Going Vertical: The Short Board Revolution

A well-researched but easygoing surf docu.

With:
With: Kelly Slater, Dick Brewer, Greg Noll, John Witzig, Randy Rarick, Gerry Lopez, Paul Witizig, Bob McTavish, Bob Cooper, Nat Young, Mickey Munoz, Mike Hynson. Narrator: Simon Baker.

Waxheads would rather talk than fight about surfing’s major turning point in the well-researched but easygoing Oz docu “Going Vertical: The Short Board Revolution.” Veteran pundits from the U.S. and Australia both claim their key man invented the shortboard, which, in contrast with monolithic “Gidget”-era longboards, allowed talented surfers more control over wave riding. Awash in vintage and contempo surfing footage, entertaining digressions about ’60s counterculture and adventures of surfing’s trailblazers, the docu could take an easy trim to fit tube slots. Documentary fests will dive in.

With a distinct pro-Down Under slant, the film sets up the Australia-vs.-Hawaii divide over the origins of surfing’s most important development. Hawaii-based Dick Brewer chimes in first, but Australia’s main man, Bob McTavish, who has an obvious gift for gab, is given almost free reign. Pic is perhaps over-generous with surf imagery, but interviews assembled by political documaker David Bradbury (“Chile: hasta cuando?”) and the narrative structure provided by David Margan and Phil Jarratt’s text keeps “Going Vertical” from falling overboard. Lively graphics divide pic into bite-sized chapters, but the hypnotic footage of surfers young and old, as ever, transfixes.

Going Vertical: The Short Board Revolution

Docu - Australia

Production: A Blue Seas Film production. (International sales: Odin's Eye, Sydney.) Produced by Robert Raymond. Executive producer, Doug Warbrick. Co-producer, Leah Wright. Directed by David Bradbury. Written by David Margan, Phil Jarratt.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W), Phil Lomas, Wayne Lynch, Cedric Martin, David Moore, Mark Morgan, Mike Prickett, Simon Temple, David Bradbury, Vincenzo Cosentino, Steve Lyons; editor, Ghita Fiorelli; music, Murray Burns; art director, Tony Morris. Reviewed on DVD, Umina Beach, New South Wales, March 30, 2010. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Kelly Slater, Dick Brewer, Greg Noll, John Witzig, Randy Rarick, Gerry Lopez, Paul Witizig, Bob McTavish, Bob Cooper, Nat Young, Mickey Munoz, Mike Hynson. Narrator: Simon Baker.

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