This short film about surfing in the North Sea proves that a television-friendly filmpoem need not be literal or simplistic. The gorgeous scenery, imaginative shooting and subtle interplay between voiced text and images are evidently working for many viewers. A staff pick on Vimeo, it has so far garnered 143,000 views on the web, was broadcast on the U.K.’s Channel 4, “has won a variety of awards at film festivals, and was shown at SXSW,” according to the poet, Daniel Crockett.
Perhaps it resonates with so many viewers because it’s more than just a film about surfing; it shows how a members of a surfing community understand their relationship with a wild place. Chris McClean (producer and director) and Mark Waters (cinematographer and editor) are associated with the blog Doggerland:
The North Sea is a source of food, a source of fuel – oil and gas, a playground for catching waves or simply a mass of water that needs to be navigated. Few are aware its these cold grey waters that cover a prehistoric landscape that once joined England to Europe. Yet between 18000 and 5500 BC, global warming raised sea levels to the extent that this area known as Doggerland was engulfed by water and the area that had been home to mankind disappeared. This entire land sank beneath the North Sea. Is it this former land that we North Sea surfers now surf.
We are the Doggerland groms, heavies, hippies and kooks.
The surfers in the film are Gabe Davies, Pete Eyre, John John Florence, Nathan Florence, Dylan Graves, Chris ‘Guts’ Griffiths, Ritchie Sills, and Balaram Stack. Lewis Arnold and Chris McClean supplied additional footage. William Evans was the sound engineer, and they used a song by UNKLE in the soundtrack. Crockett’s poem was read by Jeff Hordley.