The Hastily Aborted Unwanted and Unloved WSL Love Child | Part 1




The Drive-Thru series, a staple of surf cinema in the golden age of post-golden age of surfing, the mid-2000s. The boardies caressed your shins, the sunnies provided sun protection to half your face, and nobody dared ride anything but a wafer-thin thruster, no matter the conditions, no time for fucking midlengths.


Before Rip Curl became a staple for inland dads and surfing was nothing but a twinkle in the eyes of WSL head honcho Erik Logan, who presumably still ran his ultimate frisbee team, and his only experience with the ocean was on his dad's boat in the Ozarks. Surfing was firmly behind skateboarding when it came to the mainstream conscience, which is an impressive feat in itself, but amongst the obscurity was a hell of a lot of money; sponsorship deals were blowing up and the likes of Andy Irons and Kelly Slater were dominating just about every aspect of professional surfing.


Outside of the inner circle of professional surfing lived a small subset of incredibly talented surfers who couldn't be bothered with the tennis tour that was the ASP, so they just got paid to travel and surf their brains out. A glut of surf films were released on the semi-regular, and before social media rotted our attention spans and flooded the world with shit from anyone with a camera, surf clips were a precious commodity. DVDs free with magazines, FuelTV, and the high seas of piracy were the avenues of consumption. And one fine day, Greg Browning, Taylor Steele, Donavon Frankenreiter and Benji Weatherley decided to document their paid-for travels and freedom to surf. The Drive-Thru series was born.


It was the New Zealand episode that drew me to Australia's more down to earth and quietly cooler brother. The premise was simple and perfect; an RV, a band of best mates who could surf, and above all else, never took themselves seriously, the antithesis of modern surfing. Then the surf industry gorged itself stupid, bloated beyond belief and ate itself, before spewing its guts out everywhere, the Drive-Thru guys with it; surfing went mainstream. Benji Weatherley couldn't bothered with the grind, Taylor Steele just focused on what he does best; make good surf films, and the rest went their separate ways, until 2021.


As the WSL continues to frantically scramble for all and any avenues to become relevant and big again, stumbles across an old DVD that had maybe fell behind the sofa in the WSL towers; the Drive-Thru series. TikTok sponsor cheque freshly cleared, Erik had some money to play with. So he approached the people who approached Taylor and co, and brought them in to revive the Drive-Thru series, 2021 style. What happened next, would surprise absolutely nobody...


(To be continued...)