Billabong Odyssey

This sports-action pic might never have been made had a famous surfware manufacturer not stumped up the readies for it. Guess that’s the onward march of commercially sponsored progress for you (just pray the big conglomerates don’t get any funny ideas). ‘Billabong Odyssey’ is more presentation reel than full-on documentary, although it is an odyssey of sorts. It’s raison d’être is clearly the action footage, which is superb, but pretty much everything else, from the dull narrative to the mostly indie thrash soundtrack, is part and parcel of any bog-standard Extreme Sports channel doc. The characters, too, are so laid back you wonder how they manage to even walk, let alone surf the world’s biggest breakers.

Over-familiar with their local Californian surf, danger-seekers Snips, Skindog, Barney, Flea et al look to pastures new for that elusive ‘big one’. And find it they do, three years later, in the form of a shimmering 80-foot glass mountain of such breathtaking magnitude it makes you feel giddy with awe. What’s especially impressive about this scene is the way the image opens out and slowly tracks backwards (via helicopter) to reveal the insignificant figure of Mike ‘Snips’ Parsons skimming down the face of the biggest, most dangerous, volume of water this writer’s ever laid eyes on. The rest of the wave-riding footage – much of it shot at close-quarters and from water level – is also exemplary, if not quite as spectacular. ‘Billabong Odyssey’ may not be as evocative a film as Jack Johnson’s immaculate ‘September Sessions’, but it’s still one hell of a spectacle.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday October 15 2004
Duration: 88 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Philip Boston
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