RIP 3 Reflections.

RIP 3 Reflections.

By Dan Dobbin.

Old enough to remember Saturday morning cartoons in the 80’s and 90’s? Thunder Cats, Care Bears, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and the grand daddy of them all, Transformers?

Nostalgic treasured childhood memories that in reality were all part of a contrived and systematic marketing exercise.

All of the above cartoons were created specifically to sell toys aligned with the characters featured in the show.

See where we’re going here?

The latest film in the RIP series from Drag Board Co. continues to follow and build on the formula of the brace of RIP films that have preceding it, namely satirising and deriding elements of the bodyboarding world in order to hopefully sell bodyboards and softboards.

While the label funded film featuring team riders has littered the surf film genre for decades, the RIP series cleverly inverts the usual tropes associated with a company produced flick.

Instead of having team riders perform at high level to highlight the superiority of the company product by association, the Drag Board Co. films embrace the absurdity and unfunctionalability of many of their products as their main marketing tools.

For the most part, surfers like Harry Bryant, Craig Anderson and Creed McTaggart that are featured in RIP 3 aren’t expected to demonstrate their considerable talents in the water. ( with the exception of the incredible Chippa Wilson).

Instead they are relegated to the role of slapstick fall guy and asked to put in ironically kooky efforts on poor performing foam pop outs manufactured on the cheap in a Chinese industrial backwater.

This largely translates to them sitting and lying on the large finless soft tops as they attempt to wrangle there unwieldy boards through hollow waves, or bodyboarding at about the level of riders in the AA division in your local bodyboard club.

The bodyboarders in the film fair much better with Chris James and James Kates featuring in the kind of well edited sections that remind the bodyboarding community just how exciting and amping well presented Bodyboarding can be. Ryan Sewell’s multidisciplinary abilities on both boog and soft top boards are another highlight.

In terms of editing, production values and presentation RIP 3, and indeed the entire RIP trilogy, feature the most innovative and interesting approach to the surf film genre seen in many, many years.

Could any other film conceivably package together an outback woodchopping festival, Jennifer Aniston, Shapple Corby, a semi-naked Garth McGregor, Kelly Slater with Barrack Hussien Obama all spliced together between candid Australian beach scenes and surf action and have the audience not be surprised by any of these turn of events?

What can’t be denied is the cultural impact the films have had, particularly within the younger, easily impressionable generation of Australian surfers. In the authors home town many of the best teenage “core” surfers have added a booger to their quiver and begun regularly abandoning their performance sticks to scrap into shallow reef bowls when the conditions are right.

The greatest irony of the RIP trilogy could be that a series of films built on mocking the end of bodyboarding as a serious aquatic pursuit may in fact have the effect of repositioning bodyboarding as part of the future surfing experience Zeitgeist, breathing new life into the pastime and actually inspiring new devotes to take up dragging, if only part time.

A strange but fitting outcome for a series of strange but brilliant films.

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