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Approaching Lines International Film Festival 2016.

You know those neon pink and blue ice slushies? Well mine was the most fitting and least clever beverage to be drinking at this year’s film festival. These films were so darn cold.

It was Newquay’s Lighthouse Cinema that once again hosted the Southwest’s coolest crowd of ocean cucumbers, who after an unusual day of warm, sunny weather were plunged into the icy depths of winter swell searches.

Stoked to the rafters - Saturday night crowd

Stoked to the rafters – Saturday night crowd

These evenings were a showcase of surfing’s hardiest (and arguably most bonkers) souls seeking waves along the Northern hemisphere’s most frigid coastlines.

Friday was full of travelogues, spiritual journeys and wild horses. So thank goodness for FREEZING. In a Yorkshire lilt, Rob Lockyear and Jeremy Joyce took surfing out of it’s ‘too cool for school’ box and screwed in some humour.

The dramatic introduction to their Icelandic search for a mythical wave could’ve been the beginning of Game Of Thrones, except the characters onscreen were folding their woollen jumpers and whittling wooden aeroplanes.

Chairman of Stoke Sir Nick Holden introduces the Frothometer Mark 3

Chairman of Stoke Sir Nick Holden introduces the Frothometer Mark 3

During the journey we saw their bottoms, their encounters with Nordic giants, a confusing but amusing Icelandic local and a perfect wave….in a photograph. But this mix of kooky comedy against such a raw and beautiful background took the false swagger out of surfing and left us reminded that we are all just kooks freezing our tits off and loving life.

The surfing on show in Friday’s other films was not at all funny and unarguably superior. Ben skinner’s new collaboration with Justpassingthrough IRELAND weaned us into the night’s fully suited and booted neoprene theme as he charged barrel after barrel in Ireland and smashed lips on a board 3ft longer than anyone else’s.

ICELAND by Jimmy Pinfield was the next to screen, the footage capturing mainly wild horses, waterfalls and giant beds of seaweed. And having collaborated with filmmaker Mr. B, Alan Stokes presented their new short film, MY CANVAS in person.

Surfing Great Britain Head Honcho Nick Rees

Surfing Great Britain Head Honcho Nick Rees

The big travelogue of the evening was FAROES: THE OUTPOST VOL. 2 in which Dane Gudauskas, Tyler Warren, Justin Quintal and Sam Hammer went in search of previously unridden waves around the 18 jagged pieces of island.

With 260 days of rainfall on average and the ancestors of Vikings as it’s residents, this bleak and harsh environment was a struggle but full of surprises.

UNCHARTED WATERS closed the evening and explored the eventful life of Wayne Lynch; Australian surfing’s wonder boy turned fugitive turned father. His continual influence over the scene can still be seen today and he’s not one to be messed with.

Saturday’s offerings had a somewhat warmer but equally raw feeling to them.

The festival kicked off with a charity quiz night at Gilmores Golf

The festival kicked off with a charity quiz night at Gilmores Golf

Directed by Joseph Ryan, FISH: THE DOCUMENTARY was an epic exploration into the board design that changed surfing forever and revolutionised the line-ups previously dominated by logs.

It was the wide frame footage in OF VIKING MINDS that captured my attention the most that evening, a film by Chris Case that engaged you to the point of fear.

It’s known that behind every big glassy barrel is a mountain of white-water, but seeing it wide lined in relation to cliffs and other sets is unusual in a surf film. Here, we were left knowing that at this spot, if the foam didn’t get you, the rocks might.

THE DIRTY OLD WEDGE closed this year’s Approaching Lines Film Festival and with good reason. It’s a man-made mutant, a mistake that draws huge crowds. When it’s big, the wave is a spectacle and only the local bodysurfers who ride it know it’s true soul.

FREEZING: our pick of the flicks

FREEZING: our pick of the flicks

When your spine and neck are at risk on every wave you take, it must be the sheer love that keeps you there. This film followed the wedge’s original crew as they fought to dominate, protect and continue their devotion to the break, and the plight of the new generation following on in their footsteps.

So all in all, evenings well spent, with FREEZING definitely leading the pack.

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