Stylemasters is the Roger Clinton to Bustin’ Down the Door‘s Bill Clinton.  Still on my 70s kick after Bustin’ Down the Door, Pipeline Masters and my recent day of awesome, memorable waves on the Spherical Revolver, I saw that Stylemasters was on Fuel TV the other day and gave it a watch.

StylemastersAt the beginning of the film there’s a slide with text reading that the 70s on the North Shore were an evolutionary time for surfing – which is true.  And for a few minutes the movie treats you to the sweet stylings of Gerry Lopez.  But then the movie launches into 30 or more minutes of bland, uninspired surfing – guys on 70s boards that were designed only to hold the line; guys that were letting the wave take them for a ride rather than riding the wave. (Not, saying that surfing the North Shore is easy, but all North Shore surfing is not worth documenting either.)

The film is commentated/narrated a la Endless Summer by two dudes who are sometimes talking to each other and sometime talking to the audience, but rarely adding anything of value.  The narration was almost like two stoners watching the movie and recording themselves.

Buttons!The surfing does get awesome at the end with some rides from Bertlemann, MR, Shaun Tomson, Rabbit Bartholomew.  But the finale is a surfing sequence of a dude named Buttons Kaluhiokalani who is pioneering 360s.  Buttons actually was pretty impressive.  I wonder what happened to that guy.

But the absolute best part about the movie is the soundtrack. The whole thing is this extended electrojazzadelic 70s jam by a band called Bluebird. Again have to I wonder what happened to Bluebird.

Stylemasters is to Endless Summer what Buck Rogers is to Star Wars.  Both are super fun to watch, but one is fun to watch because it is awesome and brilliant whereas the other is hilarious.

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  1. Marc on 8 February 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Jeff, I think you missed the whole point of the movie… Stylemasters is a history of N.Shore surfing in the 70s’, as well as, the act of filming surfers. It documents a transition (Lopez – Curren)… and uses the footage shot by two men over a ten year period of time. What one might call “the good, bad and ugly” of surfing footage you alluded to with remarks of “sweet stylings of Jerry Lopez” to “bland and uninspired surfing” on “70s’ boards that were designed only to hold the line”… is essential to understanding what this transitional era looked like(man, board and filmer alike) over that ten year period of time. And, since when does dropping in on a N.Shore bomb get boring? The sound track alone should keep any sleepy ears alert. Anyways, I believe this film or the footage within it was an underground thing for years and shown only to the individuals in it and in their own homes… that alone is cool… Think about it… they used the footage that the surfers themselves looked at and liked; kinda like judge and jury… Can’t imagine telling any of those guys that what they did back then wasn’t cool, their boards sucked or their footage was boring… hey, it’s all that they had and they made good with it! It’s Kinda like telling Evil Kenevil his jumps over all those cars, busses and Grand Canyon were boring and sucked because the new breed has better bikes and more skill…. Really?

    • Jeff on 9 February 2011 at 9:34 am

      Marc, I totally appreciate your comment and dig that you took the time to write out such a great response. I will re-watch this movie with all this in mind and see if I have a better reaction to it.

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