Between Land and Sea review – the brutal beauty of a surfers’ paradise | Documentary films

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I have to admit there is footage in this Irish surfing documentary that gave me a major attack of the collywobbles. One aerial shot of a wetsuit-clad doodle paddling out into an Atlantic wave as tall as a cliff had the same effect on my guts as a decent horror film.

Directed by Ross Whitaker, the film charts a year in the life of Lahinch, a surfers’ paradise town on the craggy coastline of County Clare. About a decade ago, big-wave surfers discovered the west coast of Ireland. Lahinch’s waves are particularly ferocious and bring out the poetic streak in surfers. “If you’re in the right spot it feels as still, as calm and as right as anything else,” murmurs one guy, lost in the memory.

The film follows a handful of characters. There’s Fergal Smith, a hippy-ish ex-pro who got sick of chasing energy drink sponsors and is now having a crack at organic farming. “I’m mad about growing spuds,” he says cheerfully. Then there are the guys who run surf schools, whose precarious livelihoods depend on the 10-week summer season not being rained off.

I would like to have heard more from Lahinch’s non-surfers, who talk about the sudden influx of “big hairy devils” with suntans and surfboards. Back when surfing in Ireland was virtually unheard of, says one, surfers had to scrape the wax off blocks of cheese and melt it down to rub on their boards.

But the big draw here for fans is the phenomenal surfing footage, which captures the brutal beauty of the landscape and surfers gliding through waves so powerful they look as if they could snap a person in half.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Between Land and Sea review – the brutal beauty of a surfers’ paradise | Documentary films

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