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Must-See Surf Films, According to Frank Solomon and Peter Hamblin

The star and director of Let's Be Frank dissect their favorite surf movies

At the SURFER Awards this past December, big-wave charger Frank Solomon and filmer/director Peter Hamblin won the Movie of the Year category for their unorthodox, Wes Andersonian surf film, Let’s Be Frank. It was a great film, not only for its witty, offbeat storyline, but also for Solomon’s A-grade surfing. When the two walked on stage to accept the award, the first people they thanked were the inspiring surfers and filmmakers who came before them. “We grew up watching Joe G and Taylor Steele movies, and those guys really set the standard for us,” said Hamblin. “They really showed us what independent filmmakers could do, and my thanks goes out to them.” We wanted to find out who else and what else influenced the Movie of the Year winners, so we spoke with both Hamblin and Solomon after the awards to find out which surf films they call their favorites.

Endless Summer 2
“My first thought when it comes to surf films is Endless Summer 2. That to me was all-time. It was the very first film I saw in a cinema, and to me, it embodied a sense of adventure, travel, and the surfing lifestyle. With that warm narrative, I thought then (and still do believe) that it is the Godfather of Surf Films.” –Peter Hamblin

Good Times
“When I was a grom, I couldn’t just stream some epic movie whenever I wanted to, so pre-surf amping was all down about putting in the video tape and pressing play. I must have watched Good Times and Momentum over a 1,000 times. I can still sing every word to every section. Dorian’s and Machado’s sections were always my favorite. I finally got to meet them at the Surfer Awards this year!” -Frank Solomon

The Green Iguana
“This was one of the tapes I used to watch all the time–along with Sons of Fun. Also being a goofy footer, I just loved to watch Occy surf.” –F.S.

The Show
“I’m inspired by anything Taylor Steele does. He truly set the standard for good filmography and created an industry. If I was to pick my favorites from his collection, they would be The Show and then Sipping Jetstreams, I’ve always been more of a fan of the films which showed the personalities behind the surfing, that explored more than just the waves. He continues to push surf film into new creative realms today, and I can’t wait to see what Proximity [Steele’s new film, set to be released in 2017] has to offer.” –P.H.

Kelly Slater in Kolor
Kelly Slater in Kolor, along with Kelly Slater in Black and White, were hard to get back in the day but I managed to get a copy of Kolor. Slater was so far ahead of his time back then. I think I lent the movie out to someone and never got it back, unfortunately.” –F.S.

Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La
“One of my all-time favorite films, which is a tip of the hat to the greats, is Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La. Joe G is one of my favorite filmmakers and his work in Strange Rumblings was epic. It combined high-end surfing with old-world sensibility and witty dialogue, something that definitely inspired me while making Let’s Be Frank.” –P.H.

View From a Blue Moon
“Being involved with this film was so epic. We had so much fun filming the Africa sections. Plus, John is just such a freak. I feel like this is one of those films that you can watch over and over.” –F.S.