In his new movie, teen filmmaker Logan Marshall celebrates East Coast surfers

By on August 6, 2019

Left to right: Pro surfers and the filmmaker. Micah Cantor, Logan Marshall, Luke Gordon, Beau Raynor. (Photo by Kip Tabb)

There’s a dilemma in reviewing Logan Marshall’s latest surf film, Dimensions. The question is: Which is better, the movie or the sound track?

It’s not much of a contest really, because without the movie, there would be no soundtrack. But just for the record, that soundtrack is amazing, perfectly synchronized with the action and providing a musical framework for what is seen on screen.

There were a few hundred people on hand when the movie was screened at the Pioneer theatre in downtown Manteo on Aug. 3.  And all proceeds from the premier are going Hope for Hannah, an effort on behalf of Hannah Goetz, who recently had to have an emergency double lung transplant.

At the ripe old age of 18, this is Marshall’s third film, and there has been a noticeable progression through each of them. The camera work has clearly improved, the editing is getting smoother and the integration of music with the action has become nothing short of spectacular.

After his second film, Outer, was released last year, Marshall said that he wanted to make a movie about the struggles East Coast professional surfers face in getting recognized. Although he would not graduate from Manteo High School until this year, he still managed to find the time to travel the world and create Dimensions.

Filmed in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, California, and the Outer Banks, the movie follows East Coast surfers, many of them on the pro circuit, as they travel around the world. It was by design that Marshall focused on East Coast surfers.

“Right now, on the East Coast, it’s super hard to make a career because all of the corporations are in California. I was hoping if I showed everyone how talented these guys are… it might get them the exposure they need,” Marshall said.

There is some amazing footage in the move. There are surfers riding a long break for what seems like a full minute or disappearing into a tube and shooting out the end of it as though there was an explosive charge behind them.

But he also shows what it takes to get to that level…the wipeouts, and some of them were pretty spectacular. And, in one clip that was a bit hard to watch, the blood.

That dedication to being the best is no different than any other athlete. Certainly, there is a subculture to surfing that has its own language and to a certain extent, its own way of viewing things. But the people in it are motivated by the same things that drive any of us as we strive to excel at those things that are most important to us.

There is one sequence in Dimensions that illustrates perfectly how Marshall creates three- dimensional personalities in this film. Evidently, he had asked Outer Banks surfer Beau Raynor, who is on the pro circuit, and pro surfer Micah Cantor from South Carolina to do some solo dance moves.

What emerges is a funny and wonderful sequence that is a window into the joy of life and helps make the surfers that much more real. That sequence is also an excellent example of how good Marshall is in blending his soundtrack with the action. According to Cantor, he and Beau were told to just go ahead and dance. Marshall paired the sequence with Procession by New Order. It looks as though it was choreographed at the time it was shot.

A distinctive feature of Marshall’s films is his use old black and white footage. From a tribute to Rod Serling’s Outer Limits to a wonderful interview with several Australians, one of whom seems to have seen UFO’s and aliens, that hallmark continues.

Dimensions is certainly a surf film. But there are elements of it that transcend what is typical in that category. When it plays again on the Outer Banks, check it out. It’s worth seeing.

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