Movie Review: Timmy Turner’s Second Thoughts

November 25, 2011, Judd

Quick, what movie is this line from?: “Today I got the best barrels of my life.”

If you said Point Break, you’ve been duped. The line is actually from Second Thoughts, a film with surfing videography described as “revolutionary.” The movie recently premiered at the La Paloma in Encinitas and will surely be as memorable as Keanu Reeve’s immortal quote.

Here’s the premise: Timmy Turner, who made the film, and his two best friends, Travis Potter, and Brett Schwartz, with only the occasional help of two Indonesian guides, spend one month on a remote and uninhabited Indonesian island, camping primitively in leaky tents and trekking sometimes hours to surf jacked-up barrels which break perilously over a sharp and shallow reef.

Somehow, Turner, Potter and Schwartz manage to keep hand-held cameras under their chest while paddling into and popping up on movable liquid mountains that turn into double-overhead barrels. Viewers feel as if they’re in the barrel, likely more so than any other surf movie out there. Sure there have been plenty of movies with board-mounted cameras but none have the vantage point that Second Thoughts has.

There are numerous wipeout scenes, even the one that features Turner getting pounded seconds after he’s confidently and almost soul-arching in a barrel (the shot would end up on the September 2003 cover of Surfer).

Second Thoughts is a lot like reality TV, only it’s . . . um . . . real. The trio hires a Javanese fisherman for $50 to take them four hours to an unnamed island. No big surf companies sponsor the trip nor provide luxury charters. No pool-bar after-session cervesas and no comfy hotels enjoyed.

Instead, the three are left to improvise and subsist on determination and the adrenaline of surfing some of the most exhilarating waves in the world with no one else around. When Turner and friends near the island, they strap their meager provisions to their boards, half of which subsequently becomes unusable after it gets soaked in the shorebreak.

With lighters and matches drenched, Turner and friends revert to Boy Scout techniques of lighting fires. For water, they collect and boil a brown concoction of fresh and salt water. This is no surf vacation. lnstead of waking up and taking a casual short saunter to epic surf, the guys are forced to walk the island’s perimeter in searing tropical heat past dense jungle, which has roots extending all the way to the water.

When they finally reach a break, sometimes after a three-mile, two-hour paddle across the island’s bay, they can’t quite wax up just yet. They have to wait a few hours for the tide to cover the jagged reef.

This is Turner’s third film. The 23-year old from Huntington is a sponsored surfer, but chooses to avoid the media circus of the ASP. He could easily be pro, but would rather go on his own, a sort of contemporary short-board soul surfer with an uncanny ability to present a cathartic and innovative view of what it’s like to be stoked in a barrel.

Judd Handler is a freelance writer and wellness/lifestyle coach in Encinitas, California. He surfs uncrowded, fun reef breaks; plays instrumental alternate-tuning guitar; goes hiking in the backcountry; and is amazed on a daily basis by just being alive.