From the seminal “Endless Summer” to “Step Into Liquid” to “Riding Giants,” surf documentaries burnish a man-at-one-with-nature mythology all their own. “Storm Surfers 3D,” the latest in a series of films about two Australian big-wave hunters and tow-in surfing, feels something like a breed apart.
In tow-in, a surfer is ferried by Jet Ski to huge waves that couldn’t be caught by paddling. Tom Carroll was a two-time world champion in the 1980s, and Ross Clarke-Jones, his friend from the tour, is a tow-in pioneer. We’re a long way from two buds and their boards here: backed by a support team that includes a forecaster, local surfers, charter boats, the occasional helicopter and a platoon of cinematographers, the pair spend a winter (May through August, mate) stalking the biggest storms down under and conquering the waves they bring. It all builds to a trip to a shoal almost 50 miles from the coast of Western Australia that has rarely been visited, let alone surfed.