It's about life - not "lifestyle"
A FILM BY PAUL KRAUS
NORTH PACIFIC PRODUCTIONS
1250 N. MAIN ST.
FORT BRAGG, CA 95437
|The words on the cover of this video (coming soon in DVD) pretty much tell what is inside: "Conversations with some of the most influential shapers of our time...and what they put into each board."
That said, what you won't find is a "how-to" instructional guide to the shaping of surfboards. It's important to make that clear up front, and there are several good instructional works out there. What you do get is an intimate view of all the intangibles - you get a flash of the 11 individuals featured, and these flashes give you images of what it takes for them to have become masters of this art covering all the eras since WWII.
The shapers featured here are Brewer, Hamilton, Velzy, Yater, Ole, Morey, Chung, Farrelly, Dillon, Gillis, and Rae; some household names in the U.S. and Australia, and some probing the new frontiers of surfboards (tow, hydrofoil, machines, etc.).
What struck me the most about this film overall is that it felt like something I might have made (if I had the drive, experience, ambition, equipment, dedication, and vision) - it's handcrafted with soul, so to speak, and this is the underlying spirit of the films subjects. It isn't meant to be all-inclusive nor does it pretend to be any kind of "final word" on anything.
Like many other videos out (with a huge variety of quality), this is a small film with probably a limited audience. No surf action porn here, it's the words, the faces, and the feelings expressed by the subjects which count. It's emblematic of a developing era in surf media, courtesy of the computer, which is seeing websites and camcorders and computers allowing the creation of the grassroots soul of contemporary surf expression as so many magazines atrophy under the rigid confines of corporate production schedules, budgets, and advertising pressures. This New Surf Media is almost always, either by design or weight of cultural gravity, a labor of love for those who produce them (read that "financial sacrifice").
A film like "The Shapemakers" is perfect for a rental market which sadly may not even exist, unless some surf shops have such programs. Anybody who has even a passing interest in surf equipment new or old, or the people mentioned, would enjoy a viewing. This is what historians call "primary source material" presented in an entertaining manner, a slice of soul which so often seems hard to find. Maybe the best way for casual viewers to see this would be to get a few together and pool funds amongst a group for purchase, and then pass it around. It's like a home movie, and we're all part of the family.
|Copyright (C) 2004. All rights reserved.