Southampton, N.Y. native and 27-year-old filmmaker Hayley Gordon never expected her womenâ€™s surf film â€œBy The Wayâ€ to reach over 31,000 views and be featured on Surfer Magazineâ€™s website, but after a few weeks, her first real surf project turned into a big hit.
â€œBy The Wayâ€ follows a group of female surfers up and down the California coast, from San Diego to Encinitas. It features the likes of Silvana Lima, Sara Taylor, Leila Hurst, Malia Manuel, Sofia Mulanovich and Courtney Conlogue soulfully shredding left and right, while reminding us of what surfing is all about. And thatâ€™s having fun.
“I think that itâ€™s more just about these girls surfing and having fun,” Gordon said. “Itâ€™s pretty much a straight up surf video. Thereâ€™s not really plot or theme behind it, and I kind of like that aspect and the carefree feel. It just kind of arose organically.”
The filmâ€™s title fits its purpose perfectly. Gordon said the whole point of making the film was to highlight the talent these women have, even if youâ€™ve never heard of them. Itâ€™s likeâ€”by the way, these girls can rip too.
â€œThe title kind of explains the movie in an indirect way,â€ Gordon said. â€œIt sort of became about giving exposure to the girls out there that might not be in the mainstream spotlight, but who are still really talented. So itâ€™s more about giving them a chance to be seen.â€
And it does. Outside of the competitive circuit, these girls come alive. Silvana Lima, Sara Taylor and Ornella Pellizzari are standouts in this film, with cutbacks that could kill and some massive-spraying vertical power hacksâ€¦ among other things. Longboarder Margaux Arramon-Tucco also catches attention in this film as she gracefully glides on waves most short boarders would look past. Her surfing is like a moving piece of art in this film.
This is NOT a â€œGirls Can Surf Too!â€ girl-power film sort of like Nikeâ€™s â€œLeave A Message.â€ Gordon said that theme is extremely trite nowadays, and sheâ€™s right. She wanted a surf movie just about surfing, like “Thicker Than Water.” Something people could call a real classic.
â€œThe whole combative â€˜girls can surf tooâ€™ stance is a bit played out by now,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™d like to stay away from that and just make some good (and fun) surf videos. I think the level of girls surfing has grown exponentially in the last few years and itâ€™s incredible. Letâ€™s just let it speak for itself.â€
Gordon said due to the hyped response the film received, she anticipates a bigger hunger for womenâ€™s surf films. Womenâ€™s surfing has progressed a great deal and while itâ€™s still clearly underrated, the thirst for more exposure grows stronger.
â€œI think that shows that thereâ€™s an audience hungry for more videos of the girls,â€ she said. â€œI also think people liked the fact that it wasnâ€™t commercialized and just showed the girls being themselves, having fun.â€
After such a success, Gordon said she is anxious to get out there and start working on something else. It was her first full surf movie after graduating University of Michigan with a film degree in 2006. Now, Gordon said she is planning new projects. She is looking to add new unique twists to classic surf film blueprints.
â€œIâ€™m collecting more footage and my wheels are turning for a larger project,â€ she said. â€œUltimately I really want to make a â€˜realâ€™ surf video thatâ€™s going to be sold in stores and in peopleâ€™s DVD collections. I want to experiment with new ideas, setting up shots more deliberately, and try to take it to the next level. I also really want to get in and shoot from the water.â€
Hereâ€™s to hoping we see more awesome things from Hayley Gordon in the future!
You can enjoy â€œBy The Wayâ€ online or you can see it on a big screen at Long Beach Cinema on April 13th at 8 p.m. along with â€œStacked,â€ â€œCouch Tourâ€ and â€œLapsed Catholics: What The Surf Magazines Donâ€™t Tell You.â€