The palm trees were swaying, the sun was shining, and about six hundred sun-streaked heads waited patiently in a line wrapping around the block outside of Newport Beach's Edwards Big Theatre for the premiere of Bryan Jennings' Walking On Water.
Spirits were certainly high (pun intended) for the event, as hordes of groms hungry for freebies packed the theatre to welcome a new addition to the family of spirit-spiked surf films. Jennings' Walking On Water documents his journey with Orange County locals Tyler Hallen and Luke Davis around the world hunting for waves, cultural exchange, and an opportunity to better articulate their own religious views.
Jennings explains how the film began to materialize while catching sight of then twelve-year-old Luke Davis while surfing Lowers one day.
"I saw this kid ripping, and talked to him for a bit, then got out of the water to approach his dad about the movie idea. Before I said anything he told me he knew who I was and had seen a few of my films – and said, 'I think you're next movie should be about kids and groms…'"
Needless to say, the idea sold itself, and before he knew it, Director and Project Founder, Bryan Jennings was stamping passports and chartering boats with Hallen and Davis on expeditions to Hawaii, Peru, South Africa, Australia, and Indonesia with the likes of Tom Curren, the Hobgoods, Jesse Hines, Noah Snyder, and Matt Beacham – among others.
While the original idea for the trip sprouted years ago, as Jennings went on a similar (yet less extravagant) surf trip with a mentor of his own as a child, it wasn’t until his session at Lowers that he realized the time to return this gift to a new generation was fast approaching.
The film certainly captures the excitement of being a grom and seeing the world. Fresh, excited eyes are great to see, and the group’s passion for the project is self-evident in the work; however, evangelism oozes from the screen, and may deter some viewers from indulging. Regardless of its overt agenda, the tale speaks to all walks of life, as their cross-generational trip around the globe truly represents an experience of a lifetime. That said, those wary of being preached at may want to steer clear.