A Fly in the Champagne Review
A Fly In the Champagne is a sports caster’s tale of the fierce rivalry between Andy Irons and Kelly Slater. This movie begins with how these two Titans built up their professional hype. It shows their junior contests and first bits of 16mm film as groms at their local breaks. Not long after this brief back-story they dive right into magazine covers and video of these two battling on tour from 2001 until now. You’ll see some classic heats like the title deciding heat at Pipe, Slaters perfect heat at Chopes, Andy’s explosive retaliation in Japan and many other gems. During all these flashback videos, Kelly and Andy give play by plays of what was going on in their respective noggins with each turn, barrel, and persona defining heat to give us all more insight on how their rivalry became so infamous.
The footage is good but the commentary is the catalyst of the film. The video switches focus to the modern day situation between the two and how these rivals finally want to get everything out in the open air with one another, (literally, the airs they do are massive). This isn’t a Dr. Phil therapy session. This is Billabong’s rebel leader and Quiksilver’s golden child communicating the best way they know how. What do you do when you’re two of the best wave riding athletes on the planet trying to discuss your feelings? You change the median, drop the words and speak with your rail. You let those deep barrels carry your voice, punctuate with your smoothest tube stance, enunciate with your fins above the lip while the other guy watches the tears mist the horizon from the hole you just ripped in the wave’s face. That’s how surfing’s A.S.P. title holders speak. Their skills caught on video truly emphasizes their superiority among world champions, so its to no surprise they had such an iconic clash.
When the A Fly in the Champagne wraps up you’ll be fired up to harass one of your buddies to go surf. It worked for Irons and Slater, no reason it can’t work for the rest of us. This film leaves you with a rush, an itching desire to achieve greatness. A greatness as simple as getting barreled in front of a friend or knocking out your older brother in round one of a contest. The soundtrack is composed very well to keep the tempo of the story. You’ve got a mix of rock, alternative, and gladiator battle music to get you stoked as well as some more mellow tunes to let you reflect on your own moments of battle in the water. It’s not all Andy and Kelly, you’ll see some familiar faces such as Shane Dorian, Ross Williams, Borg, Potter and a few others adding their own perspectives. This video is rightfully depicted as an epic war that has progressed to a peaceful end. It’s an hour long documentary every surfer should own, a classic representation of what it means to be an athlete. Yes, we surfers have earned our passage as athletes. Any who care to debate that I’ll refer to the video for my answer.