Sunday, June 8, 2008

Patrick Trefz “Bicycle Trip” “Bicycle Trip” By Steven Thomas

"Bicycle Trip"

No peak action German Surf Porn Here. If you like Surfer Magazine staff photographer Patrick “Zee German” Trefz’s pulled back black and white images and retro rustic color pictures then you will be happy to know that Trefz has taken the inevitable leap into motion picture, starting with his limited edition short (and I mean short) “Bicycle Trip” and recently released “Thread”. It is my personal belief that if Mr, Trefz was in hell, the demon of the underworld we commonalty know as “The Devil” would force him to make a high definition, slash, bash, spray-in-your-face, quick-clip, high-aerial-surfing-circus-show-down. This description (for those of you who do not fancy that sort of surf film) is quite the opposite of Trefz’s handiwork.

Lets start with Bicycle Trip. It’s not a movie about mashing around on a fixie bike. Rather, it’s a surf film Staring Peter Garaway, a goofy foot, shred stick wave rider who pedals around on his rusty old bike through the majestic beauty of Santa Cruz in Northern California, all the while trailing a legitimate, back-in-the-hey-day single fin sled. The film is a creative assortment of cartoons, landscapes and surfing that expresses the authenticity of surfing Santa Cruz. Bicycle Trip is definitely a nighttime surf flick, best viewed while nodding out after a hardy meal and a few dark, thick beers. The film is only a short fourteen-minutes long, which left me feeling teased and wanting just a little bit more, though the surfing was good in a humble, easy-to-relate-to way. Perhaps that’s what Trefz was going for. Overall, the movie was shot and edited very well and it left me feeling calm and inspired by his creativity.

The line up in this 16mm short consisted of fifteen SC, (Santa Cruz) surfers, two Currens, and one Machado. Directed and produced by Patrick Trefz, shot by Roman “NIYM” Bellisario, with additional footage by Josh Pomer, Graham Nash, and Syrus Sutton. The packaging is super sweet and totally worth mentioning. When you purchase your copy of “Bicycle Trip” it comes in a wooden box that you could use later for your super secret treasures. Inside the box is the DVD, accompanied by a little book showing images of the making of the film. Patrick Trefz is distributing the movie himself, so if you want it, go to and buy it there. It’s a limited edition of only five hundred imprints, so get it while you can.


“Thread” is Patrick Trefz’s second film. It’s difficult for me to tell you that this is a surf picture because I could just as easily say it’s a movie about creative minds that happen to surf or, in one case, skate. It took a moment for me to get what was going on in the movie because I was blind sided by the direction the film seemed to take at the beginning. It starts off in New York with a bunch of skateboarders barreling down the street shortly followed buy the introduction of a photographer by the name of Michael Halsband, who grew up in the big apple. When I heard his last name I through it sounded like a brand name of a medium or large format camera made in the Swiss Alps or something. Once Joel Tudor was introduced I got the connection between he and Halsband and the pattern of the documentation began to unfold.
Of all the many interesting aspects of this story line the part that hit home for me was I the piece on Joe Curren for these four reasons:

1) I really enjoy photography.
2) Sand Spit looked F@#!$N fun.
3) I like to go to places were I can get good waves and good pictures.
4) I’m big on drawn out bottom turns.

I related the most with Joe or ‘Simple Joe’, as some know him because of those four reasons. Who would have guessed that he is such a good photographer. Even crazier, Art Brewer gave him props for his snaps. What’s more, as a viewer I felt that I was being invited into Joe’s and the other character’s lives in this film. The connection in this film had a lot more strength than what I’ve experienced with other surf docs that I have seen.

As a fan of surfing I often wonder what else competent, professional surferss are interested in aside from surfing. When I see that they have interests that I can relate to I get all emotional. I don’t mean emotional in the since that I am this emocore-indy-pop-alt-rock kid with eyeliner all over my face, suffering from terminal uniqueness thinking that I should be the next Andy Warhol crying about how no one understand my pain. I mean the kind of emotional you get when you watch Brave Heart or big wave movies like Blue Crush (like at the end of the movie when the girl finally drops in on a huge wave and pulls it -I don’t know about y’all but I got choked up. Maybe you can’t relate but that’s how it made me feel. Please hand me a Kleenex. Thank you.)

Thread showed that, once again, Trefz’s photographic talent translates easily into a beautiful motion picture. The film documented the lives and the cultures using a classic, vintage look. The surfing is great, but focuses on a traditional level, rather than mind-blowing-crazy, three-sixty, kick-flip, Fletcher nutso air mac daddy TEE-A-POOO tow at stuff. Although there’s not one single busting of air anywhere in the film, the Long brothers catch some pretty big ass waves in an amazing exhibition of tearing-off-the-top power surfing.

The one thing that I wasn’t too ecstatic about was the calligraphy used to introduce the subjects and/or the segments. The lettering seemed to undervalue the feel of the movie and disrupted the beauty of the imagery. I would of preferred to see something that was more contemporary of the era the movie depicted. However I did a little research and discovered that the letters that were used were created by this guy who stitched the entire alphabet by hand in the said font and then Trefz’s crew scanned the letters and used it for their titles, so the process of how the lettering was created is pretty sweet. Luckily his strength in creating some whoop-ass eye candy is strong enough to overlook this detail.

Thread is defiantly the type of surf flick that you would watch over a fine merlot and some organic pan seared pea snaps with rosemary potato bread and a sweet onion caramelized cheese. I wouldn’t reccommend popping this baby in your Digital Versatile Disc Player wile your doing the Downward Dog and other Yoga stretches before surfing. Save this gem for the evening.
At the end of the movie I didn’t know whether I wanted to pick up a surfboard or a camera. One side of me wanted to fulfill my need to surf and another side called upon my artistic desire to create. All in all in its entirety the movie was a good time and like most products made by Germans is of high quality. I just had a little problem with the font. I would defiantly add this movie to the collection. I’m eager to see what “Zee German” makes next.

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