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Daredevils tangle with age and sea – Review

Adrian Lee reviews Storm Surfers 3D for The Cronicle Herald

TORONTO — Cape Solander, an hour’s drive from Sydney, Australia, and near where Capt. James Cook landed when he discovered the continent, is lined with craggy rocks and covered with razor-sharp barnacles. For most people, the first instinct wouldn’t be to leap in.

But that’s just what Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones do for a living, surfboards and Sea-Doos in tow, conquering vicious surf breaks like Cape Solander, as well as massive walls of water in uncharted areas.

“It’s a satisfying feeling,” said Clarke-Jones. “It’s one that stays with you for many years — waves from ’98, I can still remember now.”

The two surf swashbucklers appear in Storm Surfers 3D, the third film of their titular series and the first filmed in 3D, with the pair diving headlong for big, dangerous breaks and using the latest forecasting technologies to spot the storm fronts that churn up the biggest waves.

Clarke-Jones, 47, has been surfing since he was 11, and after struggling through a stint on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour, he became a big-wave surfing pioneer, suffering every kind of injury along the way. But with a passion for speed that he quenches with surfing, snowboarding and speed racing, the threat of injury hasn’t cowed the rambunctious Aussie.

“I feel like if you’re trying to conquer or going to battle against the ocean, it always wins. You have no chance against her,” said Clarke-Jones. “I like to be in rhythm with it. When you’re in rhythm with the ocean, you have such a good time.”

But as much as Storm Surfers 3D features stunning cinematography of some of the most beautiful, remote places in the world, it’s also the story of the odd-couple pairing of its two main characters, Clarke-Jones and Carroll.

Carroll is a living legend — he was a two-time champion of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour and the first person to earn a million-dollar surfing contract — and at the age of 51, he has become a careful and meditative family man. In contrast, Clarke-Jones is a raucous speed freak, and isn’t restrained about mocking Carroll for mellowing out.

Read the full review