ESPN’s Down The Barrel Surf Movie Review

Thu, Oct 8, 2009


ESPN Down the Barrel Surf Movie

The Basics

ESPN Down the Barrel surf movie provides a well-produced and beautifully shot introduction to the world of professional surfing. The movie traces the paths of four of the world’s most popular surfers – from Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson battling for an ASP Surfing championship to Rob Machado’s soul surfing expeditions and Kalani Robb’s life on the North Shore of Oahu. The movie covers the spectacular and most dangerous aspects of professional surfing – an overview of life of a surfer on the North Shore, the dangers of surfing Pipeline, the risks in surfing shallow reefs like Teahupoo, riding the barrel, the competitive aspects of the ASP World Tour, tow-in surfing huge waves and the commitment required in surfing life-threatening waves. All of this is done with typical ESPN production including cameraboard, POV, helmetcam, shots from helicopters, shots from trailing PWCs, shots from the beach and shots from the water – all angles covered (It won Surfer Magazine’s Best Cinematography Award in 2007).

ESPN Down the Barrel Mark Healy POV Teahupoo


If you know nothing about professional surfing and would like a breath-taking glimpse into the best surfers and the best surf spots in the world, this is your video. If you already follow professional surfing, this video is a rehash of everything you already know – Kelly is the greatest, Rob is a soul surfer, people die at Pipe and Teahupoo is dangerous. For the average surfer, this video features an overabundance of dialogue and affected narration. While it is not short on action, there is a lot of talk.

ESPN Down the Barrel features the surfing of Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Joel Parkinson, Kalani Robb, Mark Healy, Brian Conley, Mick Fanning, Garrett McNamara, Cory Lopez, Bethany Hamilton and Andy Irons. The movie features Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Trestles, Kirra, Hossegor, Cocoa Beach, Mundaka, Teahupoo and Puerto Escondido.

Not to be MissedKelly Slater’s Escape to Hossegor in the bonus features of the DVD. Really. This section is not to be missed. While most surf movies are comprised of the best waves of thousands of sessions, this segment gives you a glimpse into ONE of Kelly Slater’s sessions at good Hossegor. Could you imagine getting 20 rides this good in one session?

Wave of the MovieBrian Conley collecting a legit seven second barrel at monster Puerto Escondido.

Movie Description (from the box)

It’s every surfer’s dream to control the uncontrollable, catch the perfect wave and find peace in the fury. Follow the world’s top surfers, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Kalani Robb and Joel Parkinson, around the globe in Down the Barrel, ESPN’s first in-depth look at what makes surfing the most exhilarating sport on the planet. From Rob Machado’s Zen-like pursuit of the ride to Kelly Slater’s quest for an unprecedented 8th World Title on the ASP World Tour, this award winning documentary captures the purity and thrill of tasting the spray. Highlighted by an awesome array of visuals – including astounding underwater barrel shots, electrifying jet-ski angles and some of the most astonishing POV footage ever captured on film – Down The Barrel takes you to the top surf spots, including Hawaii’s Bonzai Pipeline, Australia’s Gold Coast and the treacherous barrier reef at Teahupoo, Tahiti, where cheating death is the greatest rush of all!

ESPN’s Down the Barrel surf movie is available at Amazon and Netflix. Check it.

ESPN Down the Barrel Surf Movie Trailer

ESPN Down the Barrel Commercial Kelly Slater

ESPN Down the Barrel Commercial Rob Machado

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