Storm Surfers 3D – how exciting can a documentary about surfing be? Well, when Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time World Champion Tom Carroll are involved, a hell of a lot more exciting than I expected. Following these two aquatic daredevils on their quest to surf the most dangerous and intimidating waves around, we watch them get tossed about like rag dolls by Neptune’s wrath, but also gasp at their expertise when conquering these fabled surfing spots. Exploring already tagged areas isn’t enough for our two men though, as their overarching goal is to surf a wave that’s never been surfed before, one that could end our shredder’s careers if handled the wrong way.
Acting like two almost fifty year old children, Tom and Ross are a fun duo to watch and make for entertaining characters, showing an admirable amount of energetic vibrancy in their aging bodies. Watching the film as a twenty-something year old, I can only hope I’m still embracing life to the fullest like these two role models, as their fearless spirits make their accomplishments all the more important.
Their technical prowess while cutting up waves is definitely a sight of its own, showing that after all these years our two buddies can still surf with the best of them, but their infectious energy is what carries us through the film. Unless you’re a die-hard surfing fan, watching Tom and Ross go about their routine would become tiresome over time, as there are long stretches only showing them in action, but Storm Surfers 3D cuts up the footage with catchy backstory cartoons and stranger moments like Ross explaining how being held underwater by a crashing wave is like being crammed in a swanky nightclub – complete with his recreation. These two have so much fun with the project, it’s almost impossible for us not to share their same excitement.
But it’s not all fun and games for our heroes. There’s an obvious danger to what they’re doing, attempting to subdue waves that have sent people to the hospital, and we see just how willing Tom and Ross are to be thrown around by the vast ocean. Tom is more leery about sustaining serious damage, because he’s very committed to his family, and this creates a jokey dynamic with his partner Ross, continually jesting that Tom has turned into a girl himself because he spends so much time with his daughters. Tom’s mentality grounds Storm Surfers 3D though, and is needed to make both Tom and Ross feel like vulnerable humans. Watching Tom disappear under the water for a long period of time or Ross get thrown head over heels by a wave is so much more meaningful when you realize if things turn for the worse, it’s not just the surfer who suffers, but the people who love him as well.
Storm Surfers 3D is a brilliant visual piece for adrenaline junkies and film fans alike, getting viewers up close and personal with the swells Tom and Ross search out. Armed to the teeth with chopper cameras, handheld GoPro cameras on sticks, surfboard mounted cameras, and cameras mounted just about anywhere else they could be, we literally ride through each wave with our pro surfers, providing a first-person point-of-view experience.
Our perspective is made only more beautiful by the Blu-Ray quality transition, which shows the glistening, foamy water in all of nature’s true beauty. With tribal-inspired music bumping to set the mood, some of the locations around Australia that our surfers visit provide scenery that is too good to be true. Through the crisp, clean delivery, Storm Surfers 3D is almost like a promotional video to highlight Australia’s tourism by showing these blue bodies of water and sandy beaches so vibrantly.
As far as Special Features go, here’s what we’ve got:
- Behind The Scenes With The Directors
- Tom Carroll Profile
- Ross Clarke-Jones Profile
- Ross & Tom’s Need For Speed
- Ben Matson Profile
For those of you who don’t know anything about professional surfers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones, the profile pieces let you into their current and past lives. Forecaster Ben Matson also has his own profile, which is an interesting look at a man who forecasts the best surfing conditions for a living, and gets paid for it – essentially being the gnarliest weatherman ever. For more on Ross and Tom’s addiction to adrenaline, we’re also provided with a “Need For Speed” feature, which shows the two surfers taking to an automobile racing track and competing in a time trial. What did I say, these guys are like big kids! Big kids whose lives I’m extremely jealous of…
Going even further into the film nerd stuff, we have an interesting “Behind The Scenes” look at the challenging production that surrounded this documentary. As I mentioned, so many different camera angles and rigs had to be used if our directors were to catch all the action, and none of that work was easy. It’s actually pretty cool to get technical and see how some of these gorgeous shots were achieved, especially on such a niche documentary.
Storm Surfers 3D is a brilliant look into the world of not only surfing, but adrenaline junkies and action sports enthusiasts as a whole. People always wonder why professionals continue to beat their bodies year after year in sports that are known for being relentless, but Tom and Ross make it all too clear why these people never stop – passion. Pure, real, unbridled passion. Hell, shouldn’t everyone be that happy still at their ages?
Storm Surfers 3D is a high-intensity documentary that promotes admirable ideals focusing on passion, life, and not letting anything stop you from doing what you love. Righteous.