72andSunny catches a new wave with Samsung in this short film created with the World Surf League, which Samsung Mobile sponsors.
A sequel of sorts to last year's Cannes Gold Lion-winning "Every Day Is Day One," the new clip, part of a new campaign themed "We Are Greater Than I" (there's also a gripping cycling spot) focuses on the intense interconnectedness of the surfing community. "No individualism, no ego, no celebration of one hero," the WSL says on its site in a brief description of the 90-second spot, stressing that all surfers, regardless of their age, sex, race or skill level, are "intrinsically co-dependent, and tied together for better—and for worse."
The ad's imagery, captured by Stink director Eliot Rausch, stirringly sustains this theme as it creates a cycle-of-life effect. We open with a moody shot of dark, swelling waves that seemingly give "birth" to a solitary rider. Later, a solemn circle of surfers, their hands joined, float waist-deep in the ocean, bidding farewell to a fallen comrade.
Surfing, we come to understand, is more than a sport. It's an almost religious calling shared by a group of people who simply wouldn't live any other way. This special passion connects enthusiasts who hit icy waters for early-morning, pre-work rides to elite pros like Gabriel Maedina, Sally Fitzgibbons and others who compete around the world.
The voiceover contains a litany of "thank you's" to friends, sponsors, groupies, haters—everyone and everything that could push surfers to the max. Invoking "pain," "paradise," "heaven" and "hell" might seem like a bit much. Still, the self-conscious hyperbole suits an adventurous, driven, highly spiritual culture greater than the sum of its parts.
While the ad has generated considerable praise, and topped 5 million YouTube views in its first week, some hardcore surfers have complained. They accuse Samsung of co-opting their "pure" sport, and question the emphasis of group over individual.
Samsung's patronage can only help surfing grow, pushing it further into the mainstream and attracting new fans and devotees (which might be the problem for those who feel the waves are already too crowded). As for the group vs. individual argument, perhaps the ad should be viewed as celebrating the way in which each person brings a unique style and spirit to the community. They strengthen the whole, and draw strength from each other.
This bond is as deep as the sea. Even the solitary surfer doesn't ride the waves alone.