Lives Of The Artists with Tom Lowe, Fergal Smith and Mickey Smith
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 4 December, 2009 : - - The coming together of Tom Lowe, Fergal Smith and Mickey Smith is something of a modern day surf triumvirate. In Relentless' new feature-length documentary, they confront one of the worlds most revered heavy waves: Teahupoo, known locally as Wall of Skulls'.
It's not as if the young threesome are new to such adventure. Mickey, with over twenty years' experience of shooting pictures from the water, was instrumental in the creation of last year's surf epic, Powers of Three, in which the boys spent a long, cold winter on the jagged Irish coast, where seldom-frequented slabs, propelled by the Atlantic ocean behind them, beat against the treacherous cliffs.
The waters there were dark, and the atmosphere primal. In full black bodysuits they came again and again to test themselves in those waters. Powers of Three represented everything the group sought from surfing: unspoiled locations, them against (or rather, in perfect symbiosis with) nature, and most of all, a big, heavyweight challenge.
Galvanised by Ireland, they set off for Tahiti and more - how should we put it - pleasant climes, where the challenges they faced would be greater still. Each of them grew up in awe of Teahupoo, but now was the time for them to do what every big wave surfer dreams of doing: getting in the water with the wave - and riding it.
The boy's Tahiti experience is, really, diametrically opposed to the solemn and often profound majesty of the Irish coast. With a big swell forecast, the spot becomes torrid and turbulent as it attracts the world's biggest and best from surfing circles; in Ireland, of course, it was just them and the water.
The contrast makes for an extraordinary portrait of fiercely driven big wave surfers coming face to face with the most revered wave in the world, and dealing with the frustrations that its reputation brings. Inevitably, though, it's the infernal power of the wave itself, rather than its surface reputation, that serves to ignite and intensify the group's collective resolve.
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