The Surfing Stunt Double: Tom Innes

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Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

Tom Innes is a Margaret River local, he's a past winner of the Margaret River Pro trials and even went on to finish fourth in the main event that year. His local knowledge is sound. Tom was recently chosen to be a surfing stunt double in Drift, the new film set in Margaret River during the early ā€˜70s that tells the story of two brothers at the genesis of the modern surf industry. 

Swellnet: What was your role in Drift? Tom Innes: I was the stuntman for Myles Pollard, the actor who plays Andy, one of the brothers in the film. I was his double so I had to shoot a few concert scenes and a few freesurfing scenes.

Western Australia had a good season for waves, did you get much surf while filming? Oh, it was one of the best winters we've had in a long time. I work in Perth and every time the waves we're good they'd ring me up and it seemed like they rang me every week for six weeks. It felt like every week there was another great swell. We got pretty much all my favourite breaks pumping.

Whereabouts? The first day we surfed a solid four foot Supertubes. That was pretty interesting riding a single fin out there. Ankle deep. I broke one of their boards which they weren't too happy about, but yeah, got a few good ones.

We got Grunters really good about four or five times. That's really rare, you might only get it twice in a season. Every spot that I can think of pumped: Boranup, Gas, Black Point, Bommie...

We surfed eight foot Bommie in these howling offshore winds on these single fins. It was pretty hectic, we were airdropping out of the lip and getting flogged on a couple.

Drift is set in the 70's and a few of the crew have told me that you were surfing just too good. Ordy [Russell Ord] told me to slow down a bit. I couldn't help it, the waves were just begging for it. I had this really light single fin and it was actually really manouverabe. It was an old looking board but with a new rocker. It was really fun to ride.

I wasn't really doing airs, just driving a bit hard off the bottom, going vert and hitting the lip. Doing a few floaters and finners and stuff. I had to slow it down a bit and do a few high-line trims and stuff.

Reckon it's going to look good on screen? Yeah, they were trying pretty hard to get the actors out there so they could cut to the doubles. They didn't want to make it look fake and they were focussed on that. Myles did a fair bit of his own surfing. He was out the first day at Supers getting a couple, and Ordy got a great shot of him at the Bommie on an eight footer. Pretty cool to see him having a dig.

One of the other actors, he'd been surfing for about two weeks and he got absolutely rolled across the reef at the Bommie. He was shitting himself, stuck on dry reef, he was running across the reef as this huge whitewash smashed across the reef. It was funny but they were really worried about him.

What about wetsuits, what did they have you wearing? We were in period wetsuits. Like all over smoothies. Daggy old wetties but they were pretty warm.

And hair? You have to wear a rug or were you right to go as is? I didn't go for casting with the role and I'd just had my hair cut. They rang me up a week before shooting saying they needed a surfing double for Myles. I fitted his build but the hair didn't match so I had to wear a wig. I looked like Trent from Punchy, don't know if you've seen that on YouTube? Had a bit of a blonde mullet thing going on.

How many days overall did you film? I did about six full days of surfing and I had a couple of days in between where I was there but we didn't film.

And the pay? Yeah, it was pretty good. Everyone was raving about it down south. If you had a surfing role you got paid a fair bit more than an extra. But then a few of the guys had speaking roles and they got paid as much as the surfers did ā€“ if not more.

There's all these actors loading, all these benefits you get for being part of the film, I didn't understand it but it was kinda cool. I got all these little bonuses that added up to a fair bit. Yeah, I made a fair bit.

My brother did a little bit of doubling too, he was in one of the fight scenes. He's quite solid and he was throwing guys across tables, rolling through fires and stuff. I'm excited to see some of the scenes that they shot.

So it was a good experience? Yeah, absolutely. It's going to be an iconic thing for Margaret River and Western Australia. I can't wait to see it.

Read an interview with set photographer, Russel Ord. Read Swellnet's review of Drift.


tim_fisher's picture
tim_fisher's picture
tim_fisher Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 at 8:07pm

You spelled Tom's name wrong in the headline, ya dorks.

Good interview, but.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 at 8:23pm

Hmmm...if I change the title that will change the URL, and your oh-so-subtle comment will disappear for good leaving nought but a mistake free interview. On the other hand, that's a hell of a lot of work.

What a quandary I find myself in.

(Hey up to you, Tim)

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 at 9:07pm

It does stand out like Dogs balls Stu , ( in Tim's Defence ) .

On another note , the lead roles aren't the only Actors that can Surf .
One of the Actors playing " A Bikie " is [ when he infrequently graces the water ] is quite an accomplished surfer ..... not exactly a Big wave bandit , but good enough to reach the final of a Boardriders comp or two ! .

Would have been a script twist when the " bikie " steals a board off the " surfers " then paddles out and " lord's " it up in the lineup !!!

Looking forward to the opening screening .

PS. Tom INNES , is completely underrated . !

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013 at 9:22am

Spelling fixed! Comments retained! The wonders of the internet.

sandspit's picture
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sandspit Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013 at 5:46pm

how's his barrel style! very nice indeed

remember's picture
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remember Saturday, 20 Apr 2013 at 4:57pm

You don't act barrel style like that.Sic photo

ricky-bobby's picture
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ricky-bobby Monday, 22 Apr 2013 at 11:30am

Ive seen that opening photo before.Its actually Shaun Green.Stunt double for Xavier.The very next day at the same break a booger got bitten in half by old Whitey.
Love to know what the actors were insured for?

hanielgarcialaigo's picture
hanielgarcialaigo's picture
hanielgarcialaigo Monday, 22 Apr 2013 at 12:08pm

NIce pix,though