Keith Malloy and Woodshed Films wrapped up the year 2011 in good fashion. Their film, Come Hell or High Water brought home a total of four awards from the NYC & London Surf Festivals, rounding out both the Best Feature, and Best Cinematography categories. With a combination of vibrant 16mm film and some dynamic camera angles, it really makes you wish it were you steamrolling down those waves.
Being primarily a bodysurfing film, you get a healthy dose of Mark Cunningham. Following a brief narration by Cunningham on the South Shore, you begin to get a good feel for what this film is all about. At Point Panic the locals aren’t competing, they’re simply having fun. Fun becomes the mantra throughout the film. Jokes about Speedos and lighthearted comments like: “It’s never gonna be cool – I never got any chicks bodysurfing, that’s for sure!” pepper the film.
But fear not, there is plenty of serious surfing in the film. There’s a healthy Wedge section smack dab in the middle of the film, with plenty of steep drops and lines gone wrong. Fred Simpson says it best, “The hardest part is making up my mind to take off, actually putting myself in the path of the bull and pass it, so it rips my clothes but doesn’t kill me.”
Locations include California, Hawaii, Tahiti, a brief stop in Montana, and with Cunningham at Teahupoo. The best rides by far are by Mike Stewart at Point Panic, which includes some nice barrels and off-the-lip spins.
Come Hell or High Water has a nice, mellow soundtrack. Some of the film’s musicians include The Cave Singers, Eddie Vedder, Mike Kaawa, Todd Hannigan, and a Dan Malloy/Jon Swift collaboration.
A Woodshed production and (Malloy’s awesome beard) really does an amazing job of shining light on an oftentimes overlooked sport. And the playfulness of the film is a nice change of pace from the many overly aggressive shortboard flicks. It’s a great addition to your DVD library and is well worth the price of admission.