What is your type of surf movie?
Are you looking for an all-star cast, dream destinations, endless waves, accessible or mind-blowing surfing, a documentary that questions you and makes you think...?
For us, a good surf movie is a bit of everything.
With, in addition, a special attention to the artistic aspect.
We sincerely believe that filming the rider of the moment with the latest equipment is not everything.
To have an original vision, to look for innovation in the creation, to think the making in its totality with, in particular, a perfectly adapted soundtrack, remains a must.
This is what we strive to value as much as possible in the programming of our Surf Nights.
Yentl Touboul is a freelance photographer and videographer.
Originally from Guadeloupe, he now lives and works in Hossegor.
The 1st time we met him, it was during the release party of an issue of What Youth.
At the time, he was distributing the magazine in France with his friends from Wasted Talent.
Today, he has become one of the brains behind Wasted Talent Mag, a print magazine focused on surfing, skateboarding, photography and the arts.
While he sometimes directs videos for different surf brands, his main job is to direct Wasted Talent's videos and to work on this print magazine.
Faithful to his underground values, simple and open-minded, without ever giving up his artistic approach, he surprises us every time and takes us far from the not always exciting videos of the surf mainstream.
His recent travels have also led him to open up to architecture, street scenes and landscape photography.
Enjoy reading this new Focus on Yentl and have a good summer.
- Hi Yentl,
where are you from and where do you live today?
"I grew up in Guadeloupe and that's where I started surfing.
My first surfing was on a sailboard without a sail... I must have been 10 years old.
My mother got a 7'0 thruster with fixed fins from the 80's on a relocation.
My first surf with it was on the spot of Helleux, the starting point of most people who start surfing in Guadeloupe.
I was immediately hooked, despite the fact that I lived quite far from the spots (yes even in Guadeloupe it's possible).
I spent my youth taking the bus to Damencourt in Le Moule, where we went with my friends several times a week.
I moved then to Bordeaux in 2012, then to Hossegor in 2016."
Thinking back, all of Ozzie's parts had a profound effect on me.
- What was your training and what is your background ?
"I started with video when I was about 13 years old.
I had to stop surfing for a few months because of an injury and in order to pass the time, I got a Mini DV camera with which I started filming my group of friends.
For a while, I was editing videos that we released on a Vimeo channel, which is still up and running if you look hard enough.
After graduating from high school, I wanted to study cinema/photography.
But coming from Guadeloupe, a career in the surfing or image industry seemed completely inaccessible to me.
Going through marketing seemed like more possible to enter that world, so I started a master's degree in international marketing in Bordeaux.
I continued to do both photography and video.
I used to shoot a lot with my friends, when we went surfing or skating.
I learned a lot by hanging out on the internet and watching Youtube tutorials...
Towards the end of my studies, I did an internship at Desillusion, where I met Robin Pailler who became one of my best friends.
He taught me a lot about video and made me realize that it was possible to have a job without having studied cinema.
The following year, during my internship at Wasted Talent, Alex and Ben saw my interest in video and photography and gave me several shoots quite quickly.
I can't thank them enough for trusting me.
We then decided to start our own magazine/production agency, which was the perfect time for me to go freelance and dedicate myself to it fully."
- What do you enjoy photographing and filming the most ?
"I'm lucky to have some super talented people around me.
Erwin, Tito, Gary... they all have unique personalities and evolve without worrying about people, which is a huge inspiration in my work.
Shooting with people who are on the same page, whether they are surfers, skaters, musicians, artists... and feeling that we are helping each other, working towards a common project (in the case of a video for example) is always a great feeling.
A big part of my work consists in making mini-documentaries about surfers/skaters/musicians/artists.
Video and photography are often a way to get to know them, to enter their world and this is the work I really enjoy.
I also enjoy simple documentary photography on black and white film.
Visiting places that are unknown to me and keeping a memory of them is something I love.
I recently got myself an enlarger and I really recommend anyone who shoots film to give it a try.
For curfews and lockdowns there is nothing better."
- How did you meet the Wasted Talent crew ?
"I met Alex (Obolensky) and Ben (Snowden-Boyd) when I was in my last year of school.
I was looking for an internship, and they were looking for an intern.
We already had several friends in common and we connected right away when we first met.
From the outside, the surfing world looks so uniform, but when you look into it there are so many different trends and it's rare to find people who are on the same page in terms of influences and vision.
That's what happened with them.
At the time Wasted Talent was not yet a magazine.
I helped Alex and Ben to distribute Epøkhe, Afends and What Youth in Europe at first.
The part I was most interested in was the media part with What Youth.
That inspired us to create our own magazine, to bring our ideas to life.
I've done a lot of things at Wasted Talent over the years.
Starting with the shop, organizing events, distributing the brands and organizing video/photo projects for them.
Then since we launched the magazine in 2017, I focused on that part.
In the beginning I was in charge of several things: the website, social networks, editing photos, writing articles, organizing projects and events, in addition to doing photography and video (which clearly I enjoyed the most).
Now I'm in charge of the paper magazine.
I work on the choice of themes and contents, the writing of some articles, the layout in synchronization with George, our graphic designer...etc.
However my main work is the making of video projects (concept, filming/editing) and photos."
- Store, magazine, videos, creation... what is Wasted Talent today ?
"The team has expanded since I joined in 2016!
Alex and Ben run the company, Ben handles the strategic side, shop and Wasted Talent as a textile brand.
Alex is the marketing manager for Wasted Talent and runs the media production side.
He is both producer and editor in chief of the magazine.
In addition to making some of our videos, Robin Pailler, is in charge of the life of the magazine full time.
He takes care of the website content, social networks but he is also the head of the skate part of the magazine.
George Hatton has been working with us for a little over a year on the design of the magazine and Vincent Garat is our part-time web guru.
Oli (Dorn) is in charge of the distribution of Wasted Talent.
We works with several Australian and American brands (Octopus, Afends, TCSS, Adelio...etc.) and do the distribution in Europe.
Héma recently joined us as an intern and helps us with media and marketing.
We also work with several regular collaborators whether in video with Guillem Cruells, Pierre David, Douglas Guillot, or in photography with Nil Puissant."
From the outside, the surfing world looks so uniform, but when you look into it, there are so many different trends.
- What are your favorite surf movies ?
We all had a video that stuck with us when we first started surfing....
For me it was Creepy Fingers and the Ozzie part.
Ryan Thomas is a visionary.
His last full length, Psychic Migrations is also amazing.
Thinking back, all of Ozzie's parts had a profound effect on me.
I must have watched his section in Doped Youth hundreds of times (even though it's 240p).
It's hard to pick one Kai film in particular.
Modern Collective was a huge influence as a 13 year old kid.
I think at the time it really inspired a lot of kids who had a bunch of friends and ideas in their heads.
Doing something concrete and innovative was possible, with motivation and creativity.
However, if I had to choose, Dear Suburbia would definitely be the film that influenced me the most.
In addition to the incredible surfing, it is especially the form that I find unique.
Whether it's the long still shots of the Australian desert, the desaturated colors and the hypnotic soundtrack...
Dear Suburbia looks more like a movie than the rest of the surfing videos of the time and that's what stuck with me.
Joe G is one of my absolute idols.
I have always admired the originality of all his films (Secret Machine, Year Zero, Electric Blue Heaven, Cult of Freedom...).
Whether it is in the ingenuity of his scenarios or his use of cameras which is always perfect.
I love shooting on 16mm film and his films are a big reason why I wanted to try this format.
Meeting Joe (and doing an interview with him) two years ago remains an unforgettable experience."
- What are your surf tracks ?
"I don't have songs for surfing.
On a trip to Berlin three years ago, I found a CD of PAVEMENT's 'Quarantine the past' album and it hasn't left my car since.
So by default I'd say that.
Any Pavement track."
...we are on the other side of the world making surfing videos and we are really privileged.
- What is your best and worst trip memory?
"It's hard to choose a particular trip.
The Eurothrash trip remains an unforgettable memory.
We had just created Wasted Talent Magazine and with Volcom, we organized a 15 days road trip from Portugal to Hossegor, with their European team, Noa Deane and Ryan Burch.
At the time of departure, the forecast was for more or less 15 days of flat, with possibly one good surf day in Portugal.
That day ended up being one of the best days of surfing I've ever seen.
From Coxos, to Cave and another left not far from both, all the spots around Ericeira were perfect one after the other and we shot half of the movie in less than 24 hours.
We formed a big convoy with several vans (ours was driven by the only Tom Carey) and the energy was just incredible.
As for the worst...
I have rarely had bad experiences on trips.
The worst was being swindled out of 400€, being dropped off in the middle of Moscow at night by a fake cab without internet.
It was not very pleasant, it only lasted a few hours and it is still material.
I already found myself without a clip after having organized a two weeks trip.
But despite the frustration this can bring, with a little hindsight it's easy to realize that you're on the other side of the world making surf videos and you're still pretty damn privileged.
I'm eternally grateful to the surfing and skateboarding world for the chance to have these experiences and make it my job."
- Which surfers, photographers, directors, artists...do you admire ?
"My friends above all!
Tito Lavole, who is one of my favorite surfers as well as being an incredible artist and musician.
Erwin Bliss, who is really talented in shaping and has a unique approach to surfing.
Otherwise the list is long: Joe G, Pontus Alv, Kai Neville, Robin Pailler, Pierre David, Douglas Guillot, Matt Payne, Tyrone and Frank Lebone, Jack Whitefield, Duncan Macfarlane, Frank Ockenfels, Quentin de Briey, Benjamin Deberdt... to name a few.
As for surfing, Creed McTaggart, Craig Anderson, Ben Howard, Noa Deane, Ozzie..."
- What projects are you currently working on and do you think you'll ever make a feature film ?
"I am working on several Wasted Talent videos at the moment.
One filmed in the Canary Islands with Erwin Bliss and Hector Menendez and another in Guadeloupe with Issam Auptel.
I'm also in the process of a personal project that I started filming in Australia and Indonesia with Tito Lavole, Jai Walsh, Benjamin Howard and some other friends.
The idea was to go back to Australia to complete the video.
However that was before the pandemic took over our lives.
With projects in Europe, it's been pretty hard to find the time to put it all together.
Hopefully it will be done by this summer and maybe we'll be able to make a little screening, if the situation allows it.
To answer the second part of your question, making a "feature film", or at least a long edit video is a dream for most young directors.
I grew up in a period that was the golden age of long format surf videos and it personally had a huge influence on my approach to surfing, but also on my personal life and the way I took...
However with the ever increasing influence of social networks, the culture of immediacy, of information that can be consumed in no time and the decreasing budgets in the core surfing industry, it seems harder and harder to finance projects on this scale.
But who knows, maybe the opportunity will present itself in the coming years.
I hope so."