Watch: Kelly Slater // Momentum II
From when the closing section of surf films mattered. Hell, from when films mattered.
Taylor Steele has begun uploading all his films and outtakes, thirty years worth of footage, onto a new YouTube channel - The Momentum Files. Today's release is from 1993, the closing section of Momentum II.
When the original Momentum came out in '92, The Surfers Journal opined: "Most surfers over 25 found it to be crude and exhausting. Most surfers under 20 took to it like a new religion."
25 years on it makes for a curious artifact. There's not a shred of style or grace on display here, it's nothing at all like watching surfing from, say, the 60s or 70s. And the moves Slater and co invented are still in their embryonic stage, there's little linkage between turns and many an aerial ends in a layback. Sub 18 inch widths on six-plus lengths do little for the aesthetics.
Also, compared to the surfing done even just a few years later it's slow. Like listening to a 45 played at 33. Most of this footage was shot at the beginning of the concave era, which Maurice Cole set in motion with his Reverse Vee in '91, reached its peak with Greg Webber and Shane Herring in late '92/early '93, and perfected by Merrick shortly thereafter. It'd be worth comparing the surfing in this film to Steele's next one, when the shapers dialled the concaves and turbocharged the steeds.
All of which means the Momentum films have to be viewed in context, especially if you're seeing them for the first time.
The music, however, needs no strategem for enjoyment. Bring on ye olde distortion with 'The Malachi Crunch' by NOFX. Did the rounds of every surf, skate, snowboard, and moto video in the early-90s.