Starring: George Greenough, Ritchie West, Nat Young
Director: David Elfick
Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment
Surf rage is rampant on our most popular beaches, so much so that the Australian Surfrider Foundation is currently planning to erect signs in the sand laying down the laws of wave etiquette. Overcrowded conditions and agro wax heads may be the norm today, however with the new digital transfer of Crystal Voyager you can glide back to a time, 1973 to be precise, when surfers had perfect sets all to themselves and soul surfing wasn’t just a dream but a lifestyle.
In this laid-back surf bio-pic Albert Falzon follows fellow cameraman George Greenough as he builds himself a sailing boat and heads off with Australian ‘super surfer’ Nat Young along the Californian coast in search of isolated breaks. Even back then the crowds were starting to encroach on these die-hards’ favourite haunts and this was one sure fire way of avoiding them. As Greenough points out in his laconic narration “a wave only has room for one person to express themselves freely.”
A rather shy screen presence hiding behind his shaggy sun-bleached hair, Greenough finally achieves his goal of personal expression through a gorgeous twenty-three minute slow motion wave sequence set to the music of Pink Floyd. With his camera strapped to his kneeboard he takes us deep inside the vortex of the tube and rolls with the ocean as it come crashing down around him, his fish-eye lens giving it all the perspective of a dolphin. It’s a visual treat and with the new Dolby 5.1 soundtrack turned up to the max, a psychedelic trip too.
This was the second feature-length surf film made by producer David Elfick who, along with Falzon brought us the seminal Morning of the Earth (not to mention the AFI blitzer Newsfront). He features in an interview on the DVD along with Greenough himself who raves about everything from snakes and sharks to lazy gardening and didgeridoo playing. There is also an appearance by the gross-out, animated surf character Captain Goodvibes in one of the extra features.