Kang’s Retreat feat. Harrison Roach

Just last week I wrote “everyone at Thomas Surfboards seems to be having a blast, and it really comes across in all their edits.” In case you needed more evidence, here’s “Kang’s Retreat”, a full length offering by Harrison Roach, Hunter Vercoe and Husni Ridhwan. You can view the site on the excellent NobodySurf YouTube channel.

It’s one of my favorite full length efforts in the year so far. There aren’t many surf films I’d describe as hilarious, but “Kang’s Retreat” definitely qualifies. It also features some red hot surfing to pair with the laughs.

“Kang’s Retreat”, which was filmed in Indonesia (I believe in and near Batu Karas, in West Java) strikes me as the byproduct of a genuine friendship between visiting Aussie surfers and their Indonesian hosts. A previous generation of surf movies often portrayed foreign locales on a skin-deep level, which I attribute more to surfers’ tunnel vision more than anything else. One of the things I liked best about “Kang’s Retreat” is that watching it felt like tagging along on an awesome surf trip among old friends. Two Indonesian surfers — Deni Firdaus and Husni Ridhwan — play central roles. Their comic chops took me completely by surprise, and the film had me laughing my ass off at multiple parts. Eleven year-old Alvin Setiawan also stood out, and he’s surely got a bright future ahead, given the assurance he surfs with at this young age. Lastly, I loved that the movie featured multiple Thomas Surfboards craftsmen in addition to shaper Thomas Bexon. Seems like you gotta rip if you want a job there.

“Kang’s Retreat” was directed by Harrison Roach, who is quickly establishing himself as a surf filmmaker to watch, in addition to his duties in front of the camera. Whether it’s the graphic design, the humor or the overall vibe — lighthearted, but with serious surfing, amid sparkling, sunny backdrops — the film shows vision and a deft touch. I’m really stoked to see what Roach and friends cook up next.

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