Dick Brewer and Bob McTavis prepare to settle the shortboard argument addressed in the film Going Vertical.
Dick Brewer and Bob McTavis prepare to settle the shortboard argument addressed in the film Going Vertical. Crystal Spencer

Ugly Noosa surf film stoush

AN ugly off-screen stoush has ended plans for the world premiere at Noosa of a surf movie that is about a very real argument over who started the sport’s short board revolution.

Robert Raymond, the producer of Going Vertical, has failed to find a location to screen the film after he was forced to withdraw it from the Noosa Festival of Surfing because of concerns about the venue.

The film’s executive producer is Rip Curl’s multi-millionaire co-owner Doug Warbrick, who had come to Noosa for the festival and to view the premiere.

Raymond, who produced Schindler’s List with Steven Spielberg, said he had been let down by surf festival director Phil Jarratt and left with his launch plans in disarray after he had flown in 20 cast and crew members and their partners from America, Hawaii and Australia and arranged national media coverage of the event.

Jarratt, who was a writer for the film, said Raymond had always known it would be shown in a tent and had become precious about the venue after seeing Avatar.

Raymond in turn claims he had made Jarratt well aware of the technical requirements of a HD, wide screen, digital production with 5.1 surround sound and had been assured the venue could accommodate it.

He said that when he finally got to speak to the technician employed by the festival it was clear neither the venue nor the equipment were suitable.

A plan to transfer the premiere to Noosa 5 Cinemas failed to eventuate. Cinema manager Lindsay Dodd said yesterday that his program was already fully booked.

Going Vertical will be launched in 50 theatres across Australia next week.

The film explores a dispute that has raged for more than 40 years about whether Australian Bob McTavish or American Dick Brewer was the first to take design to the level where surfboards could be ridden up and down a wave as well as along it.

The pair, still world-renowned for their craftsmanship, had come to Noosa for the launch. Some 40 years on from the sport’s momentous evolution to the short board era, each remains adamant he was the instigator.

The feud between the film maker Raymond and the surf author Jarratt about who caused the premiere’s fiasco may last as long.

Jarratt has reorganised the festival’s schedule.

Replacing the Friday night premiere will be 90 minutes of shorts supplied by Jack McCoy, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Big Wednesday and a segment featuring five movie makers talking about their work followed by a 12-piece band of surf movie musicians.

“My heart bleeds for him,” Jarratt said of Raymond’s predicament. “I wish he’d take his movie away and premiere it elsewhere.” He said for all that he had begged Noosa 5 Cinemas to allow the movie to be screened.

Raymond, who started the Woodford Folk Festival film program 10 years ago, and who has been a regular visitor to the Noosa Festival of Surfing for the past decade, said Jarratt had let him down.

He said Jarratt had been made aware by his own technical adviser six weeks ago that there would be problems but he himself had only been told two weeks ago.

“I’ve known Phil 30 years; he couldn’t match the technical requirements. After the first 20 rows people would not have been able to see it.”

The festival had sold tickets to the premiere for $32.

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