Waveriders

Kate Campbell applauds at the premiere of Ireland's definitive surfing film

Whether your stance is regular or goofy, Waveriders' depiction of local, national and international surfers will inspire pride in the world-class swell in Ireland.

Even if you prefer good old dry land, you can't help but be swept along with the passion and enthusiasm that the film's salt-water addicts bring to the screen.

Waveriders is the vision of Joel Conway, a Dubliner with an unending enthusiasm for film, willing to take the challenge of filming on the Atlantic ocean and the coasts of Ireland.

A chance encounter with the sports section of a newspaper in a London airport seeded the name of legendary surfer 'George Freeth' in Conway’s brain, instilling a desire to capture the magic of surfing and show it on the cinema screen.

Born in 1883, Freeth is hailed as the 'father of modern surfing'. Gabe Davies. Photo (c) Bernard TestimaleAllegedly the son of a Irishman, Freeth has been hailed as a pioneer, establishing surfing in its native Hawaii, and subsequently introducing the sport to the Californian coast.

Freeth's story is simple and intriguing, illustrated through interviews with surf historians, family members and friends.

Points are punctuated with shots of the swells and white water from across the world; their natural power and beauty fuelling the universal passion for surfing.

Filmed over two years, the film employed a crew based in Bundoran and used specialised cold water cameramen to capture the magic of the sport.

Throughout the film, the excitement builds like an incoming tide. The second part moves to more recent pioneers of soul surfing, including World Champion Kelly Slater’s first visit to the Irish coastline.

The footage of local surfers is poetic, skilfully shot and gracefully presented, with a rocking soundtrack including the Undertones, Cinematic Orchestra and cuts from the Ninja Tunes label. As various breaks are recognised, the admiration of the surfers in the audience is clear.

The film climaxes with Irish surfers Gabe and Richie's introduction to tow surfing, with the awe-inspiring 70ft 'big wave' appearing to be inaccessible from the cliffs of Mullaghmore.

Chris Malloy. Photo (c) Bernard TestimaleNo Hollywood budget or actors could capture the tension and build up of adrenalin that was visible on their faces. They're out to set a record, the biggest wave surfed in Ireland.

As the swells get bigger, goosebumps run through the audience. We see Ireland's pioneers attempt Poseidon's worst, the Everest of the sea.

Waveriders retains a certain understatement, and has already generated huge hype amongst Ireland's surf community.

Deservedly winning the Audience Award in the Dublin Film festival, a BBC Northern Ireland version is in the works, for terrestrial broadcast.

One of Waveriders' stated aims is to inspire, without opening the floodgates of mass, popularised surfing in Ireland.

In so dramatically capturing the charm and attraction of both the sport and the landscape, the film wins over water-babies and land-lubbers alike. 

Waveriders is available now on DVD from amazon.co.uk and other outlets.


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