Early Days

Albert FalzonAlbert Falzon started making films when he was fifteen. He was living at The Entrance, and he'd go out with his 8mm camera and shoot the local surfers riding the tubes. He'd even go out there in the water with them to shoot them in closeup while he too came to terms with the motion of the ocean. When he got the film back from the laboratory he'd show it, unedited, in his backyard, and charge admission to those who wanted to see it. Just like he'd seen the big guys do when they brought the latest surf flicks to his local cinema.

One of these guys was Bob Evans, who pioneered the making of surf films in Australia and has done more than anyone popularising surfing as a sport. Albert eventually got a job with Bob as a photographer for Bob's magazine Surfing World. The quality of his stills led to him being co-opted to helping Bob shoot his annual surf movie, Albert travelled with Bob to Africa, Hawaii and all around the Australian coast shooting the surf whenever there was a swell.

Through all this Albert nurtured the idea of making his own surf movie, not one that was just an annual sports film showing the latest and most fashionable styles in surfing, but one that would convey his personal perception of surfing, which to him was much more a way of life than a sport.

When he started Tracks with David Elfick and John Witzig he got his chance, and he bought a Beaulieu 16mm movie camera and set off in those weeks between each issue of the paper to shoot surfing as he saw it. At first he fell into the pattern of shooting that he had been trained to do in the Evans surf movies. He went to Bells and shot the Australian Surf Championships but decided to reject the footage: the competitive aspects of surfing were not those that accorded with his personal vision.

– Albie Thoms