In surf culture circles, the second half of 2009 belonged to Modern Collective. Six of the world’s most innovative surfers taking on world-class breaks suited to aerial surfing. This is no Endless Summer soul-search; it’s a film about the new generation of surfers creating a new style of surfing. Throwing ridiculous airs is hardly a new thing, but the stuff these guys are going for – and landing – has been blowing minds. Surf magazine execs scrambled for early viewings, and as they held clandestine meetings in darkened apartments around director Kai Neville’s MacBook Pro the opinions were unanimous; the game has been changed, for good. This is the biggest surf film release in years, possibly decades.
We’ve been drip-fed video segments and photos, have seen exclusive interviews and the surf art aspect of the film is well understood. It promised to break the surf film mould and be as much of an art project as it is a surf film. And for the most part, Modern Collective has succeeded in just that – beautiful cinematography and some incredible rhythmic editing places this a good cut above a standard surf film composition. There’s some nice cultural inclusions too, so the surf travellers out there will recognise a handful of locations. After having watched it a few times through, the only disappointment is the soundtrack; it’s that soul-less electro synth pop stuff that’s just oh-so-cool right now but will be oh-so-forgotten in a year’s time. It’s completely mismatched to the visuals. Anyway, that’s a small point. In every other way, this film is absolutely incredible.