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Since Thicker than Water’s debut in 1999, Chris Malloy and the folks in his creative collaborative Woodshed Films have established a rep for producing timeless, quality films: September Sessions, Shelter, and Brokedown Melody, to name a few. In each successive release, Malloy’s viewers have come to expect an honest, refreshing, introspective take on surfing’s overall experience.

With an elite cast of today’s top performers captured by superb cinematography and a tasteful soundtrack, Malloy’s new film, One Track Mind (OTM), appears that it won’t disappoint either. However, early sneak peaks reveal a slight departure from the signature vibe of his previous films. Instead of a series of soulful, cerebral retreats to surfing’s unfettered backwoods, Malloy dives smack dab into the lives of the best surfers the world has ever seen, puts the camera on them and asks some tough questions. Throughout OTM, he “explores the common thread that drives the most influential surfers from three generations to push wave riding to new dimensions.” Of course, there is also no shortage of shredding to accompany the interviews.

The world premier is set for September 27 at the Patagonia Surf Shop in Cardiff, Ca, so SURFING caught up with Malloy to get a better idea of what viewers can expect from his latest release.

SURFING MAGAZINE: What usually inspires you to make a new film?

CHRIS MALLOY: If there’s something I am particularly interested in, like maybe a specific movement I see in surfing—or maybe it’s something I think is being ignored—I start to see in my head how I might want to communicate that to people.

Did you see something specific going on in surfing that inspired you to make One Track Mind?

What I notice in our community right now is that surfing’s becoming super polarized. Guys are either like, “I hate those retro dorks,” or, “SUPs suck,” or “Those contest dorks are lame.” It’s like these little factions. When looking at one aspect of all this, I see the CT guys sometimes get demonized by a lot of people as just being surf jocks. So I thought, ‘Let’s spend time with these guys and just ask ‘em what motivates them. How they got their inspiration?’ And kind of just see what they are all about. See if they are as one-sided and un-dimensional as a lot of people want to think they are.

So, are they?

We found out they have a lot more to say than you might think. Our interviews uncovered some pretty interesting stuff, actually.

With so many interviews, how do you keep a bunch of talking from overpowering the surf action?

It’s funny, because in my films I’ve almost never had documentary style interviews on screen. It’s just usually some short voice-overs here and there so you can see the surfing and hear the music. But in this film, I was often coming away from editing sessions wanting to see more of the interviews. Like, when I am watching the film, I find myself actually looking forward to the surfing parts ending so I can get back to seeing the interviews.

What was compelling about what Andy, Kelly, Mick or a grom like Kelohe had to say?

I think it’s just their honest, candid answers.

One Track Mind
Brother gets grilled by the Woodshed/One Track Mind crew.

Why would their answers be any different from any other interviews in mags or surf films?

Maybe I was lucky that rather than being a surf journalist—or a like some Hollywood dude—a lot of the guys that got interviewed felt like they were with friends, you know. They were either with me, or Evan Slater or my cousin Emmett [Malloy]. Guys that they know. I feel like the energy is really honest and that a lot of the questions are ones that don’t really ever asked of these guys. So they weren’t just regurgitating the same thing over and over again.

What else does this film tell us aside from maybe these guys aren’t one-dimensional?

Well, it’s not about why surfing is so rad, or how it changed your life. There’s no esoteric element to it, really. It’s just about the nuts and bolts of being consumed by surfing … and in some cases, competitive surfing. Consumed in a good way. I think people will find all of this pretty inspiring.

Were there any other big surprises you discovered during the making of this film?

On one of the trips we went to Indonesia with a few of the best 13 and 14-year-old surfers in the world [Kalohe Andino, Keanu Asing, Luke David, Evan Geiselman, Jackson O’Donnell]. I was dumbfounded. I mean, the waves were small for the trip, but the kids were small too, so it looked like I was on a mini September Sessions. They were doing crazy, crazy stuff. {{{Eight}}} big maneuvers all the way through. Getting super barreled. Just surfing like big boys.

Tomorrow you are off to Chile to finish up filming for your next movie 180 South. As a director who rarely takes breaks between projects, do you still get enough water time?

I always seem to have my work cut out for me [Laughs], but I somehow manage to surf every single day. I’ll always be a surfer first, filmmaker second.

One Track Mind
Alex Kopps did all the art for the film — the evolution of surfing in its purest form.

One Track Mind Tour Dates
September 27 – Patagonia Surf Shop, Cardiff by the Sea, Ca
October 11 – El Segundo High School, El Segundo, Ca
October 18 – Surf Heritage Museum, San Clemente, Ca
October 25 – TBA, North Shore, Oahu
**More tour dates to be announced soon at

One Track Mind features surfing and interviews of Kelohe Andino, Jordy Smith, Dane Reynolds, Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, {{{Rabbit}}} Bartholomew, Mark Occhilupo, and Tom Curren, among others.

Shot on location in Micronesia, Indonesia, Mexico, Hawaii and California, Australia, Pacific Northwest.

See the One Track Mind’s trailer at or here on

One Track Mind
The site of the premiere on Sept. 27: Patagonia’s Cardiff store. Don’t miss it!

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