Attractive Distractions is visually stunning, and the surfing in it is staggeringly good. The first full-length release from Take Shelter Productions, the brainchild of Albee Layer and cameraman Dan Norkunas, it features a handful of the world’s best straining every sinew in their bodies in their efforts to go faster, higher, bigger, later, and deeper than anyone’s ever gone before. Albee Layer and Matt Meola are more or less permanent fixtures throughout, and are joined along the way by a supporting cast made up of Clay Marzo, Chippa Wilson, Nic Von Rupp, Kai Barger, John John Florence, Ricardo Christie, Ryan Hipwood, Dege O’Connell, Torrey Meister & Tayler Larronde.
The sense of progression is palpable. There is improbably late drop after improbably late drop. There is one of the best paddle-in sessions at Jaws we’re yet to see. There are wipeouts galore, airs higher than Dion Agius on Surfer Poll awards night, turns so head-scratchingly inverted you can see all three fins from the front – and yes, there are air-reverses. Heaps of the cunts. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with air-reverses. Attractive Distractions is, amongst other things, a testament to the variety of possibilities they entail. Chippa lands one directly into a face-plant/head-stall, then proceeds to reverse the reverse by pivoting around his head, riding out of it with mouth wide open in disbelief. Meola projects several obscene full-rotations out into the flats. Best of all is the one where John John’s feet lose all contact with his board halfway round, only to reconnect a moment later – back foot where his front had been, front foot barely clinging to the nose – in an astonishing act of recovery.
Clay Marzo puts in a performance at Greenbush to rival Damien Hobgood’s in Strange Rumblings, and there is an excellent session at that slab in Portugal. The now-obligatory voiceover consists of periodic instalments of moody pseudo-philosophy that most self-respecting North Sea cod would consider beneath them, complimented by footage of moody cliff-faces and enigmatic females looking moody. There is also plenty of Ben Howard singing moodily about darkness and light and the ocean and other such things.