Surfers’ Blood by Patrick Trefz

Regular Mock the Week viewers will be familiar with the game ‘If this is the answer, what is the question?’

Shall we?

a) ‘ok Monster, Red Bull et al are all borderline toxic, so what should I drink before paddling out?’

b) ‘How come we’re getting thru so many boxes of manpons, Julian? I just bought this box and it’s nearly empty… ‘

c) What’s the name of the best surf movie Surf Europe has seen this autumn (and we’ve seen a few).

Surfers’ Blood, the latest offering from bespectacled Santa Cruz maestro Patrick Trefz follows on from Thread and Idiosyncracies, scratching well beneath the surface of a series of well-conceived, suitably profound yet not overly wanky themes, crafted together into a moving picture with understated panache. I watched it last night at the Beach House in Anglet, and was glad I did.

The Trefz modus operandi lends an if not timeless, then certainly less datable quality to his films. Neither this year’s manoeuvres x track nor 6200 frames per second barrel shock and awe, his staples are characters you want to know more/actually come to care about, interviews with just the right amount of too much/not enough, super contrasty wave faces dancing to jazzy drum flourishes… altogether wholesome fare (especially if, like me, you are 40 and/or have trouble watching most 2 min web clips to the end).

We start with a Basque shipbuilding yarn, a recreation of a wooden whaling boat and stay Basque with a 93-year-old folk hero Patxi.  Kepa Acero imparts Bilbao heritage and history, navigates some beautiful Mundaka tubes and gives us possibly the best take away quote, “I don’t believe in God, but when you go to Mundaka, you think ‘maybe’… ”

Do you know much about Thomas Mayerhoffer? Swedish designer/board maker… you’ve seen those odd hourglass-looking boards, surely. You’ve scoffed at the very least, internally. We learn that before inviting scorn from the shred ultra orthodox, Mayerhoffer designed the interior of the Porsche Boxter, the first transparent iMac and one or two other un-shit things to have on your CV. Josh Mulcoy shreds the wilfully eccentric  designs along a sweet Mexican sandpoint with aplomb (although those of us more highly decorated in the pursuit of cynicism than hydrodynamic theory might argue anything will go pretty well under the feet of a pro in a sweet Mexican sandpoint).

Richard Kenvin’s keenly curated surfboard design history exposition adds mathematician geek chic, before Flea Virostko’s tale of crystal meth near self-destruction and recovery, and his own homage to best buddy Barney Barron brings Surfers’ Blood home with bitter sweet gravitas. Well more bitter than sweet. In a nub, Flea’s road to getting clean meant spending less time with Barney before his departing, and Flea’s regret comes over infinitely more powerful a theme than any medieval Basque oak coppice lore or planing hull eccentricity.

Will Surfers’ Blood ‘wash its face’ financially? Will it fly on iTunes, Vimeo on demand… Netflix?

Doesn’t matter.

“Red Bull Media House funded it up front,” said Trefz, forking in a medium rare entrecote before the screening.

Take back what I said in a) then. I just meant Monster.



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