourite sections of my favourite films (realised that a couple are missing or lent to friends) and started looking around again at other films that I might like to see...
I've been seeing clips for Little Black Wheels for some time now and I knew it had come out late last year, so when a friend talked it up and offered to loan me their copy to watch, I was curious.
It is great. It's the first full film I've managed to sit through in a long time and I enjoyed it all. There is some particularly beautiful surfing and although I often find it painful when people talk in surf films, overall I found the individual stories are warm and sincere and interesting. There are conversations about boards, style, family, home, health, bodies and connection, and they are stories you don't really hear a lot in other films, at least not in these ways. And sure, at times I rolled my eyes, but that's ok too - I'm quite sure I cause a lot of eye-rolling myself at times. Anyway, there are a couple of sections in this film that are going to make their way into my collection of 'often watched'.
Anyway, you should check it out!