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Surfing soundtracks to soothe your soul

Ellis Ericson gets in touch with the hippy soul in the 2014 movie Spirit of Akasha, the sequel to Morning of the Earth. Photo by Andrew Kidman
Ellis Ericson gets in touch with his hippie soul in the 2014 movie “Spirit of Akasha,” the sequel to “Morning of the Earth.” Photo: Andrew Kidman
Surfing movies need music. Their reliance on action and a lack of dialogue often means that the soundtrack provides pace, mood and emotion. With surfers also often watching the same movies repeatedly, the music has to hit the spot.

With these surf movies, however, the soundtrack often eclipsed the movie itself, becoming classics in their own right.

Morning of the Earth (1971)

The seminal surf movie Morning of the Earth's soundtrack has never lost its influence, continuing to inspire surfers 40 years since it was made.

With no dialogue in the movie, it was the individual tunes by the likes of G. Wayne Thomas, Tamam Shud and Brian Cadd that provided the soulful feel and perfectly complimented the movie's hippie feel.

Perhaps no surfing soundtrack has created such strong emotional attachment or stood the test of time as this classic.

Crystal Voyager (1973)

dvd-surfing-documentary-crystal-voyager-surfing-documentary-surf-dvdLegend has it that producer David Elfick knocked unannounced on Pink Floyd's London studio door in 1972 armed with a rough edit of Crystal Voyager and convinced the band to lend their music to the soundtrack.

It is their epic version of "Echoes" that backs George Greenough's psychedelic underwater footage that has made the soundtrack one of surfing's most memorable.
 
 
 

Storm Riders (1982)

While the 1982 surf classic is opened by The Doors' famous song of (almost) the title, the rest of the soundtrack remains one of the most energetic and memorable from the 1980s.

Mainly provided by Australian bands like Men at Work, Split Enz, Little River Band and The Church, a listen now tele-beams you straight back to the early '80s.

That's a good thing, right?

Surf into Summer (1986)

Billabong's Surf into Summer moved away from the soul and pop of the 1970s surf movies and introduced raw American West Coast punk to the surf world.

Bands like TSOL and Agent Orange provided pace and energy and a whole generation of young surfers from all around the world were turned onto punk rock.

Green Iguana (1992)

Jack McCoy's 1992 movie hit a then-high-water mark for mixing surf action and creativity, and its eclectic soundtrack was the key to its originality. Well-known acts like INXS were backed by cult unknowns like Ed Kuepper, Dubrovnicks, The Cruel Sea, Hunters and Collectors, Yothu Yindi and The Celibate Rifles.

The final bonus section with Occy and Sunny Garcia backed by Concrete Blonde is considered a classic.

Momentum (1992)

momentumTaylor Steele's Momentum was so influential, it named a whole generation of surfers. It was a simple concept: the world's hottest young surfers, like Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Shane Dorian, surfing at high speed to a blistering soundtrack.

This was no-frills, and the music of Pennywise, Bad Religion and Sprung Monkey provided an energy and originality that is still etched into many surfers' minds.
 
 
 
 
 

September Sessions (2002)

Ten years on, the Momentum generation had mellowed. Then-upcoming filmmaker Jack Johnson took Slater, Dorian, Machado and friends on a surf trip and chronicled their free-surfing backed by cruisey music by the likes of G Love and Special Sauce and Ozomatli.

However, it was Johnson's own tracks, the first he'd ever released on his Brushfire Fairytales label, that started his ascent to worldwide fame.

Spirit of Akasha (2014)

Spiritofakasha_featuringWhen director Andrew Kidman was asked to produce a sequel to Morning of the Earth, he knew that the music had to be the central element. Luckily for him, the original soundtrack was so influential that some of the world's best musicians were lining up to contribute.

The likes of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Brian Wilson, MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Howard all provided new original music or reinterpretations of the original songs to ensure the legacy of the original had a reboot in the 21st century.
 
 
 
 
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