Beyond the Scars is a short film about surfing exposed, freezing corners of the North Sea. It’s about the beauty in inconsistency, the wait between weather systems and what it means to be a coldwater surfer on a fickle shore.
In association with Channel Four Television.
Soaring, stealing infinity from
Shot teeth of the breaking walls
The lift-and-crash guillotine falls
The thralls of a life get forgot
I saw a man die today. Bare feet slung into a bodybag under the roadside sun. It makes you wonder, cements your passion, throws all of the bullshit into relief. This is my first warm water trip in years and surfing here in Central America is so impossibly easy – board shorts, no leash, day after day of predictably headhigh tubes. Beyond the Scars, a short film commissioned by Channel 4, documents the other side of surfing. The long drives to fickle, freezing places, the wet 6/5/4s in the dawn frost and the chance of scoring empty, perfect waves in near wilderness.
Beyond the scars,
beyond the scars
The limitless passage of passing Bars
A silent orchestra proud salutes
The wicked twist of the clouds
Beyond the Scars brought together a small group of surfers in Northern Scotland last year, including journeyman pro Gabe Davies and young Tynemouth ripper Sandy Kerr. Watching Sandy and Gabe charge whatever came through was an education in what it means to get paid to surf. Both were hoping for the particular combination of elements at a certain slab – shallow shelf, bottle-green light, glassy conditions. It very nearly did it…
Slight walking, slipping on kelp
Marking the card of time
Dancing to the sometimes
yelp The vagabond song of the brine
Beyond the Scars is about more than finding the biggest wave on the biggest day; it’s about delight in what we do have, finding joy in the rare. Our far coastal extremes are surely beautiful places, teeming with wildlife and largely empty of people. Too far for developers, not ruined by industry and too cold and brutal for tourists. So we chase, always chase, for the windows of remote perfection.
Beyond the scars,
beyond the scars,
The devil dances about the seams
And the turnstile spins its dreams
The turnstile spins its dreams
The director of Uncommon Ideals, Chris McClean invited London-based photographer and Orkneys regular Giulietta Verdon-Roe on the trip whilst Lewis Arnold floated in the lineups, amongst the huge seals, quietly recording his vision. Having written the poem for the film some time ago, I paddled happily alone at various reefs, thinking about what surfing means and why it grips us so. Beyond the Scars will interest anyone who has felt the peculiar grip of the wild, who has seen that devotion brings its own rewards. Chris and the team are documenting the reality of the coldwater surfing experience, from the shore to the sea to the sky.
Director: Chris McClean
Producer: Gabe Davies/Lola Cove Films
Directors of Photography: Lewis Arnold + Chris McClean
Edit: Chris McClean
Poem: Daniel Crockett
Read by: Jeff Hordley
Colour: Robert Thomas – Darlings Post Production, Amsterdam
Sound Engineer: Will Evans
Sea Recording: Andrew Taylor-Maskery
Additional Camera: Kevin Smith
Title Font Design: David Beckitt
Surfers: Gabe Davies, Sandy Kerr, Fergal Smith, Jesse Davies, Ollie O’Flaherty, Ben Howard.
Supported by: Nixon, Patagonia, Poler, GoPro and Desillusion Magazine.
Daniel Crockett – http://www.danielcrockett.co.uk
Giulietta Verdon-Roe – http://www.giuliettaverdon-roe.com/
Chris McClean – http://www.chrismcclean.co.uk