“A film all about living” is text that flashes on the screen on the stage of the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa during the opening sequence of Chippa Wilson’s film, Now. That text sums it up pretty well. There’s no interviews, no sit downs with Chippa, no prisms with smoke, it’s just traveling the world with Chippa.
Chippa Wilson (his first name is actually Chris, but we never even find this out in the movie, and we don’t need to know). As filmer/director/editor/friend Riley Blakeway told me earlier about why Chippa has managed to stay under the radar until this year, “Mainly because the kid is so damn humble. It seems to me like he’s always let his surfing do the talking and when you come from a small town, sometimes that just ain’t good enough. From another perspective, people are only just starting to appreciate this kind of surfing in the past few years.”
And Chippa’s surfing is the star of the movie, which is what should be in any surf flick. Chippa’s propulsion off the lip and into the air is uncanny and unmatched. He has an ability to put his board exactly in the right place to take maximum advantage of any air section.
There is a timeless feel to the movie with the lo-fi sounds and footage, yet we know it is modern because of Chippa’s one-of-a-kind approach on any wave. One of the best sequences of the film is a fast right where Chippa stomps a seriously clean rodeoflip, doesn’t miss a beat, gains some speed back, and caps it off with a backside shuvit way above the lip. And he throws big spins with ease—no one does big spins in the water.
Combine Chippa’s surfing abilities with Blakeway’s impeccable use of lighting and ability to present a diverse landscape to capture a true feel for a destination, and you’ve got a good match. The blackball beater sessions in Newport where Chippa is just fooling around trying kickflips, big spins, and getting little shorey pits is refreshing—no one puts that kind of footage in a movie. It solidifies the fun aspect of Chippa’s personality and life that the movie depicts and presents to a tee.
One criticism of Chippa’s surfing could be that he spends too much time in the air and not enough time on rail, and it might be a legitimate argument. Don’t think that Chippa can’t throw those turns though, because the film does show a few good hacks (and some serious barrels) from the Aussie high-flyer. But when you can do the sort of stuff above the lip that Chippa can, why not just continue to bring things higher and higher?
Overall, the film gives a good feel of what Chippa’s life is like. He lives for the moment and doesn’t need to aggrandize what surfing is, because what it is is fun. If you want to just have a good time watching a modish, action-packed, simple surf movie then go watch Now, now.—Ryan Brower
Head to nowanalogmpp.com for more info and tour dates.