Renaissance Coming: Exhibit D

posted by / News / April 17, 2011

This five-part series examines the cultural tremors shedding light on surfing’s future.

Exhibit D: 0000 (Year Zero)



“For me to get excited about any film, it has to feel like a psychedelic experience. Not psychedelic as in you feel like you’re on drugs; psychedelic like it takes you out of your present state of mind and transports you to another. Surfing to me is psychedelic and good clips should be treated with care. Music, editing, shots, and aesthetics — everything needs to be carefully considered to create an experience for the viewer.” —Joe G. , Director of Year Zero


Green A-frames send foam skyward and spit sideways as they detonate on the beach at Capbreton in the south of France. On the shore, a team of young French women in white swimwear parades up and down a graffitied WWII bunker. In the water, Nate Tyler and Dion Agius split and launch off the six-foot peaks in radioactive green wetsuits. Dion laughs, “I look like a fucken’ council worker” (referring to the fluorescent uniforms of city cleaners in Australia). This is one of the stylized settings engineered by surf filmmaker Joe G. for Globe’s new psychedlic surf film 0000 (or Year Zero, as it will be read on the DVD case).


Dion Agius. Photo: DJ Struntz


This is an important film for the sport. At its basis, Year Zero celebrates the aesthetic orgasm that is surfing — a feature of the sport too often neglected by young surf filmmakers.

“You can watch ‘a rad surf part’ everywhere these days and to me almost everything looks the same. We’re basically just bored with a lot of the things we usually see in surf and like to try different takes on it,” says Joe.

Using fewer clips, some of which have been slowed down and jacked with vibrant colors to create a more stimulating visual experience (all captured on “old film cameras that look all gritty and weird and fun”), Joe gives the viewer time to digest the relationship between freakish surfer and moving lump of liquid.


Dane Zaun, France. Photo: DJ Struntz


The timing of the film is impeccable. Debate has raged over whether the current generation of surfers have compromised style for the sake of their new school moves. Sunny Garcia recently observed that back in the day it was very easy to tell the Bruces, Andys and Kellys from the Occys, Parkos and Fannings as you walked down the beach. But much less so with the top tech-gen surfers.

It is true that the new school repertoire can look repetitive, but that’s because it happens fast and the technical nuances are harder to detect. Year Zero gives us an intimate view of the mechanics of new school surfing, and the result is a form of the sport that is anything but homogenized.


CJ Hobgood at Lakey Peak. Photo: DJ Struntz


It’s no coincidence to hear Joe cite the king of surfing psychedelia, George Greenough, as a major influence. Joe is a clear leader in mainstream avant garde surf film-making. In 2010, his stylized foreground combined with a backdrop of Globe’s aerially supreme team won Transworld Surf’s Imaginarium contest. His 2007 production, New Emissions of Light and Sound — scored by world renowned DJ Sasha — was a cult hit.

Like Modern Collective, Year Zero uses a conceptual premise for the film and takes directorial risks. But it is a far further departure from the surf film formula than Kai Neville’s lauded 2010 production. It uses a post-apocalyptic world as its backdrop, allowing Joe to explore the use of synthetic colors and surreal settings. For the film, surfers were given a color scheme; in the case of Dion and Nate, they chose nuclear green. Given the situation unfolding in Japan, there may be more to this film than a catchy title. —Jed Smith


Nate Tyler in nuclear green. Photo: DJ Struntz


Damien Hobgood, France. Photo: DJ Struntz


Dion Agius in WA. Photo: DJ Struntz


Next in Renaissance Coming: Want a definitive view of the future of surfing? Look to the children.



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  • Mik

    Profound footage.

    I hate VIMEO. Yo tengo una rapida Mac, porque VIMEO starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops starts stops…………………………

  • no hair

    this one looks sick! how come no one ever mentions how good andy part was in high five? one of the best ever

  • Jay

    this article right here and this whole artsy “vision” bullshit, is why surfing will never be as gnarly as skating. Or viewed this way by other action sport junkies (whatever their choice of lifestyle/sport/hobby etc. etc. might be). We, as a collective, are a laughing stock to other core board sports. Surfing has taken the direction to focusing on aesthetics and not just surfing….”Yeah surfing is psychadelic but the movies are so damn boring” When has it ever been about appearance? Or any of the other additives. Yes, surfing might be psychadelic in nature to the outsiders and yes the surfer and the stoke might be all part of the mystique of surfing, but why do we have to capture that? I guess the question is, who are we trying you really tying market to? Why have an outsider capture something he doesn’t really know at all? Breathe one last breath of core, because its deterioration is invetible with this new core. Long gone are the days of good waves, a new white board, and a bar of wax cool…Now lets get trendy and become mass media regurgitated clones. I might be ranting, however, the question (or rather the problem) still looms. This video might be rad, like modern collective…But modern collective would of been rad without the artsy bullshit…Why? Because of the ripping, not the trendy music or the cool lifestyle scenes.

  • jim

    ^ why not let it load first..

  • johhny

    who decided that everything now days is “artsy” i fu##ing hate that term that is being attached to anything and everything different from the norm of surfing 5, 10 or 20 years ago. its not the same, and its never going to be.

  • Jay

    so let me say it nicely like aesthetics? Which I do in my response, which it does in this article. The funny thing is, it is not different at all.

  • wetsuit

    anyone know where to get a good fro-hawk?
    i ride surfboards sometimes, but want to stand out in the line-up, any salons around orange county?
    it would be cool to chill with a male hairdresser and chat with him about my relationships as well. any suggestions?

  • jayhater


    You are missing the point entirely. And you are an idiot.

  • Jay

    The point is to make surfing movies more appealing. “Cooler” per se, but it already is so save your “aesthetics”.