Surf Premiere Review: A Fly in the Champagne
February 20, 2009



It’s what I’d imagine the room to feel like right before the ultimate cage fight between a bear and tiger. The definitive brodown showdown was exposed last night at the Encinitas premiere of the new Andy/Kelly rivalry film, A Fly in the Champagne. As you’d imagine, the scene was, to put it in one word, intense. Rolling up to La Paloma (which if you haven’t heard, is the best place to watch a surf movie, hands down) you could feel the tension as both the Billabong and Quiksilver buses kept inching closer, squeezing the helpless Transworld SUV parked in between, fighting for prime placement in front of the entrance. Although temporarily occupied with bag of chips and guac and brown-bagged beverages, the crowd quickly turned into a full mob scene when Billabong’s AI took the stage with Cote, Sal Masekela, armfuls of Billabong/Quiksilver surf swag, and Kelly and Andy boards that got kicked down to two golden ticket holders. Unfortunately Number 9, Quiksilver’s K to the Slate, was alleged to be illin’ at home and couldn’t attend. Though I’d like to imagine that world champs don’t suffer from mortal constraints, so lets say he was busy saving a kitten from a tree and leave it at that. After the surge of sandaled kiddies calmed down and returned to their seat, the lights lowered, the cracking of beverages whispered through the rows, and the long-awaited rivalry began. 

In true ESPN style, the film began with a 300-esque build up tune that set the tone for the commencement of the ultimate battle between Kelly and Andy. Crushing Backdoor, Pipe, and J-Bay contest footage intensified the rivalry between the two most ascendant surfers of the past decade. Heavy backside 20-footers, impossible drop-ins, close ups of icy eyes, champagne and barrel spraying dramatized the mortal enemies’ passionate battle for the world champion title. The film climaxed with the uniting of the two rivals, along with a crew of surfing’s legends, on a surf trip that led the film to a touching, inspirational ending. I’m not sure, but I think I saw a Unicorn jump over a rainbow. Or it could have just been another close-up of Kelly’s baby blues. 

Although contest footage isn’t what I would prefer to see in a surf flick, it was not only appropriate for the rivalry, but necessary to intensify the battle between the two world champions. The superhuman power of the film’s stars made it one that even the non-surfer can admire for it’s adrenaline-laced footage and in-depth look at the most public and ultimate surfing rivalry of today. If you have a chance to catch a showing in the next month, lucky you. If not, you’ve got until March 15th let the rivalry marinate in your mind before the film is released.

Did anyone else see it? What’d ya think? Were you as stoked on the free chips and guac as I was (bet not)?

Check out a trailer here