Step Into Liquid

Step Into Liquid
Film review by: Witney Seibold

Step Into Liquid

The central message behind Dana Brown’s new surfing documentary “Step Into Liquid” seems to be this: surfers love surfing. There is plenty of talk on the natures of surfing: how it got started, where the best places to surf are, how amazing/spiritual/absurd an experience it is. I am not a surfer; I have never even tried, and am pretty sure that my attempts would be anywhere from laughable to downright fatal. Indeed any beach activities, I have found, are not fun enough to account for the sunburn, salt, foot cuts, and digging sand out of your every crevice for the next week and a half. And while unfortunately titled “Step Into Liquid” filled me with an awe, and made me appreciate the people who were obsessed with surfing, it did little to change my views on the sport.

There were some amazing moments in the film, I have to say. The photography is downright amazing. Right at the beginning, there is footage of kids, 6-10, just learning to surf, and the fun their having is just magical. There is also a lesson on tow-surfing. It turns out that some waves are so big that one cannot possibly paddle hard enough in order to ride them, so the surfer must be towed by a small motorboat. I hadn’t seen that before. We also get some amusing Errol Morris moments when we see the surfing teams of Sheboygan, WI; chubby white guys who ride the ripples of Lake Michigan.

Dana Brown, however, is a surfer (indeed he is the son of Bruce Brown, director of “Endless Summer II”), and has nothing to say about surfing other than a lot of people like it. His narration is full of lame metaphors and misplaced slang. The footage he includes of foil-boards – boards that, thanks to a large fin device, skitter about two feet above the water’s surface – is nice to look at, but extends into the length that it feels almost like an infomercial. It’s a film for the fans. Surfers are already going berserk for this film. For us gremmies, it’s merely a slightly fun diversion.

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Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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