An Honest Chat With The Directors of ‘3 AMIGOS’

 Photo: Jamie Scott

Photo: Jamie Scott

Lewy Finnegan, George Humphreys and Davis Blackwell left jaws agape in 3 AMIGOS, but it was James Strickland and Tom Jennings who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to cobble every slick, explosive frame together. In an era where social media offers a quick hit of validation, these guys held onto their best footage for two years before premiering the finished product across cinemas around the globe. 

With the global streaming release of 3 Amigos just around the corner (it drops right here on November 7), we asked both Jennings and Strickland to dish on the catalyst for the ambitious project, the films that inspired them in their wide-eyed youth, what the future holds for bodyboarding movies and beyond. 


MM: 3 Amigos has premiered on big screens across Australia first, and now Europe. What kind of response has it received so far?
Tom Jennings: The people who have had a chance to see the film have loved it. It’s a great feeling to see our work up on the big screen with a thumping soundtrack and see that everyone is totally locked in the moment and reacting like you intended. It's good to see some froth over booging. 

It's been a while since we've seen an actual premiere for a bodyboarding movie. What made you want to do one with 3 Amigos
James Strickland: It was a group decision. We really wanted to get it out there and have it be seen by as many individuals inside and outside of the bodyboarding community as possible – and what better way than a few premieres.

Why did you decide to take the more traditional approach of filming over a number of years and featuring multiple riders? 
TJ: Almost everything you see on Instagram is crap. Social media at its core is cheap and designed for people with limited attention spans and I’ve never really been into that. Don’t get me wrong, it has its positives but in general it’s for self-absorbed egos and cheap marketing. I grew up watching and appreciating surf films largely shot on 16mm and that stuff takes time. Also, the film is about three main riders; there is no way you could fit everything you want into a shortened form and still do it justice.

Almost everything you see on Instagram is crap. Social media at its core is cheap and designed for people with limited attention spans and I’ve never really been into that.

What bodyboarding movies did you watch growing up? Which ones inspired you?
TJ: Tension. There were a few others but it was always one of the Tension movies or a surf film.
JS: Growing up, Tension immediately springs to mind. I think I speak for a large amount of people when I say that it was everything during my early teens. It really influenced a generation. Also, maturing through the golden years though Chad and Kane Waldron – with films like Denis and Raised Heights. The early No Friends stuff was epic, too; Chris Bryan’s Hardlyfe stands out, and Mickey Smith’s ABC was incredible. 

 Photo: Chase O’Leary

Photo: Chase O’Leary

What do you think the future holds for bodyboarding movies? 
TJ: Honestly, it’s hard to say. Bodyboarding as a sport is at a point where it could go either way and I think movies are probably the best chance we have to inspire and push the sport in the right direction. It takes a lot of time and money to make media that is actually beneficial to the sport and between the riders not being able to get sufficient sponsorship to chase swells and the media outlets being largely in the same position, it makes it harder to produce quality content.
JS: The way things are progressing it may be a thing of the past, which is unfortunate. The sport seems to be in a bit of a decline at the moment and with more companies and people leaning towards the cheaper quicker social media avenue to market their products and riders, we may not see many more movies in the future.

What would you like to see more of? 
TJ: I would like to see the bodyboard industry come together and acknowledge that it needs to change directions and rebrand itself alongside surfing – embrace its differences, but come together over its similarities rather that go out on its own. As a branch of surfing, it’s not big enough to support its own tour, and until they figure that out our sport will struggle to tick over. Bodyboarding is so dynamic when done right, but so often it’s half-assed because there isn’t really another option. Comps have their place but let's face it, getting conditions that do justice to the sport is really difficult and as a result you end up with a lot of contests held in waves that make bodyboarding look lame and if you extend that to marketability you can see where it all falls flat compared to surfing.
JS: More young filmmakers to keep filming and editing footage of the dudes that rip to revive the sport, keep it fresh and alive. 

What's in the pipeline for you two next?
JS: We’ve got some stuff in the vault that we’ve captured after the release of 3 Amigos, so stay tuned to Movement for future teasers and release dates.

Click here to watch 3 AMIGOS now!

 Photo: Isaac Jones

Photo: Isaac Jones