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This New Surf Film Sets Out to Explore The Innate Connection Between Man and Sea

The recipe for creating a great surf film is fairly straightforward: Combine equal parts heavy surfing with driving soundtracks, toss in a dash of B-roll of surfers acting goofy, top it all off with splattering of landscape shots and voila! You have yourself a banger sure to get the masses frothing to get in the ocean.

And three years ago, longtime action sports photographer Tony "Harro" Harrington set out to make a fairly traditional surf flick. By his own (fairly nebulous) description he wanted to "make a series of films about surfers and their quest for barrels."

But, shortly after he began filming his yet-to-be released flick Emocean, Harrington realized something: The ocean holds a much more intimate meaning for so many people in the world beyond simply riding waves.

And so Harro changed course. 

"As we filmed and travelled there were so many deeper stories and great people, that the film changed and grew into something more," Harro told TGR. "In the end it felt like we were all writing a shared love letter to the ocean and thanking her for what she gives us."

While Harrington loves the pursuit of barrels, he wants his new film to view more like a love letter. Photo: Screengrab

Per Harro's description, the film is less a traditional surf flick, and more of an introspective look at the effect salt water has on the mental and emotional state of those who spend time in it.

"The stories in the film are mainly about how time in the water makes people feel," said Harrington. "It’s also about respect for the marine environment and its creatures and why as surfers we are drawn to this mystical, powerful and special place on our planet that is our oceans."

The concept of salt water having an effect on someone's emotional state is far from an original one (doctors in Biarritz, France actually began prescribing surfing to patients in 2015 help treat everything from depression to heart disease), and Harro's film is meant to be a saccharine tribute to the ocean as told through icons of the surf industry like Jamie O'Brien and Brent Bielmann.

Sometimes, a picture really does say a thousand words. Photo: Screengrab

That being said, Harrington made sure to note that there is still a ton of hard-charging surfing in the film.

"Like all good adventure stories we took a few thumping wipeouts in the making of this film," Harrington told TGR. "Blown tires, long days, flat batteries, howling storms, blood and a few tears went into it. But of course there were moments of magic too: Sunsets, perfect barrels, cheeky seals, majestic whales and some damn fine people with great stories to share."

Ultimately, Harrington says his goal for the film is simple.

"If it inspires just a few people to go surf, swim and dive and care more about these magical and powerful and fragile places then that would be amazing."

About The Author

stash member Robert Pursell

Connecticut journalism transplant who enjoys telling stories, drinking beer and skiing, though not necessarily in that order. I have the annoying habit of petting other people's dogs without asking.