Forget the physical training. Never mind the mental prep. For former world champion surfer Tom Carroll, the urge to surf down a 30-foot wall of water — sometimes dozens of miles from shore — is all about testosterone.
“Some people have it, some people don’t,” he says. “[Men] have got 100 times the testosterone levels of [most women]. So we’re built for confrontation. We’re built to get out there, kill something, and bring it back.”
In Carroll’s case, and that of his best friend and surfing partner, Ross Clarke-Jones, the trophy of the hunt is adrenaline-fueled footage of their heart-pounding sessions in Storm Surfers 3D. The film, which screens this week at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatres, follows the Australian natives for a winter of chasing big waves and horrific wipeouts. The eye-popping scenes had the audience clapping and cringing in a screening at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica this past weekend.
As we get towed with the surfers into massive, watery bombs, it’s more than brawn that fires up this buddy movie about having balls of steel, ocean know-how, and big-brand funding from Red Bull. Carroll, who set an industry precedent with the first million-dollar Quiksilver contract, and Clarke-Jones, who was a hard-partying, middling member of the professional tour, together are like excited little kids in sun-soaked, muscle-bound bodies. With their competitive days now decades behind them, their focus is on chasing the world’s biggest waves, and uncharted, ocean territory. Equal parts athletes and comedians, the two often crack jokes and poke fun at each other.