Surf films are a dime a dozen these days. Long gone are the days when a surf film premiered in a theater, then was sold on VHS at your local surf shop. A tape that was played over and over again, the tracking throwing lines all over the screen, the soundtrack playing incessantly in the background. They were good days, weren’t they?
With the arrival of the internet, YouTube, and social media, surf movies have changed. They’re shorter, sometimes just a minute or two on the tiny screen in the palm of your hand. Less about telling a story and more about a quick hit of impressive surfing that’s quickly forgotten. Sure, there are still a few longer-form films that are shown in a theater to a group of hooting surfers, but the whole thing is different now. That’s part of why Torren Martyn and Ishka Folkwell’s Lost Track Atlantic series is so impressive.
It’s a four-part series, dropped on YouTube to relatively little fan fare. But everything about it is nearly perfect, from the soundtrack made exclusively for the film to Martyn’s surfing and Folkwell’s camera work and editing. It’s half travel documentary half surf film.
At the end of 2019, just before everything in the world went pear-shaped, Martyn and Folkwell flew from Australia to England and bought a 2008 Ford Transit van for peanuts. The plan was to outfit it so they could call it home and hit the road, which, after a few headaches here and there, they did.
It was a loose plan they had; just to drive from northern Scotland all the way down to the equatorial coast of West Africa, and they were open to changing things up mid trip. It was simple: just drive, find waves, and immerse themselves in the cultures and experiences they found along the way. The fourth and final episode is finally out, and it’s the best of the bunch.
In episode four, Torren and Ishka push on deep into the African tropics and stumble across a playful, long sand-bottom point. Experiencing the warmth of local village life, the boys realize shared waves, a good meal, and conversation is about as good as it gets.