Who is the Most Influential Filmmaker of All Time?

Introducing the first Riptide bracket – where you get to vote for bodyboarding’s most influential filmmaker ever.
Before we begin, if you’re short of time (cause there are a swag of classic clips below to get lost in) and just want to get your votes in, then head to Riptide’s brand new Tumblr page right now! You’ll be finished quicker than a 14-year-old virgin and it’ll be much less messy.


Did YouTube kill the movie star? Hell no! If anything, the fact that any ol’ Joe can hit upload on any shitty vision and have it live on the World Wide Web has made us appreciate the guys and gals that have genuine skill in filming, & cutting footage even more.

Just like you, we love a bit of quality boogieboarding banter. Talking jive and throwing out wild claims (mostly when warranted). We wanted to open the floor to you. Have you tell us what’s up. So we thought, lets dive into the deep end and look at some “all-time” legends.

Our process in bringing you the fine gents below was to contact a swag of riders and industry dudes and ask them who them for their Top 3 filmmakers.  We gave three points to their No.1 position, two points for No.2 and then a single point for their No.3 place. This assisted us in forming the heats below and the epic, complete bracket on the Tumblr – there’s some hefty battles ahead!

Similarily to a playoff bracket, there’s three elimination rounds through to the Grand Final. Each round is made up of a collection of heats, where the seeded filmmakers go up against each other. Only this first round is guided by the riders & industry folks; the rest is on YOU.

You vote through the filmmaker that you think has had the biggest influence on bodyboarding.

It was an email from J.D. Hubb that really nailed what we’re after;

…The debate is going to be hot. Basically you have to decide on the size of the bodyboarding population these videographers affected, and still effecting, and if they did not exist – would things be same in bodyboarding world?
Leaving that thought with you, let’s check our first round match-ups.


1. Chris Stroh vs 16. Mitch Rawlins

In the early 90s it could be argued that Strohy brought the focus of the bodyboarding world to Australia from the US and Hawaiian filmers. Taking us from beautiful, sunny, blue tubes or brown beachies wedges, to ugly Oz ledges and slabs.

The stars of Strohy’s early Underground Tapes are the likes Shark Island, Dave Ballard, Nathan “Nugget” Purcell, Michael “Eppo” Eppelstun, Steve “Macca” Mackenzie, Tully Beevor and the infamous charger Warren “Wazza” Feinbeer – all Aussie legends.

Seeing guys throw themselves into the Island with reckless abandon had a massive effect in shaping the kind of wave bodyboarders lived for.

This is a sentiment echoed by Chad Jackson,
“The best thing about looking back at Chris Stroh’s work is that most of the footage is good enough to star in current films. The moves may not be as advanced, but the styles, waves and characters are second to none. All the best riders of the modern age have benefited from these productions and they’ve based their own style on what they learnt from Stroh’s footage”.

Above is a section from Underground Tapes 8, Psychotic. Then we’ll slide into the introduction for Stroh’s opponent, by showing a bit of the stylish Nelson Ross and high school grom, Mitch Rawlins, from Rush Junior High. Goes to show how long Stroh was pumping out quality vids!

From his first video parts, through to his first bio-flick, the Mitch Vid, to Hiding From Comfort, numerous web-only clips to the more recent Killer Days, Mitch has worked with great talents to produce high quality releases. Less punk and more polish. Mitch snuck onto the bracket thanks to the volume of films he’s been involved in and how well he’s showcased the sport in his recent films.

Here’s the trailer from Killer Days for you.



2. Brian “Stoker” Stokes vs 15. Andy Lawrence

Stoker and the No Friends crew arrived at a critical time for bodyboarding, as Jarrod Gibson explains,
“As the major surf companies were pulling out from supporting bodyboarding, the original No Friends crew released one of the first major bodyboarding-only labels, for both clothing and vids. The first film was groundbreaking. I still remember the first time I ever watched it. I even remember the mates I was watching it with.

“No Friends 1 became the benchmark for bodyboarding productions and they inspired many of the guys in the film industry today. If that wasn’t enough to gain your number one vote, go back and watch Spencer Skipper’s section in his old Morey days – unbelievable!”

So here it is, Skip from NF1.

The Kat, created some of the best sneaky good films going ‘round. They may not have had the same level hyperbole associated with some of the films included in this bracket, but they rapidly became some of the most watched stalwarts in many a video collection. Great tunes, fun vibes and a young Ryan Hardy and Sean Virtue (among others) made these films that never left your VCR. Waterworks, Supastars 1 & 2 and Perspectives are some fine work from Mr Lawrence. We must also acknowledge some of the early multi-angle work in Perspectives considering the current GoPro craze.

Oh my f@ck, Ryan Hardy from Perspectives – ripping!



3. Chris White vs 14. The Roam Series

As Jase Finlay says, “The most popular video series ever made?” Whitey’s films had everything; big waves, crazy riders, hilarious stunts, characters, jet skis, helicopters – the works. So much so that A Current Affair was camping on his front lawn to get in on the action.

Wongy’s timing in the game was impeccable, ratcheting up his career just as VHS was transitioning to DVDs.

Let’s not forget the man’s guiding hand in the forming of Jake Stone’s now successful film career.

We’ll start Wongy’s representation in this bracket with a retrospective look, the intro to Tension 10.

Obviously, the Roam Series stands alone in the bracket as the only place that isn’t represented by an individual. There’s good reason for this, lots of talented gents have had their input into what has been the most successful series of travel-based bodyboarding vids ever. The team at Limited Edition have been directly involved with all four of the Roam’s, Traverse, This Is Africa, Around The World and 6Months. As well as being involved Matt Lackey’s epic DK film, The Lackey Project. A movie that’s proven to be a great stepping stone for Lackey as he continues to create rad clips and films.

Here’s the trailer of Ewan Donnachie’s 6Months, still looking as polished as ever.



4. Todd Barnes vs 13. Ian Stewart

Having either filmed, directed, edited or art directed the following films; Mission Impossible, Two, Video, Roam, Around The World In 40 Days, No Friends 10, Thrash, Thrash’D, Trash, Movement TV 1, Killer Days, Split, the 2012 SIC Challenge Doco and the 2011 IBA World Tour – Todd has had a huge influence on bodyboardings current aesthetic.

Reon Fisher provides a cool overview on Mr Barnes,
“I grew up around Barnesy, as he’s a couple years younger, but at the same bodyboard club. I hadn’t paid too much attention to his first flicks, but when he dropped Video, I tripped out. The tunes were epic, the surfing insane and he gave the new East Generation a great run. It’s Todd’s editing techniques that are number one for me. He was a welcome change in direction and it was cool to see he took influence from outside the usual surf and skate formats. The Thrash series is timeless. They’re films that could be appreciated by anyone, not just bodyboarders.”

Some Thrash’d South Coast gold for you.

Your background to Ian Stewart aka Oceanic Images comes from foam sculptor, Todd Quigley,
“As I lived in the same area as Stews, him being a bit older, I would always see him around shooting the local spots and my mates and I would always try to get in on the action, hoping to see ourselves in one of his flicks, then getting so stoked when we did score some waves in them.

“Stews had a knack for scoring in Tahiti and he was one of the early guys to get solid footage from the water there. He also got the younger crew to help edit his vids and that spawned the next generation of film makers on the Central Coast. one guy that really looked up to Stews was Paul Jennar, who was killed in Hawaii while over there doing what he loved – filming.
RIP mate.”

First, we’ve got some Teahupo’o footage, then some viewing of the prankster, Adam Keegan, from one of the most unusually named films of all time, Surphytum.



5. Tom Boyle vs 12. Bryce Thurston

Wow, I kid you not, here is an excerpt from Tom’s own website:
(the Boyle’s) lived on the beach in Hilo, until a tsunami sent their home into the neighbour’s property. Tom Boyle was conceived during the tidal wave.  Boyle was born on January 12th, 1961 in Hilo, Hawaii.

Wrote, acted, produced and directed an anti-drug Super 8 film for extra credit in sixth grade. First photograph published in Surfer Magazine in December, 1978 when Boyle was 17 years old, and a senior at Punahou. Boyle built an international following through innovative water shots (the man nailed some of the very first photos documenting bodyboarding) and gritty yet humorous articles. Boyle co-founded Bodyboarding Magazine in 1985 with the staff at Surfing Magazine. A professional competitor, Boyle had to drop his sponsors to avoid conflict of interest while serving as a staff photographer and contributing editor. He still finished 3rd in the world at the Pipeline Championships in 1987. This year also marked the release of SHOCK WAVES, a surf film Boyle worked on for three and a half years with Bob and Ron Condon (also the last two years with Don King).

In 1988, Boyle founded his own company, Eye Spy Productions. Offering up the TRIBAL TRIALS (1988), the 1st Edition of Bodyboarders Video Magazine. The series would span a decade and be distributed internationally. Boyle would create LAUNCH (1995), the 1st commercial television series about bodyboarding. This followed up  Boyle’s 1st TV series, BU LAI’A THE HAWAIIAN SUPERMAN (1993), involving surfing, political commentary and comedy by Kaui Hill.”

Conceived during a tidal wave?! Are you kidding me?! Folks, pack this up, Tom Boyle is greater at life than any of us!

Plus, he also released a film with one of the best covers of all time, check Mutant Slabs and Monster Barrels (1992).

Two clips from Tom (cause we’re having a bit of a froth out right now). First one is some buttery smooth riding of young Stewart (note the spin in the pocket 20 sec mark & some of the reverses) in Violent Grace (1995) and some footage of Brian Wise at sizey Tahiti from Cereal Killer (1996).

Bryce’s is certainly no slouch behind the camera! The man’s known for very well-framed and composed shots, notably from the water, where nailing the best vision becomes a lot more challenging.

Bryce filmed and directed now-classic, The Road, Roam 1 & 2 (editing Roam 2 too) as well as having a guiding in hand in many other film projects and he continues to influence the aesthetics of bodyboarding through Agent18’s releases (especially the exceptionally well finished titles), with their creative team that also includes Tyge Landa and Burg Thurston.

Chris James had this to add regarding Bryce,
“…I shot a lot with Bryce growing up. What they achieved with The Road was the beginning of what’s become a strong movement in chasing waves in remote locations. Bryce is such a perfectionist and although waiting for him would do your head in at the time, the finished product was always flawless. Good times were always had with Bryce”.

Re-live The Road in its epic glory.



6. Chris Bryan vs 11. Ryan Mattick

Working with one of the most revered bodyboarders ever is certainly going to ensure you’re held in high esteem too. Chris Bryan was the man largely behind the Ryan Hardy bio-flicks, The HardLyfe 1 & 2 (kudos to Dave Wilcox too).

As Pierre Louis-Costes says,
“The movie that made me want to become a professional bodyboarder was Hardlyfe 1 – without a doubt. It pushed me and inspired me to surf like him. To this day I still think Ryan Hardy is the greatest bodyboarder of all time.”

now counts Masarati, Samsung, Acer, Red Bull and the BBC as his clients (not to mention some tanned boobies & milk). No wonder Mitch Rawlins went to work with him on Hiding From Comfort and Killer Days too.

Hardballs at home, Hardlyfe 2.

Ryan “Maddog” Mattick brought us a character a large as the pits he showcased in his films – James Cayley aka Koots aka The Viking. Mattick’s savvy business sense has had him sending the Zion Team to a bevy of the world’s cold water locales, taking his audiences to Scotland, Iceland, Ireland, northern USA and more.

Mattick’s films have also managed to nail it when it comes to getting as many laughs as they do gasps of shock at the riding going down.  

Well aware of the current generation’s hunger for new content, Mattick continues to deliver the goods online, in-between legit film releases. A “must have” skill for a filmmaker today.

Let’s head to Iceland with The Viking.



7. The Waldron Brothers vs 10. Bob Sato

The Waldron Bros were way ahead of the pack when it came to the movement from DVD to online films. Film-wise, after releasing Vague Opportunities, they headed into Raised Heights, Denis, Leroy 1 & 2 and then There’s No I – all classic viewing now.

Then as the rest of the bodyboarding world largely struggled with the new boom in digital video clips offered through YouTube and Vimeo (both in editing the content to the format and monetising the content) the Waldron Bros came along with Boom! Podcasts. The series went nuts on iTunes, staying high in the sports category for popular downloads for ages, and brought in a huge viewership onto their YouTube site.

While at the height of their powers they also released two mega bio-flicks with The Joker with Damian King and The Ben Player Project.

Time to get some BP action in our lives.

I’ll be honest, I’d definitely heard of Bob Sato and his incredible work with the youth of Kauai, especially due to the phenomenal rise of the Kauai Classic Bodyboarding Team in the early 90s, but the extent of my knowledge ended there. Hence, as votes came in for Bob, I was very grateful that Dave Hubbard was willing to provide more details on the great man,

“There is one individual who will be remembered for having a deep, widespread, and lasting impact on a vast majority of wave riders from Kaua’i. The same man, whom selflessly did youth work to turn around the lives of troubled teens. His legacy also includes directing a movement that changed the course of bodyboarding. Bob Sato was even one of the first to use video self modeling in water sports. He will never be forgotten.

He grew up on Oahu, and had his own hard times. He turned to faith in a higher power to conquer an addiction to heroin. He then sought to serve the needs of others, rather than his own. Eventually he moved to Kaua’i and opened his home to those in need of guidance. Countless lives were touched by his hospitable nature. Bob became passionate of videography and saw its immediate application in wave riding.

No matter what was being ridden, Bob enjoyed documenting it and encouraged individuals to practice editing the material. This spawned many careers, and most visibly was impressed onto Jamie O’Brien, whom has been producing his own videos ever since working with Bob at the age of 16.

Bob also coached a team of bodyboarders known as the Kaua’i Classic. This original group were the first of their era to dethrone Mike Stewart, who had, since his reign began, been unstoppable in competition. The first and only ‘team’ of its kind, saw a drastic increase of paddling and positioning tactics. This was seen as nothing shy of a revolution.

Because the majority of material Bob collected was for studying and/or sponsorship solicitations, he was the only lens allowed at most of Kaua’i heavily protected surf breaks. He held close relationships with the enforcers, as there was much to learn from Bob. It was not uncommon to find Chava Greenlee and Kai Garcia battling Bob and other house guests at Ping Pong in Bob’s garage. It was a popular activity Bob used with those whom trained under him.

Bob instilled powerful life lessons in those he welcomed into his home. There was much learning and development that occurred under his roof. Not just wave riders benefitted from his passion for service. Many under-privileged and foster children found comfort and guidance with Bob.”

Bob passed away in June this year.

As Dubb outlines, Bob used filmmaking as a tool to improve his guys riding, hence we don’t have any footage that we can post here. Instead, we’ll run with this clip of Mike Stewart vs Kauai Classic legend, Kyle Maligro at St Pierre, Reunion Island from the Psychotic (1996).



8. James Kates vs 9. Scotty Carter

Katesy has got to be most proficient filmmaker of the recent era. Look at this insane list of projects he’s worked on:
The SC –
co film edit with Jayden Boyce
I Fish. I Vote.
– co film /edit with Jayden Boyce
Bang Bang
– co film / edit with Mitch Pohl
Outrageous Behaviour
– additional footage and forts
Wayne’s Addiction
– filmed/ edited
– co filmed/ edited with Jack Dobinson
Evoke The Stoke
– filmed/ edited
– co filmed with Maddog and edited
Fever Dream
– co filmed with Maddog an edited
– co filmed with Jack Dobinson and edited
Honest Blokes
– co filmed with Maddog and edited
The Viking
– co filmed / edited with Maddog
Gracias el Gato
– co filmed with Maddog and co edited with Maddog & Dav Fox
Home Brew
– co filmed with Maddog and edited
Heffy Mennal
– co filmed and edited with Kino Verzosa
Passing Through
– filmed/ edited
– directed

Not to mention that ridiculous number of online-only releases. There’s a whole lotta quality in there too, as Pierre adds,
“I believe that James Kates’ film, Passing Through, is up there with the best bodyboarding films ever.”

If PLCs got a French froth-beard on it, it has to be gold.

Wow, alright, we’re coming to the end of this first edition of the bracket for the most  influential bodyboarding filmmaker of all time, and we’re finishing it off with a bang.

Scott Carter was the driving force behind some of the most watched US films through the early 90s, right through to the early 00s. In Enough Said Scotty captured some of the best footage of Roach ever recorded. There was The Inside and Crave The Cave that helped form the legend of Chad Barba and many others. Then you head to his work with Joseph Libby in what was the definitive DK film, Fu Man Chu, until The Lackey Project joined it. Finally, he helped bring a Mike Stewart bio-flick to life with Fire. Read that list back again – they’re all heavy hitters.

As Jeff Hubb says,
“Enough Said
and The Inside are cult movies that cannot be replicated and stand on their own regardless of time. Scott’s films paved the way for the No Friends era and helped bodyboarding grow in California in its heyday, as well as around the world”.

With that, here are Enough Said and The Inside for your viewing pleasure.


That wraps up the first round of the Riptide bracket for the most influential bodyboarding filmmaker of all time. If you feel we’re missing some key players, then hit us up in the Comments section below. 

We’ll return with more rider insights, clips and the results of round one shortly.