Filmed by Big Dav and Maddog, they feature bodyboarding and softboarding, but mostly weird voyeuristic shots of Australian beach life, a menagerie of cooked characters with bad teeth and bad sunglasses going about their days. “You’d think there’s a lot of work going into finding those specimens,” offers Maddog, “but truth is, when you live in Bellambi, it falls in your lap, really. ” Dav adds, “The challenge is to actually find enough surfing footage to give people a reason to watch the weirdos. ” All of this goes down with a ripped off soundtrack that jumps jarringly from Billy Idol to Primus, and the end result is a lo-fi, conspiratorial window into the dark suburban horrors that happen every day on a beach near you.
You need to just sit in that zone to make something damned unwatchable, semi watchable. ” While the surfing world is still trying to make sense of this strange new movement, I ask the Drag guys how the bodyboard world—the serious or “high-performance boog” world—sees them. “Yeah, look, they probably don’t love us,” laughs Maddog. “We’re a bit of a rogue element there as well.
There’s also unspoken idea that the softboard revolution is part of a deeper conspiracy, run by illuminati players in the bodyboard world, exacting revenge on surfers for years of subjugation by sending surfers out on giant bodyboards, flying along waves in coffin pose. Is the joke on us? “I suppose if you were paranoid enough you could believe that,” offers Maddog, “but that would also involve some level of deeper planning and coordination at our end.
These guys want to take softboards from Wollongong to the world, although the Drag model might be a bit culturally provincial to catch on outside of Australia. “I could see it being totally misunderstood, but still working in Japan,” ponders Maddog, “but we also want to get into the wave pools in Middle America.
I ask Big Dav whether we can characterize the Drag movement as simply guys surfing bodyboards into rocks and then smoking in the car park later. “On face value, that’s what you’re seeing,” he replies, “but I like to think of it as a primitive expression of self which dabbles in the production of actual products as well, which we make in our friend’s garage, the Garage Mahal.
Maybe the success of the softboarding movement says more about surfing than it does bodyboarding. “I mean, surfing is a little too socially acceptable these days,” offers Big Dav. “To be call yourself a surfer and be part of the surf industry is not very core at all these days, whereas the things like booging are way less socially acceptable, and way more core as a result.
With everything in surfing now slick, high concept and shot in 4K, the Drag movies and clips feel like shitty VHS surf movies used to feel like in the early ‘90s, slapped together and anarchic. “They’re more trashy than the old surf vids,” offers Wade Goodall. “It’s not like guys whacking it and chicks on the beach in bikinis—it’s a whole new genre.
As the song goes, “No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man. To be the sad man. ” For all those years, the surviving bodyboarders have been out there in the badlands, doing their thing. “They don’t complain, they just live it,” says surfer Wade Goodall in admiration. “They’ll surf Port Macquarie, get up the next morning and drive to South Australia.
Read more here: Surfer Mag