Rant: Free-Damnation

In the 1970’s you could tour a new surf movie around Australia for a couple of years and draw a constantly large audience, even though you had no advertising budget. Wind the clock forward 30 odd years and you’d be lucky to tour it around Australia at all.

How can this be happening?

Have a look around.

Right now on the Internet you can watch the latest hero footage with hero surfers and hero music shot in premium locations for free. Have a look at some of these video’s and some of them have only been watched by a couple hundred people, no more. One that springs to mind is David Rastovich and Derek Hynd surfing finless fun on merseabeaucoup.com , unbelievable free content and a cracker soundtrack to boot.

You can tune into a number of sites and see the latest interview with legends like Mickey Munoz and Gerry Lopez, it’s free to view and it’s something ten years ago we would have paid to look at. This whole free internet stuff is NEW to us as a species. In our long and winding past, when someone provides a good or service, they get paid. We should be paying now, but the Internet is delivering surfers so much amazing FREE content that it makes you wonder, how can everyone be giving it away?

Where does that lead us with surfing content?

But today they have to give it away in order to compete with all the free shit out there. If there was a plumber out there giving away his services to fix your toilet, then the other plumbers would also have to be free. This scenario would lead us to a future with a generation not interested in being plumbers. Does this mean that the days of highly shot professional surfing films are going to die? Not at all. Well, maybe not yet.  The independent film makers may well fade away though because they cannot get their money back that they put into it. For now this is not happening. There are plenty of young talented surfers and artists out there prepared to put their life and soul into making something beautiful for no financial reward.  I do not understand how people have the time to be able to run a website/blog and provide/create interesting content in their own time and let people look at it, for free.

Who is funding the fantasy? Are people out there working their tits off to make a living and then in their spare time thinking, I will make something on surfing and hope people come and watch it for free? How long will it go on?

Maybe the independent art house surf films will die…maybe be will be left with big budget corporate cheese and amateur home video’s shot on crappy digital as the only two options.

It is the ‘facebook era’ and people are happy to create something in the hope they will get people to click ‘thumbs up’ or maybe, just maybe they will spend one minute of their precious time to write a ‘comment.’

In conclusion, even the very words you are reading now are for free on a website we all know gives away hero shit for free. I wrote this because I know the guys at Korduroy and I wonder what the hell are they up to? Are they really planning to go on like this? Something tells me they won’t, they’re too smart for that… Time will tell. I’ll be watching…

– WALLACE MCDOWELL

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