Whether or not you’re a surfer, or a fan of the aquatic sport, Storm Surfers 3D is an entertaining documentary worthy of any audience. It looks at the lives of two Australian professional surfers, Tom Carroll and Ross Clark-Jones, as they search far and wide for the biggest waves in the world to dominate. It doesn’t matter how far from land they have to travel, or how dangerous their quest for tubular shreddage can get – these adrenaline junkies are prepared to surf the waves that no one else has ever dared. Gnarly!
Cutting right to the chase, the first-hand surfing footage is quite breathtaking. Directors Justin McMillan and Christopher Nelius use a variety of different techniques while capturing the immersive experience of surfing these enormous waves. Tom and Ross even carry tiny GoPro cameras on a stick as they surf through waves before they crash on top of them, giving us their gorgeous view. Even if the movie wasn’t in 3D, it would still feel like you were surfing alongside our characters. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no duplicating the real thing, but it’s impossible not to feel the exhilaration these two experience as they conquer one extremely dangerous wave after the next.
McMillan and Nelius also capture the commanding power of these waves, making you wonder – what is scarier? The waves crashing hard, as they engulf our surfers, or the thunderous sound of them crashing? It’s no surprise that Tom and Ross do wipe out on a few of these waves, making for some of Storm Surfers 3D‘s more painful and frightening moments. These scenes will likely remind audiences of those painful instant replays in football games which you find yourselves flinching in imaginary pain at. Then again, there is humor in some of the spills, so you get some redeeming factors from our character’s desired self-abuse.
Storm Surfers 3D never dismisses the dangers these surfers put themselves in whenever they head out into the water, though. While these guys look to be having the time of their lives, they are still keenly aware of how much their lives are at risk. The scariest moments come when they are trapped underneath these humongous waves, and have tremendous difficulty getting to the surface. In one of the documentary’s most amusing scenes, Ross demonstrates how violently a giant wave can knock you around by comparing it to dancing in a jam-packed night club.
But while the documentary has its share of great surfing footage, it thankfully doesn’t brush over the personal lives of Tom and Ross. We get to know a lot about these two, especially in their younger days when they were champion surfers. Although now past the age of 40, someone in the documentary points out that they stopped aging at 17, highlighting their still youthful personality – like it wasn’t obvious from the way they acted? Tom has since become a father, but he still acts like a kid whenever he’s around Ross. These two are so full of life, and show so much passion towards the surfing profession, you can’t help but come out of Storm Surfers 3D hoping you still have that lust for life when you reach their age.
The most exhilarating portion has to be when Tom and Ross head miles out to sea to surf Turtle Cove though, where the gargantuan waves offer equally gigantic dangers. Seeing the duo go insanely fast down these particular waves is frightening, but at the same time you admire the control they are able to display as they glide across the glistening water. Even as the waves get to be more and more dangerous, and their lives are put at risk more and more, nothing can stop them from surfing what no one else has surfed. What these two men do is a testament to the human spirit, showing what only one person can accomplish with the right mindset.
On the surface, Storm Surfers 3D could have been just another documentary filled with cool surfing footage, but part of its success is that it takes the time to examine these surfers as individuals, exposing the lives they lead. As a result, the documentary becomes a more invigorating experience, as we’re able to share in their exploits with more connectivity.
With the wealth of movies crowding multiplexes this summer, hopefully Storm Surfers 3D will not get lost in the shuffle. Trust me on this one, it’s worth the ride.
Storm Surfers 3D is a thrilling ride into the world of surfing. If you can find it playing at a theatre near you, I highly recommend checking it out, whether you're into the sport or not.