See You At Sundance, Ryan Phillippe

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / January 16, 2011

Baby, Take it Off! is Chas Smith’s column. “Surfing is so totally awesome sexy!” says Chas.


I am a champion for the overdog. For the put upon. For the surf company executives and the convertible Saab drivers and the rose drinkers and really for the fabulous. I am a champion. And when Ryan Phillippe is involved with a surf film I want to be a champion for him too. But damn it, I cannot be. Phillippe, famous for marrying Reese Witherspoon and later being divorced from her, is a fine enough actor, with star turns in Cruel Intentions and Flags of our Fathers. He has an appropriate WASPish style, slammin’ six-pack, eyes that girls love, lips that they love more.

But he is no surf film auteur. For he has just produced a surf film called Isolated and I have just watched the trailer. It promises world class surfers going to a forbidden land in search of never-touched waves. Adventure. Danger. Possible cannibalism. Etc. The world-class surfers are Josh Fuller, Travis Potter, Jenny Useldinger, Andrew Mooney and Jimmy Rotherman. Uh oh! And the forbidden land is Papua New Guinea. Oops!



I have never heard of any of the world-class surfers (unless Josh’s real name is Danny) and I lived in Papua New Guinea for some years as a very young man. My father taught high school and I rode around on my bike slanging the pidgin. It smells like burning trash sometimes and certain tribesmen wear bones through their noses. It can be a touch isolated/isolating, but as far as the surf goes, Australians have been doing PNG for years. I did PNG. I shredded Madang on a thick Wave Tools and smiled a Caucasian grin.

Returning to Ryan Phillippe’s work, thus, my main problem is the editorial sell. Superlative description is the parlance of our time and has gone too far. It has become ridiculous. If Isolated were named “A Bit out of the Way” and billed as, “Five bottom-dwelling surfers go to a place that smells like burning trash in search of waves Australians love,” I would stand and applaud. I would champion.

It is always easy to criticize, to sit at home and write nasty words, but I walk the walk. In my own critically and publicly acclaimed film, Who is JOB, I speak only the truth. I say that Jamie is a dick and I say that Jamie surfs Pipe. That truth is taking me to Sundance. I will see Ryan Phillippe. He will envy my Prada penny loafers (with dimes instead of pennies). We will shake hands and he might, in fact, hand me an award. The people approve. They love accurate portrayal. —Chas Smith


I lied! I didn’t portray accurately! Who is JOB is taking me to X-Dance, not Sundance, but both are in Park City and both are on the same dates so basically the same thing!

I lied again! They are so not at all the same thing!


Chas Smith wrote the “This Has Everything to do With Surfing” column in this month’s Europe Issue of SURFING. You can follow him on Twitter @chasdoesntsurf.



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  • Steve

    It seems like you’re trying to copy Allan Weisbecker’s writing style.

  • Barry

    If you substituted the word ‘champion’ for the words ‘but kisser’ I might stand up and applaud too. Why does it not surprise me that after being exposed to an exotic and foreign culture for years as a kid you’d bring nothing more back from the experience than the smell of burning trash? Also being less than complimentary about somebody else’s movie while shamelessly plugging your own is hardly a selfless act of truthfulness, although I’m sure it is in your own mind. Probably pretty hard to make a lousy movie about a guy as talented as Jamie anyway. Have no idea if he’s a dick or not but that’d certainly explain the attraction between you two.

  • Justin Bartlett

    You talk like people care about hand J.O.B.

  • yeah guy

    of course you lived in PNG, and i bet you are so bummed that some hollywood sceenster thought to make a movie there before you did, hence the hate (or jealousy)… being that you are so local and all.

    really? you haven’t heard of Jimmy Rotherman? thats funny given that you know everyone in every industry (and that numerous mags have ran photos of this kid) and that you wear Prada penny loafers with dimes, that you probably bought at the buffalo exchange. when you start playing retail (or get them for free) and wearing them once, then will i be impressed. but then again, if the person wont forward your career and you cant leech off of them for you own person interests, I am sure you hardly give them a look.

    P.S. That “Who is JOB” movie, (surfing aside) was terrible. Again… another really bad PR move on the side of a pro surfer by letting you attach your name to their brand. heard they cancelled have of the premieres due to lack of interest by the local surfing communities.

  • sarah

    you need to add subtitle names to everyone talking…there are still people out there who know nothing about surfing….people want to know who is talking and what is his relationship to jamie. i showed this movie to multile people who never heard of jamie, jfred, kelly slater, bruce irons…they were very interested but wanted to know who the people where…

    come on now…tell dayten to wake up and do something instead partying in vince and talking

  • jackie

    definitely light in the prada penny loafers.

  • Geoff

    Hey Chas-
    Thx for posting the trailer! And appreciate the article/exposure. But the film wasn’t shot in Papua New Guinea, so don’t make your judgements too quick. We’ve all been to Papua New Guinea, and yes- its beautiful- and looks similar- but it’s not where we shot the film. Not sure who gave you that info, but you should tell them they are wrong as well.

    And as a fellow surf film maker- you’ve never heard of Travis Potter or Jimmy Rotherham? Really? Second Thoughts by Timmy Turner is a classic surf film- you should def check it out. One of my favorites. I know our surfers aren’t all Jamie O’brien, but we wanted feral surfers. True feral surfers pushing themselves to the limits. No yachts, No tour guide, No Helicopters, only the clothes and food you can carry on your back.

    The film is a true life adventure. Enjoyable by both surfers and non-surfers. I think you will like it as well- and hope you take the time to watch it. I think as fellow surf film makers we need to support each other since we are a small group of passionate people- clearly in this for the passion rather than the money.

    If you want to know some REAL details about this film, feel free to contact me anytime. My email is listed on our official site at

    And btw I’ll see you at Sundance 😉

  • Tedd

    This trailer looks way better than I Am JOBs trailer

  • Jordon

    This is the best surf film trailer I have ever seen

  • Jeff

    A. You’ve never heard of Travis Potter, Jimmy Rotherham, or Andrew Mooney? Guess there IS hope for me in the world of surf journalism. Now if I can just learn how to give reach around’s to editors and pro surfers I should be set.
    B. The trailer, although narrated by a Hollywood Schmuck, blows away anything I’ve seen from the surf industry in years.
    C. JOB is such a pussy. Must have gotten it from his father/gorilla…

  • rob

    Andrew mooney has been in the surfers journal several times. theres no need to downgrade theses surfers because surfermag hasnt published them. There are many world class surfers who will never and may not even care to be known by a so called surf journalist. As for Ryan Phillipe directing a surf documentery I dont know. It looks more like an adventure style movie with surfing then a surf movie-documentery.

  • DannyV

    He walks the walk- but he doesn’t “research the research”

  • matt meyerson


    Thanks to you and Surfing for taking the time to review our trailer…sick.

    One thing I can’t understand is why you decided you don’t like the film before seeing it. If you don’t think a guy like Potter or Mooney is gnarly, I would suggest reviewing their bodies of work. I know for a fact that Mooney will kill any ghost slab sent his way (Google his name and check some of his footage) and Potter has traveled the world ten times over in search of what we all, as surfers, could only dream about.

    Just because Ryan is a part of the film don’t make up your mind one way or the other before seeing it. Nobody destroyed Riding Giants because Sean Penn narrated. When was the last time you saw him out at third point Malibu during a big south?

    I personally can’t wait for this film to be finished. Though we don’t have a Kelly, Dane or Jordy in it, that doesn’t mean we didn’t pick some great surfers to go on a pretty insane little surf trek.

  • Barry

    P.S. Geoff, Chas has never let the truth get in the way of a story, there’s no reason yours should be any different. If I have to give Chas props for one thing it’s that he really knows how to take advantage of people’s good will with that fruity insouciance of his. Yep, even after dedicating almost entire editorials to the mockery of fellow journalists and every principle they stand for, some still seem more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and welcome him back into the fold. And now I’m left wondering and I have to wonder because I can’t see any evidence of massive talent why exactly it is they’re so accommodating. Is it because they don’t have full confidence in their principles? Is it because they’re just incredibly forgiving wonderful people. That’s possible but maybe it’s also something to do with the fact that they don’t quite take Chas seriously around the edges. In an effort to be inclusive they’ve lost sight of the person and can only see what they’re trying so desperately not to exclude.
    It’s a pity you guys don’t take Chas seriously because I have a feeling he may be the future. He will never come around not only because he knows you are embarrassed by confrontation but because he simply doesn’t work that way and has no motivation to do so. On the other hand if it all comes down to schmoozing then I suggest you follow Chas’ example and party like there’s no tomorrow, there very well may not be.

  • Doug Lippman

    Is this guy seriously putting down surfers on website? wow. class act

    and the trailer looked pretty good to me

  • f off!

    The f-ing people who post here are absolute morons. Complete utter morons. You love to slag Chas off so much that you will defend an obvious piece of shit film and guys who surf but clearly aren’t “world class.” All of you should ride the short bus off the cliff.

  • sam

    truth is, foff, that almost ALL of the films touted on this website are a piece of sh*t. Only ones on the short bus should be the people who buy today’s surf videos at all. Stealing them is another matter – free is about the right price for Hand JOB.

  • Samson

    After reading your close minded view of a movie you haven’t even seen yet. I think you look a little green.

    You sound very threatene. That your movie will not be able to stand next to this film.

    To say that a surf film produced by Ryan Phillipe can’t be a good surf film just by what you percieve his image to be from the tabloids. Makes you look like a idiot.

    I read an article in rollingstone about this movie and this movie goes deeper than your typical surf film. This film sets out to bring awareness to a region of the world that is in the grip of assimilation. They are trying to save the lives of people that their culture is getting ripped away from them.

    So have fun at X Dance with your insignificant movie that only betters your life.

    Oh and your movie Who is JOB was so so. More hype than bite.


  • yeah guy

    @ f off! – good one.

    In regards to this whole thing… no publicity is bad publicity and Chas actually this this movie a favor by “hating” it, and i am sure that many more will see it due to learning about it on this sorry excuse for a blog post.

  • James

    Chas Smith is a blowhard douche bag.
    JOB was a decent surf film due to the quality of footage and talent in the film. The success of it has very very little to do with Chas’ stylistic choices. It’s Jamie-O, its going to be seen by everyone in the surf community even if its the biggest pile ever made.

    Ryans film looks boring, I had to retrain from skipping threw the trailer. But regardless, Chas trying to act ballzy standing behind the JOB movie is pathetic.
    It was a surf film. You helped make a surf film. No one cares.

    Truth is, neither of these films belong at Sundance. Sundance is downgrading itself by letting either of you show.

  • cash

    This is a funny review. It’s silly but some what stylised and fun to read. It entertains like a guy doing a good impression of robin leach – think of that impression from scratching the surface, but way better.

  • Sammy

    Oh this is so much fun! Barry you really have so so much time on your hands. I wonder what your day job is that allows you so much glorious free time to write long winded op editorial. I must say I enjoy your posts the most. Your effort to intellectualize Chas’s clearly humerous posts actually entertain so please continue to give all of us more! All the angry surf dicks now have something fun to do. If you look Chas gets by far the most responses and what would you do with yourself with out him. All you silly boys just wait around to hate on the next one. The best part is your negative energy is what keeps him in a job and you drooling for more. Keep feeding him and you should send him fabulous presents from neiman Marcus just for bringing a little joy to your pathetic lives. No need to respond. I actually have an awesome life (and won’t bother reading your 8th grade responses) I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate the refreshing Chas Smith (who clearly never reads your retarded shit) because he is actually busy writing more shit just to piss you off. I picture him in a fab hotel somewhere thinking up the best next story specifically just for the pussy’s who lick it up and beg for more. Your posts put him clearly at the forefront of surf journalism so thanks! Keep it coming it’s better than playing video games or other worthless stuff you have other stupid opinions about, yea!

  • Sir Seves of the Sea Alot

    Anyone ever seen Arc?


    Yeah… I’m no fan of “Spaz” Smith, but this trailer looks a little too produced.

  • rob

    “the forefront of surf journalism” Please. Sammy has never surfed and knows nothing about surf journalism if he thinks chas is a surf journalist. I think his style would be better suited for In touch mag or some other gossip mag. Come on surfing mag, find a real writer that gets the essence of surfing not the overpublicized party lifestyle of the Pro tour.

  • Barry

    Chas it really is shameless of you to persist in using this too core to even know he’s core except when he can’t fit into his tight jeans, cool Torquay kid persona to bolster support for yourself on your blog. Sammy/Chas I thought you were done talking to online aholes but no still i’m reading reruns i.e. my lifestyle is fab, Chas’ attempts at humor are fab, Chas’ attempts to be controversial are fab, OMG do you have anything at all to say, let alone anything new. See, even if in some parallel universe somewhere within the fantastic realms of possibility you were even actually having more fun than the average in your bankrupt meaningless existence, it still wouldn’t change the fact that Chas/You are a complete idiot and that this editorial blows chunks on a truly cosmic scale. Please stop telling me how happy you are, it sounds like a virgin trying convince his buddies that he slept with a supermodel at the liquor store after 10 cans. OMG you suck. As for the film critique, OMG don’t you know it helps it be accurate about little details like say oh, the location before trying to write off films nobody has even seen yet. I’m glad my posts keep you entertained, with the attention span of a Ritalin dependent kid I’m sure you crave stimulation but actually some of them are intended for people who still have some appreciation for where journalism was going when it still had somewhere to go. Can you please stop repeating that Chas is just saying stuff to piss people off. WTF, the best thing would be for you to shut up then if you enjoyed it so much, does that not penetrate intergalactic vacuum between the ears, captain moron? The only reason for you to bring it up is as some half assed excuse for the garbage you/chas subject on innocent and unsuspecting public. I guess we just have to wait for next editorial installment of Chas ‘bustin down the door with stupid’ to find out what happens next.

  • ummmmm

    Ummmmmmmmmm Barry, how old are you? Are you decrepit? Do you stink? Are you bed ridden? Did you live with your mom until she died? And wtf are pepole saying this wasn’t filmed in New Guinea? ummmmmmmm look at the trailer. See where that plane flies where does it go? To a map of, wait, NEW GUINEA!

  • NicNac

    PAPUA New Guinea is not the same as NEW Guinea.

    Papua New Guinea is a country on HALF the island of New Guinea. The other half is considered Irian Jaya, and is part of Indonesia.

    Im surprised so many “hardcore” surfers and journalists who write/read Surfing Magazine don’t know this.? All you have to do is look at a world map. Not hard.

  • Barry

    ummmmm what’s a world map?

  • sammy

    Oh dear Barry for the record I am not Chas, I am a real living person! Not a crusty old surf dude! but I surf!, and I just want to thank you for thinking I write as good as Chas as that’s a great compliment as he does inspire my pen. I would give you my real email if I didn’t actually think you might be a potential Jeremy Loughner type. I know I actually have half a brain so my note might have really taken you a back as you clearly think yourself an “intellectual type” and there are not that many of “you” in the internet hate mail world. I also want the thank you for writing another diatribe for all of our enjoyment. It’s so fun that you let little ol Chas get your heart rate up and spend lots of time everyday waiting for your little “notify me of follow up comments” tone to ring, to give you a sense of self as you write another angry response. If your so great how about go get published or do something other than standing behind what I am sure is not YOUR real name…but hey some of us enjoy you and Chas so all good, keep it coming. Instead of getting a real writing job you can feel published in your posts!…And Hey Rob, I do surf and if you don’t think Chas is a surf journalist you should talk to Surfing Magazine about that… maybe subscribe to the Surfers Journal
    for your “essence” soul surfing vibe. It’s a good pub, I enjoy it too. And Chas keep it up, some of us although might find your style pompous, occasionally vulgar and sometimes sloppy you are fun and FAB! and OMG i think your the cats pajamas just for creating a enough buzz to piss old man Barry and the like off enough to be doing something, anything, interesting…i know I said I wouldn’t respond but god dammit i just was so excited that Barry thought i was Chas I couldn’t help myself!! Ok i promise i won’t log in again..except to read Barrys exciting longwinded response..thhheeee heeee…I have to go to my work now so forgive my in ability to engage this any longer. I see now why you all enjoy this so much…

  • Barry

    OK you’re right, I am now bored. I’ll treat you like you’re not Chas when you stop acting like a Chas clone. Since you insist on telling me about yourself and your life, I’ll tell you that i don’t work surf industry la la land. i’m in my 30s, don’t do airs and don’t ride big surf the way i’d like but otherwise consider myself a fairly competent surfer. My job doesn’t allow me to surf as much as I’d like and doesn’t allow me to take things for granted. Over the years I’ve met some really great people surfing, that’s why it saddens me to see the “clones taking over and the individuals getting pushed out”. But I could tell you anything I want. That’s why I’m only really interested in hearing the arguments you have for your point of view and since you have nothing to tell me except how fantastic your life is I’m going off to read some of the other blogs on this site, some of which are pretty good. Bye

  • Lluisa Murray

    Regardless of Chas whoever he is or his possies…
    The trailer looks like a b rate tv show showing none of the creativity of a true surfing doco. It also shows contempt for the cultures it is happy to inaccurately depict. Lots of hype but light on the authenticity. Geoff C and Ryan P pull your heads in.

  • World Renowned

    Hey folks! I admit that I’m not a surfer and could never fully understand the whole Point Break thing, so keep that in mind. Instead, I am a world traveler who has encountered over forty-three countries and consider myself a bit of an anthropologist. I’ve interacted with numerous cultures and experienced and seen things that would make you piss your wetsuit. As a scuba instructor and ocean enthusiast I know it does keep you warm.

    Anyway, everybody is judging this film before anyone has seen it. I think it is great that it seems that the film doesn’t just focus on wave tricks and pompous attitudes. As an alternative, it seems to show a group of people getting lost in a culture while looking for something they dream about. Obviously it is not your run of the mill surf show highlight reel.

    When I visited West Papua I found the people amazingly friendly, inviting and above all with an amazing connection to the world around them especially the ocean. I just hope that the film makers were able to capture the locals’ essence and not ruin it like some sort of action reality show.

    I myself can’t wait to see it and hope it fulfills my expectations!