In 2015 we set about compiling a list of our favourite edits featuring British surfers, and now two years on, we think it’s due an update.
The last few years has seen a slight slowing down in the amount of edits released by Brits, but, in line with the international trend, a surge in quality. Some of the more timeless clips from our previous list have held onto their place, whilst others have been replaced by more recent edits to produce a final set which celebrates the whole breadth of British surfing, both past and present.
With a talented young crop of surf filmers coming up through the ranks in the UK, as well as experienced vets still churning out top quality flicks, we have no doubt the list will soon need updating once again. For now though, grab a cuppa and enjoy ten excellent edits featuring some the best of what British surfing and film making has to offer.
A Road Through Galicia
First up, Winner of Best British Film at the London Surf Film Festival last year, this edit documents a road-trip through North West Spain with Mike Lay, Jack Whitefield & Elsie Pinniger.
Beautifully produced by Luke Pilbeam, the edit captures perfectly the vibe of a summer surf sojourn, where the strike mission mentality of dashing from cove to cove in the hopes of scoring the highest quality rollers around gives way to an all together more laid back approach, where a beer at sunset is cherished as much as any wave caught.
The gang take with them a wide selection of craft, which they use to max out the potential for fun in any given conditions, because as Mike puts it, the best way to combat bad waves, is to ride them.
In Winter’s Arms
The next clip documents Tom Lowe’s paddle exploits over one incredible Irish Winter back in 2013, with Mickey Smith on the edit.
Tom Lowe is undoubtedly one of the biggest chargers England has ever produced. Hailing originally from the small Cornish town of St Ives, he burst into the international surf media’s conscious in the winter of 2008, along with Fergal Smith and photographer Mickey Smith, with a constant stream of amazing shots and clips which opened the surfing world’s eyes to the potential on offer along the Irish coastline.
This edit, shot over the course of one such winter in Ireland, stands as testament to his incredible skill and fearlessness and has an incomparably timeless quality to it, making it just as impressive today as when it came out four years ago.
There’s Something About Harry
Next is this short from Harry Timson, featuring a particularly fruitful winter in Indo back in 2015.
Starring one of Britain’s most talented and progressive free surfers, this edit everything you want from an Indo clip, with a perfect mixture of solid kegs and high performance trickery.
Filmed by Vince Timson and Gudi Ferrer and edited by Gudi, the final cut is super clean, letting the surfing take centre stage.
The next clip in our series is a lyrical cut from the lens of Tim Davies productions.
Winner of multiple awards including Best Short at the London Film Festival 2013, Sea Fever provides a beautifully evocative look at a time spent chasing swells around the coldest corners of the UK.
With a poem as its audio back drop and equally lyrical visuals to match you’d struggle to find an online surf clip with more poignance than this.
The next edit features Bude’s Liam Turner blowing up at home and away.
Liam Turner is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most underrated surfers, with equal measures of power and flare. Despite his level of talent however, he is one of the many UK surfer’s who have found themselves without a sticker on the nose.
In this, his most recent offering from 2016, filmed in California, Java, Peru, France and at home in England, he lays down some of the most impressive high performance surfing we’ve seen from a Brit.
Trip The Light
Our next edit stars Oli Adams and features some of the best waves the British Isles have to offer.
Oli Adams is one of the UK’s premiere wave hunters, dedicating years to searching along our remote and varied coastlines for epic uncrowded waves. His most recent edit, released last year, features a winters worth of chasing waves around the British Isles.
Filmed over a series of strike missions and sessions at home around Cornwall, for Oli the film was about showing both the variety and quality of the high performance waves on offer as well as the beauty and intrigue of the regions in which they break.
The next clip comes courtesy of Alan Stokes and Tim Davies’ online series ‘Strange Beautiful Life‘
In the winter of 2013 Stokesy and filmer Tim Davies bailed to Morocco in search of variety, quality and culture and by the looks of this edit, the Western Sahara delivered all three.
As with the whole Strange Beautiful Life series both the surfing and the production are second to none, however we chose this episode over the others because of the amazing array of surfing on display, with everything from textbook rail gouges to super progressive airs, including one of the best back side rotators we’ve ever seen from a British surfer (at 4.40).
Davies’ documentation of the place, culture and people is also nothing short of masterful and in our opinion this clip is up there with some of the feature length surf films of the day.
The next edit features Reubyn Ash absolutely shredding around his home in North Cornwall.
For a while Reubyn was the most talked about surfer in Britain, with big names sponsors, a part in Taylor Steele’s legendary Innersection and reams of mag coverage. He was particularly well known for his solid air game, which saw him hailed by many as the best aerialist in Europe, an accolade which he arguably retains to this day.
After losing his major sponsor Billabong, Reubyn faded somewhat from the international limelight, however his surfing didn’t slow down, and in the last few years he’s racked up a series of podium finishes in UK comps and, as it turns out, quietly stacking clips with the help of young film maker Olly Fawcett. This is the result, featuring some of the best surfing you’ll find anywhere in the British Isles.
The First Swell
Our penultimate pick features surfers Mitch Corbett, Tom Butler, Mark Harris, Josh Hughes and Tom Lowe and documents a trip up north in search of undiscovered spots, with Tim Boydell behind the lens.
Back in 2012 a group of intrepid British surfers along with videographers Tim Boydell and Will Bailey set off in search of as yet unsurfed and undocumented spots along the British coastline.
‘We spent 6 weeks searching every nook and headland for new waves. We only scored two days of swell and the reward was absolutely breathtaking’ said Boydell of the trip and his clip certainly conveys as much.
Particularly poignant as missions in the British isles have seemingly fallen out of fashion a little, quite possibly because of dwindling industry funds – this clip immortalises an important period in the history of British Surf culture.
Our final selection tells the story of ‘Chief’ a shaper from Cornwall and is undoubtedly one of the funniest surf themed clips to ever come out of Britain.
This much celebrated short film, which won the shorties comp at the London Surf Film Festival back in 2012, parodies the ernest British surfer turned shaper, and was the first in a series of much enjoyed surf mockumentaries from directors Rob Lockyear and Jeremy Joyce, with sequels #vanlife and Freezing. The pair are now working on plans to make a new series of films, starting with episode one: ‘The Outrider’, which they just successfully crowd funded.
Cover photo: George Karbus