Falzon, Alby


Soulful Australian surf filmmaker, best known for his lush and beautifully crafted 1972 movie Morning of the Earth. Falzon was born (1945) in Sydney and raised in the beachfront suburb of Maroubra, but didn't begin surfing until age 14, after moving with his family two hours north to the New South Wales Central Coast.

By 1966, Falzon was working for Sydney-based surf impresario Bob Evans, shooting photos for Evans's Surfing World magazine and film sequences for his surf movies. Along with surf journalist John Witzig and editor David Elfick, Falzon cofounded Tracks magazine in 1970, a counterculture newsprint surf tabloid where surf features were published alongside articles on organic gardening, treehouse building, and the environment.

Falzon and Elfick applied for and received a $20,000 grant from the Australian Film Development Corporation, and began planning Morning of the Earth, which featured Nat Young, Michael Peterson, and Terry Fitzgerald, among others. A memorable sequence shows Rusty Miller and Stephen Cooney riding the long, aquamarine lefts at Bali's Uluwatu—a break Falzon spotted during a sight-seeing excursion. The flowing, unnarrated Morning of the Earth has long been regarded as the high point in Australian surf cinema.

In 1973, Falzon and California surfer/designer/filmmaker George Greenough made Crystal Voyager, a documentary on Greenough, with Pink Floyd on the soundtrack. Voyager earned rave reviews in the mainstream press and at the Cannes film festival, was picked up by a British distributor, and played for a record-breaking six months in London's West End. Falzon made a few additional surf movies, short subjects, and videos, including Surfabout '74, Can't Step Twice on the Same Piece of Water (1992), and Metaphysical (1997), but has always maintained that Morning of the Earth was his one true surf movie. "I put everything into that one, and did it right. I said what I wanted to say in that film."

Falzon was profiled in 50 Years of Surfing on Film (1997), an cable TV documentary series produced by Opper Films. His still photography has also been featured in a number of illustrated surfing books, including Where the Surfers Are (1968), A Pictorial History of Surfing (1970), The History of Surfing (1983), and Blue Heaven: the Story of Australian Surfing (2003).

The Life and Films of Alby Falzon, a documentary, was released in 2008. Falzon was inducted to the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame in 2011.