Momentum Generation

Competition and camaraderie fuel the footage in this new documentary about some of the greatest surfers of all time.
Photo by Justin Jay

By Cristina Cuomo

Turns out surf legends like Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox, Kalani Robb, Taylor Steele and Pat O’Connell—all of whom redefined the sport—lived together in the ’80s on the north shore of O’ahu. This pack of teenagers (some local, some established surfers from Cali and Florida) amassed in a tiny house a few sandy-footed steps from the infamous surfing spot, Pipeline. Brought together by their mutual love of riding the waves and bound by community, they would go on to bring about a sea change in surfing.

This crew is captured in the new surfing documentary, Momentum Generation, the brainchild of award-winning directors (and brothers) Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, veterans of hard-hitting sports documentaries who share producing credits alongside Colby Gottert, Greg Little, Justine Chiara, Karen Lauder, Laura Michalchyshyn, Lizzie Friedman and Tina Elmo. The doc, featuring archival footage from Montauk surf filmmaker Steele’s original Momentum, along with candid conversation and untold stories from the surf kings, screened this month in Montauk, presented by the Hamptons International Film Festival, Purist and Sotheby’s Rylan Jacka for one night only at Gurney’s.

“The [directors] absolutely killed it,” said Knox to Surfer. “We were all very stoked about how it came out. It’s a leap of faith to have a movie like that made from people outside the surf industry, but it was refreshing. It needed to be made that way.”