The Momentum Generation Doesn’t Lose the Thread

How a Text Thread Became a Pretty Spectacular Documentary

You can call Momentum Generation a documentary about surfing if you like. It’s about surfers. Many of them famous, some of them iconic. And there’s some surfing in it. But it is as much a movie about a single text thread.

This text thread has been going on for four years and was sent by Kelly Slater to eight of his friends who he once pretty much lived with on the North Shore when they were all teenagers but who he hadn’t really spoken with in a while. How this becomes a matter that is of interest to people beyond Kelly Slater and Verizon and serves as the impetus for an HBO documentary is that the eight friends include Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox, Benji Weatherley, Kalani Robb, Ross Williams, Taylor Steele and Pat O’Connell, a group largely responsible for changing the direction of surfing.

When you think about, it makes sense that a text thread would tie people together. It’s right there in the name.

It also makes sense that the camaraderie of this group, whose surfing was chronicled by Taylor Steele in “Momentum” in 1992, a surf video that broke the mold with twitchy cuts set to agitate-rock and pop-punk, has carried it past the decades—and squabbles, infighting, competition, hair loss, and tragedy—and into a world where a text is a thing that has a thread and can bring you back together with some of your closest friends.

That text thread became the catalyst for Steele to suggest a “Momentum” reunion, which has now become the documentary Momentum Generation by Mike and Jeff Zimbalist and is something that you should watch on HBO tonight if you have not already.