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.”
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.
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:
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.
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