• tanner gudauskas

(((Digital Surf: Digital World)))

“are your motives pure”

The title of a Raymond Pettibon book that sits on my shelf.

Directly at eye level from me.

“Are your motives pure?”

Every meal I lift my head from the plate and look directly at it. An amazing collection of art celebrated around surf and feelings from within. I have always loved Pettibon. There is commentary alongside the depicted images sometimes making perfect sense, other times clearly juxtaposing set intentions. Are your motives pure… It kept staring back at me. I went through Covid and created the “awareness outreach” which was a daily (ish) live web stream of my favorite VHS surf movies. The process gained some steam in underground places and I quickly lost my way in the performance. I couldn’t believe my heroes were picking up the phone, I wanted to be able to sit and listen to their insight and learn, I would honestly lose myself in the conversations, some would take hours. Through the process, I started to see the engagement rate drop out though, I scrambled.

I watched as more content developed from the lockdown mainly based around conversations and I felt overwhelmed. I had overworked my idea. I had lost the way from the very beginning of starting it out of wonderment in my heroes. More concerned with how I was perceived than what I was actually doing, I wrapped up shop quietly with my fiancé broke down the shrine. I went back to living my normal life no phone calls with tom carroll to discuss winning pipe masters, or Ozzie wright to see his newly sewn custom couches.

A shadow set over me, or a technological hangover maybe. I struggled with what I had just experienced not knowing what it meant to me or anyone else. Didn’t help that quarantine left me not being able to see anyone too.

are your motives pure?

Was it confirming what I was doing, or calling me out? This is my struggle within social media in general. If I don’t post my actions do they exist. If I don’t share my experiences do they become exclusive. However sharing private life in a public space is not my forte. Im too sensitive. Strange comments from unknown sources probably don’t make anyone feel good but they can derail me for long periods of time.

I began to question my future in the digital world. I surrounded myself entirely with films like Endless Summer and Five Summer Stories to feel the pure rush and experience of SURF. I began to see that I lost touch with the pure video expression these films so beautifully portrayed. Beginners mind.

Alex and I began to work together on the project. I edited the intro one night and we used that as a road map for the rest of the film. This one Alex and I really worked together to create something new for us.

This movie really hinged on one trip specifically. Southern Portugal. We had intended to stay around Ericeira for two weeks to film there, but I thought I would reach out to old friend Marlon Lipke as I knew he would have some good guidance for us in the matter of swell and spots to surf. He was so stoked on the idea of a surf trip. He rearranged his work schedule with JAM traction to get him and Gony (co-owners of JAM traction) to drive 4 hours with us back to his home in Sagres. The most southwestern tip of portugal. One of the most beautiful coastlines in all of Europe. It did not disappoint. Marlon showed us a good time. Coffee, surf, food, coffee, surf, beer repeat. Every single day the conditions would come together in different ways at different waves and we ended up driving back to Lisbon a week later surfed out and completely mesmerized by the area of the Algarve.

Alex almost stayed.

On our last night we slept at the Lisbon Hotel and Alex and I did a mini final night celebration. We had some beers to send off a fun trip. Waking up the next morning we dusted off the crust, got in the car and drove the coast to ericeira more for a surf check than anything. We rolled into Coxos to see it maxed out, offshore with Tom Lowe suited up looking for anyone to surf with.

Tom Lowe energy is good energy. Full throttle. Realizing the swell is kinked out to sea at Coxos we caravan north with Tom and end up scoring the session of the trip. The magic kept happening. That trip really inspired Alex and I to put something together that was hopefully going to be viewed as more than a web edit. At least for us we felt that was the goal. To portray connecting with friends in their home and surfing with them.…for the love. I had just realized I was going to be stopping contest and I took the friendships and connections from Marlon, Gony, and Tom as a complete omen that I was taking the right direction. There is never going to be a better feeling than hooting your friend in on a wave you know is going to barrel for them.

So as for now, you know my absolute truth and struggle with the Digital world that we live in but find solace that when in the act of creating, surfing or enjoying good friendship the magic is still alive. And that portrayal into the digital media is in the hands of the individual and their manifesting. For me it’ll be surfing with friends for as long as I can and trying to make creative things with those experiences.

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