“We were a brotherhood…Surfing was my saviour”
Inspired by the 1992 film Momentum by Taylor Steele, brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist have written and directed their new feature documentary Momentum Generation. It sees a group of young teenage boys come together through their passion of surfing. Each member has their own story to tell and has given their life to becoming some of the biggest influential and best surfers in the world. “The ocean is chaotic, but I felt calm out there”.
Taylor Steele’s Momentum was ground-breaking and inspired surfers and non-surfers alike to grab a board and jump straight in. With the help of his filmmaking skills as well as the handy friendships he made with the young boys, we can have a deeper understanding of the lives of the Momentum Generation. Packed with raw footage from the 1970s and 80s, as well as interviews taken in the present day, this documentary introduces us to the group of surfers that defined surfing as a professional sport. Let me introduce you to Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox, Shane Dorian, Benji Weatherley, Kalani Robb, Rob Machado, Pat O’Connell and Ross Williams.
This documentary is beautiful and effortlessly created and features original footage of the boys surfing and how they were together as a newly formed group. Some shots of them surfing at the Pipeline in Hawaii, which itself is considered the “most dangerous spot on earth”, simply makes you jump back and re-think what you just watched. Real footage, real people. How did they not just die from something like that? As you see them get hit by monstrous waves. Most of these men had serious injuries and near-death experiences but that didn’t stop them from going straight back out there.
However intense some scenes may be, others were genius and downright hilarious. During everyone’s interviews, they would all tell their stories of one another – about who had the worst habits, or what diets they were on or who the alpha male was. It’s clear to see that even today, after almost 25 years of friendship, they still have a clear space in each other’s hearts for one another. They are a true family and are bound by more than just a love of a sport.
When tragedy strikes, like they do most of the time within these kinds of documentaries, it’s staggering and completely heart-breaking. You forget for a slight moment that this is real. Real people, real lives, real deaths. You’re left sitting there crying over someone you never knew but have the most respect for. It takes a lot of guts to get an audience so emotional that they’re lost for words right afterwards. And what’s even more heart-breaking is seeing these grown men still teary eyed over what happened over 20 years ago.
Momentum Generation is a feel-good documentary, it’s warm and every single person involved is loveable tenfold. It’s heart-warming to see how close they all became, right from the very start. And although there were many bumps in the road as well as several arguments, they all knew that they were meant to do something great together. They all found solace in the waves, but more importantly, they had started a family that would be cherished globally.