Logan Marshall and the World of Outer Banks Surf Films
Logan Marshall will be a senior at Manteo High School this year, and he comes across as a pretty normal kid. He’s well-spoken, clearly intelligent and he has a passion for filmmaking. And not just any filmmaking—what he loves is making surf films.
His latest film, Outer, won an award for Best Emerging Filmmaker at Surfalorus Film Festival, a free 4-day surf film festival that features surf films from major filmmakers as well as local artists. The festival is in its 7th year.
Marshall has produced two surf films to date, and both have been remarkable for the skill he demonstrated. The interviews are focused and sometimes pretty funny; his camera work is good—with real improvement in his latest film, and his editing and use of music helps to create a consistent storyline and an engaging movie.
His first film was Limitless, a 22 minute short and his most recent film Outer is an hour long.
Examining the point of view of three surfers at different ages of life, Limitless gives a snapshot of the sport and why it is loved so fiercely.
For the film, Logan interviewed Nathan Greenlee, a 20-year-old surfer; Jesse Hines, 38, a retired pro surfer and Lynn Shell, 62, owner of Outer Banks Boarding Company in Nags Head.
What emerges is a fascinating look into different perspectives on the sport. Greenlee, young and up for any challenge, is looking to push himself as hard as he can. Hines, the owner of Surfin’ Spoon in Nags Head and a father of young children, talks about his love of the sport and how it shaped his life on the Outer Banks. Shell takes a historical view of the sport, looking back over what has happened on the Outer Banks over the past 40 or 50 years.
Interspersed among the interviews is some amazing surf footage. And what really makes the footage pop is how well Logan merges music and action.
Released when Logan had just turned 17, the film earned him the 2017 Carolina Surf Filmmaker of the Year from the Carolina Surf Film Festival. He is the youngest person to ever win the award.
With Outer, Logan really upped his game. Everything about the movie shows a remarkable improvement in filmmaking—the camera work, the editing, the interviewing technique and, very powerfully, how he merges music with the action.
In some ways Outer takes up where Limitless left off; both films examine the surf culture of the Outer Banks, but his most recent film looks at what is happening in the world of local surfers and how we got to where we are today.
Lynn Shell and Jessie Hines make another appearance in this film, but their interviews and thoughts are given more time—largely, perhaps because the movie is an hour long.
Particularly effective is Shell’s description of the 1960s and early 1970s and how the Outer Banks was discovered by itinerant surfers traveling between Florida and Virginia Beach.
Shell’s description of why there are almost always waves on the Outer Banks was fantastic—part science and part observation, it set the stage for telling how and why surfers will travel from Corolla to Hatteras looking for the best surf break.
It also helped to frame the story of Jesse Hines or Noah Snyder, another pro from the Outer Banks who enjoyed professional success, could come from a place as relatively isolated as it is here and make it on the pro circuit.
Hines, in a very matter of fact, almost cheerful manner, describes what he went through to maintain his status as a pro—and it was a lot.
His discussion leads to exploring who the next generation surfers are—what that new generation sees as their challenges and how they feel about those who went before them. Particularly effective was Bo Raynor, who at 17 may be the next successful pro surfer to emerge from the Outer Banks.
Interspersed with the interviews are some amazing surf sequences. Particularly effective were the scenes shot during a fierce March storm that brought 12’-15’ waves to the Outer Banks.
These are films that are worth seeing. They are definitely surfing films, but Logan manages to examine other topics and the Outer Banks lifestyle along the way.