The Granite Stoke at By Walski

The Granite Stoke at By Walski

Through the “London Surfers” group on Meetup.com, (a website where anyone can register to join group activities), I found out about a surf movie screening happening in East London.

Joining a “Meetup” was a strange experience to start with, but it was more than worth it.

After meeting outside a pub for a quick hello, the 60 strong mish-mash of friends and perfect strangers headed into a small unassuming shop on Shoreditch’s Redchurch St.

By-Walski is described as “the first retail experience from X-Treme Video, a French company that is the leader in extreme sports content distribution in Europe.”

Surf Boards At Walski

Dave Parmenter channel single fin boards

There was a combination of gear – racks of shirts and jumpers, gopro accessories hung behind the desk, a variation of cruiser skateboards peppered all the way through and down at the end, a pretty strange thing to see in London, was a pair of surf boards. Twins, the two were  bright yellow Dave Parmenter channel single fin boards which Ed from X-treme later mentioned were designed for Stephanie Gilmore. More on that here.

The shop was set out in movie screening mode. They had laid on free beer and popcorn, a floor full of oversized beanbags and enough room for 60+ people. The usual buzz of chatter you expect from surf movie screenings filled the shop as the first few trailers rolled, there was a short speech from the Xtreme guys, then the film began.

The movie itself, The Granite Stoke tells the story of a small community based around the fickle surf on the coast of New Hampshire, New England, USA.

The London Surfers Meetup.com group

The London Surfers Meetup.com group

Between flat days in summer and frozen, snow-caked mornings in winter; the local surfers and their families go through testing conditions, bonding the community together.

“There’s a little bit of like, “Holy Crap!”, you, y’know, figured it out from up there. And that’s a little better than being from New Jersey rf Southern California or wherever, y’know. There’s a little more endure and a little less… attitude I guess.”

The Granite Stoke is a well scripted account of a plucky little town with some intriguing stories, solid surfing and slick editing. The story is funny, inspiring and thought provoking in turns. All around it’s a really good watch and it does enough to give you the buzz you hope to get after watching a surf movie. I’d encourage you to give it time when it’s released in the next few days.

Check out the trailer:

New England Blood (Trailer for The Granite Stoke) from the Granite Stoke on Vimeo.

One poignant note in the movie is the story of a local girl named Molly who tragically lost her life to cancer in 2009. There still remains active fundraising from the community at large at an annual surf/beach day meet in memory of Molly, which provides support for the families of children at a nearby hospital. You can find out more about the Molly Fund here.

The event as a whole was really casual. It was filled with friendly people stoked on surf, brought together by the common evil of being in landlocked London. There were a bunch of prize giveaways, beer and an awesome surf movie, all completely free. Wednesday evenings don’t get much better than that! The X-treme guys were really welcoming too, joining us in the pub afterwards.

The London Surfers Meetup group is an essential for any surfers stuck in the city – they organise lift shares to the nearest waves and get together for events like this regularly. Adam, the organiser at London Surfers is a lovely bloke, even sending over an email afterwards thanking us for heading to the screening.

Useful links:

London Surfers Meetup Group

By Walski on Facebook

X-Treme video on Facebook