On Monday, Sept. 29, Surfing Magazine, in association with Oakley, Billabong, RVCA and Bonzai Bowls, released their newest movie titled, “Teen Age.” The movie focuses on some of the best teenagers in surfing as they travel the world stacking video clips for this new conceptual adolescent movie and, believe it or not, the film has some interesting ties to our North Florida community.
“Teen Age” isn’t your typical surf flick for a number of reasons. First, let’s touch on the concept. In terms of blockbuster surf films in the industry that is surfing, most films focus on the names surf fans have known and loved for years. But “Teen Age” was built around the younger generation of professional surfers who are making names for themselves on the professional platform at a young age.
Jimmy Wilson, photo editor at Surfing Magazine and executive producer of the film, suggested that Surfing Magazine has always been about promoting the younger generation of surfers and that people are dying to see more from them. Surfing puts out an “Under 20” issue every two years and has seen a great reaction from their followers with that issue — which translated into the concept behind the film, explained Wilson.
“We have always been kind of involved with the next generation of kids, and trying to be the first to cover a lot of those surfers because the caliber that these kids are surfing at nowadays is incredible,” Wilson said. He went on to explain that a lot of these surfers have the potential to be some of the best in the world one day, some of them already are, and that following their progression from a young age is something people really want to see, as proven from the popularity of the “Under 20” issue and campaigns like the “Grom Games.”
Zander Morton, editor at Surfing, concurred and made a good point as well. “A lot of these kids these days are surfing on a level of some of the best surfers in the world at a young age, people like Filipe Toledo or Kolohe (Andino), people forget that they are 18, 19, 20 years old because we have all known about them for awhile, which brings up the point that, we think it’s important to cover the younger generation so people A. See how talented they are, and B. We can watch them set the bar for future generations, watching them grow up over time, and become the pros we know and love,” Morton said.
The staff at Surfing put together some of the best young surfers in the world in what some are considering the best teenage surf flick since Taylor Steele’s “Focus,” and boy did the youngins prove themselves in this one. What was then the Kelly Slaters, Rob Machados, or Shane Dorians are now the Jack Robinsons, Parker Coffins, Kalani Davids and Yago Doras, and Surfing Magazine made it happen, in 5 months time no less.
“It was crazy, from the day we started shooting to the day we ended it took us 5 months to make the movie, it all came together for us. Between getting the kids together, to scoring on every trip, we got some insane footage in a short period of time and with the release date of the ‘Under 20’ issue pushed forward to September, we thought it would make sense to finish in time to release them both cohesively,” said Wilson.
Wilson went on to explain that although it was an unusual accomplishment, he thinks that this is the direction in which surf films are headed. “Most full-length surf films spend up to 2 to 3 years perfecting and making the finish product. But with how much surf content is out there, keeping clips exclusive and fresh in peoples minds is important and I think this is the direction in which surf films are going to go,” Wilson said.
For the film, they traveled to places like Central America, Indonesia and Samoa, and with luck, scored near-perfect waves on every trip they made for the movie. The film exposes some of the most progressive surfing ever seen by teenagers and has been making quite a stir around the world in the few short weeks it has been exposed to the surf industry.
To go along with the world-wide popularity and attention the film has gained, it also hit home here in North Florida as something to be proud of. Executive producer and photo editor at Surfing, Jimmy “Jimmicane” Wilson and assistant editor at the mag, Zander Morton are both from St. Augustine and have been working at Surfing for the past few years since moving out west from the 904. Sean Benik, director of video at Surfing Magazine, is also from Florida, hailing from Melbourne. The three of them were an intricate piece in making this project a reality and making surf fans and friends in Florida proud.
For the movie, Wilson, a seasoned photographer in the surf industry, specifically at Surfing, took on the task as executive producer making trips happen and getting everything together, from which surfers to feature, to producing important visuals and orchestrating day-to-day tasks during the making of the film. Benik edited the entire project and filmed some of the movie as well, while Morton worked more behind the scenes helping to produce and market the film itself and the “Under 20” issue.
Together these three Floridians were an important part in making the movie happen and still chuckle over how far they have come in the surf industry and making projects like this a reality.
“I think the three of us working together is pretty cool for a few reasons, I think it shows first, how much talent is coming from, not only Florida, but the east coast, and that guys from the east coast can and are working for a publication on a stage the whole surfing world, or at least a majority of it, follows, which is humbling. Second, it’s great having everyone in the office and collabing, Jimmy and I still laugh and get a kick out of it all the time. How we ended up growing up together and hanging out everyday to working in the office with each other everyday at Surfing, it’s crazy,” Morton said.
In all, “Teen Age” is a reflection of Surfing Magazine and their reputation as one of the world’s premier surf media outlets, but a reflection of the talent coming out of the east coast, or better yet Florida, and immersing themselves in the surf industry.
Teen Age is available for free download and viewing on Vimeo and trust us, it is well worth a gander. Skip to 23:08 for some of the best tube riding you’ve ever seen … Again, just a suggestion.