Noteworthy-156 Tricks Premiere 4.3

156 TricksIs being different bad?by Joel Patterson

Costa Mesa, California-On Saturday, December 1, Volcom commandeered Costa Mesa-landmark Kona Lanes to premiere its latest surf film, entitled 156 Tricks, featuring the always controversial Oskar “Ozzie” Wright. Costa Mesa youth showed up in force, and despite the presence of many thirty-something surf- and skate-industry types, the average age inside Kona Lanes couldn’t have been too far above seventeen years. Screens were set up on the alleys’ lanes, and at quarter to ten everyone was told to stop bowling and the show began.The movie was short-a half hour, max-and while I was sure there would be footage of everyone on Volcom’s rather prestigious roster, I was impressed that almost the entire film was Ozzie. There is a short section with some amazing footage of Dean Morrison, Bruce, and a couple others, but as a whole, it’s Oskar’s movie. The film quality is far from the perfect, tack-sharpness of sixteen millimeter or even DV, but the rawness of Hi-8 and eight-millimeter somehow suits the film’s star.In case you aren’t familiar with Ozzie Wright, he does a lot of airs, and this movie is an accurate reflection of that fact. Frontside airs, backside airs, 360 airs, backside 180s, switch airs, and even a pretty decent attempt at a kickflip. But it wasn’t only airs. Watching the film, you get the feeling that Ozzie and Volcom made a conscious effort to include quite a few powerful turns, cutbacks, and even a couple Indo tubes big enough to drive diesel trucks through. It seems as if they were trying to turn the spotlight on the aspects of Ozzie’s surfing that his critics have said don’t exist. And, in case you don’t read the message boards of surf-mag Web sites, Ozzie has a lot of critics.The biggest criticism of Oskar seems to be that he’s one-dimensional-he’s an “air guy”-and therefore he doesn’t deserve to experience the accolades often afforded the likes of Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons, and other “complete surfers.” What Mr. Wright’s detractors need to realize is that there’s plenty of room in surfing for surfers with different strengths. The world of skateboarding gave up a long time ago on trying to make everyone a competitor. Skateboarders realized that along with athleticism, creativity and fun have their places, too; and the overriding feeling one gets from watching 156 Tricks is that the most-criticized surfer of the last decade has fun surfing.No one’s saying Ozzie is the greatest surfer of all time, or that he does the best airs, or that he paints the most realistic portraits. Simply stated, Ozzie Wright is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale environment. And while no one is required to like his surfing, I’d advise against walking around telling people you don’t “get it,” like so many high-ranking members of the surf world do. The seventeen year olds who packed Kona Lanes got it, and despite the anti-Ozzie rants that have clogged so many chat rooms in recent years, the love for Oskar isn’t limited to the Costa Mesa bowling community.-Joel Patterson