It is an icy one degree outside. The ocean’s vast virgin surface mirrors the sky’s foamy blue. Without warning, the sea swells up, sending a life-threatening 65-foot wave barreling into the air.
The surfing documentary, Storm Surfers 3D, is about some very big waves — the biggest in Australia — and features surfing legends Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones, who dream of riding them.
3D technology is used elegantly in this film, immersing the audience in a tube of shimmering turquoise water. The experience is exhilarating; it is enough to make you wish that you could surf, yet still feel relieved that you’re not currently on top of a five-storey wave that could crush you at any time.
Storm Surfers 3D throws you into a crest of raw aquatic power that can snap your board or pinball you onto rocks. The surfing footage is breathtaking; the camera moves over, under, and around the board, shots that are intercut with aerial footage.
This Australian production is refreshingly character-driven for a genre that typically focuses on camerawork. The film features interviews with two-time world surfing champion Carroll and tow-surfing legend Clarke-Jones, whose combined fables teach us to never “stop engaging with what you love to do” and to “make the most of every opportunity you’ve got.”Storm Surfers 3D captures an incredible four-month search for the biggest waves around Australia and the Great Southern Ocean in 95 minutes of screen time. Carroll and Clarke-Jones ride waves off Shipstern Bluff, Cape Solander, Cow Bombie, and the previously unsurfed Turtle Dove Shoal 75 kilometers off the West Australian coastline.
The cinematography is gorgeous, the waves, awe-inspiring, and the story of Tom and Ross, emotionally candid. “Surfing big waves is not about how ripped you are or how much you can bench press,” says Carroll. “I think it’s about your nerve.”