Saturday, July 13, 2013

Storm Surfers (Rhoades)

Ride the Big Waves
In “Storm Surfers”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

If I saw a 1,000-foot wave off Key West, I’d be shouting “Tsunami!” My house is on high ground, but that’s only 7 feet above sea level.
However, surfer Ross Clarke-Jones thinks nothing of riding big waves. He hails from Terrigal on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, where 300-meter waves are common place.
Known to his friends as “Dark Bones,” Clarke-Jones regularly takes on the giant 80-foot waves off Outside Log Cabins on the north shore of Oahu in Hawaii. He was the first non-Hawaiian to win the prestigious Eddie Aikau Memorial at Waimea Bay in 2001.
Clarke-Jones and his tow partner Tony Ray met as 18-year-old surfer bums back in 1983. “We were both into big waves. It was our first passion,” recalls Ray. “We both tried tow-in surfing with other people once or twice. There were these spots on the North Shore (of Oahu) where you couldn’t really paddle because it was too dangerous, it was too far out. You’d get seasons and seasons of that, where you'd see these waves but couldn’t surf them, it was really frustrating.”
Now at 45, Ross Clarke-Jones worries about being edged out in a younger man’s game. So he’s enjoying a last hoorah as the subject of a new documentary called “Storm Surfers 3-D.” It’s currently thrilling audiences waves at the Tropic Cinema.
“Storm Surfers 3-D” follows Aussie tow-surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time world champion Tom Carroll on their quest to ride the biggest and most dangerous wave they can find.
With the help of surf forecaster Ben Matson, they track and chase giant storms across the Great Southern Ocean -- from the coasts of southern Tasmania to South Africa to the Hawaii Pipeline surf reef, before finally riding an untouched spot at Turtle Dove Shoal, roughly 50 miles off the coast of Perth, Western Australia.
Think: “Endless Summer” in 3-D.
As one moviegoer describes the film’s opening sequence: “Veteran Australian big-wave surfers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones are nearly 50 miles out at sea, looking to ride a series of waves. Carroll starts out but then in a moment of imbalance he is lost below the waves, fate unknown. After a minute, he resurfaces, bruised but not beaten and prepared to try the wave again.”
The film follows Carroll and Clarke-Jones and during the 2011 winter big-wave season. Along the way they join forces with other big wave surfers like Paul Morgan, Mark Mathews and Paul “Antman” Paterson. There’s even a special appearance by the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater.
With the film’s cutting-edge 3-D technology, you’ll feel like you’re there out on the water with them, facing freezing conditions and near-death experiences, heading toward a wave bigger than an apartment building. You’ll be holding your breath in anticipation.
“Among big wave surfers, Ross is right on top,” says his pal Tony Ray. “When it gets really extreme, not too many guys would match him. He just loves it.”
You will too. From the dry safety of your theater seat.

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