Momentum Generation (2018) Movie Script

Shall we begin?
We are on a journey.
To the future.
So what happens now?
Something extraordinary.
So what's the damage?
Have you got bones
With what I said?
The public hates what we did,
'cause it's un-American.
Checking in.
Party of nine.
Eight adults, one child.
Four nights at the Groupon rate.
I'm the one who asked
about both the birthday cake
and the fire extinguisher.
I don't want to see
That white flag waving
SURFER: We were pushing
each other beyond having fun.
This is to the bitter end
'Cause this is
What I live for
I'll never quit, no no
-Life is about taking a risk.
- This is what I live for
Second time's the charm!
-Uh, it's actually the fourth.
-Fourth. Yeah.
No, this is what I live for
It's time to kiss the ring, oh
I'm trying to get gold
'Cause this is
What I live for
This is what I live for
All of America is talking
about nothing else.
This is what I live for
I'm freaking out.
ANNOUNCER: Phoebe Robinson
and Jessica Williams!
-Welcome, welcome, welcome!
This is what I live for
I want more!
This is what I live for
I never quit, no no
This is what I live for
( music playing )
( waves crashing )
( chatter )
Shane Dorian:
It's didn't seem like
we were making an impact
at the time.
We were just a bunch of kids
livin' the dream
and traveling around the world.
Rob Machado:
It was our bond as a family
that enabled us to become
as successful as we did.
Kelly Slater:
We were all feeding
off each other,
pushing each other
beyond just going out
and having fun.
The competitive thing was
a real cutthroat business.
Pat O'Connell:
You're competing
at every level.
Ross Williams:
The surf industry
pit us against each other.
All's fair in love and war,
and we're at war.
You have to be a bit
of an asshole to win.
- Machado: He was being a dick.
- Slater: Fuck him!
If I can just do this thing
better than everybody,
then I win... (echoing )
is winning worth
giving up those things?
( seagulls calling )
I was born in
Cocoa Beach, Florida, in 1972.
My dad owned
a bait and tackle shop,
so we just grew up
fishin' and surfin'.
( chatter )
I liked to build forts
and go camp on the islands,
clamming and shrimping.
( chatter, laughter )
I was pretty tough as a kid.
I remember we were riding our
bikes one time down the street,
and for some reason
I turned really sharp
and I just ate it
and hit the ground super-hard.
And the people stopped their car
and they were like,
"Are you OK?"
and my brother goes,
"He's the toughest kid
on the block," or something
like that, you know.
And I was, "Yeah. I'm fine."
Ya know?
I'll kick your butt, man.
When I was eight years old,
a lot changed for me.
I'll kill you, man.
That was when my mom was trying
to kick my dad out.
My mom just couldn't handle
the drinking and stuff.
- ( siren wails )
- They would have these
crazy, screaming fights
in the house.
I feel like I changed
as a person.
I went from fighting
and being aggressive
as my way to get out
my feelings,
to real overly sensitive
to everything.
I was really insecure,
ya know?
Taylor Knox:
I grew up in Oxnard Shores.
It was a rough Hispanic town.
( police radio chatter )
My dad was a talented musician.
I think he made it to a point
where he was a big fish
in a small pond.
But then he got sucked
into the drug scene.
He and my stepmom,
they would have knock-out,
drag-out fights,
wake up with black eyes,
and I was just like,
"God, Dad,"
ya know,
"What are you doin'?"
I didn't want to be
like my dad--
a talented guy
that just couldn't get out
of his hometown.
And I didn't want to be
as strict as my mom.
I needed to get out
from under my parents' thumb.
Shane Dorian:
I was born and raised
in Hawaii.
I'm from Kona.
Growing up, my parents
ran a restaurant.
My dad was
a pretty gnarly alcoholic.
He was drunk every day.
One day he got in a car wreck
and lost his arm.
My parents split up
when I was like 12 years old.
My dad wasn't
in the picture anymore.
Times got really hard.
I felt a little bit lost.
But following in
my dad's footsteps
was never an option for me.
Benji Weatherly:
I was born in
Los Angeles, California.
My father was
a pro football player.
He was very macho.
Big, intimidating guy
with a beard.
It was really tough love
with my father.
He'd always grab us
and throw us around.
All his emotions
came with physical stuff.
He beat up my brother
really bad.
It was-- whoo--
it was a big deal in our life.
It's still hard.
Kalani Robb:
I was born in Kailua,
that's just
the east side of Oahu.
My mother would probably
get arrested for child abuse
for the shit that she did.
I'd get dropped off
at like 5:00 a.m. at Waikiki
with $2 in my pocket,
if I was lucky,
and then I'd get picked up
at 6:00 or 7:00 at night.
What are you gonna eat with $2
during the day?
Probably not
a fuckin' whole lot.
There was this pizza place,
and there would be
a display of a pizza.
"Hey, come eat here!"
We would steal that pizza.
I was a ghetto-ass kid, man,
as ghetto as it gets.
I had nothing else to do.
Get in a fight
and steal some food,
and surf.
My way out was surfing.
Ya know, "Things are chaotic?
Go out in the ocean."
Which is funny,
'cause the ocean is chaotic.
But I felt calm out there.
All these problems
were happening in my life,
and the only time I felt really
good was when I was surfing.
That's when I had
a real sense of purpose.
"This is who I am."
I was that surfer kid.
I wasn't that bummed-out kid
at home.
I grew up in Chicago
in a very regimented schedule,
so that independence
and freedom
to be able to shed your parents
and it'd just be you
in the ocean--
that's what I just completely
fell in love with.
For me, surfing
was total freedom.
- Hello, dear.
- Hello.
- Getting ready
to go surfing?
- Yeah.
Good, good, good.
I just remember
standing up for the first time.
All of these elements,
just like rushing by you.
You're away from everything,
all of a sudden,
you're above it,
and you were gliding
and it was just-- I don't know.
I was sold.
Ross Williams:
Growing up on the North Shore,
one of my first memories
of surfing was late in the day,
so the sun was shining
down the wave,
and I remember standing up
and having that perfect image
of the sun glistening
on the barrel.
I remember feeling entranced.
Your first barrel, you're gonna
remember it forever.
Surfing was my savior.
All my challenges at home
and parents splitting up,
I channeled all that
to my surfing.
I could go do something
on my own
that no one else could
tell me how to do,
and I completely understood it.
Every day was something new,
learning something new
on a wave.
And it made me hungry.
Surfing comes first,
and that's my life
and they gotta respect that.
Vertical one more time,
this kid is just rippin'.
Unbelievable coordination
on a surfboard.
That is as good as it gets.
It doesn't get any better;
that's perfect surfing.
Kelly Slater!
( crowd cheering )
Kelly Slater,
one of the bright superstars
of the future,
there's no question about it.
The first time I met Kelly
was at the US Championships,
Kelly was 13 and I was 12.
Square tail, no wing--
looks killer.
Kelly was already
kind of a superhero,
like Michael Jordan,
at that point,
everyone was just like,
"Whoa. Kelly."
And my dad's like, "Hey,
let's go take a photo with him,"
I'm like, "No, no, no."
He's like, "Hey, Kelly!"
And I'm like, "Ohhh!"
That awkward moment when
your parent embarrasses you.
After that,
Rob and I became good friends,
and we would see each other
at contests.
And the winner: Kelly Slater!
But back then, surfing
was not a career path.
It was just something
you enjoyed doing.
Shane Dorian:
When I was a kid,
my local break was
a lot of hard characters
drinking beers and smoking weed
on the beach.
Shane Dorian!
I started competing in
the little local contests.
There would be like
three kids in my division.
And talking to those guys,
they were like, "Oh, yeah,
we're all gonna be pro surfers."
And I was like,
"What are you talking about?"
They're like, "Yeah,
that's what we're doing."
I didn't know that
was an option, you know?
Taylor Knox:
I remember hanging out
with a friend,
looking at Surfer magazine.
I said, "I'm gonna do that.
That's gonna be my job."
And he was like, "Yeah, right."
And I just, "No.
I'm gonna be a pro surfer
And the blueprint for me
was Tom Curren.
I started surfing in 1985,
and Tom Curren
won the world title that year.
He was the first American
to win the world title
since the inception
of professional surfing.
It had been dominated
by Australians.
If you ask anyone
in our generation,
Tom Curren was our inspiration.
He showed us what was possible.
Rob Machado winning the heat
and advancing...
As a kid...
- Man: Did you get barreled?
- I got barreled.
...I did pretty well
in a few contests.
And by the time I was 18,
I was offered
my first sponsorship deal.
Another youngster rapidly
rising through the ranks
is California's Taylor Knox.
Four thousand dollars richer...
You don't know
how this helps.
After finishing fourth
at the World Amateur Titles,
I got the contract
I was looking for.
I think I ended up
with $1200 a month,
and that was a big deal.
Look at that!
Slater's first big win.
After a tremendous
amateur career,
Slater has dedicated himself
in the world
of professional surfing.
...signed the biggest
sponsorship deal ever.
It was a big jump for me,
because I get nervous
in front of the big crowd...
I was getting 75 grand a year
at 18 years old.
Coming from not having anything
when I was a kid
to getting paid anything
to go surfing?
And to be able to buy
my own lunch was a bonus.
Well, Rob, your first win
must give you momentum.
Yeah, definitely. Gives me
a lot more confidence.
Moving up in the ratings.
I was kinda scared
about the whole concept
of being a pro surfer.
I was just a little kid.
goin' surfing every day.
I was just out there for
the pure enjoyment of it,
like, there was no stress.
And now you put a piece of paper
in front of someone
with money attached to it,
and expectations
and obligations,
and everything changes.
I saw it as a huge amount
of pressure, for sure.
But I also thought,
"This is my duty to go
and earn these dollars."
It was based on
that world title.
They wanted you
to win that world title.
I wanted to win so badly,
because I never went to college
and had zero backup plan.
I was either gonna make it
on the world tour,
or I'd fail, and that was it.
The end goal was always
to go on the world tour
and be a world champ.
That was the pinnacle
of the sport,
win a world championship.
But at the same time,
you gotta go to Hawaii,
you gotta do good in Hawaii.
Back then it was like, "Hawaii?"
Scared the shit out of me.
( music playing )
Proving that you were going
to be able to surf in Hawaii--
that was a really big part
of the deal.
You want to make a name
for yourself, you go Pipeline.
You can make a career off of
just surfing one wave.
It's so powerful
and so beautiful.
Palm trees swaying,
the white sand beach.
It's an amazing arena.
But when it's in a bad mood,
it pulverizes you.
( crowd cheering )
It picks you up
and just slams you down,
and that reef is so hard.
It feels like you're hitting
a sharp sidewalk.
Kalani Robb:
Pipeline is definitely
the most dangerous spot
on earth.
I've seen a lot of guys
die there.
That's what makes it
such a proving ground.
It's prestigious just
to do good in the trials.
But the real reward
is to be able to go
and surf against the world's
best at Pipeline.
If you're on the North Shore
and Pipeline was good
and you weren't out there,
and you were some hot kid,
everybody knew about it.
Everybody saw you as someone
who was avoiding Pipeline.
Coming from Florida,
being a small wave guy,
there was a lot of eyes on
whether I could surf in Hawaii.
You can be
the king of your beach,
wherever that is,
but if you can't
surf well in Hawaii,
it doesn't mean anything.
I grew up surfing the Great
Lakes on a giant surfboard.
The first couple times
I went to Hawaii, I hated it.
It's "big fish, small pond"
to "small fish, big pond."
And at 5'6", 130 pounds,
I ain't getting anything.
The waves are bigger, stronger,
they move faster--
it's so dangerous.
It looks like everyone
should go to the hospital.
Like, "No way I'm gonna
paddle out at Pipeline.
Like... no chance."
And then you had
some super-heavy locals.
When you're a 135-pound
skinny haole,
the intimidation factor
is super-high.
I was pretty terrified
of Derek Ho and Dane Kealoha,
Johnny Boy Gomes,
Sunny Garcia.
These were the guys who could
put you in your place real fast.
Like Brazil is to soccer,
Hawaii is to surfing.
So it's territorial.
You can't just
come into Hawaii.
That's the hardest place on
earth to fucking infiltrate.
Hawaii is like,
"Respect? Door is wide open.
No respect? Door is closed
and your ass is kicked."
My God, someone stop it!
Sunny Garcia :
Some of these tourists
that show up,
they just seem to leave
their brains at home.
If I see someone acting like
a privileged prick,
if I feel like somebody
needs a good beating,
I'm down to give it.
Either you can go home
while you still can walk,
or we're gonna
beat the shit out of you
and send you home anyway.
( man singing
in Hawaiian dialect )
Ross Williams:
The land and the culture
was stolen from Hawaiians
not that long ago.
Queen Lili'uokalani was held up
in her palace at gunpoint
and forced to hand it over.
I am literally from the North Shore,
this is where I was raised.
Being a white person
in Hawaii,
you're the minority,
and you can feel it,
it's tangible.
It's like a reversal
from almost anywhere else.
Taylor Knox:
We were all over there
by ourselves.
I don't remember anyone's
parents being over there.
People were getting beat up--
it was kinda like
the Wild West.
"You're on your own, kid."
Shane Dorian:
I was from the Big Island
where the waves are small,
and here I am
on the North Shore of Oahu.
Scary locals
and the waves are gnarly,
and I'm terrified.
And then in the winter of '88,
Benji and his mom
rented a house
right there at Pipeline.
And that was like the epicenter
of the North Shore.
So everyone was gravitating
towards Benji's house.
Benji Weatherly:
When my mom and dad split up,
she went to Hawaii on vacation
and came back and said,
"Hey, boys, get in the car,
we're movin' to Hawaii."
And it happened to be
the North Shore of Oahu.
Barbara Weatherly:
When we first got ahold
of the Pipeline house,
we didn't even know that
Pipeline and Waimea Bay
and Sunset Beach
were down this way.
I mean, this
is how naive we were.
I was 12, livin' at Pipeline.
Ross and Shane Dorian
started hanging out there,
I'm like, "This is rad, they're
hanging out at my house."
And then it became where all
the boys started hanging there.
No way, guys, this is so rad!
Taylor Knox:
When Benji had his house there
at Pipeline,
he was like, "You need
a place to stay? You can
stay at my house."
And I went from staying
in some rat-infested crack den
to Benji's house.
Hang out there,
watch Pipeline,
jump on the trampoline,
bodies just everywhere,
It was like a slumber party.
We all knew each other
from surfing
different amateur events.
But it wasn't until
we all stayed at Benji's house
that we became a posse.
What do you think about Rob?
He's got a real
attitude problem.
Ross Williams:
It wasn't just this little
core group from Hawaii anymore.
All of a sudden our group
went from this big to this big
to this big.
It just snowballed.
( music playing )
There were 80 surfboards
left at the house every day,
all the surfers were showing up
and there were 15 people
at at time
sleeping on the floor.
Benji's mom was so welcoming
to everyone.
She never asked for a dime,
everyone eating all her food,
leaving all their dirty shit
making the house a wreck,
loud, staying up late--
it was just like free-for-all
fun zone all day long.
The sand was this thick
in my living room.
And after a while
my mom just let go
of the whole control thing
and just said, "I love it.
I love it."
I'd always felt
the more the merrier
because I had nobody
growing up.
My dad had died
and our house was empty.
So to me, we were
just a family,
and these were my boys.
There were kids that were
leaving their parents
on the east coast of America
and spending their holiday
season with my family.
I mean, what were
their parents thinking?
Like, "Our kids
aren't home for Christmas!"
Every year for, like, a decade.
Right about Christmastime
everybody goes home
to see their parents,
and there's more waves for me.
A lot of us come
from broken homes,
but over at Benji's house
you felt like
you were with your family.
Shane Dorian:
Most of us went through
some gnarly hard times
when we were young,
so to go somewhere where
there was a really positive,
loving, accepting home,
we felt like it was safe there.
One day I met Rob
surfing where we surf,
our little spot.
And he brought me
into Benji's house.
Without that group,
I would have guaran-fuckin-teed
been in jail.
That single-handedly
changed my whole life.
- ( cheering )
- Whoo!
Pat O'Connell:
When Benji had
his house at Pipeline,
it would be ten of us
on the deck
watching the waves,
boards in the racks.
We knew we needed
to get out there and surf.
We just needed
someone to push us.
Rob Machado:
We'd all stand out
on the deck,
everyone's questioning
the waves, yourself,
and here comes Todd.
Todd Chesser would
walk through the yard,
and he wouldn't even ask
if he could come over.
He was just such a gnarly dude.
- Yeah! Did you do anything yet?
- Man: Yeah.
But not with me.
The day's not any good.
It's gettin' good.
Todd Chesser and Brock Little
were already
completely established
pro surfers at the time.
We looked up to those guys
so much.
We wanted to be
just like them.
Brock was the first guy
that pioneered surfing
Himalayas and Waimea.
He was so fearless.
Behind him, slowly but surely,
Todd Chesser
started surfing
big waves as well.
Brock was already starting
to take off in his career.
And when he would travel
around the world,
Todd hung out with us.
Pat O'Connell:
Todd Chesser was
a couple years older.
He was the one
that pushed all of us.
He was brutal.
You'd come in after,
thinking, "Oh, man, I just
got such a good wave.
I wonder if Todd saw it."
Todd didn't talk about
any of the waves I got,
it was like,
"Why'd you paddle in?"
You know? Like, "OK.
Well, um, 'cause it's easier?"
"No. Don't wuss out.
Get through it."
I remember watching Chesser
letting waves land on him.
He was laughing,
almost to say, like,
"What's the big deal, grom?"
And you'd just be like...
looking for an out.
"Oh, my ankle's kinda sore."
"Shut up. Grab your board.
Let's go."
Todd was like a sensei to us.
He was always one step
ahead of what we were doing.
He could see
that you could do it,
but you couldn't see yourself
that you could do it.
And he would say little things
that would get under your skin,
like, " You probably
won't make it anyway."
And you'd be like,
"Fuck that. I'll make it."
Now, looking back on it,
he knew what he was doing.
He knew how far
to push your limits,
dangerously close
to life-or-death.
Todd Chesser would surf
any size big wave,
and he had a huge influence
on all of us.
Eventually we were all
feeding off each other,
pushing each other,
in a friendly way
trying to outdo each other.
We always used to say,
"Oh, you won't go."
Just that challenge,
like turn around on a big wave
or a late drop and just go.
If you heard "You won't go"
in our crew, you're goin'.
And if you don't go...
That's like a month
of getting heckled.
And being heckled-- ugh--
is the worst.
I'd rather split my head open.
Just kicked his ass.
You're not nervous.
Don't chew your fingernail, man.
He's a little mad right now,
It isn't like, "Hey, man,
you'll get the next one,"
it was verbal beatings.
And you felt this big.
And all you would do
is think about, "OK,
when's my next chance?
Because I can't
let that happen again."
I remember eating shit
on a 10-foot wave at Pipe
and Chesser actually
acknowledging it.
Like going,
"Dude, that was sick.
So stoked
you went on that wave."
"Yeah, but I cartwheeled
down the face and ate crap."
"Yeah. That was killer."
It changed the way
we perceived safety.
I mean, at 15, we were
surfing 25-foot waves.
It was unbelievably dangerous.
Male Vocalist:
Flyin' up to heaven
and I fell from the clouds
It was pretty freakin' sweet
until I blacked out
( song continues,
lyrics indistinct )
Kalani Robb:
I remember one day
as we were paddling out,
this enormous set comes in.
Man 2:
Oh, my God!
( hysterical laughter )
And I couldn't even
take a breath in.
I was like hyperventilating
like I'm gonna fucking die.
And I remember
looking over at Benji,
and Benji laughing.
Like a fun ride
at an amusement park.
Todd Chesser, he taught me
that if a wave breaks
in front of you
and you laugh,
it calms your heart rate
so you can breathe more.
Ross Williams:
You can't afford to surf
big waves if you're scared.
That just means
your adrenaline's running,
your heart's pumping--
odds are you're not gonna be
able to hold your breath
as long.
It's just simple science.
A number of guys
got hurt really bad.
Benji had a really bad,
scary one,
he caught a second reef wave
one day
and just got hammered
on the inside reef.
I got held down
for two waves.
I was down,
scrambling for my life,
and I felt the give-up--
the give-up is where you just
kinda go "Not gonna make it,"
like, "Uhh! Uhh!"
I remember
when I hit the water,
the lip hit me and knocked
all the wind out of me.
And I immediately was going...
( grunting )
I was underwater forever,
and then the wave
finally started letting me up
and I started swimming up,
and I felt like this was it,
like I need to get
to the surface.
And the next wave
broke like this, over me,
and that was
the last thing I remember.
I opened my eyes,
and time had passed,
I was crying hysterically.
I was just sitting in the foam
on my board
and I was coughing up
all this gross shit...
And I look, and Dorian is
running, he's like, "Aah!"
And he comes and grabs me,
"Oh, my God, we made it!"
We hug, we're laughing,
and my ears are messed up,
my body hurts,
and I'm like, "I almost died!"
And Dorian's like,
"I'm goin' back out."
And I'm like... ding!
Like, "Arghh!"
It's a fine line between
having the best wave
of your life
and actually getting hurt.
Jack Johnson blew his face up
one time
on a Kelly "You won't go."
I went to Jack's house,
and he looked like
the Elephant Man.
His teeth were missing.
The only think I could do
was almost laugh
because it was uncomfortable--
I don't even know what to say.
That wave
you hurt yourself on--
why you told everyone that
I said you won't go on that?
Why did you do that?
Trying to make me feel bad?
I didn't
tell anybody that, Kelly.
His life was altered,
like, he almost died.
Almost dying in big waves,
as morbid as it sounds,
is one of the things
that's exciting about
big wave surfing.
It's that kind of junkie vibe
you get from it that
keeps you coming back.
- ( groaning )
- ( laughing )
We've all had stitches,
we've all bounced
off the bottom.
You go out when it's 10 feet,
and you're like,
"Oh, wow. I took a couple
on the head, I hit the bottom,
and I'm OK."
So then you go out
when it's 12 feet.
Next thing you know
it's 20 feet.
I couldn't get out
of the barrel.
The whole way
I'm just going, "Whoa!"
And I'd think I'd be coming out,
and it'd keep peeling,
like, "What?! What?! What?!"
I remember being out on
this huge day at Pipeline
and watching Shane Dorian
catch a 20-foot left.
I'm like, "Oh, my God.
Dude, that's my friend!
He's on a 20-foot--
Well, if he got one,
then I can get one."
Whoa! Whoa!
Before long, our crew
was ruling Pipeline.
I mean, we were catching
all the sets,
and it all came from
putting our time in
and taking our place.
( all cheering )
One day Surfer magazine
calls me,
"Hey, we're gonna do
a photo of your house."
And I was like, "Cool. Why?"
And the photo is legendary now.
When I look at it,
I'm like, "Oh, I get it.
I know what everyone was
saying-- 'Benji's house!'"
That day our crew
was set in stone.
Ross Williams:
We were a brotherhood.
We had our own language
for a long time.
We'd all just speak
in weird tongues
and just had so many code words
that were like four layers deep.
Peter King:
Get up, boolay!
The contest is on, bro.
Get up and get some cereal.
This is your sock on drugs.
This is my sock on PK.
Kelly Slater:
Kalani was like
a younger brother
who doesn't know
where he fits in sometimes.
And so he would be
like a little shit to us.
One time we were jumping
on the trampoline,
and for absolutely
no reason whatsoever,
on an up-bounce he just
pushed me into the bushes.
I got up and I wanted
to kill him, but he's so small,
I'm like, "Why did you do that?"
He's like, "I don't know.
I just felt like doing it."
( laughs )
We sponsored Kalani
when he was ten years old.
He was really wiggly
and really fast,
really squirmy--
wiggly, wiggly, wiggly!
I'm like,
"This guy's so wiggly!"
He was this big--
he was like an action figure.
And he was doing things that
no 12-year-old's ever done.
He's got the genes of Superman.
He could eat cinnamon rolls
and get ripped.
We all had different diets,
Shane eats protein
and raw deer
and stuff that he kills--
Arr! Arr! Arr! Like that.
Machado, quesadillas.
All day! That's it!
Ranch quesadillas.
Kelly eats raw almonds
and air.
Ross is on
a paleo-anorexic-heroin diet.
I eat carbs-- unhh!--
out of beer bottles.
Benji's the class clown.
( chatter, laughter )
Benji doesn't have
one competitive bone
in his body,
so he's like the extreme--
there's Kelly,
and there's Benji over here.
( laughing )
I thought we were boxing!
I'm outta here.
I gotta surf tomorrow.
Kelly is hell,
because we all think
he sold his soul
to the devil.
He's always been
freakishly flexible.
He's got scoliosis
in his spine.
That is so wrong.
the weird nugget calves
with the twig legs.
He's got a body that
no human's supposed to have.
Like, he's creepy body.
Kelly's lucky he's Syrian.
He's meant to be in the sun.
Shane is just Shane-o.
He was super into his hair.
I think that's a bad thing
for a guy who's bald now.
I'm glad I was never
that into my hair.
Whenever a camera
would come out,
Shane would kind of
pucker his lips.
We used to all give him shit,
like, "What are you doing
with your mouth, dude?"
Shane did the frickin'
"Zoolander" Blue Steel
before that movie came out.
( laughter )
Taylor Knox:
Ross. Really sarcastic,
dirty sense of humor--
I like it.
Ross is super-gross,
says horribly
inappropriate things,
but looks like the nicest guy
you've ever met.
Pat is like a little
garden gnome.
He is the happiest guy
in the world.
When Pat has a bad day,
he's like, Man,
I'm so bummed right now."
That's Pat being mad
right there.
Pat's balls,
he had a fascination
with his balls
when we were young.
You'd look over at him
at lunch or lineup
or when we're waiting
for a flight,
and he'd just have
his balls out.
He was proud of his balls.
He was like a little guy
with big balls.
( both laughing )
( laughing )
Yeah, I don't know.
I just would-- they'd always
just drop out.
Is anyone there?
Where the hell am I?!
Taylor Knox is the biggest jock
of our crew.
The quarterback guy
in high school
that pulled underwear
up the guy's butt?
- He was that guy.
- Machado: Taylor Knox,
his nickname was Bonehead.
We're not supposed
to say that, though.
Anyone else call him Bonehead?
Am I the only one?
Benji Weatherly:
Rob Machado, we just
call him The Fro. Fromo.
Peter King:
It grows fast, dude.
You got a pretty fertile head.
- You said "head."
- You said "fertile."
Let's be honest,
the white Jimi Hendrix.
They would see him walking
down the street in Japan,
and it was like Elvis sighting--
you'd just see the afro.
You would see
that thing going through,
it'd be, "Aaah! Rob Machado!"
And then
there was Taylor Steele.
Every morning
on my way to school,
I'd have to walk right by
this old van,
it looked like
a rapist's van, 100%.
One day, it's almost Christmas,
and my mom goes,
"Why don't you invite
those two boys in that van
out there for dinner?"
And I go, "What?! No way!"
She's like, "Come on, they don't
have their family here."
So I go out there,
I'm "Hey, guys," ya know?
( imitates creaking hinge )
The whole door comes open,
I'm like, "Whoa,"
they lived in there,
it was kind of gnarly.
And I'm like, "You guys want
to have Christmas dinner here?"
They're like, "Yeah!"
Yeah, that story's
not true at all.
Benji only let me
stay at his house
because I was doing
his chores for him.
Are you having fun
doing dishes?
We were shooting
Pipeline every day,
because that was
the spot to shoot.
Seeing yourself on video was
a huge novelty at that time.
There was no one on the beach
with cameras.
That was way before
videos were videos.
We weren't in videos,
only big-time corporate
companies did videos.
After each session,
Taylor would only
let us watch it
one time through,
and we couldn't stop
to rewind or pause.
'Cause it would
destroy the tape.
There's be like 25 of us,
all screaming,
"Look how smashed Shane-o got!"
Or, "He had the best one,
he won the session today."
So that could be like
five hours.
One day, I remember
Taylor telling us
"I'm gonna make this movie,
and you guys are all
gonna have parts."
So then we started
working on our parts.
None of us really knew
what was about to happen.
The guys were surfing
faster and more energetic,
and I wanted
that kind of feel to it.
( punk rock music playing )
Punk rock and surfing
were never merged before.
And I didn't know it
until I put in the first edit,
and once I saw it in an edit,
I went,
"That is the perfect mix."
( music playing )
But my parents,
they just didn't get it.
The footage
didn't look that great,
it was kind of grainy.
Pat Steele:
I'm old school.
All the surf movies I'd seen
had scenery and locations.
At the time, surf movies
were built on
going to an exotic destination
that only a handful of people
could afford.
But Taylor's movies were built
in everyday conditions.
All of a sudden,
the kids could relate.
They're like, "Oh, my God!
I just got to watch
the best surfers
surf waves that
I surf every day."
( music playing )
We didn't relate to it,
but we said, "What we'll do is
we'll pay for
the first thousand,
but you have to go sell 'em."
This is Taylor.
That's an attack dog for ya.
- What have you been doin'?
- Makin' movies.
- You doin' this for school?
- Just for the hell of it.
This guy, he's from Bubblegum.
Come in on Monday.
I'll take care of ya.
When Taylor came back and said
he sold all of 'em,
we were in shock.
We started liking it.
My husband would work out
to the music.
Wow, look at
all those people coming!
Holy shit! ( laughs )
It was such a success that
Taylor immediately was like,
"We're gonna do another one
of these things."
We're gonna film for a year--
try and make
the best part you can."
Kelly Slater:
Taylor's movies were like
the glue between us.
They were the thing that
bonded us, kept us together,
traveling together,
staying together,
filming together.
( laughter, chatter )
You're taking
your seat belt off again.
Sorry. I didn't even know
they were filming me this day.
I was just out there.
The sun was too bright,
so I'm like, "Aah!"
Then somebody
snapped a picture of me.
I just want to sleep.
( laughter )
We started touring the movies
with the bands that had songs
in the films.
If there's more than
five people in this bar,
I'm not doing it.
Tom DeLonge:
It was all about
having a heart
that is beating really fast
and it's gonna
explode out of your chest
if you don't make
something of yourself,
because you're driven
to change how it was
when you were younger.
( music playing )
We were all
disenfranchised youth
trying to find our own way.
( band playing )
Scott Russo:
There would be
no Unwritten Law
without the Momentum
and Focus videos.
When we recognized
we had fans across the planet,
we just kind of celebrated
every night... since then.
Taylor's movie was
the biggest thing that ever
happened to our band.
Jim Lindberg:
It changed
our lives completely.
It meant that
we could put out records
and go on tour for
the rest of our lives,
and that's what we did.
Especially those who weren't
with us too long
Life is the most precious
thing you can lose
Canton, Colvin, Nichols,
this one's for you!
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh oh oh
( song ends )
( crowd cheering )
We wanna thank Taylor Steele
for making this
all fuckin' possible.
Give it up
for Taylor Steele!
Bob Hurley:
Taylor Steele's movies
made the Momentum crew
all pretty big
and pretty popular.
But there wasn't
a lot of belief
amongst the old guard
that these guys
were actually gonna make it
Rob Machado:
Back then,
there was two things
that were important to us.
Getting a good section
in Taylor's movies,
and making it
on the world tour.
The world tour used to be
the top 44 surfers in the world
competing through a series
of 10 to 12 events,
all over the world,
and only one guy
is crowned World Champion
at the end of the year.
The Australians were dominant,
like the Hawaiians in Hawaii.
That's their zone.
( crowd cheering )
Mark Occhilupo:
Well over 50% of guys on tour
were from Australia.
Australia and America
had a great rivalry going.
When we drew those guys
in the heats, it made us try
that much harder.
Whatever happens, I'm gonna get
a chance to beat him,
and I'm just really
looking forward to
that opportunity.
The Australian guys
were so dominant at the time,
so many world champions,
they were this old guard
on the tour
that we all looked up to.
I'd see these guys
I'd seen in the magazines.
I was so star-struck.
Then we'd get in heats with
them, and they were so willing
to do anything it took
to beat us.
And I mean anything.
Martin Potter:
Paddle through the pack,
growl at everyone,
give them stink-eye,
make sure
that every good wave that comes
through, you're on it.
You don't give a shit
about anyone else.
It's a selfish sport--
"Get out of my bloody way.
It's my day."
It was like our generation
versus their generation,
and those guy saw us
as a total threat.
There was so much on the line.
This is my career,
my lifestyle
that's setting myself up
for the rest of my life,
so I'm not gonna let
some little twerp
take it away from me.
I had a heat
with Martin Potter,
ended up winning
right at the end.
He ran up the beach
and bashed his board
into a big fence there,
ripped out all
the electrical cords,
throwing a fit.
I was so stoked that
that was the reaction
to him losing.
My first year on tour,
I took down Martin Potter.
I remember hearing him yelling
on the beach.
And I was just sitting
out in the water--
Kelly Slater:
My first win on tour
was against Gary Elkerton,
and it was in France,
where he lived.
It turned into
this big protest,
his wife came
and rushed the stand,
he starts throwing his board
and screaming at the judges.
I thought it was great.
I loved it.
I loved every second of it.
The first time I ever
competed against Slater,
before the contest,
Kelly's standing right there
and he sort of puts his hand out
to say "Good luck,"
and I slapped his hand away
and said, "Get the frick
out of my face, mate."
But the whole surfing world
knew he was the messiah.
- ( crowd cheering )
- It was like,
it's not if
he's gonna win a world title,
it's how many he's gonna win.
Kelly was always by far
the best surfer in our group.
No one disputed that.
We were all rooting for him
to win the world title.
In '91, Kelly finished 44th.
And then that next year,
he won the world title.
( crowd cheering )
We were just trippin'.
It was a victory for all of us.
We were working as a unit.
Our levels were all rising,
and in the successive years
after, I won,
'93, '94, '95.
Basically all my friends
started winning events.
Kelly Slater!
I just needed one wave,
and thank God I got it.
You seem to have found
a new confidence from winning.
Feels unreal.
Taylor Knox,
taking home the gold...
I think it's really
important for American surfing,
because our level of surfing
has improved drastically
compared with the Australians
over the last few years.
Rob Machado celebrating...
Announcer 2:
And the money goes
to Rob Machado
as the crowd roars
its approval!
( announcers continue,
indistinct )
I'd just like to thank
all the fans
for coming out and supporting--
it's just a great feeling.
Do you have any messages
to your mom or father or...?
Yeah. I lo-- I lo--
I love 'em.
Well, thank you
very much.
( choked up ) Thanks.
It was surreal.
It wasn't a dream anymore.
All of a sudden,
being a pro surfer
was a reality.
Taylor Knox:
We were just
taking over the tour.
Different lines being drawn...
different boards being rode...
more aerials, more tail slides,
The judges had to adapt.
Everyone had to adapt.
It was a different way
of surfing from what
was being done before,
where everything was sort of
on the wave.
OK, we've got that,
but now we're gonna start
going above the lip.
Al Merrick:
Kelly and I were
really working on
the narrower, thinner boards,
so they could more easily
be thrown into the air.
I remember one time
Kelly came down the line,
surfing this wave,
and flew over my head
doing a helicopter,
and landed.
( laughs )
And I went, "Oh, my gosh,
things are really changing."
Hey, bud, let's party.
Fletcher Dragge:
Back in the '70s and '80s,
if you surfed, you were
a fuckin' loser,
you were a hippie, a stoner.
You didn't get respect
if you were a surfer.
Pat O'Connell:
At that time,
there was a major drug culture
within surfing as a whole,
but in our group,
nobody was doing drugs,
it was a clean lifestyle.
I've been asked to talk about
how bad drugs are.
To us, it was a real sport.
And that was the thing
that you could also package up
and say, "These guys
are actually athletes,
they're taking it
to this next level."
( rock music playing )
Right before Taylor's movies
came out,
there was a pretty big recession
in surfing,
and then
the Momentum Generation
put a whole bunch
of new energy into the sport.
And surfing had a boom period.
Surfing used to be
a subculture,
then it became
a counterculture,
and then it became
an action sport.
- Jumped it...
- Beat it...
- Surfed it...
You bring on the X Games,
throw a little punk rock
in there,
all of a sudden
it's on ESPN, ABC...
MTV, youth movement,
the industry changed,
magazines changed,
fashion changed,
sponsors were
popping up everywhere.
The Momentum guys
just leapfrogged
all the expectations,
all the boundaries.
The surf world just went
180 degrees-- broop!
All of a sudden,
these guys were it.
Ross Williams:
Those magical years
when you saw all of our names
growing together,
Kelly paved the way,
because he was crossing over
into mainstream media.
As embarrassed as Kelly is
by doing "Baywatch,"
he went into how many
millions of homes?
That turned a light on
for surfing,
because you had
some average family in Kentucky
turn on "Baywatch" and like,
"Who's this Kelly Slater guy?"
"Oh, he surfs."
"What's surfing?"
Benji Weatherly:
Fuckin' "Baywatch."
I mean, everybody
made fun of him.
It was unbelievable.
It was the corniest thing ever.
I was really insecure
about it.
I was like, "Fuck,
why did I do this thing?"
The whole things was so
outrageous and ridiculous.
We'd be surfing a place
where we wouldn't have leashes,
right in front of a cliff,
'cause that's what you do.
And we would lose our boards
and it would just perfectly
go into this cave,
which is what happens,
and there would be
an octopus in there,
which is, of course,
( screaming )
I looked at the guy
who wrote that,
I'm like, "You did not--
Did you write this?"
Kalani Robb:
The bottom line is,
my boy was on
the hottest TV show around,
hooked up with
the hottest woman on earth.
Kelly Slater
has become the envy of guys
the world over for snagging
the ultimate beach beauty,
Pamela Anderson.
Man 2:
...Pamela Anderson,
supporting her latest beau,
contestant Kelly Slater.
But is it serious?
A bit too early to say.
They're both extraordinarily
attractive people.
Slater's agent says
Anderson and Slater
are just very close friends.
( music playing )
Evan Slater:
They would hand out
Photo Slut of the Year award
to the guy that just
tried too hard.
( music continues )
'Cause Chesser would
make fun of you
if you got too many photos
in a magazine.
No photos, please.
Evan Slater:
Todd was like
the moral compass
defining what was cool
and not cool.
Listen here, Spielberg,
turn off the camera.
Chesser was the guy
that kept everybody honest,
kept everybody real
and humble.
If anybody got on
their high horse,
he would just level them.
I want to ask you
about your morals
and if you feel cheap
about using women for sex.
- No.
- No?
- Not at all.
- No remorse?
Taylor Knox:
You ever puffed your chest out,
Todd would be the first one
to pop your bubble.
He was really a soulful guy.
He didn't seek out
the limelight.
"Don't just surf when
there's cameras on the beach,
like, who are you?"
Say hello to your family.
I'm putting music
over all this stuff.
Janet Rollins:
To all the guys, Todd
came across as so macho,
but really, when it was
just me and him,
he was such a softie.
( laughter, chatter )
One night, Todd kept saying,
"You should go to
this one bar."
So me and all my friends
were there,
and all of a sudden,
the singer goes,
"We have a special guest
here tonight.
Mr. Todd Chesser, come up."
He has this white
'70s ruffled tuxedo on.
And he got down on one knee
and said,
"Will you marry me, honey baby?"
( laughs )
And the singer said,
"Now you've gotta answer."
And I said, "Yes!"
- Todd: How glad are we?
- So glad.
Everything was coming
into place.
He found the girl of his dreams,
he had a good sponsor,
everything was going
just terrifically.
( chatter )
Did I tell you
how lucky you are?
Shane Dorian:
For Todd, it was the time
to finally grow up.
We were all so excited for him
to get married, the whole deal.
Good morning!
Where's the freakin'
He was just a good example
to remind us
to stay true to ourselves
and remember what's important.
He was the closest thing
to a soul surfer out of all us,
because he didn't care
about the accolades.
It's not about titles,
it's about being happy.
I mean, nothing was cooler
about our crew
than when Kelly won
his first world title,
we put that jerk
in a frickin' trash can
with a helmet and a blanket,
we pushed him down a hill.
( onlooker laughs )
He just ate crap
the whole way down.
Any other sport,
the Michael Jordon of that sport
is not rolling down a mountain
after his first world title.
Shane Dorian:
It was crazy.
It was a crazy time.
I felt like all of my childhood
dreams came together
in this weird reality
where I was with my friends,
traveling around the world,
doing what I wanted to do
for a living.
Taylor Knox:
The best feeling I had was,
I just belonged.
For the longest time
in my life,
I felt like the carrot
dangling in front of the horse,
where it was right in front
of me for so long
and I was like, "Oh,
I finally got the carrot."
( music playing )
( crowd cheering )
( laughter )
( chatter, laughter )
( chatter )
Well, you got one now.
( tires squealing )
( shrieking )
Ohhh! Ohhh!
Oh ho! The boys are in town!
( laughter )
That was great.
Let's get outta here.
In the mid-'90s,
it was our show.
It was no longer
the new kids up against
the guys that were still
hanging around from the '80s.
We weren't looking up anymore.
We were looking at each other.
Ross Williams:
The only reason Shane's good
is because he hangs out with me.
It's the only reason.
'Cause I like beating Ross.
He hasn't beaten me
in a long time, and I'm
really proud of that.
Pat O'Connell:
Ross and Shane
had this
crazy rivalry at the time.
They're the same age,
they have the same sponsor--
they were competing
at every level.
- Get that right. Wanna go?
- I might do that.
I can still remember
Shane had a heat with Ross
at Reunion Island.
They were screaming
at each other,
and we were just like,
"I'm gonna get
the hell out of here."
You know "There's two sides
to every story"? There's not.
This story,
there's only one side
that's the truth.
We were staying together
at Reunion Island,
and then we were
in the same heat,
Shane versus Ross,
the next day,
and one board
that was super, super good.
I was so amped on the board,
I remember telling Ross
how good my board worked.
The next morning I wake up,
Ross is gone,
perfect fist-size hole
in my board.
And we're staying together
in the same room with
no one else around.
Like woke up
in the middle of the night
and punched his board?
I don't know, I must have
blocked that out.
I don't remember doing that.
That's crazy. What a snapper.
I grew up in Waialua,
can't help it, I'm part moke.
I don't remember doing that,
though. Is he sure?
I remember just going,
"Wow, I can't believe
he would do that!
So next level!"
But I beat him.
( laughs )
It felt so good.
Riding the board with
a hole in it and everything.
Well, of course Shane
would tell you that story,
because that's the one
where he smoked me.
But at the end of the day,
our rivalry wasn't as bad
as Rob and Kelly.
Even if you get behind,
you're just gonna quit?
Yeah. Yeah,
I like quitting.
It makes it easier,
ya know?
I could tell that about you.
You give up real easily.
Especially that one year, '95,
where everything
came to a head,
there was conflict.
So that's when you see
this magnifying glass
on that raw motivation
for Kelly, almost like demons.
It gets put on a forefront
against Rob.
Feels really good
to be right here...
Rob Machado:
Kelly won
the world title in '92.
And '94. The rest of our crew,
some of us had won events,
but no one had even come close
to winning a world title.
And then '95, I was having
a really good year.
I got a win in Japan,
Kelly won Indonesia.
I won an event in France...
It was just this
back-and-forth seesaw battle
throughout the year.
And then we came straight back
to the U.S. Open.
And me and Kelly
made the final,
and everybody was kind of
pullin' for me.
( crowd cheering )
Shane Dorian:
Kelly was just better than
everybody, almost all the time.
When he would win,
we wouldn't all run down
and cheer him at the beach,
'cause he was winning
every week. It was just like,
"Jeez, man."
What question
do I get asked the most?
Uh... "Where's Kelly Slater?"
He became, like, overly famous.
He was dating Pam,
he was on "Baywatch,"
everybody in the world
knew who he was.
People started wishing
the other guy would win.
And Rob was the only one
that really stood a chance.
You travel with Kelly,
you play music with him,
how's it gonna be
going against him?
You gotta do
what you gotta do to win.
When we're in the water,
he's just another guy
with a jersey on.
Massive crowd
here at Huntington...
Man 2:
Two of the greatest
small-wave surfers...
( announcers continue,
overlapping )
He's back in, gets a little
rebound off the...
Oh, big move!
Rob Machado takes off,
he's got unbelievable speed,
ripping it...
Rob Machado having
a great final here,
his final wave,
big snap right there...
- ( crowd cheering )
- Great win for Rob Machado...
That was a pretty
significant win for me.
Everybody just went nuts.
Rob being mobbed
as he comes to the sand
with this huge throng--
here they come.
( crowd cheering )
Taylor Steele:
Kelly was really
super alpha,
super intense.
He did some small things
that year that upset Rob,
where he took one
of Rob's boards in France.
Maurice made me a couple
of boards, and they felt
terrible, both of 'em.
I went over to his house like,
"These boards feel like shit,
I don't wanna ride 'em.
You got anything else?"
And he goes, "I made three
for Rob. They're downstairs."
He goes, "You can't
ride three boards at once,
you might as well
grab one of those and try it."
Rob Machado:
New surfboards
are pretty sacred.
I would have a really hard time
taking someone's
brand-new surfboard
that was made for them.
I don't care
if there's ten of 'em.
It turned really weird,
I put my traction pad on,
put my stickers on,
and Rob came over
and he's like,
"Man, fuckin' take
that shit off my board.
Give me that board back."
And he was kinda
just being a dick.
I was being a dick.
I thought he was
being a dick.
"That was mine,
and you took it and rode it,
and then put your stickers on it
and your traction pad.
And yeah, take it off.
You should be returning
that thing to me brand-new,
how it was."
So I was like, "Fuck him.
Take the traction off
your own board."
I wasn't doing this
to be a dick.
I was just trying to be nice
and take the stuff off,
but then afterwards
I realized he was really
being a jerk.
So then it
kind of pissed me off.
Ross Williams:
After that, Rob and Kelly
didn't talk for a while,
and it got pretty weird.
You could just feel the tension
building up to the last contest.
The beach is divided
between Kelly Slater
and Rob Machado...
...these guys used to be
the best of friends...
We were going into
the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii,
and Sunny Garcia,
from Hawaii,
has a commanding lead.
They need me to do shitty,
which isn't gonna happen,
and they need to do
extremely well,
which is gonna be hard.
So I'm pretty confident.
Sunny was gonna bring home
the first Hawaiian world title.
So many people
were pulling for Sunny.
And Occy felt that stress.
Mark Occhilupo:
It was for his world title,
he just had to win that heat.
I was getting threats
from a few Hawaiians,
saying, "If you do
win this heat, you might
not be going home,"
and stuff like that--
and it was quite scary.
Masters champ up against
Hawaiian favorite...
But Sunny was having a shocker.
He broke his board,
had to go to the beach
to get another one.
And while that was happening,
I'm sitting out there
all by myself.
And a perfect wave came.
And what do I do? I gotta go.
I can't not go. So I went.
I got a huge barrel,
and spat out.
I'm like, "Oh, no."
Usually you'd be coming out
claiming it,
but I'm coming out like,
"Oh, no!"
Five minutes left,
I need one more wave.
Poor Mark, he's like,
"Take this wave!
Take any wave you want."
I couldn't make a wave,
and I knew right then
I just lost the world title.
And Occy
ends up winning the heat.
Sunny Garcia
is out of the contest.
I don't believe
what I just saw.
And it was like,
"What just happened?"
The state of Hawaii
has gone silent.
And I was like,
"Wow, this is crazy."
It's almost like this big door
just opened up.
Time to get up.
It's the morning
of the quarterfinals.
- Are you ready
to rock and roll?
- Yes.
Of course, me and Kelly
come up against each other
in the semis.
Number one and two,
Rob Machado and Kelly Slater.
Announcer 2:
Rob Machado, this guy's
been on fire.
Both of 'em can do any maneuver
you can dream of...
The public knows Rob
as being a cruisy,
mellow, stylish guy.
"Oh, Rob's like Zen master."
Not when we were growing up.
He was as cutthroat
as any of us.
Rob and I are just
really competitive
and I want to beat him
equally as bad.
By Rob making the semifinal,
he moved into first place,
he passed Sunny.
And I had to beat Rob,
and then win the final.
Kelly had to win the final.
But if I beat Kelly,
I win the world title.
Announcer: season to date
now coming to a head
here today
up against Kelly Slater.
This one cloud blew through,
and it was just blue sky
all of a sudden.
The waves got really,
really good.
( announcer talking,
indistinct )
Back then it was your
best three waves in 30 minutes.
And I took up on a left...
I got a 10.
Now Slater's gonna answer...
And then Kelly
got really deep.
Kelly got a 10.
And now it's Rob's turn!
I mean, up until that point,
between us both,
it was the highest-scoring heat
in the history of pro surfing.
This is a barrel-fest
like nothing I've ever seen.
And in these conditions,
they're the two best
we could ever ask for,
Rob Machado and Kelly Slater.
It came down
to the end of the heat.
Kelly got a perfect left,
spit out a tube,
did this big roundhouse.
And I hear the crowd go crazy.
And there's another one,
just a perfect
10-foot A-frame.
I took off on the thing,
and I became like mesmerized.
And I was just in this...
bright blue cavern.
I come out, and there's Kelly
with his arms up, you know?
And, uh...
...I did kinda like
this half-cut back
and almost fell,
and then we high-fived.
I see Rob
flying out of the barrel,
and instead of kicking out
to get priority,
and he would have won,
just goes that extra further
and high-fives Kelly.
And maybe it was Kelly
doing that,
because he's there going,
"Please high-five me,
and then
I'm gonna get priority."
And the way Kelly thinks,
he was probably thinking that.
For sure.
That wasn't by accident.
Kelly doesn't do shit
by accident.
You don't become one of
the most dominant surfers
on the planet
by giving people high-fives.
I've never seen him
ever do that with anyone else.
Shane Dorian:
I think a lot of people
read into that too much.
I think that was
totally genuine,
like his friend got spit
out of a barrel,
and they threw a high-five
at each other.
If you break down
the actual high-five,
Kelly's thinking, "Yes.
I still have this heat."
I guarantee
he calculated the numbers.
And Rob wasted a bit of time
there, definitely a mistake,
by giving the casual high-five
and then paddle back out,
and Kelly got the priority,
meaning he got the next wave.
I fuckin' would've
ran Kelly's fuckin' ass over.
I would've just got him
on interference--
even if I just clipped him
and fell.
You're fuckin' out there
to win the world title.
Fuckin' high-five you
when you got on the beach
after I fuckin' take you down.
Like, to me, that just--
I'm a competitor,
and I know that Kelly's
the same way.
He is the most calculated,
smartest, driven surfer ever.
There's a reason
for everything.
I would've just run him over,
'cause he was right in the way.
But Rob fell into the trap,
and Kelly won the world title--
yet again.
( crowd cheering )
Am I gonna run someone over? No.
That's just not in my DNA.
Maybe that was the downfall
for me.
You know, I wasn't--
I didn't have
that cutthroat mentality.
Was the high-five
a tactical maneuver
on Kelly's part?
Kelly is so calculated.
Like, he knew exactly
what he needed to do.
I don't know. I'd love
to hear his side of the story.
It bums me out
more than anything
to hear that from people
who are my friends.
I think it's just outrageous.
I never thought of that at all.
And in my memories of
thinking about the heat,
there was never
any intention whatsoever
other than just to be stoked
and express that right then.
And I don't think it would
have mattered so much anyways,
'cause I was trying
to go right on every wave
and Rob was trying to go left,
so the priority
wouldn't even have mattered.
A little later, we took
like 30 friends out to dinner,
we were all celebrating,
and the hard thing was,
Rob was at the same restaurant
with his family,
and they were all
really somber.
It was a weird predicament.
( chatter )
That marked the beginning
of some dark years.
Janet Rollins:
It was the morning
of February 13th.
Todd was out in the yard
getting ready to go surfing,
and I thought he had left.
Then I heard something,
and I peeked out the door
down the hallway
and I saw him...
standing there.
And he was just standing there.
He just said, "I love you,"
and I said, "I love you,"
and there's a part of me
that almost felt like
he knew something.
I don't know,
it was just the look on his face
that day, I'll never forget.
I can't remember what
I had for lunch yesterday,
but I will never forget the look
on his face that morning.
The call came in,
three surfers in distress...
Man 2:
Rescue crew
pulled 27-year-old Todd Chesser
from the water just south
of Waimea Bay.
Lifeguards found Todd's body
after a 40-minute search.
Man 3:
The shore break at Waimea
was critical at that time,
60-foot faces.
Man 4:
We were trying
to give him CPR,
but there was too much water.
Man 5:
Safety officials
closed all North Shore beaches.
Man 6:
...was set to he married
to Janet Rollins on August 2nd.
- ( chatter )
- Man: Come on, come on!
Jeannie Chesser:
I got a call from
this girl at work,
saying that my son
was in trouble.
I jumped in my car
and was praying,
saying, "Don't let this happen,
don't let this be real."
So, yeah,
I went to the hospital,
and all the friends
were out there,
all the friends
were standing there.
And then... ( sniffling )
the doctor told me,
"We think your son passed away
before the ambulance came."
And I said to the doctor,
"Well, that must be really hard
for you to tell people this,
that happened
to their loved one,
it must be really hard for you."
I was feeling that compassion
for that person
and trying not to think
about myself.
But yeah, it was
the worst day of my life.
( duet sung
in Hawaiian dialect )
Kelly Slater:
I remember just looking
at grown men just bawling.
Rob Machado:
Holy shit.
Todd's... gone.
Ross Williams:
It was just like
losing a family member.
Kalani Robb:
He was the unkillable,
unfadeable, unscareable dude.
You can't kill him.
Taylor Knox:
Certain guys just
couldn't be taken down.
It was like...
a giant was gone.
Janet Rollins:
At first, it didn't--
it didn't make sense.
It didn't even
really register.
And then... it just hit me,
like someone had taken
a baseball bat...
and just swung it at my stomach
as hard as they could,
and wouldn't stop.
Todd was like... a mentor
for all us younger guys.
He was an incredible guy.
( crying ) I just wanna say,
"Cheese, we'll miss you."
Benji Weatherly:
At his funeral, I'm sitting
next to his fiance
and all these people,
and I just remember going,
"Fuck, this is just too much.
This is too much."
Everyone here was who
we wanted to be at our wedding.
I mean--
Fuck. It's hard, man.
I was so worried about Janet,
I was so worried about Jeannie.
I almost felt guilty
for being so sad,
...she had lost so much already
in her life, ya know,
with Todd's dad passing away.
And Todd was like
her everything.
It just felt like too much
to have to deal with for her.
When I saw
what she was going through...
I realized what
I was supposed to do,
and it was: be there for her.
And I told my mom,
"I'm going to Fiji in six days.
I'm gonna take her."
We stayed in a little hut.
And she just would cry all night
and she just kept yelling at me,
"Why? Why is this happening?"
But I didn't know what to say.
On that trip,
she brought Todd's last board.
And one day, we paddle out
to a place called Restaurants.
It was completely flat.
And then, out of nowhere,
a 4-foot wave
comin' off the reef.
She catches it, gets barreled
on his board-- she rips--
going down the line-- whoo!
I get the next one.
We're flying. She's screaming
at me, I'm screaming at her.
We surfed for
an hour and a half.
We come to the beach,
and everybody that was
on the island was watching.
People came in
from Cloud Break, and I go,
"Was it bombing?"
They're all, "It was flat."
It gives me chicken skin,
because if you surf,
you know how rare that was.
And she was on his board,
and I swear it was like
he was saying "bye."
Female Vocalist:
Look for me in the tides
And it's all right
She didn't sleep
for seven nights.
That night was the only night
she slept. The only night.
That day, Jeannie got
a goodbye hug from her son.
It was just one of the most
special moments of my life.
Set me free,
in the tides
And fade away...
Jeannie Chesser:
I'll always
be thankful to Benji
for taking me on that trip,
because it was the thing
that I needed to heal.
But Benji had a really tough
time for a while after that.
After Chesser passed away,
I hated surfing.
It was tough.
I got into drinking more.
Tons of cocaine and ecstasy
was our thing,
but every time I woke up,
I realized he was still gone.
I was definitely depressed,
I was suicidal...
so I checked into this place
called Inpatient whatever.
There was all these people
that were on smack, heroin,
all this stuff, I just needed
to talk to people,
I needed help, like,
I wanted answers.
Men have the hardest time
with feelings and emotion,
a lot of macho, lot of ego,
so you never really go,
"Let's talk about this."
Pat O'Connell:
In our group of friends,
I don't know if we ever
actually sat around and said,
"Hey, man,
how ya doin' with that?"
Shut up.
It was just something
I wanted to forget.
And I think that goes
for a lot of us.
We felt like Todd had been
taken from us personally.
Not just our group,
but us personally.
I felt like he had been
taken from me.
My way of dealing with it was,
I just felt more comfortable
by myself.
I just didn't want
to talk about it anymore.
Didn't want to
think about it anymore.
If we would've sat down
and just talked it out,
it would've helped a lot of us
process it better.
We were kind of worried
about showing weakness.
You don't want to show
your competitor weakness.
There was underlying tensions
from competing
on the world tour
against each other,
and people
were starting companies
that didn't involve everybody.
We were all angry
and looking for
someone to blame.
It was the start of a change
from "it's all fun and games"
to it all getting serious.
Money started coming into play,
managers came into play
during this time.
I had many arguments
with Kelly's manager
because he wanted money
to use him in my movies.
Soon after, Kelly's manager
was also Rob's manager
and Kalani's manager.
And that's when I said, "Fine,
I'm not gonna shoot 'em."
In February of 1997,
Todd Chesser died,
and then that same year
was the last time
we made a film together.
Shane Dorian:
I remember Taylor telling us
that he was gonna be done,
and just a feeling of sadness,
like we were part of
something really special
and it was the end of an era.
The catalyst that
brought us together--
filming with Taylor--
that was gone.
And really,
people were just
trying to take care
of themselves,
looking after
their own interests.
Todd Chesser:
People can get pretty ruthless
when money's on the line,
so I'm kinda putting the money
out of my head.
Chesser would
call you a sell-out
if you were becoming
too business-headed.
He made sure that you were
surfing for the right reasons
and you're part of the group
for the right reasons.
He enjoyed all of us
hanging out together
way more than making a dollar
or being famous.
Todd definitely never let
financial upside
influence our decision-making.
When Todd died,
that was gone.
Soon afterwards,
a lot of us started
going our own ways.
At some point you grow up
and stop living at your
friend's house in San Diego,
going to punk rock shows,
ya know?
At some point you start
to figure out, "Yeah,
we love all these guys,
but my life's this thing,
and not everyone
fits into this thing."
And for me,
the competition shifted
to maybe more important than
camaraderie in those years.
( crowd cheering )
And that was my way to focus
my, I don't know, sadness
after Todd passed away.
Winning competitions
wouldn't address the pain,
it would just fuel
my direction.
It gave me a sense of pride
in myself.
People noticing you, and--
It makes you feel good,
however shallow or deep
that could be.
So I went on this absolute
tear, competitively.
I thought in my head,
"There's no reason
I can't win every contest."
I wanted it all, ya know?
I just wanted to win
absolutely everything.
- Whoo! Whoo!
- Williams: For Kelly,
whenever he had a breakup
or problems with family
or whatever,
he was able to channel that
into annihilating people
on the water.
We were all competitive,
but if you're gonna be
a world champion,
you gotta be a frickin' animal.
Rob Machado:
Kelly had this idea
in his mind
that he wanted to break
Mark Richards' record
and win five in a row.
And we were the only ones
that were gonna get in his way.
Taylor Knox:
Competing against your friend,
and holding 'em off waves
or keeping priority,
to me, it's against
the art of surfing.
Deep down inside, I probably
knew I wasn't ruthless enough
to win a world title,
because I'm not comfortable
with doing the dirty work
that needs to be done.
You bang boards, you try and
push each other out of position,
every now and again you get
the elbow in the head.
That's what we call "hassling."
There's a lot of guys
who are amazing surfers,
but such mellow characters
that they couldn't
bring themselves to do that,
and so their careers
are very short.
You have to be
a bit of an asshole to win.
And I didn't have
that killer instinct
in that way.
The last couple years on tour
I was like, "What am I doing?"
I was pretty quick to realize
that this isn't for me anymore.
When I was in heats,
I knew that I should
have been achieving more.
I was constantly
blaming the judges
for shitty results,
and then all of a sudden
breaking my foot,
it was like, "Pfft."
Just "I'm outta here."
The competitive thing
was a real cutthroat business.
You're only as good as your
rating at the end of the year.
I had to learn to be able
to sit on people with priority,
and use tactics.
And I felt like, "This is not
where I'm supposed to be."
When I was on tour,
everybody's talking,
"You're the next Kelly Slater"
and shit like that,
and I was like,
"I'm not that guy."
I wasn't ready to go
to those dark places
to win that world championship.
Nobody wants it like Kelly.
He's such a gnarly,
gnarly savage.
This controversial
play by Slater
forced an interference penalty
on Beschen, costing him...
Announcer 2:
Kelly paddles up
over Shane's back...
Announcer 3:
Surfers don't like it,
but it is allowed.
Almost like cheating
within the rules.
I despise people that
do that kind of stuff.
After the heat with Kelly
at the Pipe Masters in '95,
I started to struggle
with being as competitive.
I lost motivation,
and just got really salty
at the whole tour.
People got that vibe from me.
Then when I broke my hand,
all the surfers had this vote
for the injury wild cards.
Shane Dorian:
If you have
a really bad injury
and you're able to compete
during the year,
then you can apply
for an injury wild card
to qualify for the next year
on the tour.
So I was applying for
an injury wild card,
Rob was applying
for an injury wild card.
It's super-awkward,
you go up and plead your case
to all the guys
who are on the tour,
and then everybody votes.
Here we are, voting between
Rob and Shane Dorian.
Two friends. But there's only
one guy's gonna get it.
The grumblings around town
were that Rob's over the tour.
He doesn't care about it
So they voted for Shane.
I was done.
I'm off the tour.
Ross Williams:
Going through the transition
of being a professional surfer
to what's your next chapter
in life,
there's no books out there
to tell you how to do it.
When it happened to me,
I went from a very busy life
and busy schedule
to all of a sudden
grinding to a halt
and being at home
and just listening
to the quiet.
It started to turn very dark,
and I became depressed.
Kalani Robb:
After I quit the tour,
I end up working
for a biotech company,
helping for marketing
in trade shows.
Wearing a suit and tie and shit
every day...
behind a desk.
So I was like,
"This is heavy, like--
like, "What am I doing?"
Rob Machado:
After I was voted off the tour,
my sponsor at the time
went bankrupt.
I thought it was
the end of the world.
I'm not on tour,
I don't have a sponsor.
Holy crap.
What am I gonna do?
Taylor Steele:
After Rob got off tour,
he was a broken man.
A couple years later
he came to Bali
and lived in my house
for six months,
being really negative.
And so we came up with a movie
that we could do together
to help get him back
in a positive zone.
These kids here
play this game with rocks.
They throw one up in the air,
they pick up the other ones
before it falls.
I'm not really sure
how you win...
but maybe you don't.
Maybe you just play.
At the start of it,
he was in a really bad place,
and at the end of it
he was the old Rob again.
( kids laughing )
( no audible dialogue )
It was just like old times.
But now he was
reinventing himself
and becoming a free surfer,
trying to make a living
on just sponsor money
without the need to be
competing on the world tour.
And "The Drifter" helped
with his sponsorships
so that he could
actually go on trips
and make surf movies.
Taylor Steele's responsible
for this new phase of my life
and my career.
I'm beyond grateful.
He revived me.
( laughing )
At the time, if you
stopped being on the tour,
you vanished into thin air.
That was it for you.
Rob was the first person
who ever left the tour
who had success immediately.
So I went to my sponsors
and said,
"Rob's left the tour,
and look at him."
And I quit the tour
with the intention
to surf really big waves,
and there was definitely
a part of that
that had to do with
doing it for Todd, too.
On a subconscious level,
I felt like I needed
to surf big waves
so that Todd would be proud
of me, even when he was gone.
Catch it, catch it! Whoo!
( spectators cheering )
Shane Dorian, the greatest
big wave surfer of all time--
don't think you can debate that.
Shane has really
focused on
the traditional
big-wave riding approach,
and that's to paddle in
with your bare arms
into a 60-foot wave
and get barreled.
Shane Dorian:
For some people, it's getting
to the top of Everest--
for me, it's big waves.
The ocean is throwing
everything at you that it can,
and in that fleeting moment,
you feel like
every single experience
in your whole surfing life
comes together for you
to ride that wave
absolutely perfectly.
That's happened maybe
three times in my life.
That's what keeps me
coming back.
Rob leaving and having success
definitely inspired me
to do what
I really wanted to do.
Rob Machado:
At that time in my life,
I was traveling
around the world, surfing,
and I remember at one point
I flew to Australia,
I walked into this restaurant,
and I looked over
and Kelly was sitting
in the corner by himself.
And he was pale, and he looked
ten pounds lighter,
like in the darkest place.
The contest was meant to start
the next day,
but I remember him telling me,
"I don't want to surf
right now."
And I was like...
"Don't. Go home...
and fix whatever
you need to fix."
He withdrew from the contest
and got on a plane and left.
Kelly Slater:
Through my most competitive
and passionate years,
I had these ultimate highs.
But there was no way
to have those
without having these lows
that other people
can't even understand.
I went through
a pretty gnarly depression
that I think a lot
of my friends weren't aware of.
And then after I won
my sixth world title
and beat Mark Richards' record,
I just literally broke down
and started crying.
I had a real epiphany.
That competitiveness
was taking a toll on me,
it was really sapping me
of enjoying what I was doing
and detracting
from my friendships.
And then my mother called me
and said that my dad had cancer.
And that was
the breaking point
right there.
Love you too, Mom.
I had a few nights
I literally
cried myself to sleep
because I was so angry
and confused about my dad.
Like, why would my dad
drink so much
and cheat on my mom so much?
And I don't think my father
came to one world tour event
I ever surfed.
But then he came to Hawaii
for the Pipe Masters
when he was dying.
I remember surfing the finals,
and he was crying.
I said,
"What are you crying for?"
And he's just like,
"Man, I'm so proud of you."
I'm like, "Sorry I didn't win.
I really wanted to win
for you, Dad."
He's like, "No, you won.
Don't worry about that.
I'm just so proud of you."
It was just tough, you know,
my dad's dying of cancer and...
uh... can barely
take care of himself,
and Ross had said,
"Come sit at the house, and..."
it's, uh...
I don't think
I've ever shown him
a real appreciation for that.
After his dad died,
it was quite beautiful
when Kelly reached out
to a lot of us
and had real, sincere
conversations with us all.
I had never seen him
so stripped bare emotionally.
( Kelly speaking, indistinct )
I remember Kelly and I
got together--
it was like a full
therapy session.
( crowd cheering )
We just talked about memories
and good times and...
it was so refreshing
to be able to just be friends.
Benji Weatherly:
My father was super abusive.
That was the reason I went
to rehab, a hundred percent.
A lot of people
went the other way,
but Kelly stayed there
for 30 days just
to hang out with me.
Kelly worked on
all his stuff
before I went through mine,
so when I went through mine,
he took care of me.
We would have these talks
for hours at night
about life, fathers--
"Why? Why am I feeling this?"
And Kelly taught me
hanging onto animosity
is only ruining my life--
it's not ruining his life.
So I made amends with my dad
and I stopped doing drugs,
all at once.
Every situation in your life,
you have your pride and ego
or you have love,
and if you choose this,
it's always gonna be bad,
and if you choose this,
it's always gonna be good.
I learned all that from my
smartass fuckin' Slater friend.
And I couldn't--
I couldn't thank him enough.
Everyone in the world
is fighting the same battle.
People are all suffering from
a lack of connecting with love
with people around us.
I had to wake up to myself
and see that
who I thought I was
maybe wasn't all
I was cracked up to be.
Kelly kind of did
lose the plot a little bit,
but he came back
in the biggest way ever.
It's pretty neat
to see our clique,
how we bring people
back from the dead.
Kalani Robb:
When I was working
for the biotech company,
it was just
tearing me up inside.
I definitely fit a wetsuit vibe
more than a suit-suit vibe.
And I was really lucky that
Benji, Kelly, Rob, and Ross
helped me get
all my sponsors back.
They made all the calls
behind the scenes
that I only heard about
"Hey, you know what?
So-and-so called me.
You got some pretty heavy
friends in high places."
I love Kalani,
so I might've had a conversation
here or there. ( laughs )
I did. I helped him a little
bit get in the door.
I mean, it's Kalani Robb.
He's way better than me!
And I remember going,
"You should have the pay check,
not me. This is ridiculous."
( laughing )
I made a phone call,
and I just said,
"Let's sponsor Kalani."
He's just too talented
to be behind a desk.
As a kid,
whatever I dreamed to be,
I've so outdone that.
And the only reason,
why I'm still here
doing anything
is 'cause of my friends.
for sure.
I wouldn't be here
without them.
Taylor Knox:
A few guys
should have turned out bad
considering the upbringing
they had.
But the group,
and having that support around,
guys saying,
"Hey, don't do that shit,"
kind of slapped
some guys around
that could have
gone the wrong way.
I mean, I was no exception.
I was on the world tour
for 20 years...
and I could not
get over that hump of...
"I didn't win."
Taylor took himself so serious.
When he would not win
world titles,
just to watch how it was
eating away at the guy?
I couldn't be around him,
because I'm so opposite
of Taylor.
And then one day
he finally just let it go.
"I'm never gonna win
a world title. I'm done."
And then he can actually live.
My friends helped me realize
surfing doesn't
define me as a person.
There's what you do,
and then there's who you are,
and that's the difference
that I didn't know back then.
I got a little bit of
Benji blood injected in me.
And I got more happy
just being who I am.
( spectator chatter )
It's an emotional
roller-coaster, this career.
You lose more than you win.
But it's all about
the state of mind you're in.
'Cause I've seen guys win
contests and not enjoy it,
and I've seen guys get third
and were ecstatic.
So who won?
To me it's the one
having the most fun.
And that what I loved
about Todd.
It was about surfing
for the pure love of surfing.
People say that Taylor and I
paved the way
for the professional
free surfer.
But honestly, to me,
Todd was the original
free surfer.
( music playing )
When I look back at it now,
each one of us
has kind of taken
a part of Todd and his legacy.
( chatter )
It was Shane becoming
the best big wave surfer
in the world,
Kelly reconnecting
the whole group,
being that catalyst that
brought us all back together.
Christmas '14.
I was like, "I'd love
to do something
for all my friends."
I just sent this message out,
I just said,
"Even though we don't see each
other, I love all you fuckers."
Ross Williams:
Ironically, Kelly's
always been the one
that was crawling
into his own shell,
but he was the one
that created the text thread
that's kind of grown
into this wonderful thing
where we all
keep in touch daily.
Taylor Steele:
It really shows
how much we crave
to connect with each other.
So one day, I texted everybody,
I said, "Let's get
a Momentum reunion together."
That was the first time
we all got together
in so long.
It was just like
we never left.
( chatter, laughter )
Now that the competition's been
taken out of our friendship,
it brought us back
to being kids again.
It was like being there
25 years ago.
And I don't care if we have
the same blood
running through
our veins or not.
To me, friendship
is the hidden blood.
It's the closeness
that makes you
connected to another spirit.
As a whole,
I look at my life...
I've been given so much,
and thankfully,
I sought out the people
I wanted to be around
who were better people
than I was.
And those people have rubbed
off on me in a lot of ways,
and still do every day.
A lot of us have been friends
since we were 12 years old,
so I can say my deepest,
darkest whatever
and those guys
don't even bat an eye.
It's just, those are my friends.
The reunion was insane.
We had so much fun
teasing each other, laughing.
And surfing is just a bonus.
( music playing )
( man singing,
lyrics indistinct )
There's no combination
or words I could put
On the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing
But I can try
for your heart
Our dreams, and they are
made out of real things
Like a shoebox
of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
at least for most of
the questions in my heart
Why are we here
and where do we go
and how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy
and sometimes life
can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing,
it's always better
when we're together
Hmm, it's always better
when we're together
Yeah, we'll look at them
stars when we're together
Well, it's always better
when we're together
Yeah, it's always better
when we're together
( instrumental break )
Here we are at Finals Day
at the...
I wouldn't be surprised
if almost 100% of the people...
They're the favorite
in that event to win...
And all of these moments
just might find their way
into my dreams tonight
But I know
that they'll be gone
When the morning light sings
and brings new things
But tomorrow night you see
That they'll be gone too
Too many things
I have to do
But if all of these dreams
might find their way
Into my day-to-day scene
I'd be under the impression
I was somewhere in between
With only two,
just me and you
Not so many things
we got to do
Or places we got to be
We'll sit beneath
the mango tree
Yeah, it's always better
when we're together
I'll tell you one thing,
it's always better
when were together
Ooh, it's always better
when we're...
Janet O'Connell:
After Todd died,
Kelly said to me,
"You realize now
the only person you could ever
really date is Pat."
( laughs )
And I remember thinking,
"So weird,
he's like my brother."
You know? "It's Pat."
Pat O'Connell:
Janet and I were
such close friends,
it's like from one of those
romantic comedies.
Like, "Why doesn't this guy
just kiss the chick?"
We were living together
as roommates,
and I came home one night,
and he told me how he felt.
"Hey, Janet, you know,
we've been friends
for a long time.
"Y-Yeah." You know?
Like, "What do you think?"
Whoa. ( laughs )
Didn't see that coming.
And at first it was
a little weird,
but it just felt right.
The only person Todd...
would have felt comfortable
with me being with is Pat.
Sometimes I think
he was up there kinda...
orchestrating it,
probably telling the guys
to threaten the other guys away.
( cheers and applause )
Hearing some of the speeches
at our wedding,
I kinda started
to put it together.
I was like, "OK...
They all knew
what they were doing."
It was just so perfect
that her and Pat got together.
I mean, I gotta pinch myself
That's like Todd's spirit
coming through.
( music playing )
Look for me in the tides
And it's all right
( vocalizing )
Set me free
In the tides and fade away
Set me free
In the tides and fade away