“Happiness through exhaustion.” That’s Dave Rastovich’s “one word” description of his experience making This Time Tomorrow, the latest film from Taylor Steele and the world premiere headliner at the New York Surf Film Festival.
The film follows Rasta and Craig Anderson as they chase last year’s infamous “Condition Black” swell from Tahiti to Mexico to California to Alaska, surfing the same waves in each location. It’s an arduous run, for sure, and the film really conveys the sense of exhausted urgency it takes to pull it off. From Rasta’s first, massive tow-hupo’o wave to Ando catching some emergency shut on the 3 am asphalt alongside PCH.
“My focus now is on making movies with more of a story behind them,” said Steele in the post-film Q&A session with Rastovich. “So, this one already has a built in arc, almost like the life a person. The swell is born all wild and out of control, it matures and organizes as it progresses, and then it finally meets this nice, natural conclusion up in Alaska.”
It’s a fun ride to come along for, especially when you get to just sit there and enjoy it. On top of that, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk theater serves beer and nachos straight to your seat. And that’s so much easier than chasing a Mexican mudslide red-eye layover death march with Rasta and Ando.
SURFING: We heard you were still editing the movie up to just a few hours ago.
TAYLOR: More like a few minutes ago. But that’s pretty much how it goes every time. With this one, we weren’t planning on being done until October, so this is really just a sneak peak and we can still go back in there and fine tune a few things.
SURFING: The movie really captures the exhaustion of that mission. What was the hardest part of all that?
TAYLOR: In terms of making the film, I really wanted the locations to play a major role in the film, but we were in such a rush the whole time we didn’t have the amount of time I would have liked to shoot all the lifestyle and scenery stuff. So it’s more or a quick stroke on the locations and then you’re moving again – just how we were doing it.
SURFING: How did you know this was the swell?
TAYLOR: I’ve been thinking about this idea for nearly ten year almost. Mike Stewart did it years ago, but they never really documented the journey, so it’s something I’d always wanted to do but wasn’t never quite sure how to pull it off. Then I just started talking about it one night with some people and once the cat was out of the bag, I just had to do it before someone else did it before me. That put the pressure on.
SURFING: Was the swell everything you hoped for?
TAYLOR: It really was the swell of the decade. It happened at a really busy and difficult time for everyone, but we knew it was good enough to go ahead and drop everything and run. And then we just kept running. Seeing this play tonight, it feels we finally arrived at the destination.
It was a great start to a great festival (two more great nights to go, which is great), with everyone scoring great little waves in the morning, strolling through a sunny and beautiful New York day, then smashing the headboard of the night straight into a gorgeous and slightly awkward sunrise. Somewhere in around 4 am, Australian musician MT WARNING, (the man responsible for the original musical scores on the This Time Tomorrow’s score as well as Here & Now), played an impromptu basement gig with Rasta on the tambourine and Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick conducting Lizard King pandemonium on the mic and on top of the bar and wherever else. Shots for everyone. Strange new friends. Hamburgers and coffee tequila at damn. Another airplane. Chirping birds. Puking in a bookstore. Baptized with Vitamen Water. You know…
If this isn’t making sense anymore, it’s because this correspondent hasn’t quite slept yet and the other SURFING editors (Taylor and Charlie Smith) went straight to the airport and flew back in time to catch the conclusion of the Hurley Trestles Pro, which I’m watching online as I type this. “Best 48 hours ever,” Taylor just texted me. His photo on Instagram looks sweaty and happy.
See? You should get on a plane somewhere right now, too.
Happiness through exhaustion. You can do it all. Surf every swell in every place it ever breaks. Taylor Steele just proved it. And we’re going to prove it again tonight.
See you in some random basement eating hotdogs, okay?
[This Time Tomorrow won’t show again until it premieres at the La Paloma Theater on October 26st. Until then…just keep doing whatever it was you were doing before.]
Find out more about the New York Surf Film Festival at http://newyorksurffilmfestival.com/